Euphoria swept over the special congregation in the Main Hall on the morning of 9th August 2018 as Dr. David Poplack and the Late Ryoichi Sasakawa received Makerere University’s prestigious Honorary Doctorate of Science (Honoris Causa) and Honorary Doctorare of Laws (Honoris Causa) respectively.
Successfully nominated as the first candidate for the Award by the College of Health Sciences (CHS), Dr. Poplack was recognised for his distinguished and ground-breaking contributions to the treatment of children with cancer and blood diseases in the United States of America and sub-Saharan Africa. Ryoichi Sasakawa was equally successfully nominated by the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) for his significant impact on agricultural development through extension education and distance learning and commitment to fighting leprosy and poverty.
The Guest of Honour, State Minister for Higher Education-Hon. Dr. John Chrysostom Muyingo, who represented the Minister of Education and Sports-Hon. Janet Kataaha Museveni expressed his appreciation of the selfless service that Dr. Poplack and Ryoichi Sasakawa had rendered to humanity.
“To Dr. David Poplack and the family of the Late Ryoichi Sasakawa, I say, yours is a celebration well-earned and well-deserved, and the Government and the people of Uganda count it a great honour and privilege to identify with and celebrate this milestone with you.
“As Government we are committed to creating an environment conducive to enabling the private sector and higher education institutions to achieve their objectives and provide the high quality services that our people deserve. Our Universities have strong foundations and enjoy the goodwill of many development partners. We are therefore confident that with this continued support and dedicated service of our staff, the Government has the right partners in the quest to achieve a Transformed Ugandan Society from a Peasant to a Modern and Prosperous Country as espoused by our Vision 2040.” he remarked.
Earlier, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe in his welcome remarks said that Makerere University was not only recognising Dr. David Poplack’s innumerable contributions to the field of Hematic Oncology but also his character “as an infinitely humane, kind, generous, and principled person with a deep sense of social justice in a global context.
“We are delighted that Dr. Poplack accepted the award and is personally here, together with his wife Mrs. June Poplack, and daughter Ms. Jocelyn Poplack, and the representatives from Texas Children’s Hospital Baylor College of Medicine. I congratulate him upon the much deserved award” added Prof. Nawangwe.
The Vice Chancellor further paid tribute to Ryoichi Sasakawa, who through his foundation supported innovative degree programmes at Makerere University, resulting in improved household incomes and food security for several smallholder farmers.
“It is also pleasing to note that some of the graduates who benefited from the Sasakawa Africa Fund for Extension Education (SAFE) support are members of staff holding various positions of leadership in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and other respected organizations in Uganda and the region” supplemented the Vice Chancellor.
Following Ryoichi Sasakawa’s death in 1995, his son, Yohei Sasakawa took over his father’s philanthropic work in earnest, fighting for people affected by several emergencies. He was therefore unable to personally attend the honorary award ceremony. Receiving the award on behalf of the family, the Chairperson Sasakawa Africa Association (SAA) and Sasakawa Africa Fund for Extension Education (SAFE) Prof. Ruth Oniang’o profusely thanked Makerere University for honouring Ryoichi Sasakawa.
“I have worked with the Sasakawa family for a long time and what I have learnt is that the Japanese greatly value humility and selflessness. This is a very great day for the Sasakawa family and we shall take these photos and awards to them and I am sure that they will say Origato (thank you)” she concluded.
The Japanese Ambassador to Uganda, H.E. Kazuaki Kameda expressed his joy at having an exemplary senior citizen of Japan recognised by Makerere University. “I am very happy that the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences proposed that Ryoichi Sasakawa be awarded the Honorary Doctorate of Laws and I thank the Senate for approving this award.
“Ryoichi Sasakawa’s philosophy The world is one family; people are all brothers and sisters was repeatedly aired on Japanese television stations and I must say that all his charitable activities embodied this vision” added H.E. Kameda.
The Award Ceremony also paid tribute to Dr. Poplack in a special way, when the congregation witnessed the presentation of certificates to the first cohort of graduates from the East Africa Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Fellowship Program. Dr. Barnabas Atwiine, Dr. Fadhil Geriga, Dr. Philip Kasirye and Dr. Ruth Namazzi received their certificates from the Chair of the Fellowship Program’s Advisory Council-Prof. Charles Olweny, Principal CHS-Prof. Charles Ibingira and the Fellowship Program’s Director-Dr. Joseph Lubega. These are the certified pediatric cancer and blood diseases specialists to be trained in Uganda.
