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Experts in Mathematics emphasize the need to create sustainable networks to Strengthen Research in Universities

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Experts in mathematics have emphasized the need to create sustainable groups and networks to strengthen Research in Universities. This was at the opening ceremony of the 3rd Network Meeting for Sida and ISP-Funded PhD Students and Postdocs in Mathematics; held on Monday 20th August 2018 at Imperial Botanical Beach Hotel Entebbe, Uganda.  The meeting was officially opened by the Vice Chancellor of Makerere University Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe represented by the Director of Research and Graduate Training Prof. Mukadasi Buyinza. 

Participants posing for the photo.

The 3rd Network Meeting for Sida and International Science Programme (ISP) funded PhD Students and Postdocs in mathematics brought together over 100 PhD students and Postdoctoral fellows in Mathematics from African partner universities; supervisors and mentors; senior researchers; and coordinators from the Sida bilateral programs, ISP core program and Swedish senior researchers with the aim of strengthening and encouraging collaborative research in Mathematics. The Meeting will run from 20th -24th August 2018 under a theme: Strengthening Research in Mathematics in Universities with Sida and ISP Support.  

According to the Chairperson of the Local Organizing Committee Prof. John Mango, the five days’ workshop brings together participants from Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Finland, German, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Myanmar, Rwanda, Sudan, Sweden, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. Participants will lay a strategy and develop research agendas on effective and efficient joint publication; and joint applications for research funding. “I am happy to report on the training of 21 staff members at Makerere, Busitema, Gulu, Mbarara and Kyambogo at the Doctoral level in mathematics and the training of 9 Postdocs. This is clearly a bumper harvest from the Swedish support to Mathematics in our country” he said.

The Chairperson of the Local Organizing Committee Prof. John Mango.

Prof. Mango reiterated that the network of researchers as a platform also provides a forum for interaction of PhD, Postdoc students and researchers in mathematics supported by Sida and ISP; with a view of sharing experiences and creating sustainable research groups and networks.

The Principal of the College of Natural Sciences Prof. J.Y.T Mugisha appreciated the Government of Sweden for the support it extends to public universities in Uganda. The Principal also thanked the organizing committee as well as the funders of the meeting for ensuring that the event is successful.   Prof. Mugisha noted that this is a great opportunity for networking and collaborating for the researchers attending the meeting. ‘It is rare to have all the senior scientists in one place and thus the young researchers should use this meeting to start work with the seniors present here’. He further welcomed the participants to Uganda and wished them a peaceful stay in Uganda.

In a speech read by Prof. Mukadasi Buyinza, the Vice Chancellor of Makerere University Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, commended the great work of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) in promoting collaborations in mathematics between universities in Eastern and Southern Africa. 

Prof. Martin Singull making a presentation.

“Such collaborations will involve joint publications, joint applications for funding, sharing of human resources for teaching and supervision, and joint arrangements of conferences and workshops. These efforts are key for a continued sustainable development of mathematics in Eastern and Southern Africa,” he said.

Prof. Nawangwe urged mathematicians in their research groups to carry out research dissemination and translation of outputs into policy briefs when he said, “I know that in applied mathematics and mathematical statistics, researchers collect plenty of raw data, but many times these are not translated or transformed into desired outcomes to be able to serve the reasons for which they are gathered. I therefore urge you to direct your research in areas relevant to your national development goals in order for mathematics to play the role it without any doubt should.”

He acknowledged the support of the Swedish government to Makerere University that has been monumental and critical to the realization of the University’s core functions of teaching and learning, research and innovations, and partnerships and networking. 

Prof. Mukadasi Buyinza addressing participants.

“The support has also greatly improved the research culture in mathematics at Makerere University with an increase of publications in recognized international journals and active participation in international conferences. In the past two decades we have built capacity on PhD, Postdocs and masters level. Therefore, doing research together we will achieve more, help us in laying the strategies and develop research agendas at national and regional levels,” he said. 

Prof. Mango as Chairperson Local Organizing committee was commended for bringing the event to Uganda and Makerere University in particular. The 1st and 2nd network meetings were held in Sweden. Prof Mango has spearheaded many development initiatives in the Mathematics Department in the past two decades. These initiatives have seen many staff in the department trained to PhD and Postdoc levels in Uganda and the region. 

