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CAES Internship Experience Sparks Advocacy for Recess Terms in All Colleges

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Ø University Assistant Bursar advocates for recess terms in all Colleges
Ø Students advised to love Agriculture as their profession.

About 245 Undergraduate students from the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) undertaking Bachelor of Science programmes in Agriculture, Horticulture, Food Science and Technology, Agricultural Engineering and the Bachelor of Agricultural and Rural Innovations underwent a 10week competence-based training to equip them with hands on skills ranging from production, management, value addition and entrepreneurship.

The students were dispatched for recess term activities hosted by the Makerere University Agricultural Research Institute Kabanyolo (MUARIK) on 19th May 2018 until 27th July 2018.

At a field day held on 27th July 2018 to mark the end of recess term activities, students demonstrated different technologies in Horticulture including sterilization of soil for nursery gardens, principles of propagation (budding, grafting layering) and different ways of raising seedlings.

The function was graced by the College Deputy Principal Assoc. Prof. Gorrettie Nabanoga and was attended by Makerere University staff, farmers, surrounding community members, Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) officials, students from Gayaza High School, and officials from Agro-max among others.

CAES Deputy Principal-Assoc. Prof. Gorrettie Nabanoga (2nd R) with Mr. Acon Michael (Rear R), Dr. Giregon Oluput (3rd R) and other officials tour the fruit processing section of the exhibition

In her remarks the Deputy Principal challenged the private sector to partner with CAES students to help them incubate their innovations. She stressed that agricultural students are being taught in a way that enables them start up something but most of the time the ideas learnt, die off due to the lack of a helping hand to advance them.

“Our students have the capacity to offer the best extension services within the communities where they come from, but we feel bad that some of their knowledge cannot trickledown to the communities due to lack of funds to enhance extension,“she said.

Dr. Stephen Lwasa one of the instructors during the recess term said the field day gives students a chance to gain practical skills such that when they are done with school, they can replicate what they have learnt.

“They have been here for the last ten weeks and they are able to show us what they have learnt in terms of agriculture, livestock, poultry, soils, agricultural economics and others, on top of acquiring different skills which they will use after school,“he said.

Dr. Lwasa revealed that some students had written proposals for funding to advance what they have learnt but funding remains one of the biggest challenges which debilitate efforts to realise their goals.

He stressed that since most of the youths in Uganda are not employed, getting practical skills can help in the transformation of agriculture where they can employ themselves other than being job seekers.

Improvised Brooders were also on display during the CAES Internship Field Day Exhibition at MUARIK

“This is a very good way of giving youth practical skills on top of helping the farmers who would need these skills in the transformation of agricultural processes,“ he said.

He asked the Government to consider extending loans to students to act as revolving funds to help them put into practice what they have learnt.

Speaking at the same function, the Assistant Bursar Mr. Acon Michael attested to the fact that recess terms should be conducted by all colleges within the University. He however observed a need to have a central point for coordination within the University Administration.

Mr. Achon said that Makerere as an academic institution is the source of many ideas which later spill into the other communities. He applauded the College for the commendable job done in recess term and  challenged them to uphold the goals for which the recess term is intended.

“It is important that you have good attitude towards what you are doing, there is no easy task or difficult task but you have to work hard towards what you what to achieve.

This is very commendable even to the partners who have taken part; this is the first time the Finance Department is being invited for such an occasion, It gives us great honor to come and see what the resources we give can do,“ he said.

“For the students, I applaud you for the discipline you have shown and I think this is very important because without discipline you cannot succeed but you can easily fail, “he added.

A Student exhibitor explains to visitors the steps of mushroom growing

He also applauded the students for the patience exhibited saying there has been a lot of crises, but with patience, it has always been managed amicably. He advised the College to keep up the spirit of inviting external stakeholders to come and take part in the recess term, saying collaboration is important and can make other academic institutions learn from Makerere and replicate these ideas in their own campuses.

Mr. Acon appreciated MAAIF for recognising the recess term, observing a need to increase resource allocation to the Agriculture sector, with special emphasis on implementation of whatever is demonstrated.

Prof. Archileo Kaaya the Head, Department of Food Technology, Nutrition and Bioengineering said such field days, help students learn how to add value to various crops. He concurred with Mr. Acon on the need to make field days public where the communities can come over to interact with the students and receive knowledge on extension.