True to his humane and genial character, Dr. Poplack started off his acceptance speech by congratulating the family of the Late Ryoichi Sasakawa as represented by Prof. Oniang’o upon the conferment of the Honorary Doctor of Laws. “I am extremely thankful to Makerere University for this outstanding honour today. I am very proud to be identified with Makerere University” he added.
Dr. Poplack equally paid tribute to his wife, children and the staff at the Texas Children’s Hospital for all the support rendered to him throughout his professional journey. He further paid tribute to Uganda as a Nation, which contributed to his foundational training as a Pediatric Oncologist, through to his mentor Dr. John Ziegler, the first Director of the Uganda Can¬cer Institute.
He further noted that the strides made in research on burkitt lymphoma among children in Uganda greatly improved the rate of children being cured of cancer in developed countries from less than 20% in 1975 to more than 80% presently. “We remain focused on building a specialised training centre of excellence for the treatment of cancer among children in Uganda and no one is better placed to lead these efforts in Africa than the Ugandan stakeholders.”
He paid tribute to the leadership at the Ministry of Health, Uganda Cancer Institute, College of Health Sciences, and Mulago National Referral Hospital for all the support that had resulted in his recognition “We are indeed, as your motto suggests, building for the future and, together, we will most certainly succeed” concluded Dr. Poplack.
On behalf of Makerere University, the Chairperson of Council, Eng. Dr. Charles Wana-Etyem presented plaques and an assortment of souvenirs to Dr. David Poplack and Prof. Ruth Oniang’o on behalf of the Late Ryoichi Sasakawa. Reflecting on a personal point of loss, an emotional Chairperson said, “In 2008, I lost a nephew to leukemia and at that point, I came face-to-face with the challenges of this disease. I therefore thank you for the great work you are doing in this field and may God bless you.”
In his remarks, the Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), Hon. Vincent Ssempijja could not help but share his great admiration and respect for the honorary doctoral recipients of the day. “I am greatly encouraged to see that Ryoichi Sasakawa whom I knew until his death in 1995 is being recognised by Makerere University today. As a District Leader in Masaka for fifteen years, I worked with Sasakawa staff and I have seen them teach poor farmers the importance of planting quality seeds and multiplying them. As a result, I have seen them change the lives of farmers in the remotest parts of Masaka and Busoga” remarked Hon. Ssempijja.
The Minister also paid tribute to Dr. David Poplack, whose extent of dedication to the betterment of humanity had become clearer as his citation was read by Prof. Sarah Kiguli. “Congratulations and thank you from the bottom of my heart for this invaluable contribution. I wish a good life to you and your family” concluded Hon. Ssempijja.
In his address to the special congregation, the Chancellor Prof. Ezra Suruma observed that both Dr. David Poplack’s and Ryoichi Sasakawa’s stories testified of the need to go beyond success in our personal spheres and reach out to the community in ways that significantly impact lives.
“It is only when we choose to go beyond our comfort zones and the glory of our personal accolades that we truly start to become significant. Both Dr. David Poplack and Ryoichi Sasakawa recognised that it was not simply enough to be a successful Pediatric Oncologist or well-known politician and boat racer. They both strived and succeeded in making the most of the knowledge, influence and networks that they had garnered over the years to alleviate the suffering and helplessness that they continually witnessed” remarked the Chancellor.
The Chancellor reiterated that the awards to Dr. David Poplack and Ryoichi Sasakawa were well-deserved and a great addition to the rich heritage of immediate past recipients; the Late Mama Winnie Madikizela Mandela and the President of the Republic of Turkey, H.E. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. On 19th January 2018, Ms. Gandhi Baai received the Honorary Doctorate of Laws (Honoris Causa) on behalf of her Aunt Mama Winnie Madikizela Mandela, while on 1st June 2016, Prof. Ezra Suruma conferred the Honorary Doctorate of Laws (Honoris Causa) upon H.E. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Article by Public Relations Office
Ambassador of Sweden to Uganda calls for full involvement of men and boys in achieving Gender Equality
The Ambassador of Sweden to Uganda Her Excellence Maria Håkansson has emphasized the need to fully engage men and boys in all the initiatives geared towards achieving Gender Equality in Uganda and other parts of the world. She said this on 28th November 2023 at a press conference organized by the Embassy of Sweden in close collaboration with Makerere University Gender Mainstreaming Directorate, UN Women and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to unveil the National Orange Pledge campaign and officially launch the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.
