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Hon. Justice Owiny-Dollo Launches Gender Equality Reports and Toolkit for Practitioners

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The Deputy Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo has appealed to academia to unpack for the community, the aspect of gender equality as enshrined in the Uganda Constitution. This was at the launch of the Gender Equality reports and a tool kit for gender equality practitioners on Wednesday, 10th April 2019 at the School of Food Technology, Nutrition and Bio-engineering Conference Hall, Makerere University.

Makerere University School of Women and Gender Studies (SWGS) and the University Forum on Governance (UNIFOG) conducted two studies to enrich the knowledge system around gender equality legal and policy framework in Uganda under the Gender Equality Project (GEP).  Funded by the Democratic Governance Facility (DGF), the studies were conducted primarily to inform improvement in gender equality laws and policies by identifying the pros and cons in existing gender equality laws, policies and provide recommendations for improvements. The two studies then informed the development of a toolkit on gender equality indicators, results and measurement.

Hon. Justice Alfonse Owiny-Dollo (2nd Right) assisted by Executive Secretary UNIFOG-Mr. Bruce Balaba Kabaasa (Right) autographs the Reports and Toolkit as Vice Chancellor-Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (Left) and PI GEP-Assoc. Prof. Sarah Ssali witness

The three items launched included;

1.    The Political Economy Analysis of Gender Equality Legislative Framework in Uganda
2.    A Matrix and Analysis of the Gender Equality Laws and Policies in Uganda
3.    And, Toolkit for Gender Equality Practitioners

In a keynote address on the Gender Equality Legislative Framework in Uganda – Strength, Gaps and Opportunities for Attainment of Holistic Gender Equality, the Principal Investigator, GEP-Assoc. Prof. Sarah Ssali mentioned that Uganda has a legal and policy framework conducive for advancing gender equality although the challenge still lies in implementation.

The Dean, School of Women and Gender Studies and Principal Investigator GEP-Assoc. Prof. Sarah Ssali delivers the keynote address

“This is among others caused by lack of deeper analysis of causes of gender disparity and addressing them. The Domestic Violence Act is for example a good gender law but without economic empowerment of women, rarely will the female victims report their breadwinners. The research helps in identifying these gaps and proposing ways of bridging them,” she stated.

Assoc. Prof. Sarah Ssali, also the Dean School of Women and Gender Studies, Makerere University reported that there was appreciation from the communities visited that stakeholders had over sensitized on issues of Gender Equality. She added that GEP carries out continuous horizon scanning on a weekly basis for any developments on the Gender Equality terrain such as communities adopting by-laws. The findings are then mapped with the GEP objectives so as to keep the Project in tandem with national dynamics. 

Front Row: Hon Andrew Baryayanga Aja (2nd Left), Hon. Thomas Tayebwa (3rd Left) and other participants listen to proceedings at the Gender Equality Reports and Toolkit launch

Addressing participants at a highly colorful ceremony, the Deputy Chief Justice highlighted the importance of breaking down the complex terms on gender equality enshrined in the Constitution by academicians. This, he said, would help to inform the public about their rights and what the laws provide for when it comes to gender equality matters.

“It is important that this equality is unpacked and well explained. I am happy that in the Gender Equality Project, Makerere University and her partners do emphasize the equality of rights, voices and opportunities for all, which is a contribution to unpacking the aspects of equality as enshrined in our constitution,” he said.

The Head DGF, Mr. Wim Stoffers (2nd Right), DGF staff and other participants listen to proceedings

Justice Owiny-Dollo noted that the 1995 Constitution in Article 21 proclaims equality for all persons. Since the promulgation of the Constitution in 1995, Uganda has registered commended gains in empowering hitherto marginalized group especially the women, youth and persons with disabilities.

“Some of the admirable developments in Uganda is that these critical social groups are now legally part of the decision-making processes at various levels of Government. Thanks to legal provisions for their representation in Parliament and Local Councils,” he remarked.

Vice Chairperson of the NRM Parliamentary Caucus and Bukooli Central MP Hon. Solomon Silwanyi contributes to the discussion

He informed participants that the gains in political representation can only be a starting point in the quest for gender equality. He therefore called upon women to leverage the existing framework and conditions to achieve a society where everyone has equal opportunities in economic, social and political aspects of life.

According to the Deputy Chief Justice, equality should be a responsibility for all of those bearing any obligations to guarantee rights.  “We all read in the newspapers and most recently on social media of cases of domestic and gender based violence. Our institutions on inheritance, property ownership, rights over children still disadvantage women over men. This is what we call the underlying constraints, which unless resolved, the attainment of gender equality will remain a challenge,” he said.

The School of Women and Gender Studies' Prof. Grace Bantebya contributes to the discussion

He applauded Makerere University School of Women and Gender Studies (SWGS), the University Forum on Governance (UNIFOG) and the Democratic Governance facility (DGF) for establishing a project with effective interventions to foster gender equality.

Highlighting the tremendous role done by the DGF in promoting human rights, and enhancing access to justice in Uganda, the Head, Mr. Wim Stoffers, said that his organization is mindful of the role of Universities in shaping the discourse on democratic governance.  

