Nyabyeya Forest College (NFC) in Masindi has handed over ten (10) hectares of land to Makerere University to enhance practical forestry training. The land provided will be used for establishment of a training plantation forest which will help in enhancing practical training and research.
This follows a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) and Nyabyeya Forestry College on 3rd July 2018.
The land was handed over by the Principal NFC Mr. Godfrey Akubonabona to the Vice Chancellor Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe on his maiden visit to NFC on 15th August 2018. The MoU between CAES and NFC was operationalised on the same day.
The hand over was witnessed by NFC staff including the Deputy Principal, Mr. Kisakye Richard, the Academic Registrar Mr. Swaib Gwanyi, the Assistant Academic Registrar Mr. Ambrose Ahimbisibwe and the Plantation Manager, Mr. Geofrey Sebahutu among others.
The Vice Chancellor was accompanied by the Director Legal Affairs Mr. Henry Mwebe, the Principal CAES Prof. Bernard Bashaasha, his deputy Dr. Gorettie Nabanoga, the Dean School of Forestry, Environmental and Geographical Sciences Prof. Mnason Tweheyo, Deans and Heads of units from CAES.
Prof. Nawangwe described Nyabyeya Forestry College as a centre of excellence in training foresters and appreciated the college for the excellent work it has been doing to train Makerere University students.
“I must commend those who have been resilient to keep this place in difficult times. I also commend the Principal Nyabyeya Forest College for the transformations during his two years in office,” Nawangwe commended.
The Vice Chancellor noted that Mak and NFC provide the biggest opportunity in the country as the only university and college training foresters.
The Professor decried the declining forest cover in the country noting that unlike the past where permission would be sought to even cut a tree one owned in his or her land, today cutting of trees is not regulated leading to the disappearance forestry cover.
Citing Kenya as an example of an organized country where cutting a tree for charcoal is not allowed, Nawangwe implored educational institutions including Mak and NFC to take on the responsibility to ensure these standards come back.
“Government expects a lot from us the educational institutions. The most absurd thing is that someone from government should advise Makerere what to do. We can do a lot of research and that is extremely important.
The reason forests are disappearing is that we are producing very fast. Uganda is still among the fastest growing populations in Africa and therefore we must research into alternative ways of keeping our forests,” Nawangwe said.
The Vice Chancellor emphasized the importance of more practical training and learner-centered approach in promoting entrepreneurship and churning out graduates that can compete on the world market.
He observed that with two forests at their disposal, the two institutions can work together not only to do research and promote practical training but also generate resources to supplement government efforts.
“NFC has the land and expertise. Makerere has expertise. We should identify what we can do jointly so that we are able to relieve government from the burden of paying staff salaries.
There is a shortage of avocados on the world market. Israel with its problems is the biggest exporter of avocados to Europe but they can only supply one season. This is one thing we can look at, say if we plant 100 acres, we would be the biggest suppliers in East Africa”. Nawangwe advised.
The Professor thanked NFC for the support given to Makerere over the past 40 years and advised the two institutions to take advantage of the capacity built to offer sabbaticals and staff exchanges so that the relationship is mutually beneficial.
Nawangwe further implored the two institutions to take on responsibility of advising Government on matters of policy. He noted that since the 1998 Act, everyone in the country can do whatever they want irrespective of the repercussions.
“The Great lakes region is the worst affected. The Water war will begin from here, there is high population, climate change, all forms of degradation and we are heading for disaster.
We are the people who have the knowledge to avert these problems. You need to do research in these areas and give proper policy guidance to our government,” Nawangwe said.
The Principal CAES, Prof. Bernard Bashaasha said NFC and CAES have been enjoying an informal relationship for over 35years. Bashaasha expressed happiness that they were at Nyabyeya to consummate the marriage.
“The collaboration has been going on not properly anchored and I am happy that this is happening .
The MoU has three critical elements; facilities, recess term and staff exchange but we are here to add another aspect of the relationship of having land,” Bashaasha reported.
Prof. Bashaasha was optimistic that with the acquisition and improvement of the existing facilities at NFC, forestry students would be able to spend more time on practical training.
“If we utilise the 10hectares of land well, we can train environmentalists and conservation managers and also make money. Environmental issues are important, climate change is here with us, when you see global patterns, that makes training in environmental conservation very important,” the CAES Principal stated.
