The Minister of Science, Technology, and Innovations Hon. EliodaTumwesigye, has acknowledged the tremendous role played by media in bridging the communication gap that has long existed between researchers/ scientists and communities.
Speaking to journalists, communication specialists, scholars, and scientific researchers at Makerere University Annual Media Convention on 25th April 2019, the Minister said that through media and other communication channels, useful research findings and Scientific information has reached communities in a simple and understandable manner.
“The media is key to creating this link between science and society as science not communicated is science lost. Publishing findings in journals is good but the information therein never reaches the public. By reporting about scientific developments, the media contribute to public understanding of and engagement with science and technology,” he said.
According to Hon. Tumwesigye, there is need to develop strong partnerships between scientists who generate the knowledge and the media who take it to society. Similarly, scientists also need to get out of their laboratories and communicate science and scientific information in a format easy for the public to understand if they are to remain relevant to society.
He commended social media as a handy tool through which information on scientific discoveries, innovations and other breakthroughs can be communicated. He also mentioned that through social media, scientific misconceptions have been corrected and consensus on controversial science subjects have been generated.
The Minister noted that currently, Science, Technology and Innovation and more specifically Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is a central driver of all aspects of human endeavor. The World’s most revolutionary innovations are driven by ICTs which constitute the 3rd Industrial revolution and are at the Centre of the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR).
“Recently, while launching the National Task Force for the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR), H.E. President Yoweri Museveni stated that: “The primer of all social change in society is the advancement in science and technology but in order to use it well you must integrate it holistically. You should not just come in at the periphery and you think that you are going to benefit.”
The Minister was excited to learn that Makerere University had become the champion in pioneering Science Communication as part of journalism and media training. He was also grateful to know that the University had strategically recognized social media as an additional tool for advancing science communication and public engagement.
The Makerere University Annual Media Convention (AMC) 2019 was organized by the Department of Journalism and Communication, College of Humanities and Social Sciences in partnership with SciDev. Net. The event brought together journalists and media practitioners, public communication experts, policy makers and government officials, academicians, civil society and development partners, as well as journalism students across the region to discuss and propose solutions on how to improve and advance journalism and communication with a critical focus on the role traditional and social media platforms play in disseminating scientific information in society. The event was organized under the theme: Communicating Science in the Social Media Age: Sharing Technical Information from Researchers to the Media”.
According to the Head, Department of Journalism and Communication Dr. William Teyebwa, the AMC 2019 provided a platform to the leading minds in the area of communication and journalism together with scientists and researchers to deeply analyze the concept Science communication, draw frameworks on the relationship between media and research and develop strategies on how journalists can work harmoniously with scientists to help communities.
“This year, we are paying much attention to how technical information from research institutions is reported to the general public, the challenges faced and how such information is discussed in society, in an attempt to improve science communication in Uganda,” said Dr. Tayebwa.
Representing the Vice Chancellor, Dr. Umar Kakumba, the Deputy Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs said the world is driven by science and technology. “The dichotomy of the world along two economic poles, of developed and developing is mostly linked to the level of science and technology sophistication. This implies that science and technology play pivotal roles in the developing nations,” he said.
He however noted that Universities within the African Continent are producing large volumes of scientific research that has failed to serve its intended purpose of improving productivity and contributing to development due ineffective dissemination procedures.
“It is therefore important that we focus on having scientific research well disseminated using various forms of communication. The media is one of the most effective avenues for disseminating information as well as popularizing and moderating debate on issues that directly or indirectly impact the wellbeing of humanity. In this era, social media is one of the fastest and most cost-effective modes of communication that we should explore in promoting scientific research,” he remarked.
He thanked the Department of Journalism and Communication for the well thought-out theme, and called upon institutions of higher learning to pave way for the improvement of science communication and consequently contribute to scientific and technological advancement on the African Continent.
He appreciated the media for the support they have accorded Makerere University over the years. Dr. Kakumba said the media has been very instrumental in promoting Makerere University’s activities and this has greatly contributed to the visibility of University at the national and international levels.
He commended the Government of Uganda for supporting and promoting scientific research. “I thank the President for his support through the Presidential Initiative on Science and Technology that has resulted into a number of innovations that are transforming our country. I wish to let you know that the Government of Uganda in the next financial year (2018/2019), has committed UGX30 billion for research at Makerere University. With this money, Makerere University will continue to advance its research agenda as it contributes to transformation of lives.”
Addressing participants at the closing ceremony, the Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Finance and Administration, Prof. William Bazeyo described Science and Journalism as two important disciplines that make a lot of sense. “You cannot be a successful researcher if you cannot get someone to interpret your work and give it to community. Journalists have helped the people we serve to understand what we think. You are the only link between government, policy makers, and community,” he said.
The day’s theme was expounded by two keynote addresses from Prof. Emmanuel S. Dandaura- the Executive Director, Institute of Strategic and Development Communication, Nasarawa State University in Keffi Nigeria and Dr. Abraham KipropMulwo, Senior Lecturer, Department of Communication Studies at Moi University, Kenya.
Dr. Abraham KipropMulwo explained that the impact of scientific work is dependent on how effectively it is communicated. In his presentation titled, “Status and Future of Science Communication -Global and Regional Perspective”, Dr. KipropMulwo noted that public engagement with science depends on how the scientists and the public cooperate and allow people from the diverse background and varying scientific knowledge to voice their opinions in regard to scientific conversations.
