Connect with us

General

Ugandan Journalists trained on Aflatoxins Communication and Reporting

Published

on

  • A National Media Aflatoxin Group formed
  • Makerere University’s Professor Archileo Kaaya is the Patron

About 30 journalists from different Media Houses in Uganda have undergone a two-day training on Aflatoxins Communication and Reporting, culminating in the establishment of a National  Aflatoxin  Journalist Network. The network will serve as an advocacy group to enhance public awareness and drive more actions to mitigate aflatoxin contamination of food and feeds.

The training was sponsored by the Platform for Aflatoxin Control in Africa (PACA), a program of the Africa Union Commission (AUC). This media training is the second of its type that the commission is supporting member states to implement. The first training took place in Senegal, in September 2018.

The training was officially opened by the Director for Extension in the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) Mrs. Beatrice Byarugaba on Monday, 29th October, 2018 at Fairway Hotel in Kampala.

The function was also attended by the AUC-PACA Program Officer, Ms. Wezi Chunga-Sambo, Chair, Aflatoxin Technical Working Group, Prof. Archileo Kaaya, members of the PACA Secretariat and the Uganda Mycotoxin Mitigation Steering Committee among others.

The journalists received Certificates of participation signed by the AUC Officer in Charge and Head, Rural Economy and Agriculture Dr. Janet Edeme, after induction through a series of topics on aflatoxins and responsible reporting.

Topics included: Aflatoxins – their impacts on public health, trade and agriculture at national and continental levels; Aflatoxins – stakeholders and their roles; Aflatoxin Research findings with emphasis on groundnuts; Media /Research interface on aflotoxin information packaging; Interventions by AUC-PACA, and a summary of the C-SAAP Report on Uganda among others.

AUC-PACA Program Officer-Ms. Wezi Chunga-Sambo (L) is assisted by some of journalists that participated in the Aflatoxins training to verify names on the certificates

Key presenters included Makerere University’s Prof. Archileo Kaaya, Dr. David Kalule Okello from the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO), PACA Secretariat members; Ms. Grace Akao, Ms. Wezi Chunga-Sambo and Mr. Ibrahim Gariba.

In her opening remarks, Director for Extension MAAIF Mrs. Beatrice Byarugaba noted that the country had been awoken by research findings that aflatoxins are indeed a big threat. She expressed appreciation to Makerere University and NARO Researchers for the job well done.

Mrs. Byarugaba further appreciated the PACA Secretariat for involving the media saying, the aflatoxins have reached a threatening level, affecting all staple foods, public health and trade.

“Aflatoxins are consumed by everyone at all stages of the food value chain and have impacted on trade and exports which is very sad.
 
“Aflatoxins are caused by poor handling practices starting on-farm to the value chain, traders, stores, retail industries, manufacturers and when we eat eggs and milk.

“Schoolchildren and all institutions are at risk as many take groundnut paste (odi) and serve a variety of foods in all forms”, the Director said.

 Mrs. Byarugaba described the research findings on aflatoxins as a blessing towards finding lasting solutions to the threat posed.

Ms. Wezi Chunga-Sambo (L) hands over a certificate to a female journalist (R) as The Patron, National Aflatoxin Journalist Network-Prof. Archileo Kaaya (C) witnesses

“The best option is prevention and this is why we need the media to help educate people, since you are the eye and mouthpiece of society. We need you as communication experts to be part of us to relay the findings in our development programs.

“People are consuming aflatoxins without knowing. Aflatoxins are affecting trade; we had a big consignment to Kenya and when it was sampled it had aflatoxins.

“One time we had a consignment to Korea which was also rejected and a lot of money was lost in this consignment, affecting the economy.

“We have a problem of stunting. Cancer has become an epidemic at Mulago Hospital and is linked to aflatoxins. We need people to know about it and the media to be our change agents.” The Director stated.

Mrs. Byarugaba also emphasized the need for the media to report correctly so as to help the masses protect themselves from aflatoxins. She expressed the Government’s confidence in the media and commitment to partner with it to raise public awareness and promote good management practices of aflatoxins.

Ms. Wezi Chunga-Sambo in her remarks said the AUC is committed to raising Africa’s food safety and quality standards at par with the rest of the world, in order to make Africa’s agriculture a competitive and vibrant sector that promotes trade and agribusiness.

A copy of  the Certificate of Participation issued to journalists after the Aflatoxins Communication and Reporting training

 She reported that PACA has a 10 year strategic plan which has identified public awareness, advocacy and communication as one of the strategic thematic areas. In addition to the strategy, she said PACA has developed a continental communication strategy currently being adopted by various member states in coming up with their own national communication plans.

“Right from the onset when PACA was created, stakeholders realised that awareness of aflatoxins and their impacts on health of consumers, trade and agriculture is generally low. However it also dawned on stakeholders that creating awareness of aflatoxins to the general public is complex due to the technical nature of the information involved”. She said

Noting that aflatoxins are a silent killer which cannot be seen by the naked eye and with their health effects mostly manifesting over a period of time, Ms. Chunga-Sambo implored journalists to communicate findings responsibly without causing alarm and panic among the population.

“This requires scientists and communication experts to work in synergy to develop clear, evidence-based, action-driven messages and information targeted at specific audiences and delivered using media, formats and languages most appropriate and accessible to those groups”, she advised.

Ms. Chunga-Sambo described media professionals as very important stakeholders who play a pivotal role in how modern societies view and believe, accept or reject information hence the need to capacitate them in communicating about the aflatoxin threat. This, she concluded, would help the media provide clear evidence-based information on aflatoxins to the target groups.

Report compiled by;
Jane Anyango;
Principal Communication Officer CAES

Continue Reading

General

Mak Commissions CoVAB@50 Celebrations, Awards Certificates

Published

on

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.

Continue Reading

General

UNMA Advisory on Agriculture and Food Security Jun-Aug 2021

Published

on

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.

Continue Reading

General

4th Call For Applications: MURBS Departmental Ambassadors

Published

on

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.

Eligibility

  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]murbs.mak.ac.ug and copy to wilber.naigambi[at]mak.ac.ug 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.

Continue Reading

Trending