The MAAIF Official in charge of Agricultural extension Mr. Stephen Mugume observed that guns and armories cannot solve the problem of agriculture but youth once groomed well can cause a big change in the sector.

“Every ministry, every high ranking officer is engaged with the task of making the youth of Uganda get skills because where Ugandans have comparative advantage is only within Agriculture.

Students from Gayaza High School (Right in Uniforms) view some of the exhibits during the Internship Field Day heald at MUARIK, 27th July 2018

Therefore every agricultural policy formulation from National Agricultural Extension to the National Agricultural Strategy has got guidelines to help agricultural extension work, “he said.

He revealed that the Ministry is currently implementing a prelist agricultural extension program implying that anybody with a skill attained either by formal or non-formal means can have the opportunity to be recognized in agricultural production.

He reechoed that the ministry has also got a policy on the full value chain not ending at production but taking up to the value chain. He however expressed disappointment that Makerere which is a core trainer of agriculturalists does not have enough tractors and other Agricultural equipment to drive the sector.
 
He warned the students against indiscipline but advised them to focus on working and embracing the abundant opportunities such that they can earn while studying.

Miss Stella Kabatetsi a Bachelor of Science in Horticulture student said most of her peers had not got exposed to practical skills in Agriculture yet they are very key in transferring knowledge to others.

“This recess term has helped us a lot, we have gone to real gardens and done real work which will help us after school, “she said.

She also advised farmers to always consider the use of improved seeds to minimise losses in production as well as embracer other emerging agricultural technologies.

The students demonstrated tractor maintenance skills acquired during the 10week Internship at MUARIK

The recess terms was coordinated by Dr Narisi Mubangizi and Dr  Opolot Emmanue. Dr. Opolot said the number of students who participated in this year’s recess term was more compared to last year.

“We brought 3rd and 4th year students to take them out of classroom setting to give them practical skills.

“We covered units in crop and soil science, apiculture, food science and technology, horticulture, rural innovation and extensions, records and accounts, economics of all the enterprises on top of agriculture engineering among others,“he said.  

In the Food Science stall, students explained and demonstrated the need to add value to agricultural produce, value added products and their health benefits, and how to make different products on both industrial and local scales.

One student group exhibited how to make urea blocks and molasses for dairy farming while others focused on silage and hay making. Another group of students focused on the plant clinic to give farmers guidance on how to diagnose plant diseases and pests, lack of nutrients, bacterial infections among others.

The College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences has been training students as plant doctors since 2013 in collaboration with the Plant wise Program of the Centre for Agriculture and Bio Sciences International (CABI) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries.

 

Article by Communication Office, CAES

 

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Rotary International President visits Mak

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The Chairperson of Council, Mrs Lorna Magara (L) presents a plaque to Rotary International President Shekhar Mehta in appreciation of his visit and invaluable service, 15th September 2021, CTF1, Makerere University.

By Hasifa Kabejja

Rotary International President Shekhar Mehta has appreciated Makerere University for supporting and carrying forward the newly introduced programme aimed at advancing peace on the African Continent. Launched in January 2020, the Rotary Peace Centre at Makerere University runs a postgraduate diploma programme in Peace-building and Conflict Transformation. The hands-on program entails coursework that addresses topics including human rights, governance, and the role of the media in conflict. Other studies focus on refugees and migration, as well as resource and identity-based conflicts.

At a high level meeting held with the University leadership on 15th September 2021 at CTF1, President Shekhar Mehta said Rotary International was proud to be partnering with Makerere to promote peace on the African Continent. “The mere absence of war does not translate into total peace. Besides war, there are many other factors undermining peaceful co-existence. It is our duty to address these issues so as to create harmony in our communities. Through the Rotary Peace Centres across the globe, we are undertaking a number of initiatives aimed at promoting peace. Since 2002, the Rotary Peace Centres have trained more than 1,300 fellows who are working to advance peace in more than 115 countries. We are happy to work with Makerere University to foster peace and development on the African Continent,” he noted.   President Shekhar Mehta, who was on a three-day tour of Rotary projects in Uganda, was visiting Makerere for the first time since the University won the bid to host the International Rotary Peace Centre, the first of its kind on the African Continent.