Prof. Mango commended the following members of the Organizing Committee for their selfless service: Prof Kasozi Juma-Makerere University, Dr Silvester Rugeihyamu-University of Dar es salaam, Dr Tembo Isaac-University of Zambia, Dr Minani-University of Rwanda, Dr Eunice Mureithi-University of Dar es salaam, Dr Betty Nannyonga-Makerere University, Dr Mirumbe Ismail-Makerere University and Dr Ssevviiri David-Makerere University.

Some of the participants during the meeting.

Highlighting the importance of mathematics in solving societal challenges, Prof. Leif Abrahamsson Director of Mathematical Sciences at ISP said mathematics is an imperative tool that drives all other science subject. Prof. Leif also mentioned that Mathematics is so helpful in solving societal problems. 

“Its functions might be hidden but we need mathematics to solve societal problems. You will find mathematics in financial institutions, political sectors, business entities and also in the health sector. We have on several occasion used mathematics to find solutions to some of the epidemic diseases such as Ebola and HIV/AIDS,” he stated.

Prof. Bengt Ove Turesson, from Linköping University-Sweden; Department of Mathematics (MAI), emphasized the need to provide career guidance when training mathematics in schools. “Questions like what am I going to do after studying mathematics should be clearly answered during the career guidance sessions so that a student understands some of the opportunities available when he or she studies the mathematics. We should also encourage the construction of resource centres for teachers at various education levels where mathematics teachers will come together and discuss the several ways of improving mathematics,” he mentioned. 

The Head, Department of Mathematics at Makerere University Dr. David Ssevviiri, described mathematics as a language of basic sciences “It is a language for engineers and all science based fields. We should interest the learners when teaching it,” he said.

Ms Ritah Namisango, the Principal Public Relations Officer of Makerere University appealing to the mathematicians to come up with strategies aimed at popularizing mathematics at all levels.

Dr. Betty Nanyonga Kivumbi said that she is one of the three lucky female lecturers at the Department of Mathematics, Makerere University. She therefore, cited the need to empower and mentor girls to have equal access to and success in mathematics “As a department of Mathematics at Makerere University we felt it needful to engage in outreach programs such as visiting schools and talk to girls and teachers, we have organized the mathematics marathon and we started a regional network to promote basic sciences,” Dr. Nanyonga explained.

Ms Ritah Namisango, the Principal Public Relations Officer of Makerere University appealed to the mathematicians to come up with strategies aimed at popularizing mathematics at all levels. “Mathematics is a vital subject, but a number of interactions with pupils and students indicate that most of them fear the subject. I am happy to note that we have over 100 participants from Africa and Europe in this room. I appeal to you to come up with innovative ways of making mathematics attractive,” remarked Ms Namisango. 

In East Africa, Sida has supported mathematics since 2007 through bilateral programmes in Rwanda, Uganda, Mozambique, Ethiopia and Tanzania. The support is mainly for capacity building at PhD and Postdoc levels. ISP support in mathematics started almost two decades ago with the aim of building capacity and improving on the state of mathematics in Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zambia.

Article by: Mak Public Relations Office 

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Engineering, Art & Tech

A Successful Ph.D. Defense by Vianney Andrew Yiga

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The CEDAT community is proud to share our congratulations to Vianney Andrew Yiga following his successful Ph.D. defense that happened yesterday Monday 3rd October 2022 at the College of Engineering, Design, Art, and Technology (CEDAT).

His Thesis was titled; Thermal Stability of Fiber- Reinforced Polylactic Acid Composites for Flameretarded Applications.

The candidate was supervised by Eng. Dr. Michael Lubwama and Eng. Dr. Peter W. Olupot both from the Department of Mechanical Engineering, at CEDAT.

Dr. John Wasswa, Department of Chemistry, College of Natural Sciences (CONAS), Makerere University was the opponent that interrogated the candidate to enable a clear understanding of the study.

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Makerere University Launches National Parenting Draft Manual

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The Director of Culture at the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Ms. Juliana Naumo Akoryo (Centre) and Dr. Godfrey Siu, the Principal Investigator from Mak-CHDC (Right) interact with a participant at the workshop on 22nd July 2022, Kampala.