The press conference was headlined by a Ugandan rapper and record producer Daniel Lubwama Kigozi, popularly known by his stage name Navio and his fellow from Sweden Jason Michael Bosak Diakité popularly known as Timbuktu. Over 200 students both male and female from Makerere University and other institutions of higher learning attended the press conference at Makerere University Rugby Grounds.
According to Her Excellence Maria Håkansson, Gender Equality cannot be achieved without involving men and boys to take their responsibilities and be the drivers of change. “For real change to happen, we need to change attitudes and norms that might cause Gender Based Violence, one of the social ills in Uganda and an extreme of gender inequality that occurs at all levels of society,” she said.
Referring to the national survey conducted in 2020, the Ambassador was concerned about the escalating burden of gender based violence in Uganda when she said, “the Survey highlighted that 95% of women and girls experience physical or sexual violence since the age of 15.”
She therefore emphasized the Global 16 Days of Activism as key international movement to increase awareness and advocate for an end to Gender Based Violence. The Ambassador also mentioned that preventing and responding to Gender Based Violence is a cornerstone for Sweden’s commitment to promote democracy, human rights and gender equality and this is done as an investment in a society that upholds the principles of equality, dignity and justice.
She acknowledged the full participation of university students in all campaigns and activities geared towards achieving gender equality as well as ending Gender Based Violence when she said, “You are the leaders of tomorrow and you have an opportunity to build a future where everyone can thrive. So please use today to take an active stand against Gender Based Violence.”
Every year Uganda joins the rest of the world to enhance the global campaigns on 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence and also add a voice to the call for an end to violence against women and girls. These campaigns run from 25th November (the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) until 10th December of the Human Rights Day.
The United Nations Secretary-General’s UNiTE by 2030 initiative calls for global action to increase awareness, galvanize advocacy efforts and share knowledge and innovations to help end all types of violence against women and girls. This year 2023, the UNiTE campaign theme is; Invest to Prevent Violence against Women & Girls.
Over the years, Makerere University through its Gender Mainstreaming Directorate and School of Women and Gender in partnership with UN Women and many other partners have been at the fore front to support the campaign on 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence in Uganda. This has been done through debates, theatre forums, student dialogues, thematic artistic presentations, media exposures, drama and music skits presentation, and student peer led discussions and quarterly competitions.
This year 2023, the University in partnership with the Embassy of Sweden, UN Women and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) unveiled the Orange Pledge. According to Eric Tumwesigye the Senior Gender Specialist at Makerere University Gender Mainstreaming Directorate, this campaign calls upon government, policymakers, activists, civil societies, academicians, students and all members of community from all parts of the country to make their heartfelt pledges towards ending Gender Based Violence in Uganda and the rest of the world.
The UN Women Country Representative Paulina Chiwangu recognized the investment Makerere University, the Embassy of Sweden and UNFPA have made to end violence against women and girls. “Thanks to our collective efforts, the silence that used to shroud violence against women has now been broken” said.
In the same spirit, she acknowledged the progress Makerere University has made in establishing and implementation of the University’s Policy and Regulations against Sexual Harassment to protect students and staff from potential abuses of power and conflict of interest. She also applauded the increased support and training for students and the strengthened mechanisms for investigations that allow students and staff to anonymously report sexual misconduct.
“We are however, aware that despite this, sexual harassment is still happening in the university and that not many students report to the authorities when they experience it. It is therefore, our humble appeal to the university leadership to continue monitoring the implementation of the Policy and Regulations Against Sexual Harassment, take all allegations of sexual harassment and violence seriously, ensure that all personnel have information on available support services and take action to ensure that perpetrators are held accountable.”
Reaffirming the University’s position in fighting GBV and particularly sexual harassment, the Vice Chancellor of Makerere University Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe was highlighted the various measures Makerere University has put in place to prevent and respond to Gender Based Violence. To him, the Policy and Regulations against Sexual Harassment; the appointment and capacity building for the Vice Chancellor’s Roster of 100 eminent people from the various colleges and administrative units; recruitment and training of the Gender Mainstreaming Programme Student Peer Trainers and setting up Sexual Harassment Investigation Committees are bigger milestones to celebrate.