President Shekhar Mehta, who was in company of past and current Governors of Districts 9213 and 9214, said peace was a necessary catalyst for the progress of humanity and general development of nation states across the globe. Elected for the 2021-22 term, President Shekhar Mehta, through his year theme Serve to Change Lives, asks Rotarians to participate in service projects where they can make a difference in their communities and the people who live in them. Since he joined Rotary in 1984 as a member of the Rotary Club of Calcutta-Mahanagar, West Bengal, India, President Shekhar Mehta has led many major service initiatives in India and South Asia, including among others, constructing 500 homes for Tsunami survivors at Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and starting the Shelter Kit programme in India which has served about 20 disasters and benefited about 75,000 disaster victims. 

Delivering her remarks, the Chairperson Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara appreciated Rotary International for entrusting Makerere University with the mandate to host the first rotary peace centre on the African Continent. “Choosing to house the Centre at Makerere University shows Rotary International’s trust and confidence in Makerere and her vision for building for the future. We are grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the advancement of Rotary International’s agenda. We also sincerely appreciate Rotarians all over the world who have committed funds to support the Rotary Peace Centre at Makerere University,” she noted. Similarly, she appreciated The Rotary Foundation (TRF) of Canada for setting up an endowment fund for the Peace Centre. “This will go a long way in ensuring the sustainability of the Peace Centre at Makerere University. The fund will help in the Capstone week where Fellows will present their social initiatives. These initiatives will showcase how the Rotary Peace Centre contributes to positive peace initiatives all over the world.”

In his remarks, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe informed the President that the decision to establish the first Rotary Peace Centre in Africa at Makerere University was welcomed with ‘excitement and gratefulness’. “We consider this to be a vote of confidence in our efforts in the peace and conflict resolution agenda. We extend our appreciation to Rotarians in Uganda and beyond for selflessly supporting this noble cause.” The Vice Chancellor appreciated the leadership of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Makerere, and the Director of the Centre, Dr Helen Nambalirwa Nkabala for their tireless efforts in ensuring the centre achieves the intended objective.

By the end of this year, the Centre will have hosted two cohorts of peace fellows. The first cohort was at Makerere University between February and May, 2021. Currently, these Peace fellows are carrying out their peace initiatives in their communities. The second cohort will report on September 27, 2021. In both cohorts, Peace Fellows were chosen from 20 countries and by the end of the year, the Centre will have had a total of 36 Fellows.

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Intentionality Key to Nurturing More Women Leaders

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The "Enhancing Women’s Participation and Visibility in Leadership and Decision-Making Organs of Public Universities in Uganda through Action Research" Phase One Study dissemination poster for the event held on 14th September 2021, CTF1, Makerere University and Online.

The Gender Mainstreaming Directorate (GMD), Makerere University on 14th September 2021 presented findings from phase one of the study on Enhancing Women’s Participation and Visibility in Leadership and Decision-Making Organs of Public Universities in Uganda through Action Research. The study team led by the Director GMD and Principal Investigator (PI), Dr. Euzobia Mugisha Baine also consists of Assoc. Prof. Consolata Kabonesa, Dr. Anna Ninsiima, Ms. Frances Nyachwo, Ms. Susan Mbabazi and Mr. Eric Tumwesigye.  

The team is also made of coordinators from participating Universities such as Busitema University-Ms. Elizabeth Birabwa, Kabale University-Sr. Dr. Eva Tumusiime, Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST)-Dr. Specioza Twinamasiko, Muni University-Ms. Amandru Stella Wawa, and Gulu Univeristy-Sr. Rosalba Aciro.

Funded by the Government of Uganda through the Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF), the study was inspired by the fact that women are persistently few in numbers as staff, more so in leadership and decision-making organs of Ugandan Public Universities. “This is despite all the various efforts at national and international levels; the numbers are not growing as fast as needed to meet development goals of the country” explained Dr. Euzobia.

Based on this background, the study team therefore sought to conduct a situational analysis of the gender terrain of the six public universities to obtain baseline information encompassing the composition of governance and leadership organs and senior staff by sex, as well as a needs assessment and profiles of potential mentors and mentees.

Furthermore, the team sought to explore the capacity to conduct gender-responsive research as well as the role of male staff engagement in gender equity interventions within the universities as the drivers of development.

Dr. Mugisha-Baine shared that results of the baseline would then be used to design participatory training manuals or guides on gender and leadership. The manuals would cover; Institutionalized mentorship, How to conduct gender-responsive research, gender and equity budgeting, among others.

