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Mak Awards First Gender-responsive Plant Breeding Course Tailored for ICRISAT Participants



Eighteen (18) researchers from seven (7) Sub-Saharan countries were on Saturday 1st December 2018, awarded Certificates of Participation by Makerere University following the successful completion of the first Gender-responsive Plant breeding course tailored on demand for the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) – a member of the CGIAR consortium.

The tailored course was organized under a five (5) year (2015-2020) Makerere University (Uganda) and Cornell University (USA) joint certificate program in applied gender training for agricultural researchers titled, “Gender-responsive Researchers Equipped for Agricultural Transformation (GREAT) funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Dr. Esther Njuguna (Left) awards a certificate to one of the participants after the GREAT-TLIII Course

The course was tailored for scientists working on the Tropical Legumes III project implemented by ICRISAT, the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), and jointly organized by the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences(CAES) and the School of Women and Gender Studies(SWGS) at Forest Cottages Bukoto, Kampala, from 26th November to 1st December 2018.

The course attracted social scientists and plant breeders working in National Agricultural Research Systems (NARs) and Universities on various breeding programs under the Tropical Legumes III project from Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Mali, Ghana and Nigeria.

L-R: Course Instructors Dr. Jenifer Bisikwa, Dr. Brenda Boonabana and Elizabeth Asiimwe share a light moment after the GREAT-TLIII training

The purpose of the training was to offer skills in gender responsive research, tailored to assist agricultural researchers to address gender issues along the design, implementation, evaluation, and communication pathways of their research projects.

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.  

Participants were taken through a range of topics including: the importance of gender in agriculture, anchoring gender research questions in research projects, gender responsive plant breeding and setting breeding priorities, principles of quantitative and qualitative gender research, engendering data collection methods, women empowerment, and how to develop gender responsive product profiling tools.

Mr. Obura Edward (Right) presents a certificate to one of the participants upon successful completeion of the GREAT-TLIII Course

After an exhaustive and insightful training, participant teams drew and presented work plans for the next steps towards improving the breeding programs in their respective countries

Speaking during the closing ceremony on behalf of the Principal CAES and Makerere University Vice Chancellor, the College Registrar (CAES) Mr. Edward Obura congratulated fellows upon successful completion of the course.

Mr. Obura also commended the role played by CAES and the SWGS in conducting the GREAT Spin-off course.

“I take the pleasure to congratulate the GREAT team and the researchers upon completing the Tropical Legumes III course. Having successfully participated in this course, all of you are now change agents. Go out and transform the world,” he said.  

One of the participants, Agnes Ndunguru from Tanzania shares her testimony about the course

Beyond the award, the course participants – breeders and social scientists alike said they had acquired skills that will transform their work in their respective countries.

“…When conducting the Participatory Varietal Selection (PVS), I considered the number of male and female participating without taking into account the voice of both gender groups which could increase the adoption rate. In addition, gender issues didn't come up in planning activities but only appeared in the middle of activities and in the report when we were supposed to show how many men and women participated, which I thought sufficiently demonstrated that I was gender responsive. From this GREAT-TL III gender training, I acquired good knowledge and skills, and going forward, the Tanzania groundnut breeding program will consider real gender and not the number of female and male participants during the PVS.”  Happy Daudi, a female breeder from Tanzania said.

Chris Sebatta, a male Agricultural Economist working with the Uganda groundnut breeding Program also had this to say,

“…After attending this training course, I have come to realise that as a social economist I have to put on a gender lens whenever doing research whose outcomes will benefit all stakeholders including women and men.  Quantitative research alone cannot bring out the complete story without the qualitative part. Many times, as a social economist, I have always believed in the numbers to explain many agricultural issues without realizing that the qualitative part is as important as the quantitative and that the two are complementary.”

Project Principal Investigator for Makerere University Assoc. Prof. Margaret Mangheni Najjingo speaks during the closing ceremony

The Principal Investigator (PI) Makerere University Assoc. Prof. Margaret Mangheni Najjingo appreciated the participants for undertaking and completing the course.

Dr. Mangheni said, this was the first spin-off following demand by different players to have GREAT short courses.

She appreciated the facilitators for building the trainees’ capacities and in a special way acknowledged the project partners for choosing Makerere University as their trainer towards agricultural gender responsiveness.

“The vision we have as GREAT is to transform the breeding in Sub-Saharan Africa and to close the gender yield gap by considering men and women’s gendered issues in the breeding processes. To do this, we heavily rely on our partners”, she said.

The PI also implored participants to continue engaging and strategizing on transforming the agricultural and poverty security in Africa.

ICRISAT’s Gender Scientist for East and Southern Africa Dr. Esther Njuguna described the course as a success

In her remarks, ICRISAT’s Gender Scientist for East and Southern Africa Dr. Esther Njuguna described the workshop as a success.