“Much of Scientific research is funded through private and public resources, with the expectation that scientific work will contribute to resolving societal challenges. It is therefore important that the outcome of scientific research is effectively communicated,” he said.
Quoting Prof. Lewenstein, Dr. KipropMulwo said communicating science requires scientists to close the gap separating knowledge and belief in interacting with the public. He also mentioned that with the emergency of new media technologies, Data Centres and Research Digital Libraries (RDLs) are emerging as the pillars that support contemporary scientific communication.
“There are technologies and administrative personnel that help researchers to store, discover and share both data and publications. Furthermore, modern technological inventions such as telescopes, satellites and sensor networks help sci-tests to generate large amounts of data,” he stated.
He also noted that social media is rapidly transforming ways in which science is communicated. Previously, communicating science was a challenge to both the scientists and Science communicators. Science communication, when executed, was one way. With the inherently interactive nature of social media, communication has been made a two-way engagement process whereby scientists can receive criticism and questions from users of social media.
Dr. KipropMulwo however noted that in spite the emerging issues in development, the mainstream media and journalists in particular, remain underutilized as means of bridging the communication gap between scientists and societies within which they operate.
“The major challenge is science communication through mainstream media lacks a clear understanding of the science of science communication. It is relatively easy for scientists to communicate to their colleagues since they are aware of the information they need. The problem is when scientific information needs to be communicated to ordinary citizens. Scientists lack clear understanding of what the public wants and how to make complex scientific information simple. Moreover, the communication is mediated by journalists who still have their own interests on what to communicate,” said Dr. KipropMulwo.
In his keynote address on the “Nexus between Science, Media and Communication for Development”, Prof. Emmanuel S. Dandaura called upon media practitioners to put science into use by helping the public understand research results and make informed choices and decisions.
“Communication is what makes development happen, if people are not properly informed about scientific innovations and research, the findings will have little or no impact on society,” said Prof. Dandaura.
He noted that most of the Science Communication activities in Africa are driven by foreign based public relations firms. Prof. Dandaura also revealed to participants that most of the African Tertiary Institutions run omnibus journalism or mass communication programmes that hardly prepare the would be science journalists. He therefore made recommendations among which included;
• Regular trainings of media professionals, educators, scientists, on different aspects of sciences communication
• Integrate science communication into the undergraduates and post graduate curriculum
• Create opportunities for scientists and journalists to interact
• Understand the African agenda on science communication
• Advance science communication as a discipline within communication
• Encourage policy engaged research in the institution of higher learning
• Leverage on the new media technologies
The two keynote addresses were further enriched by two panel discussions and an interactive session. The sessions were chaired by Mr. Adolf Mbaine, DR. Charles WendoLwanga, Dr. Ivan Lukanda, Mrs Marjorie Nyitegeka, and Mr. John Baptist Imokola.
• Ms. Barbara Zawedde, National Agricultural Research Organization
• Prof. Goretti Nasanga, Department of Journalism and Communication, Makerere University
• Dr. Samuel G. Oketch, College of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Bio-security, Makerere University
• Ms. GlorriaSebikari, Petroleum Authority of Uganda
• Mr. Hillary Bainemigisha, Columnist, New Vision
• Mr. Gerald Tenywa, Senior Reporter, New Vision
• Mr. Daniel Kalinaki, Convergence Editor, Monitor Publications
• Ms. Esther Nakazzi, Science and Technology Journalist
Among the day’s proceedings was the awarding of certificates to over 30 students of Journalism and Communication who successfully completed a one-year online short course in Science Communication. The certificates were handed over to the students by the Minister of Science, Technology, and Innovations Hon. EliodaTumwesigye together with DR. Charles WendoLwanga, the Director of Script Project, ScieDev.Net.
At the same function, Daily Monitor awarded Ms. Lyn Tukei with the Tebere-Mudin Award for the overall best performing student of Journalism and Communication. Ms Lyn Tukei graduated in January 2019 with CGPA of 4.29.
Ms. Betty Musasizi won the CranimerMugerwa Award for the best performing student in photojournalism. The award is sponsored by New Vision in honour of their treasured fallen photojournalist Cranimer Mugerwa.
The Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Finance and Administration, Prof. William Bazeyo pledged to support the best Journalism and Communication student with a token of UGX 2milion starting next academic year 2019/2020.
Representing Dr. Josephine Ahikire, the Acting Principal of College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Dr. Julius Kikoma applauded the Department of Journalism for consistently organizing the Annual Media Convention for the last 20 years. He thanked the 2019 conveners Mrs. Marjorie Nyitegeka and Dr. Ivan Lukanda for the wonderful and successful event.
Dr. Merit Kabugo who represented the Dean, School of Languages, Literature and Communication commended the leadership of Journalism and Communication on the tremendous developments.
“The Department has also been very instrumental in training many media specialists that we are proud of today. The good job you are doing should be maintained or even taken a notch higher,” he said.
Article by Nabatte Proscovia, Mak Public Relations Office.
Rotary International President visits Mak
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.
Intentionality Key to Nurturing More Women Leaders
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.
“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.
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.
“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.
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.
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