The Director GMD, Dr. Euzobia Mugisha Baine
The Director GMD, Dr. Euzobia Mugisha Baine

 “Within these manuals, we shall have a male staff engagement strategy in gender equity interventions in universities” she explained.

The development of the aforementioned materials would then be followed by their adoption and use to build capacity for women not only in leadership of participating and other public university but also beyond. “We shall periodically evaluate whether the capacity we have built has influenced women’s participation in leadership and decision-making organs of the university” supplemented the PI.

The capacity building trainings for women, it is envisaged, will lay the foundation for the formation of a functional Uganda University Women’s Think Tank, starting with the six participating universities. Dr. Mugisha Baine added that through this Think Tank, a monitoring and tracking system for gender representation in recruitment, promotion, retention/turnover and leadership of public universities shall be established and maintained.  

At the conclusion of phase one, the study team had drafted participatory training manuals in gender and leadership with content on; gender specific critical analysis of the leadership spectrum of public universities, positioning of individual women within the institutional framework and strategies for their advancement, gender equity advocacy in the university setting, institutional mentorship, building capacity in conducting gender-responsive research, among others.

“This content will be validated by the participating universities before the actual research training is conducted” added the PI.

On behalf of the research team, Dr. Mugisha Baine thanked the Government of Uganda for providing the resources that facilitated phase one of the study and prayed that the Mak-RIF Grants Management Committee (GMC) would support the next phase of capacity building.

Speaking on behalf of the Mak-RIF GMC Chairperson, Prof. William Bazeyo, Dr. Helen Nambalirwa Nkabala thanked and congratulated the team led by the Director GMD upon the milestones registered in the critical research.

“We are very proud of that work that is being done by all researchers in Mak-RIF and we would like to most sincerely thank Management for all the support throughout this process” she remarked.

Dr. Nkabala encouraged the research team to continue disseminating and using the findings for the furtherance of gender mainstreaming, particularly through the aspect of male staff engagement in gender equity interventions.  

The Executive Director, NCHE, Prof. Mary Okwakol. Courtesy Photo.
The Executive Director, NCHE, Prof. Mary Okwakol. Courtesy Photo.

Prior to delivering the keynote address of the day, the Executive Director National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) Prof. Mary Okwakol thanked the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe for inviting her to the important forum, noting that women’s participation in decision making and governance is a priority area of the Uganda Gender Policy 2007.  

She commended Makerere University for being at the forefront of gender mainstreaming in Uganda, noting that this prominence was one of the reasons why the Gender in Education Policy 2007 provides for replicating the institution’s strategy in all other Higher Education Institutions.   

Prof. Okwakol whose keynote address was punctuated incisive personal examples reaffirmed the statistics that women are generally not visible in leadership of Universities. That notwithstanding, in instances where they rise to leadership and decision-making positions, they are regularly subject to roles traditionally deemed as women’s inconsiderate of their managerial seniority and experience.

She nevertheless rallied the women to play their respective roles in enhancing participation and visibility at a personal level. The following were some of the strategies she proposed; work hard to acquire academic credentials so as to compete favourably with men, acquire necessary administrative training and experience, network among women, join professional networks as well as do research and publish.  

On joining professional networks, she shared her personal experience as a young zoologist who joined UNESCO’s Tropical Biology and Fertility Programme. “Within a short time I was appointed Coordinator for Africa and after two years, I was elected as a Member of the International Board of Management. After serving for two years, I became Vice Chairperson of that Board and finally I became Chairperson of that International Board.”

At the institutional level, Prof. Okwakol appealed to the Chairperson Council and Vice Chancellor to proactively recruit women who meet the requirements for leadership positions even if it means actively seeking out the reluctant ones. In this regard, she shared that it would be useful for the university to develop a database of women and their qualifications to ease this process.

She shared that NCHE has in recognition of female underrepresentation at every level in Higher Education approved the establishment of a Gender and Equity Unit with the aim of promoting inclusive gender participation in the sub-sector.

“This unit has been placed under the Directorate of Quality Assurance and Accreditation which implies that as we look out for and regulate quality, gender will be a very important aspect of that regulation” she reassured.

Prof. Okwakol concluded by urging participants to read the; Third National Development Plan (NDPIII), Uganda Vision 2040, and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) noting that there is no way all three can be achieved while women are left behind because they each make a case for inclusion of the female gender.  

The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe follows proceedings during the dissemination.
The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe follows proceedings during the dissemination.