The Dean School of Forestry, Environmental and Geographical Sciences Prof. Mnason Tweheyo explained that as the most needy and user unit they labored to undertake the curriculum review to remove redundancies and duplications and ultimately found that Nyabyeya Forest College was the most practical area for training foresters.
Prof. Tweheyo said, since 1973 NFC has been training Makerere students undertaking forestry and related programs every year during recess term including use of the college facilities, staff exchange and collaborative research.
Tweheyo said at one time both institutions benefited from NORAD support. From 1973 to 1975, NORAD supported NFC and Makerere University to establish the Faculty of Forestry and Nature Conservation.
“Before, we used to time when NFC students were out and would bring Makerere students here. This year 2018, more than 400 students from 1st to 4th year have passed through NFC.
NFC offered space where Makerere can build a hostel to accommodate 45 students. In addition there is land identified next to the hostel allocated to Makerere that can be used to expand accommodation for staff and students.” The Dean said.
Prof. Tweheyo explained that for a long time stakeholders have been complaining about forestry graduates being more theoretical than practical. He said with the acquisition of the 10 hectares of land from NFC, the university will be in position to offer the best training in Africa.
“NFC sits on a Forest reserve. Those who work in forest reserves do not get titles but certificates. So NFC gave us user rights for training students.
We thought this would be very important and we shall be able to collect data from day one when the trees are planted, conduct research as well as training,” he said.
Prof. Tweheyo said the school will not plant indigenous trees but look at different species for recommendation to the industry.
“We shall use it for demonstration whereby students visit once a month, and rely on student labour as this is important for them to gain practical skills. Mak and NFC will do research together,” the don added.
“For the first 2 years, one hectare can consume 3million shillings. The next 2-6 years a hectare will consume 2million. 6-12 years, a hectare requires 2million and from 12-18 years a hectare will consume 1 million shillings” the Dean said.
Prof. Tweheyo pledged that school had earmarked 4million Uganda Shillings to kickstart the process and called upon the college and the university to lend a helping hand to make the project a success. The Dean also underscored the role played by Budongo Conservation Forest (BCF) in accommodating and training Makerere University staff and students although this association was yet to be formalised.
He said BCF by virtue of its being a tropical forest has attracted researchers from across the globe. He was optimistic that the BCF would become the Biological field station for Makerere since many of her units including CAES, the College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB) and the College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS) stand to benefit.
The Deputy Principal Dr. Gorettie Nabanoga thanked the Dean for articulating the issues affecting Forestry training. She observed that the field of forestry training has taken a turnaround, requiring modern and state-of-the-art equipment as opposed to the obsolete machines.
She also echoed the need to promote retooling of teaching staff in forestry so that what is given to students meets the current employers and stakeholders expectations.
Nabanoga proposed the need for Makerere and NFC to look at both long and quick maturing tree species so as to project the resources to be generated for the university and college. She also encouraged the two institutions to be gender sensitive during the enrolment of students and recruitment of staff in forestry.
The Deputy Principal thanked the Vice Chancellor for honouring the invitation to grace the occasion.
“We have never had the Vice Chancellor visiting this college. Pulling you out of the university Main Building to the forest is a signal that forestry training and natural resource management is dear to your heart,” Nabanoga said.
The day’s major events included, meeting between Mak and NFC staff punctuated by brief remarks, launching the implementation of the Mak- CAES & NFC MoU, exchange of appreciation gifts, touring NFC facilities, tree planting at the allocated site to signify the handover of the land and finally the visit to Budongo Conservation Field Station.
Report Compiled by
Principal Communication Officer, CAES
The 19th RUFORUM AGM in Yaoundé calls for consolidated efforts towards transforming higher agricultural & tertiary education to contribute to sustainable development & food security in Africa
The Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM), a consortium of 163 universities in 40 African countries held its 19th Annual General Meeting at the Palais De Congres in Yaoundé, Cameroon from 28th October to 2nd November 2023. The first of its kind in West and Central Africa, the RUFORUM AGM 2023 provided an opportunity for over 600 delegates from Africa and beyond including; Ministers, Development Partners, University leaders, students, private sector leaders; farmers and farmer representatives; emerging and early career researchers as well as other key stakeholders in agriculture and higher education to share experiences and chart a way forward for transforming higher agricultural and tertiary education to contribute to sustainable development in Africa under the theme: Transforming Higher Education to Sustainably Feed and Create Prosperity for Africa.