He appreciated the move by the Gender Mainstreaming Directorate and all the partners to embrace entertainment and artistry as a critical advocacy and awareness tool to reach several communities especially the youth.
“We firmly believe in the transformative power of music and the arts in promoting social change. Music and art does serve as a powerful medium to advocate for the world free from violence especially violence against women,” said to Mr. Dainel Alemu, the UNFPA Deputy Country Representative.
“It is heartening to see artists like Navio taking a stand and using their influence to challenge harmful norms. As we revel in the beats and melodies, let us not forget he underlying message that everyone , regardless of gender, has a role to play in fostering a world where everyone is free from shackles of gender based violence,” he added.
Speaking at the Press Conference at Makerere University Rugby Grounds, Navio said that for the 20 years he has been an activist of Gender Based Violence, he has faced the reality of many young girls and women in Uganda being victims of sex and physical abuse. He therefore sent a huge condemnation to men especially artists that who are perpetrators of Gender Based Violence and called for serious government action and clear policies and laws against such injustices.
Navio applauded the women and men who have stood tall over the years to fight against Gender Based Violence in Uganda when he said, “ As we launch the 16 days activism in Uganda and through these pledges we are making, let us be accountable for our actions. For long in our cultures, men have considered force and violence as power and protection. They have been tough to their children hence instilling fear to the extent that the children cannot freely interact with them on serious matters such as abuse and torture.”
He applauded all families that have adopted the new parenting model of free conversations and interaction hence encouraging children to freely open up whenever they have challenges. Navio also acknowledged the role of his mother Mrs Maggie Kigozi as a human rights activist and a champion in fighting against Gender Based Violence in Uganda.
Jason Michael Bosak Diakité popularly known as Timbuktu from Sweden appreciated the wider platform provided by the music industry globally for artists to act as role models and champion of change. The rapper highlighted the need to respect women for their roles and support towards community development.
“I am a son and it is extremely important for me to respect my mother and all women. Also being a father to a beautiful daughter, I am always eager and looking forward to seeing the best future for her. I want daught to grow up in the world where she is able to feel safe and be allowed to freely associate without being discriminated or threatened because of her gender,” he said.
Scholars & Alumni of Mastercard Foundation light up Achukudu Community, Napak District
By Bernard Buteera
On Saturday 2nd December 2023, all roads led to Achukudu Community Primary School in Napak District, Karamoja sub-region, as the Scholars and Alumni of Mastercard Foundation at Makerere University commemorated their Scholars’ Annual Day of Community Service (Giveback). The 2023 Scholars Annual Day of Community Service was held at Achukudu Community Primary School, Napak District in the Karamoja sub-region. Established in 2013, Achukudu Community School serves two ethnic communities—The Iteso and Karamojong.
With a total population of 1,097 pupils only three government-paid teachers, and nine community-paid teachers, the School faces a plethora of challenges. Key among the challenges is the lack of Classrooms, decent Ventilated Pit Latrines, and Desks. Therefore when the Scholars identified the School as one that deserved to be given a gift of a classroom block, it was a befitting choice!
The Scholars with support from the alumni, the Program Team, Members of the Steering Committee, and partners of the Scholars Program at Makerere University intervened by constructing a two-classroom block, which was supervised by one of the alumni who is an Engineer. Alongside the classroom block, the Scholars also provided 40 desks, helping the school meet UNEB Center eligibility criteria.
While presiding over the event, the area member of Parliament, Hon. John Bosco Ngoya, thanked the Scholars and alumni community at Makerere University for supporting the young pupils of Achukudu Primary School and the entire community by gifting them with a two-classroom block.
“Thank you Scholars and alumni of Mastercard Foundation at Makerere University for the Christmas gift of a classroom block to the young people and the entire community of Achukudu. This classroom block will go a long way in improving the learning environment of the young children of Achukudu primary school.” Hon. Ngoya pointed out.
Hon. Ngoya called upon other people to emulate the Scholars and alumni of the Mastercard Foundation in embracing the spirit of giving back to the vulnerable people in the community. On his part, he donated One Million Five hundred shillings (1,500,000/=) to help the School purchase more desks, and he had earlier contributed One million shillings (1,000,000/=) towards the construction of the classroom block.
The District Education Officer (DEO) for Napak District, Ms. Joyce Nakoya, praised the Scholars Community for embracing and practicing the spirit of giving back to other people at an early age.