“What we are addressing here are historical injustices” said Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe as he commenced his remarks, “And in the case of Makerere University, it is well known that the institution started as a male-only institution and we all know the original motto was ‘Let us be men’” he added.

Citing examples from history such as; Marie Curie – one of the smartest physicists, Hatshepsut, Nefertiti and Cleopatra – prominent Pharaohs of Egypt, George Eliot, Rosa Luxemburg and Hypatia – all great philosophers as well as Chancellor Angela Merkel – first female Chancellor of Germany, the Vice Chancellor said there is no plausible argument that there are things women cannot do as well as their male counterparts.

He said it was against this knowledge and in a bid to correct historical injustices that Makerere University pioneered initiatives such as putting in place affirmative action for girls, establishing a Gender Mainstreaming Directorate as well as a School of Women and Gender Studies. The Vice Chancellor nevertheless stressed the need to go beyond pioneering to protecting these gains through legislation. “Historically we have seen that discrimination can only be addressed by laws and policies.”

Prof. Nawangwe thanked the Government for providing funds to support Mak-RIF as well as the Funds GMC and Secretariat for ensuring that these funds are put to good use. He equally thanked the Chairperson of Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara for her not only her support but also sparing time to attend a good number of the research dissemination events.

A screenshot of the Chairperson of Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara delivering the concluding remarks.
A screenshot of the Chairperson of Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara delivering the concluding remarks.

Delivering the concluding remarks, Mrs. Magara acknowledged that the study was timely and relevant the contemporary University, as one of the critical drivers of the national and international development agenda. She therefore reechoed the Vice Chancellor’s thanks to the Government of Uganda for generously supporting the University’s research through Mak-RIF.

Turning to the keynote speaker she said, “I thank Prof. Okwakol for ardently discussing the critical issues affecting the female gender, the strategies to overcome the challenges, including sharing her inspiring personal experiences.”

Mrs. Magara equally thanked Prof. Okwakol for her very instructional analysis, providing mentorship guidance with the resultant impact of enhancing the female gender in decision-making positions. In the same breath she congratulated the PI and her team upon successfully concluding phase one of the project.

“Phase one has generated insights in understanding the status of women in leadership in public universities, the legal and policy framework and its implications on women’s visibility, the institutional mentoring systems and the gaps therein” she observed.

The Chairperson of Council acknowledged that the challenge of underrepresentation of women in leadership roles cannot be resolved at an individual level. She therefore advocated for broad based strategies that can address deep-seated structural and cultural biases facing women. “These include developing mentorship networks, enacting laws and policies that address the imbalances and providing training programmes to address the leadership gaps.”

She therefore pledged the University Council’s unwavering support to the Gender Mainstreaming Programme by ensuring an enabling policy environment that facilitates gender-responsive teaching, learning, research innovation and community service.   

The research dissemination was moderated by the Principal Public Relations Officer (PRO), Ms. Ritah Namisango and the Director Communications, Learning and Knowledge Management, ResilientAfrica Network (RAN) and PRO Mak-RIF, Ms. Harriet Adong.

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Section Editors & Associate Editors Wanted-CABI Agriculture & Biosciences Journal

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The CABI Agriculture and Biosciences Journal (CABI A&B) is still in search of both Associate Editors to join the CABI A&B Editorial Board, as well as a Regional Editor-in-Chief to lead for Africa in addition to serving as a Section Editor in the area of either Environmental and SOIL SCIENCE, AGROECOLOGY, OR AQUACULTURE AND FISHERIES. Ideally CABI wants Section Editors (SE) who are prominent members of their research communities, with high-level established positions at a research institution, with a strong, current record of international collaborations and publication, with an H-index of at least 25.  For Associate Editors (AE) we hope for researchers who have with established positions at a research institution (e.g., not post-docs or Ph.D. candidates), with a strong growing record of international collaborations and publication (e.g., around 8 publications in the past two years), and have an H-index of at least 15.

Very importantly, CABI hopes for SEs and AEs who are good communicators and are passionate about serving and building the journal to be an outlet for both large and small steps of sound science that will improve the lives and livelihoods of people worldwide.

Please see Downloads for the CABI EDITORIAL DIRECTORY

Interested applicants should email PHILIPPA J. BENSON, PH.D. MANAGING EDITOR | _CABI A&B | P.BENSON[at]CABI.ORG

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