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GREAT Conducts First Spinoff Courses for ICRISAT Social Scientists and Plant Breeders



GREAT conducts the first spinoff courses for ICRISAT Social Scientists and Plant Breeders working on Tropical Legumes III to build their Capacities for Gender Responsive Research and Reporting

The Bill and  Melinda Gates  Foundation has  supported Makerere and Cornell Universities to conduct short courses for agricultural researchers in sub-Saharan Africa (2015-2020) and establish Makerere University as a centre of Excellence in Gender and  Agricultural Research Training under the projected titled, “Gender-responsive Researchers Equipped for Agricultural Transformation (GREAT). This initiative is implemented collaboratively by the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) and the School of Women and Gender Studies.

Over the years, there has been increasing demand for Makerere University’s GREAT short courses in Sub Saharan Africa and beyond.  In 2017/2018, the university was contacted by seven organisations/projects to offer tailored courses. This is evidence that the GREAT course profile and visibility have increased.   These spinoff courses represent one of the key strategies for sustainability of the GREAT course. The organisations that request for them show willingness to pay for the GREAT course.

A team of the course instructors from Makerere University

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Makerere University and the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in April 2018 for Makerere to train biophysical and social scientists working on the Tropical Legumes III project.

As a result, eighteen (18) participants (9 social scientists and 9 legume breeders) from sub-Saharan Africa working in NARs and Universities on various breeding programs under the Tropical Legumes III project on 26th November, 2018 converged at Forest Cottages, Bukoto in Kampala, Uganda for the GREAT capacity building course on Gender-responsive research and reporting offered at Makerere University.

The research teams from Burkina Faso, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Mali, Ghana and Nigeria have collected household level data on project focus crops mainly groundnuts, cowpeas, common beans and chickpeas production areas.

Dr. Esther Njuguna speaks during the GREAT TLIII Course opening ceremony at Forest Cottages, Kampala Uganda

The six day GREAT-TL III course ending on 1st December 2018 was opened by the Senior Gender scientist for East and Southern Africa, ICRISAT, Dr. Esther Njuguna. Another ICRISAT staff in attendance is Dr. Edward Bikett.

In her opening remarks, Dr. Esther Njuguna said TLIII with its partners in the program have an intention of breeding improved legume varieties in seven countries in East, Western and Central Africa.“So today we have leaders of those breeding programs collectively coming together to discuss about gender integration. These are also teams looking at what gender means, having a gender product profile and how that is practically done in terms of data collection, interpretation of results and designing research questions that need intervention.

“We have requested GREAT if they can build capacity of our teams in this particular aspect because of their experience in training gender and social science teams. So we are spending time here in Kampala to discuss and agree on a way forward so that we can implement gender responsive activities in our project”, Dr. Njuguna said.

Some of the participants applaud as they listen to proceedings during the GREAT TLIII Course

Dr. Njuguna said, gender is important not as an end in itself, but as a means of delivering outcomes for women and men who are vulnerable in different typologies and communities.

She explained that failure to consider gender equals to failure to consider interests of half of the community and failure of having a way to deliver the program objectives.

“So when we are talking about gender-responsive product profile, we are asking ourselves questions like, “What are those traits that are important for women, men or a certain segment of consumers and why, and how programmers respond to those needs, so that we have adoption and impact to change lives in terms of nutrition and income generation”, Dr. Njuguna explained.

Instructors and Participants pose for a group photo after the opening session

In her key message to the participants, Dr. Njuguna stressed that gender issues are important in every sphere of life and that, in a scientific thematic area like plant breeding and seed systems deployment, it becomes challenging because these are traditional areas where many have made progress on how to do things best.

“But one reality is that the adoption levels have been very low and one of the hypotheses is that, we have been blind to the gender issues and needs of the different categories of our farmers and consumers.

“When we are talking  about gender, we are taking a deliberate action by looking at those needs, traits and preferences so  that we are more targeted for better efficiency in our programmes for impact in terms of nutrition and incomes”, Njuguna stated.

Assoc. Prof. Margaret Najjingo Mangheni gives an overview of the training

Makerere University’s Program Coordinator Assoc. Prof. Margaret Najjingo Mangheni said this training focuses on breeders and social scientists who are working with the Tropical Legume III program – a breeding program funded by Bill and Melinda gates Foundation.

“Here we have nine research teams that are being trained and the focus of the training is to build their capacities to conduct gender-responsive research so that the technologies they generate from their breeding are able to address the priorities and needs of men and women.

It also has a component of seed systems because what they breed has to eventually get out to the communities so that it is utilized by the farmers and other actors in the seed value chain,” the Makerere Don said.

Some of the participants listen to proceedings

She explained that, the teams will be taken through the concepts of gender, gender sensitive research, gender breeding priority setting, how to conduct qualitative and quantitative data in a mixed methods approach, analyze and interpret it so that it is able to feed in national breeding programs of these countries mentioned.

The course participant teams will present the status of their projects i.e., their research questions, progress and any gender-related questions for which they may need answers. Teams that have data will present the gender yield gap case studies which will be interrogated to draw implications for gender-responsive programming.

In her key message, Prof. Mangheni told participants that, the role of GREAT is to create inclusive agricultural systems that are able to address the needs and priorities of men and women. She implored participants to apply what they will have learnt saying, the core value of GREAT is to train for practice.

Zeinabou Ibrahim Drame (R) and other participants listen to proceedings during the training

“It is my call to participants that when they learn, they apply. We don’t want people to learn the skills and leave them in Kampala or here at Makerere… but rather when they get off the planes, they are able to transform the breeding programs and agricultural systems in their countries”, she said.

Background to the GREAT course

The Gender-responsive Researchers Equipped for Agricultural Transformation (GREAT) course is a Cornell University-Makerere University joint certificate program in applied gender training for agricultural research.

It offers skills in gender-responsiveness tailored to agricultural researchers to integrate gender in research along the design, implementation, evaluation, and communication pathway. The focus is on gender training linked to practice and change within institutions and national policies.

The overall objective of the course is to enhance the participants’ capacity to design, conduct, and communicate gender-responsive agricultural research.  For more information, please see

About the Tropical Legumes-III Project

The Tropical Legumes III project (TL-III) is a major international initiative that seeks to develop and deliver seed of improved cultivars of common bean, cowpea, chickpea and groundnut at scale to small-holders, while also fundamentally strengthening plant breeding programs to generate increased rates of genetic gains.  These plant breeding programs include three in the CGIAR (CIAT, IITA, and ICRISAT), 7 NARS in African countries (Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Uganda) and one in India in the state of Uttar Pradesh.

TL-III integrates the genomic resources developed in the Tropical Legumes-phase I (TLI) with the applied breeding and seed delivery initiatives of Tropical phase II (TL-II).  TL-III puts increased emphasis on improving the national breeding and seed delivery programs through a structured improvement process.  More information can be found here:

Please follow @MakCAES on twitter and the hashtag #GREATTLIIICourse for updates on the training.

Report compiled by;
Jane Anyango,
Principal Communication Officer,
College of Agricultural & Environmental Sciences, CAES
Makerere University.

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Rotary International President visits Mak



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



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



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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