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

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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 www.greatagriculture.org

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: http://tropicallegumes.icrisat.org/

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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Notice: Makerere Disability Scheme 2022/23 Medical Review Exercise

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One of the PWD graduands at the 69th Graduation during the Session held on 17th January 2019.

The Academic Registrar, Makerere University invites persons with disability who applied for admission to public universities under the disability entry scheme for 2022/2023 Academic Year to appear for medical/review exercise at Makerere Unive, Senate Building, Level Two (2) in the Telepresence Centre.

NOTE: Only those who have the minimum entry requirements of at least two principal passes at A’ Level or its equivalent and at least five (5) passes at O’ Level or its equivalent will be interviewed.

 Only candidates who sat ‘a’ level in 2020, 2019 and 2018 are eligible for admission.

THE EXERCISE WILL BE CONDUCTED ON 3rd, 4th and 5th October, 2022 respectively from 9.00 A.M – 1.00 P.M each day.

IMPORTANT:

(i) If you fail to appear on any of the given days above, there will be no other chance for you.

(ii) Applicants with Government Scholarship for the previous years are not eligible for admission

ALFRED MASIKYE NAMOAH

Acting. ACADEMIC REGISTRAR

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Uganda’s policymakers implored to address forest loss, plastic & water pollution

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Left to Right: Prof. Gunnar Köhlin, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, Amb. Maria Håkansson, Commissioner Julius Mafumbo and Prof. Edward Bbaale posing for a group photo before the opening ceremony on 22nd September 2022: Photo by EfD-Mak Centre.

The Vice Chancellor Professor Barnabas Nawangwe on Thursday 22nd September, 2022 participated in the opening of the EfD Annual meeting hosted by Makerere University at Speke Resort Munyonyo where he appealed to government to implement the ban on kaveera and address other environmental issues.

The opening ceremony moderated by the EfD Global Hub Manager Gunnar Köhlin and was graced by Uganda’s Minister for Water and Environment represented by the Commissioner for Water, Mr. Julius Mafumbo and the Swedish Ambassador to Uganda, H.E. Maria Håkansson.

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Prof. Nawangwe urges Makerere University community to support the Mastercard Foundation E-learning Initiative

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By Bernard Buteera

Makerere University has launched a two million dollar E-learning Project, dubbed The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program E-learning initiative.  

The launch was held on Tuesday 20th September 2022 at Makerere University, Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility Auditorium. It attracted over 200 participants, who included members of University Management, College Principals, School Deans, Academic and Administrative staff, students and the general university community.

While addressing the gathering, the Chief Guest, Prof. Mary Okwakol, the Executive Director of National Council for Higher Education (NCHE), congratulated Makerere University for winning such a huge grant, which will go a long way in transforming the eLearning infrastructure at Makerere University.

“I am happy to be joining you in launching a project that is at the heart of National Council for Higher Education. Online learning is at the heart of the Council, not only because of the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, but also the world is now a digital world.” Prof. Okwakol remarked.

Prof. Okwakol thanked Mastercard Foundation and other development partners who have continued to support initiatives that help transform higher institutions of learning in Uganda.

“I sincerely thank the Mastercard Foundation and other partners who have continued to support higher education in Uganda, especially in the area of research and online learning. Globally, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, greatly disrupted education systems forcing learners and some schools to shift to virtual learning to curb the spread of the pandemic.” Prof. Okwakol pointed out.

On his part, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe urged the university community, especially the academic staff to take advantage of the Mastercard Foundation E-learning initiative to develop e-content across all Colleges of the University, to enhance capacity for eLearning at Makerere University.

[L -R] Chairperson of the Steering Committee of the E-learning Initiative, Prof. Umar Kakumba, Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, Prof. Mary Okwakol, the Executive Director of National Council for Higher Education (NCHE), Prof. Paul Birevu Muyinda, the Coordinator of the Mastercard Foundation E-learning Initiative and Prof. Justine Namaalwa, the Program Coordinator for Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program.

