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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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UNMA Advisory on Agriculture and Food Security Jun-Aug 2021

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A male researcher inspects a maize cob in a demonstration plot on 13th August 2010 at the Makerere University Agricultural Research Institute Kabanyolo (MUARIK), Wakiso Uganda.

The Uganda National Meteorological Authority (UNMA) on 7th June 2021 released the seasonal rainfall outlook for the June-July-August (JJA) 2021 period. Contained in the outlook were advisories to various strategic sectors of the economy.

Particularly, the advisory to the Agriculture and Food Security sector was;

  • JJA season is often part of the normal dry season in the areas of South-western, western, parts of the eastern, and central Uganda. The farming communities in these areas are therefore advised to be vigilant during post-harvest handling by considering proper drying of the harvest on clean surfaces, use of tarpaulins and drying on racks;
  • Preparation of good storage facilities of produce to avoid compromising on quality and safety;
  • Channeling of the run-off water into the gardens in order to maximize on the soil moisture conservation;
  • For those areas where near normal to above normal rainfall is expected (most parts of northern and eastern Uganda), farmers are encouraged to continue with regular weeding, pest and disease surveillance and control;
  • Due to the expected enhanced rainfall in those areas, water logging and proliferation of fungal and bacterial crop diseases are likely to occur.
  • Open drainage channels around household and gardens to reduce risks from stagnant water causing damage to root tuber crops;
  • Flash floods and waterlogging are highly anticipated to occur in low lying areas expected to receive enhanced rainfall such as Katakwi and Kapelebyong. Therefore, communities are encouraged to keep watch over their crops, animals and property;
  • In Karamoja sub-region, where wetter conditions are expected, the pastoral communities are advised to diversify into boosting the production of cereals (sorghum, millet, and maize), beans, and ground nuts and sustain pasture availability for livestock.

Please see Downloads for the detailed outlook.

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4th Call For Applications: MURBS Departmental Ambassadors

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URBRA’s Mrs. Ritah Nansasi Wasswa (2nd L) assisted by Ag. University Secretary-Mr. Yusuf Kiranda (L) hands over a plaque of recognition to Outgoing Trustee-Ms. Dorothy Nannozi Kabanda (2nd R) as Incoming Trustee-Ms. Franco Angida Mugyema (R) applauds during the MURBS Board Handover on 26th March 2021.

In February 2018, the Makerere University Retirement Benefits Scheme (MURBS) launched the Departmental Ambassadors Programme. MURBS hopes to use this Ambassadors Programme to engage more directly with its membership and enhance member education. MURBS further perceives this Programme as a means to mitigate succession planning risks.

MURBS Fund Value continues to grow, and as at 31st March 2021, it stood at Ushs 235.5bn as compared to Ushs 209.6bn as at 30th June 2020. Given this growth, there is increased need for prospective Trustees, who are well equipped with relevant knowledge and skills, and with practical exposure to the management and governance of MURBS.

Eligibility

  1. Must be employed by the University on permanent terms
  2. Must be an Active Member of the Scheme (currently contributing to the Scheme) and appear on the Official Register of the MURBS Active Membership as at 30th April 2021.
  3. Must be willing to commit time to trainings and other ambassadorial activities organised by the Scheme.

Mode of training for 4th Cohort of Ambassadors

Training for this (4th) Cohort of Ambassadors is envisaged to be conducted over the zoom online platform only, due to Covid-19 restrictions. The Scheme does not envisage any face-to-face interactions.

Tenure of Office & Termination or Withdrawal

There is no tenure of office for the Departmental Ambassador. As long as a member is willing to continue serving as an Ambassador, and the Ambassador continues to satisfy the eligibility criteria above, she or he will remain a MURBS Ambassador.

How to Apply

Interested members should complete the MURBS Departmental Ambassador Application Form 01-0218. The completed Form together with the requested attachments should be sent to info[at]murbs.mak.ac.ug and copy to wilber.naigambi[at]mak.ac.ug no later than 5:00 p.m. on Monday, 14th June 2021. We discourage hand delivery of applications.

Confirmation/Approval Process

MURBS shall acknowledge receipt of each application received within 12 hours and will respond to the applicants to confirm the status of their application in writing (by e-mail). Upon approval of the application, the name of the approved Ambassador together with the Department and School/Unit will be updated on the list of the MURBS Departmental Ambassadors in the Group 4 category and published on the MURBS website.

NOTE: There is no limit as to the number of ambassadors that MURBS can have in a department.

Please see Downloads for the detailed call and application form.

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Chair Council Communication on Closure of Makerere University

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An older photo of the Main Building, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda as seen from across the Freedom Square. Date taken: 22nd October 2012.

7th June 2021

All Members of Staff
All Students and Stakeholders
Makerere University

RE: CLOSURE OF MAKERERE UNIVERSITY

Following the address to the Nation by H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of Uganda, on 6th June 2021, this is to inform you that the University will be closed with effect from today 7th June 2021 for 42days.

During the closure, the University shall observe a 30% physical presence of staff while other faculty and administrative staff shall continue to work online.

Management will inform staff and students on the implementation of teaching, learning, and research activities online. Construction activities shall continue as per the President’s directives and with strict adherence to the COVID-19 SOPs.

Yours sincerely,

Lorna Magara (Mrs.)
Chairperson, Makerere University Council

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