Officially opened by His Excellency Paul Biya, President of the Republic of Cameroon, represented by Professor Jacques Fame Ndongo, Cameroon’s Minister of State, Minister of Higher Education, the 19th RUFORUM Annual General Meeting in Yaoundé provided a platform for participants to deliberate on key strategies for transforming higher agricultural and tertiary education to contribute to national, continental and global development as well as building consensus among key stakeholders in agriculture and higher education on the actions required to strengthen the role and/or integration of universities in agricultural and national development processes in line with the aspirations of the African Union Agenda 2063 ‘The Africa We Want’.
In a speech presented by Professor Jacques Fame Ndongo at the official opening ceremony, His Excellency Paul Biya, President of the Republic of Cameroon stressed RUFORUM’s significant efforts to support the African Union Agenda 2063 when he said, “RUFORUM’s vision 2030, makes the body a significant contributor to transformation of Africa and vehemently seeks to harness the discovery, engagements and learning of vibrant transformative universities to catalyze sustainable, inclusive agricultural development to feed and create prosperity for Africa.”
According to him, it is worth indicating that agriculture in Africa should be understood in its broadest sense to include but not limited to animal and crop production, livestock, wild life, fisheries and forestry. Hence RUFORUM’s mission since its inception in 2004, of strengthening the capacities of universities to foster innovation responsive to demands of small holder farmers through the training of higher quality researchers, the output of impact-oriented research and maintenance of collaborative working relations among researchers, farmers, national agricultural research institutions, the Private sector and government is worthy prioritizing.
He called upon participants to use the meeting forum to change the face and image of the African continent through constructive and fruitful deliberations on agricultural production, food safety research and better health food security. To him the RUFORUM AGM is a bigger opportunity to think and act, make proposals, formulate recommendations and necessary resolutions which if acted on can change the face of the African continent.
“This is the turning point for the African continent to think big and have the courage to dream big. This is our opportunity to make a difference in our world. This is the opportunity Africa needed to change the target of its demand of action. We have to mutualize and federate our actions and voices in the interest of a united, strong and prosperous Africa,” he said.
The 19th RUFORUM Annual General Meeting carried a unique vibrant turn as being the first to be held in West and Central Africa. The weeklong event broke the record as the most and well attended ever with over 600 participants across the region as well as international delegates. The colorful event was embroiled with informative, constructive, edutainment activities in form of pre-AGM events, side events, Business Meetings, capacity building and mentoring sessions, scientific conferences, poster sessions and exhibitions well aligned to key thematic areas as well as the AGM theme: Transforming Higher Education to Sustainably Feed and Create Prosperity for Africa.
Additionally, high-level policy dialogues with Ministers, Senior Government Leaders and Development Partners were held to review the finance and other resource mobilization strategies as well as following up on the actualization of the available national, regional and global policies geared towards higher education transformation and ensuring of food security in Africa.
Speaking at the Opening Ceremony, Prof. Theresia Nkuo-Akenji, the RUFORUM Board Chair and Vice Chancellor University of Bamenda thanked His Excellence Paul Biya and the Government of Cameroon for accepting to host the 19th RUFORUM Annual General Meeting and equally appreciated the financial support towards the same cause.
In a special way, Prof. Theresia Nkuo-Akenji thanked the Ministry of State for Higher education and all the sister ministries of Government of Cameroon that worked hard to see to it that the 19th RUFORUM AGM is a success. Equally, the Board Chair, extended her sincere gratitude to the people of Cameroon for the warm reception and support.
“My special tribute goes to the members of AGM 2023 Sub committees. You have indeed done a great job throughout the ten months of organizing this significant event. On behalf of RUFORUM Network, I thank you. To the RUFORUM Secretariat under the dynamic leadership of Prof. Patrick Okwori, accept our immense gratitude for your strong determination and dedication,” she gratefully said.