“In these 6 days, we have succeeded in having conversations, interrogating ourselves, critiquing our own work, critiquing our colleagues and our peers and getting to the point where we feel we have gotten better.

Let us see to it that this knowledge does not remain theoretic. Let us step out and test it and let us continue sharing the progress amongst ourselves for appropriate performance tracking,” said Dr. Njuguna.

Report compiled by;
Esther Namitala,
Public Relations and Communications,
School of Women and Gender Studies,
Makerere University.


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Veteran Professor changed Makerere and Higher Education



Professor Pancras John Mukasa Ssebuwufu (L) receives a plaque and citation from RUFORUM Board Member and Vice Chancellor Ndejje University-Professor Eriabu Lugujjo (Right) on 6th May 2021 at the RUFORUM Secretariat, Plot 155 Garden Hill, Makerere University Main Campus,

When Professor John Ssebuwufu ambled up to receive a certificate of recognition for his ‘exceptional’ contribution to higher education from the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) at Makerere University (MU), he was thinking of many things, such as rewarding staff, that he could have done differently to impact university education more.

But he did what he could have done, under the circumstances.

He presided over MU (in 1993) when student enrolment was 5,000 and left in 2004 when the population was surging to more than 15,000.

He emphasised the use of information communication technologies in almost all the institutions he had been involved in and sent many academic staff on exchanges to boost research and innovation. Now, more African universities engage in ground-breaking research.

So, he proceeded to accept his recognition and make his acceptance speech, which was mostly about gratitude.

Ssebuwufu, 74, who is currently the chancellor at Kyambogo University and the vice-chancellor of the University of Kisubi, is credited for his exemplary leadership and pragmatic methods that have shaped higher education in Uganda and Africa as a whole.

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Japan Africa Dream Scholarship (JADS) Program 2021/2022



Japan Africa Dream Scholarship (JADS) Program 2021/2022. Photo credit: AfDB

The Japan Africa Dream Scholarship (JADS) Program is a capacity building project by the AfDB and Japan which was initiated in 2017 with the aim of providing two-year scholarship awards to highly achieving African graduate students to enable them to undergo post-graduate studies (i.e. a two-year Master’s degree program) in selected priority development areas on the continent and Japan. The overarching goal the AfDB and the Government of Japan seek to attain is to enhance skills and human resources development in Africa in under the Bank’s High 5s agenda (i.e. “Feed Africa”, “Light up Africa”, “Industrialize Africa”, “Integrate Africa” and “Improve the quality of life of the people of Africa”) and key Japanese development assistance initiatives. JADS core areas of study focus include energy, agriculture, health, environmental sustainability, and engineering. The program also seeks to promote inter-university collaboration and university-industry partnerships between Japan and Africa. Upon completion of their studies, the JADS scholars are expected to return to their home countries to apply and disseminate their newly acquired knowledge and skills in the public and private sectors, and contribute to national and continental socio-economic development.

About the JADS program

The JADS Program is open to applicants from AfDB member countries with relevant professional experience and a history of supporting their countries’ development efforts who are applying to a graduate degree program in energy development and related discipline.  The program does not provide scholarships to any other graduate degree program.

The scholarship program provides tuition, a monthly living stipend, round-trip airfare, health insurance, and travel allowance.

Upon completion of their studies, the beneficiary scholars are expected to return to their home countries to apply and disseminate their newly acquired knowledge and skills, and contribute to the promotion of sustainable development of their countries.

Who is Eligible to Apply?

The program is open to those who have gained admission to an approved Masters degree course at a Japanese partner university. Candidates should be 35 years old or younger; in good health; with a Bachelor’s degree or its equivalent in the energy area or related area; and have a superior academic record. Upon completion of their study programs, scholars are expected to return to their home country to contribute to its economic and social development.

Application Procedures

  1. Applicant requests for information and application forms and procedures from the chosen JADS partner university. For any inquiries, please contact JADS@AFDB.ORG
  2. Applicant completes required documents and sends them to the university.
  3. University evaluates and selects applicants.
  4. University sends selected candidates to the AfDB.
  5. AfDB reviews submissions from universities, prepares and approves the final list.
  6. AfDB contacts selected awardees, and informs the universities.

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WHS Regional Meeting Africa 2021: Finance Chairperson’s Update



Prof. Tonny J. Oyana, Finance Chairperson, World Health Summit Regional Meeting Africa, June 2021.

SOPs: Our plan is to have 200 sets of people in different spacious rooms…

Prof. Tonny j. oyana, finance chairperson whs regional meeting africa

We are sincerely grateful to our sponsors…

Over 15 core sponsors…

Sessions: 60% Virtual, 40% Onsite…

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