By Agnes Namaganda

On July 22nd 2022, Makerere UniversityChild Health and Development Centre (MakCHDC) launched a draft manual for the National Parenting Standards. The Centre has been working together with the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (MGLSD) with funding from UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund), to develop standards that are agreeable to all organisations in the country that are involved in parenting work. The draft manual was being presented to members of a consortium that brings together all these organisations together, called the Parenting Agenda Consortium.

“We produce many documents and they are shelved,” Irene Ayot Chono, who was speaking on behalf of UNICEF said. “We hope that this document will not be one of them,” she emphasized.

Irene Ayot Chono-UNICEF, urging participants to utilize the manual once it is complete.
Irene Ayot Chono-UNICEF, urging participants to utilize the manual once it is complete.

Dr. Godfrey Siu, the Principal Investigator from Mak-CHDC who presented the draft manual to participants, emphasized that if any organization is doing parenting work, there should be a minimum package that they should offer.

Draft Manual Content

The manual which will have several modules. These modules will be delivered face-to-face in 1.5 hour sessions. Some of these include; Module 6 which will focus on “understanding responsible masculinity and fatherhood” and on “understanding the concept of head of family.”The draft manual also proposed that Module 11 focuses on Parenting in the 21st Century. Some of the sessions in this module will include Children and Technology, Contemporary Influence on Children and Modernity, Culture and Morality.Module 9 will focus on Parenting for Adolescents and some of the suggested sessions within this module are Needs for Adolescents and The Art of Communicating with Adolescents. Module 5 will focus on Preventing Violent Parenting and Promoting Alternative Discipline Strategies while Module 10 will be about Parenting to Address the Mental Health for Children and Adults.

Dr. Godfrey Siu, the Principal Investigator from Mak-CHDC presenting the contents of the National Parenting Standards Draft Manual.
Dr. Godfrey Siu, the Principal Investigator from Mak-CHDC presenting the contents of the National Parenting Standards Draft Manual.

Participants’ suggestions

After the presentation, participants raised several suggestions for discussion and consideration. These included whether there should be a module on spirituality since Uganda is a strongly religious nation. There was also the concern of how children in remand homes should be parented. Another concern raised by a participant was as to whether teachers who make an undeniable contribution to parenting, should be taken through the parenting manual.

A participant gives her input at the National Parenting Standards Draft Manual launch.
A participant gives her input at the National Parenting Standards Draft Manual launch.

In her closing remarks, Ms. Juliana Naumo Akoryo, the Director of Cultural Affairs at the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (MGLSD) said that the manual is for the parenting organisations to utilize and not for MGLSD.

The Director of Culture at the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Ms. Juliana Naumo Akoryo making closing remarks at the workshop.
The Director of Culture at the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Ms. Juliana Naumo Akoryo making closing remarks at the workshop.

Ms. Chono also adjured the team behind the manual to use picture illustrations in the manual that can be relatable by the Ugandan parents.

Contact: Agnes Namaganda – agnesvioletnamaganda@gmail.com

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Launch of Mak-RIF Round 4 Awards & PhD Call for Proposals

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Mak-RIF 4 Awards and PhD Call For Proposals, 29th September 2022, 9:00 to 10:00 AM EAT.

Makerere University received funding from the Government of the Republic of Uganda, earmarked to support high impact Research and Innovations. This unique initiative arose after engagements between the top University Management and the Government of Uganda. This fund illustrates the increasing importance that the Government attaches to Research and Innovation as a driver of development and transformation. The objective of the fund is to increase the local generation of translatable research and scalable innovations that address key gaps required to drive Uganda’s development agenda. 

In the Financial years 2019/2020, 2020/2021 and 2021/2022 the Government of the Republic of Uganda through Mak-RIF has funded implementation of over 750 multidisciplinary research and innovations within the various Colleges, while engaging multiple stakeholders within and outside Makerere University. The Grants Management Committee (GMC) has finalized the award process for the Mak-RIF round 4 call for funding for this Financial Year 2022/2023.

The Grants Management Committee (GMC) hereby invites you to the Launch of the Mak-RIF Round 4 awards and PhD Call for Proposals scheduled to take place tomorrow Thursday 29th September 2022 from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. EAT. 

Please use the following details to join the launch.

Register in advance for this meeting:
https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwpcu-urDIjE9ZgxdsbEmA2IkNMMiJVECt_ 
Meeting ID: 884 5662 9992
Password: 292624

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