She recognized the tremendous achievements and developments aligned to RUFORUM’s nineteen years (19) of existence noting that the strong network has wisely selected its priority areas of focus to transform higher education and agricultural sector in Africa as;
- Reform the training agenda for Africa to meet the development needs
- Entrepreneurship and business incubation for wealth creation
- Research for Development and wealth creation
- Partnerships for scale and impact
“As African people, permit me to use the adage of a broom; it is easy to break a single broom piece but when you combine several small brooms together they then make a broom stack that will not be easy to break. The collective power that RUFORUM has put together through 163 universities from across 40 countries bears such strength. The Vice Chancellors gathered here today remain committed to the core values and foundations of the network. To illustrate this Your Excellency, each of the Vice Chancellors meet their own costs of participation.” She happy said.
In the same spirit the RUFORUM Executive Secretary Prof. Patrick Okori deeply thanked the host Universities that is, University of Bamenda, University of Ngaoundere, University of Dschang, University of Buea and University of Maroua under the strong and able leadership of the RUFORUM Board Chair, Prof. Theresia Nkuo-Akenji for successfully hosting the 19th RUFORUM Annual General Meeting.
He also recognized the Former Vice Chancellor of University of Ngaoundere Prof. Florence Uphie Chinje Melo who heavily supported the AGM preparations. He was astonished with the presence of the Africa Development Bank, MasterCard Foundation, research international communities, RUFORUM for Agricultural Research in Africa, the Africa Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services, sub regional Agricultural organizations such as the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA), the Centre for Coordination of Agricultural Research and Development for Southern Africa (CCARDESA) and the West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF).
“You have all provided support for this engagement, thank you very much. Together we will continue this journey of transforming Africa’s Agricultural and higher education to produce human resources and development solutions that Africa and indeed the world needs,” he said.
Reflecting on the AGM’s theme, Prof. Okori emphasized the need for Africa to become food secure when he said, “Africa must be an equal opportunity creator for the young generation, it must create wealth for its people and provide opportunities for the present and future and these are well summarized in agenda 2063. It is our collective duty therefore to turn these opportunities and actions into investment.”
According to him, the RUFORUM Network remains strong in building capacity and providing the necessary development solutions and opportunities. He noted that Africa generates about 10-12 million job entrants annually but the continent’s economy in its current configuration can only produce 3 million jobs. To him, for Africa to therefore reap from its demographic dividends, there is need to strengthen the paths to demographic transition of keeping young girls in school.
Prof. Okori also mentioned that RUFORUM is currently intensifying its inclusion and diversity targets. From 45%, the network has an ambitious target of at least 70%. “We must slow the rate at which girls give birth when young. It is the only way we are going to benefit from our population dividend,” he said.
According to him, the higher degree needs for Africa is pretty dire. The World Bank recommends 10,000 PhDs to Africa. This can be compared to India whose signal population of 1. 4 billion registers 24000 PhDs a year. The pressure therefore on Africa’s side to intensify graduate training is real.
“Our graduate training in sciences therefore is one of the drivers to achieve this and it is the immense reason as to why in this meeting we have social and development partners. We are launching a journey with the Africa Development Bank that will bring us together as apex organizations in Africa to work together and solve our own challenges. However, as we do all these, we need to celebrate Africa. We should be recognizing and celebrating people who made what Africa is today,” he said.
Africa is informed by a number of important mutually interacting factors that collectively, are affecting the growth and progress of the continent. The economic outlook of the African continent in 2023 by the African Development Bank and other global apex development financial institutions was positive. However, Africa’s economic growth has since then decelerated, and is now projected to be lower than the previously projected rate of 4.1%.
Agriculture a key sector, continues to be affected by both natural and human induced factors. It continues to face serious threats from climate. Studies by the United Nation’s Convention to Combat Desertification show that Africa accounts for 44% of severe droughts recorded globally in the last 50 years, causing economic losses of more than USD 70 billion. In 2022, an estimated loss of US$ 8.5 billion in economic damages was experienced due to climate change. Clearly, climate change and weather variability, remains one of the grand challenges of the 21st century for Africa and the World, because it affects key livelihood and strategic areas of emerging economies.
Unemployment facing Africa’s dominant demographic-the youth, raises questions about education, skilling and jobs creation while inclusion and diversity, the underpinning for an equal society, remains challenging. The question then to academia, researchers, development practitioners and policymakers is, “what step must we take right now to address the challenges to our current and future generations?”