The Head DGF, Mr. Wim Stoffers delivers his address. SWGS received a DGF Grant in April 2018 to implement the Gender Equality Project

He mentioned that DGF has extended support to several projects at Makerere University that aimed at contributing towards gender equality legislation in Uganda. DGF has also supported individual projects carried out by staff of the University.

“Gender is among the three crosscutting issues in the current DGF programming. There is need for all stakeholders to understand gender in a broad context beyond women, women empowerment and activism. Gender is not a women’s thing,” he said.

He commended the two reports saying that they will be key reference documents in the gender discourse.  He congratulated SWGS and UNIFOG upon the tremendous milestone. “I reiterate our commitment to supporting processes aimed at building a Uganda where citizens are empowered to engage on democratic governance and where the state upholds citizens’ rights,” he said.

Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe outlined the strides made by Makerere University in Gender Mainstreaming and Gender Equality action

The Vice Chancellor of Makerere University Prof Barnabas Nawangwe applauded the School of Women and Gender studies of the comprehensive research on gender equality.  He said that Makerere University through the School of Women and gender Studies has demonstrated strong commitment to ensure gender equality in University.

“We have put in place a well-established Gender and Mainstreaming Directorate to mainstream gender in the University functions and propel the struggle for gender justice at Makerere University and beyond. Through the School of Women and Gender Studies, we have been able to address gender and development issues from an African perspective. We introduced the affirmative action to encourage girl child education and we are recently working on the various strategies of encouraging girls to engage in STEM” he explained.

The Director, Directorate of Research and Graduate Training (DRGT) and Chairperson, GEP Steering Committee, Prof. Buyinza Mukadasi delivers his remarks

The Chairperson of the GEP Steering Committee Prof. Mukadasi Buyinza called upon the Government of Uganda, funders and all development partners to support research especially in the area of women and gender studies. He shared that the project will be further implemented in the four major regions of Uganda where the GEP has already identified and engaged with various stakeholders in twenty Districts.

The day’s proceedings were ably moderated by UNIFOG's Executive Secretary, Mr. Bruce Balaba Kabaasa who noted that findings of the reports and guidelines in the toolkit for practitioners had been informed by stakeholders from all twenty Districts and as such, were representative of a National spectrum. The GEP is implemented in the districts of: Adjumani, Apac, Arua, Gulu and Lira in the North; Kampala, Kiboga, Masaka, Mukono and Wakiso in the Central; Bugiri, Busia, Jinja, Mbale and Soroti in the East; as well as Hoima, Kabarole, Kasese, Mbarara and Rubanda in the West.

R-L: The Deputy University Secretary and Technical Advisor GEP-Mr. Yusuf Kiranda, Ms. Perry Aritua, Ms. Linda Bore and Hon. Asuman Basalirwa during the panel discussion

The function was further enriched by a Public Dialogue held under the theme: Disrupting Business as Usual; Innovating Ways of Influencing Holistic Gender Equality Legislation in Uganda.

The interactive session chaired by Mr. Kiranda Yusuf- Deputy University Secretary and Technical Advisor GEP, consisted of prominent panelists including; Ms. Linda Bore-an Advocate from High Court of Kenya, Ms. Perry Aritua-Executive Director of Women’s Democracy Network Uganda Chapter and Hon. Asuman Basalirwa-MP Bugiri Municipality. The panelists argued that changing the mindsets of society is key to the successful implementation of Gender Equality legislation.

Pastor Martin Ssempa attended the launch and contributed to the discussion on gender equality

The panelists further noted that whereas the gains made by Gender Equality legislation were evident, these all stood the risk of being eroded by demographic issues such as the rapidly growing population and the need to tackle topics like reproductive health. Furthermore, there was general consensus that there is need to unpack Gender Equality advocacy into messages that can easily be disseminated at the grassroots by legislators seeking (re-)election to the August House.

Article by Nabatte Proscovia, Mak Public Relations Office

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Rotary International President visits Mak

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The Chairperson of Council, Mrs Lorna Magara (L) presents a plaque to Rotary International President Shekhar Mehta in appreciation of his visit and invaluable service, 15th September 2021, CTF1, Makerere University.

By Hasifa Kabejja

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.

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Intentionality Key to Nurturing More Women Leaders

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The "Enhancing Women’s Participation and Visibility in Leadership and Decision-Making Organs of Public Universities in Uganda through Action Research" Phase One Study dissemination poster for the event held on 14th September 2021, CTF1, Makerere University and Online.

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.

The Director GMD, Dr. Euzobia Mugisha Baine
The Director GMD, Dr. Euzobia Mugisha Baine

 “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.  

The Executive Director, NCHE, Prof. Mary Okwakol. Courtesy Photo.
The Executive Director, NCHE, Prof. Mary Okwakol. Courtesy Photo.

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.  

The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe follows proceedings during the dissemination.
The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe follows proceedings during the dissemination.

“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.

A screenshot of the Chairperson of Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara delivering the concluding remarks.
A screenshot of the Chairperson of Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara delivering the concluding remarks.

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.

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Section Editors & Associate Editors Wanted-CABI Agriculture & Biosciences Journal

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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

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