“Thank you Scholars and alumni of the Mastercard Foundation at Makerere for embracing the spirit of giving back to other people at such an early age. If all people gave back to the less privileged in our communities, we would have a better world for everyone.” Ms. Nakoya pointed out.
Ms. Nakoya further pointed out every child deserves to study in a decent environment, therefore it was a befitting cause for the Scholars to construct a classroom block for the young pupils of Achukudu community primary school, who were studying in open grass thatched classrooms.
The Program Manager of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at Makerere University, Ms. Jolly Okumu who led the team of Scholars, alumni, and staff to Karamoja thanked the community of Achukudu for supporting the Scholars to deliver the class block by contributing to the construction sand.
“We come here today to join with you as a community driven by a shared commitment to education, empowerment, and ethos of giving back. Today is a historic occasion as we celebrate the completion and commissioning of the classroom block, which is a remarkable testament to the transformative power of education and our unwavering spirit of community service.” Ms. Jolly remarked.
The President of the Scholars Association, Mr. Godfrey Okello, thanked all the Scholars and alumni, and all stakeholders who contributed to the construction of the classroom block, which was a dream that became a reality.
“I would like to thank my colleagues and people of goodwill who supported us to realize our dream of constructing this classroom for our young brothers and sisters of Achukudu Primary School. Together we can make a difference in the lives of our fellow young people in Uganda and Africa as a whole.” Mr. Okello remarked.
The Headteacher of the School, Mr. Eryebu Raymond, who was visibly very excited was full of praises for Scholars and alumni of the Mastercard Foundation, for what he termed as an iconic classroom block they had gifted to his School.
“This day is very special to us, we will not see this day again. We are delighted to receive the Scholars and alumni of Mastercard Foundation from Makerere University, thank you for considering supporting our School” Mr. Eryebu excitedly remarked.
The Headteacher revealed that one of the major challenges the school was facing was an acute shortage of classrooms for his 1,097 pupils. He was therefore grateful to Mastercard Foundation Scholars for choosing to construct a two-class block for the School.
“This donation of a classroom block and Desks is a testament to your commitment to education and empowering the lives of the vulnerable people in the community. This classroom block and desks will go a long way in improving the quality of teaching and learning at our school.” Mr. Eryebu further remarked.
The 2023 Scholars Annual Day of Community Service (Giveback) was punctuated with a lot of joy, pomp, and fanfare, as the pupils and the entire community of Achukudu danced and ululated at the commissioning of the classroom block. The construction of the classroom block and purchase of desks for Achukudu Community Primary School was made possible by generous contributions by the Scholars, alumni, the Program Team, and members of the Steering Committee.
Among the Partners who made financial contributions towards the class block construction included; DFCU Bank, Post Bank, URA, Katumba Estates, Footsteps Furniture Ltd, and Sion Travels Ltd.
The Scholars and Alumni Day of Community Service (Give back) is an annual event, where Scholars and alumni of the Mastercard Foundation go out into the community to give back by providing solutions to challenges that a particular community is facing. Over the years Scholars have given back to the communities in numerous ways that range from offering professional services and erecting major projects like classroom blocks.
Bernard Buteera is the Communications and Public Relations Officer of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at Makerere University.
Innovations using low cost locally available materials for point of use water treatment system unveiled
The College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT) conducted a Research Dissemination of two studies aimed at the Development of Materials for point of use water treatment systems.
The investigations were conducted by a team of researchers comprised of P. W. Olupot, H. M. Kalibbala, E. Menya, G.M. Wangi, J. Jjagwe, J. Wakatuntu, M. Turyasingura, R. Walozi, C. Kanyesigye and R. N. Kulabako.
The dissemination event held on Wednesday 29th November 2023 follows the successful completion of two MakRIF supported Research projects namely; Development of rice husk based granular activated carbon for point-of-use water treatment systems and Development of zeolite-based nanocomposite filters for drinking water treatment.
General6 days ago
Application Forms for Admission to Public Universities 2024/2025
General1 week ago
African Universities urged on developing comprehensive safeguarding policies with critical elements of safety & protection
Agriculture & Environment2 weeks ago
RUFORUM 19th AGM Urges Africa to Take the Lead on Climate Action
Agriculture & Environment6 days ago
Soybean Breeders Deliberate Strategies for Improving Productivity
Humanities & Social Sciences2 weeks ago
Anthems of the World Concert for the United Nations Day, 2023, in Uganda