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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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Mak Commissions CoVAB@50 Celebrations, Awards Certificates



The Vice Chancellor-Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (4th L), DVCAA-Dr. Umar Kakumba (5th L) and Principal CoVAB-Prof. J.D. Kabasa (3rd L) with L-R: Mr. Byakatonda Patrick, Mr. Alfred Masikye Namoah, Mr. Felix Okello, the Mace bearer and Dr. Samuel Majalija at the CoVAB@50 Celebrations Commissioning, 17th June 2021, Nakyesasa-Namulonge.

The College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB) on Thursday 17th June, 2021 commenced celebrations to mark 50 Years of Veterinary Higher Education, Science, Technology, Innovation and Services (HESTIS) in Uganda. The blended event held at the Industrial Livestock Research, Incubation and Skilling (ILRIS) Center at Nakyesasa, Namulonge as well as online was presided over by the Chancellor, Prof. Ezra Suruma and First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports (MoES), Hon. Janet Museveni both represented by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe.

The event, held as part of Makerere University Centenary Celebrations (1922-2022) was a moment of celebration for 1,930 skilled livestock agribusiness entrepreneurs who were awarded certificates in recognition of completion of their respective courses. Owing to the strict Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) instituted by the Ministry of Health (MoH) to curb the spread of COVID-19, the students from Incubation Hubs in Atiak, Butaleja, Mubende, Nakyesasa, Sheema and Wakiso were awarded their certificates virtually.

In her remarks read by Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, Hon. Janet Museveni thanked Makerere University for supporting grassroots level development through groundbreaking innovations under the Africa Institute for Strategic Services and Development-Skills for Production Enterprise Development and Accreditation (AFRISA-SPEDA) model.

The Vice Chancellor-Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (L), Academic Registrar-Mr. Alfred Masikye Namoah (C) and the Principal CoVAB-Prof. John David Kabasa stand for the anthems.
The Vice Chancellor-Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (L), Academic Registrar-Mr. Alfred Masikye Namoah (C) and the Principal CoVAB-Prof. John David Kabasa stand for the anthems.

“I am extremely pleased that Makerere University, through those innovative approaches, has developed and launched the alternative approach to building human capital and transferring knowledge to enterprises in communities.

“I would like to encourage all those involved in skills development to adopt methodologies that transform those trainees that go through these programs in ways that enable them also transform the societies they live in” read the Minister’s remarks.

She further noted that commissioning of the CoVAB@50 celebrations was both timely and rewarding. “The commissioning of the college innovations indeed has made meaning. This is a true path to growth of an Academic and Development College of the University, and we congratulate you again.”

Addressing the congregation as Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe congratulated CoVAB alumna and incoming Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation (MoSTI) under the Office of the President, Dr. Monica Musenero upon her recent appointment. “We thank His Excellency the President for identifying you. Science is in good hands.”

Awardees from the Mubende Incubation Hub raise their caps after virtually receiving their certificates in the blended ceremony on 17th June 2021. Photo credit: Kabaruli Twekambe/Team BOBOMAK
Awardees from the Mubende Incubation Hub raise their caps after virtually receiving their certificates in the blended ceremony on 17th June 2021. Photo credit: Kabaruli Twekambe/Team BOBOMAK

Prof. Nawangwe urged Dr. Musenero to address the structures of managing research and innovation in Uganda, “including the role of the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology and the apparent need to establish a Research Council for Uganda.”

In the same breath he thanked the outgoing and pioneer Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Hon. Dr. Elioda Tumuwesigye, for his role in ensuring that the ministry is empowered to carry out its mandate.

The Chancellor congratulated CoVAB upon training the bulk of Veterinary Doctors in Uganda over the last 50 years and more recently, Laboratory Technologists at the highest level. He recognised Makerere University‘s obligation to contribute to the economic self-determination of Uganda and thanked CoVAB for conducting research that addresses hindrances to national development, especially in the livestock industry.

“The anti-tick vaccine is one of such innovations which will solve the huge problem of tick-borne diseases that have caused enormous losses to our farmers. There are many other problems on which the college is researching and we thank you for the enthusiasm” he added.