”I appeal to the Colleges to embrace this project and have as many courses adopt this pedagogy development system, even though students will continue with face-to face and phyisical learning, they should be allowed the option of online learning. The platforms that are going to be built, will give our students an opportunity to interact with international students, scholars, teachers and with each other.” Prof. Nawangwe applealed.

The Vice Chancellor, further called upon all other development partners to emulate Mastercard Foundation in supporting Makerere University and other universities on the entire African continent in strengthening digital literacy, so that Africa is not left behind.

”In 2018 I attended a conference on E-learning in Beijing China, where a critical question was asked; Will Africa be left behind again? This was in reference to many advancements that were taking place in the western world, in which Africa had been left behind.” The Vice Chancellor reminded the audience.

Prof. Nawangwe further emphaised the importance of e-learning as one of the critical modes of teaching and learning in the 21st first century.   

”Ladies and Gentlemen, I cannot over emphasise the importance we attach to e-learning the 21st Century, that is why we took a decision to elevate the Department of Open and Distance Learning into an Institute of Open and Distance E-learning with an intention of having e-learning extended to other Colleges of the university.” Prof. Nawangwe pointed out.

The Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic Affairs, and Chairperson of the Steering Committee of the E-learning Initiative, Prof. Umar Kakumba, rallied the University community to support the implementation of the project in the University.

“The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program E-learning initiative could not have come in at a better time than post COVID19 era. A pandemic, which exposed our systems and methods of teaching and learning. You all recall, when were hit by the pandemic, with lockdowns and closures of institutions of learning, we all went into a panicky mode on how were going to cope with online learning. I therefore call upon every member of the university to give this project the support it deserves.

Prof. Kakumba reminded the audience the importance and relevancy of online learning at Makerere University and other universities in Uganda.

“The online method of learning is best suited for everyone. This digital revolution has led to remarkable changes in how the content is accessed, consumed, discussed, and shared. Office goers and stay home mothers can take up online educational courses too, at the time that suits them. Depending on their availability and comfort, many people choose to learn at weekends or evenings.” Prof. Kakumba remarked.

Prof. Paul Birevu Muyinda, the Coordinator of the Mastercard Foundation E-learning Initiative, informed the audience the importance of the project and the expected outcomes for the University.

One of the Champions of e-learning trained by Arizona State University, Prof. Paul Birevu Muyinda receiving a certificate from Chief Guest.

“The Mastercard Foundation e- Learning Initiative is a Project funded by Mastercard Foundation aimed at addressing the negative impact of COVID-19 pandemic that constrained access and continuity of teaching, learning, research and community engagement activities at Makerere University” Prof. Muyinda pointed out.

Prof. Muyinda further thanked the team that he worked with in putting up the proposal in a very short time that yielded such an important grant for the University.

“I thank the team that spent sleepless nights putting together the proposal that resulted into this project. I must report that Makerere University is privileged to be having the most highly qualified persons in online instruction design and online pedagogy at the IODeL and beyond. It is now up to Makerere University in particular and the Country in general to make use of these persons to transform the terrain of online, blended distance and e-learning education.” Prof. Muyinda remarked.

Prof. Justine Namaalwa, the Program Coordinator for Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at Makerere University, informed the audience, that the E-learning initiative was one of the many partnerships between Mastercard Foundation and Makerere University geared at supporting the young people to succeed on the African continent.

Members of University Management, staff and students present.

“The Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program continues to recognize that in order to enable young people across Africa to succeed, there is need to; Address systemic barriers in Higher education, Strengthen the capacity of Institutions that serve the Young People, and Support innovative solutions across critical sectors.” Prof. Namaalwa remarked.

The colourful launch ended with a panel discussion in which panelists digested the importance and opportunities for open distance and eLearning in higher institutions of learning.

Bernard Buteera is the Communications Officer of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at Makerere University.

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