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Nyabyeya Forestry College Hands Over 10hectares to Enhance Mak’s Practical Forestry Training

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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.

Vice Chancellor Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (L) hands over an assortment of Mak Souvenirs to Principal NFC Mr. Godfrey Akubonabona (R) during the visit

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.

Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (C) plants a tree in part of the 10hectares allocated by NFC to Mak

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.

The Vice Chancellor and Members of Management inspect the NFC sawmill during a tour of the Forestry College, Masindi, Uganda

“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.

L-R: Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, Mr. Godfrey Akubonabona, Prof. Bernard Bashaasha, Dr. Gorettie Nabanoga and an NFC Official during a visit to the College

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.

Prof. Barnabas nawangwe (2nd R) is taken on a tour of one of the Hostel facilities

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.

The Principal NFC Mr. Godfrey Akubonabona (Fore) leads Members of Management on a tour of one of the facilities at the College

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.

Prof. Mnason Tweheyo (L) addresses the audience at NFC during the MoU signing ceremony

“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.

Members of Management tour the NFC Library facility

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.

Dr. Fred Babweteera (standing) addresses Members of Management and NFC officials during their visit to the Budongo Conservation Field Station on 15th August 2018

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
Jane Anyango,
Principal Communication Officer, 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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