Incoming Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation in the Office of the President, Dr. Monica Musenero addresses the congregation.
Incoming Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation in the Office of the President, Dr. Monica Musenero addresses the congregation.

The Chancellor commended CoVAB for being the vanguard of transformation of the grassroots communities through the SPEDA model. “I urge Government to fund this important initiative so that it can more meaningfully contribute to solving the big problem of youth unemployment.”

In her remarks, Dr. Monica Musenero commended the Principal, CoVAB, Prof. John David Kabasa for fulfilling the College’s dream of enabling the masses who drop out of the education value chain as well as those who complete education but have no skills for livelihood, to attain certification in agribusiness entrepreneurship.

“Many people attain academic success and write papers, publish and they become professors but without demonstrable impact on their nation. You have shown by the thousands that you have touched nationwide that indeed you are a professor of national transformation. Congratulations,” remarked Dr. Musenero.

She therefore congratulated the teams at CoVAB and AFRISA upon successfully conceiving and executing a model that is non-traditional, informal, not easily understood and not documented in any textbooks.

The Vice Chancellor-Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (R) receives graduation books of the cohorts from Director DIT, MoES-Mr. Byakatonda Patrick (C) and Deputy Commissioner Social Services Development, MoES-Madam Elizabeth Bateme (L).
The Vice Chancellor-Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (R) receives graduation books of the cohorts from Director DIT, MoES-Mr. Byakatonda Patrick (C) and Deputy Commissioner Social Services Development, MoES-Madam Elizabeth Bateme (L).

As Minister, Dr. Musenero noted that witnessing thousands of individuals from across the country whose skills had been honed through a university programme receiving certificates gave her a lot of hope and material to embark on her tenure with. “I will be looking forward to harnessing these resources as we initiate work on the next leg of Science, Technology and Innovation in the country under the President’s Office.”

The invitation to the Principal, CoVAB to present students for the award of the ordinary diplomas, ordinary certificates and artisan certificates was given by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic Affairs), Dr. Umar Kakumba. He congratulated the awardees upon successfully completing their respective courses and graduating with evidence on an enterprise.

Prof. Kabasa clarified that the approach used to train the day’s awardees was not simply a vocational skilling. “The combination of action research with knowledge transfer, skilling, plus assessment and accreditation processes done by organs like the DIT (Directorate of Industrial Training, MoES) has given us this result, for the University to provide true leadership and transformation of the community.”

Present at the celebrations were the Director, DIT, MoES-Mr. Byakatonda Patrick and the Deputy Commissioner Social Services Development, MoES Madam Elizabeth Bateme who have worked through the Academic-Community-Public-Private-Partnership model to ensure that students graduate as entrepreneurs with micro enterprises.

The Vice Chancellor-Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (C), flanked by DVCAA-Dr. Umar Kakumba (R) and the Principal CoVAB-Prof. John David Kabasa (L) commissions the SPEDA Training, Incubation and Research Centre-Nakyesasa on behalf of the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports-Hon. Janet Museveni on 17th June 2021.
The Vice Chancellor-Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (C), flanked by DVCAA-Dr. Umar Kakumba (R) and the Principal CoVAB-Prof. John David Kabasa (L) commissions the SPEDA Training, Incubation and Research Centre-Nakyesasa on behalf of the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports-Hon. Janet Museveni on 17th June 2021.

Prior to presiding over the ceremony, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, on behalf of the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports officially commissioned the SPEDA Training, Incubation and Research Centre – Nakyesasa.

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UNMA Advisory on Agriculture and Food Security Jun-Aug 2021



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

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

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

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

Please see Downloads for the detailed outlook.

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4th Call For Applications: MURBS Departmental Ambassadors



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

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

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


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

Mode of training for 4th Cohort of Ambassadors

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

Tenure of Office & Termination or Withdrawal

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

How to Apply

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

Confirmation/Approval Process

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

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

Please see Downloads for the detailed call and application form.

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