“Our resounding response as RUFORUM is in line with what Malcolm X said many years ago, “Education and research for development are the passports to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today,” said Prof. Partick Okori.
According to the Deputy Minister for Education in Malawi, Her Excellence Mdooko Nancy Chawola who represented the visiting ministers of RUFORUM partner countries, African countries should put in place vibrant resource mobilization mechanisms to collectively finance Africa’s education and support governments that are battling with competitive budgetary demands.
“For the universities to offer solutions for the challenges the continent is facing, there is need to rebuild the curriculum that responds to our current needs and not what we needed yesterday. Our respective countries are grappling with higher levels of unemployment, can investors assist by producing graduates with entrepreneurial skills so that they are able to employ themselves and others. Of course there will be need to put in place support mechanism for such graduates to take over,” she said.
She equally acknowledged the national regulatory frameworks such as the Malawi Regulation Framework 2063 developed inline with the African Union Agenda 2063 the Africa we want, in which the continent aspires to be prosperous by 2063 through various means such as modernizing agricultural for increased production and productivity there by making people food secure.
She applauded RUFORUM’s efforts towards zero hunger in Africa through its vision 2030. According to Mdooko Nancy Chawola, food security is supposed be prerogative as well highlighted in the Sustainable Development Goal 2 (SDG 2) that is geared towards ending hunger, attaining food security, improving nutrition and promoting sustainable development.
In Cameroon, Agriculture and Education have been prioritized as drivers for economic growth and transformation. Through an agricultural flagship program initiated by His Excellence Paul Biya, science programmes and financial services as well as favorable ways of accessing market have been introduced in the country with the aim of transforming agricultural sector into a value added industrialized and integrated system engine of economic growth.
According to Prof. Ngomo Horace Manga- Vice Chancellor, University Buea, the government of Cameroon has resolved to grant its people with education that can help them manage their personal, national and Africa’s present and future economic destiny. In 2022, His excellence Paul Biya endorsed the recruitment process of 2000 lecturers in universities to ensure the quality of higher education in Cameroon.
“Collectively these education reforms and investment actions affordably can transform the people of Cameroon into a strong emerging market. Cameroon carries the highest science female adoptive rate in sub-Saharan Africa at 73%. This is a strong result of government delivery of United Nations SDG 5 of achieving education and build human capital for the country,” he noted.
The Opening Ceremony for the 19th RUFORUM Annual General Meeting unlocked the floor for critical discussions and meetings throughout the week. At the same function, RUFORUM presented a contemporary painting to His Excellence Paul Biya, President of the United Republic of Cameroon in recognition of his outstanding, selfless and patriotic services s to the people of Cameroon and Africa at large.
On 25th October 2023, the RUFORUM Network equally participated in the Cameroon Higher Education Day, the first of its kind in the country.
2nd Issue of Mak-Research & Innovations Fund Bulletin
Welcome to the 2nd Issue of the Mak-RIF Bulletin. Makerere University has continued to receive funding from the Government of the Republic of Uganda, earmarked to support faculty members to conduct high impact Research and Innovations that contribute to national development.
In this issue of our Bulletin, we share about how the Mak- RIF Research Agenda and themes highlighted there in are guiding and contributing to our operations, awards made in the past financial years, a highlight of the research achievements, impact to-date, and a flash back to some of the fund activities among others.
Dates for 74th Graduation Ceremony
The Academic Registrar wishes to inform the public that the 74th Graduation ceremony will be held from Monday 22nd to Friday 26th January 2024.
DATES FOR THE DIFFERENT COLLEGES/SCHOOLS
DATE: MONDAY, 22nd JANUARY, 2024
- College of Natural Sciences (CONAS)
- College of Health Sciences (CHS)
- School of Law (SOL)
DATE: TUESDAY, 23rd JANUARY, 2024
- College of Education and External Studies (CEES)
- College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES)
DATE: WEDNESDAY, 24th JANUARY, 2024
- College of Business and Management Sciences (COBAMS)
- College of Computing and Information Sciences (COCIS)
- College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Bio-Security (COVAB)
DATE: THURSDAY, 25th JANUARY, 2024
- Makerere University Business School (MUBS)
DATE: FRIDAY, 26th JANUARY, 2024
- College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT)
- College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS)
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