The Higher Education Resource Services-East Africa (HERS-EA) Third Academy got off to a flying start on Monday, 1st July 2019 with women leaders drawn from various institutions in Uganda and abroad being urged to let go of all burdens so as to soar professionally and academically. Set to be held under the theme: Enabling you soar to new heights, the week-long academy got off with an opening ceremony presided over by the Vice Chancellor, Makerere University, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe and a keynote address delivered by Prof. Judith White, Former President and Executive Director, HERS-USA.
Welcoming participants and facilitators to the opening ceremony, HERS-USA Alumnus and HERS-EA Coordinator, Ms. Naomi Lumutenga could not help but express the inner joy that came with holding the Third Academy. This, she noted, was a giant leap forward from the humble beginnings of the East Africa Chapter in 2014 as an affiliate of HERS based in Denver, Colorado, USA.
HERS-EA provides intensive residential leadership and management development training focused on women, mainly in higher education institutions and administration. “This week, you will listen to presentations by seasoned women who have a wealth of knowledge and experience but above all else, they are willing to share it freely” added Ms. Lumutenga.
The HERS-EA coordinator further urged participants to view the Academy as a space to develop ‘take home’ skills as well as think through a leadership project, which will be nurtured and refined at the Academy and hopefully, be implemented at their home institutions. “To help you keep record of this, you will be issued with a journal to use during the week and we hope that you will continue to update it when you leave the Academy.”
The curriculum for the Third Academy will be broken down into the three main areas of; Institutional Development which will cover managing and leading change among other topics as well as Personal Development with topics such as professional women’s economic empowerment through enterprise development and management for profit maximization. The curriculum will thirdly cover Networking, with sessions on personal growth and professional development and many others.
Addressing the gathering, the Chairperson HERS-EA Dr. Ruth Muwazi whose enthusiasm outweighed the fact that she had retired from Makerere University service in 2018, shared that her organisation was committed to raising the proportion of women in leadership and managerial positions in Higher Education Institutions, the same way she and a few others were empowered.
“We want to be a resource for developing women leaders in Higher Education and other Institutions” she enthused. “Our HERS cohort that trained in South Africa was helpless until Prof. Margaret Khaitsa, Dr. Florence Wakoko-Studstill and Ms. Naomi Lumutenga came along and brought us together to form HERS-EA. I may be a little soft spoken but HERS has taught me that no matter what your character is, you are a fighter” added Dr. Muwazi in encouragement.
Delivering his address at the Third Academy, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe thanked Prof. Judith White, Amb. Dr. Gennet Zewide, from Ethiopia, and other facilitators for flying thousands of kilometres to Uganda, so as to empower women leaders in higher education at no cost.
“I also thank Prof. Margaret Khaitsa, Dr. Florence Wakoko-Studstill and Ms. Naomi Lumutenga for being patriotic by leaving the comfort of the Diaspora in the USA and UK to come to their roots and empower women leaders and contribute to socioeconomic transformation in East Africa” added Prof. Nawangwe.
The Vice Chancellor noted that more than thirty years ago, Makerere University took the step to address gender imbalance at the institution by introducing affirmative action, which awarded an additional 1.5points to females who qualified for admission.
“When I came to Makerere University there was no female member of staff and only one female student in the then Faculty of Technology” noted the Vice Chancellor, adding that ratios had significantly improved since then.
“We have therefore made a contribution to addressing the gender imbalance not only at Makerere University but also the entire country. It is not an easy task to erase the injustices of gender imbalance that have been practiced over time but we are aware that we need to do more and are committed” added Prof. Nawangwe.
He further reassured HERS-EA of Makerere University’s support in as far as training women leaders for socioeconomic transformation is concerned. “The only way we will emancipate our people from poverty is by ensuring that the gender that makes up the majority of our population is empowered to make a greater contribution to our countries’ economic development.”
Kicking off her address, the energetic Prof. Judith White who made use of a number of props shared that there was no better way to commemorate one year since retiring as Executive Director of HERS-USA than to deliver the keynote at the HERS-EA Third Academy hosted by Makerere University.
“Today we have an incredible assembly of wonderful women. You all come with a story of what empowered you and HERS will give you a chance to think about how to exercise leadership in the institutions you come from; you are now part of HERS’ soaring sisterhood” exuded Prof. White.
Prof. White’s keynote address then took on a historical tone for she deemed it was important that “we all need to think about our relationships in terms of history.” She then took her audience back to 1972; a turning point in her life marked by three events namely; the passing of Title IX, the founding of HERS and her graduation from Princeton University.
The passing of Title IX; a comprehensive federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, as part of the education amendments of 1972 in the USA mandated the delivery of education to women such as Prof. White and people of colour. As such, she was able to ‘legitimately’ graduate along with the last group of men in the hitherto male-dominated graduation since the University’s founding in 1746.
Citing Women of influence, Women of vision: a cross-generational study of leaders and social change by Astin Helen and other authors, gave a sneak peek into the categories of women such as; Instigators and Inheritors whom she would expound more on during her sessions on Personal Development. She then went on to share some valuable lessons learnt over thirteen years of interaction with over two thousand women at HERS.
“You have to be strong” she started off, before quickly adding. “Make sure that you are using your strengths in ways that you want or else others will use your strengths in ways that they want.”
“Soaring takes sight” she continued on to the second lesson. “Soaring takes vision, insight and foresight. Whatever goes up does not stay up forever; it must come down. Plan for a soft landing: you don’t plan for if it happens; for it surely will, plan for when it happens. You want to always have a soft landing”
She then went on to tackle the third and possibly most important lesson. “Flight takes lightness; a lightness of spirit. You will have scars, sad moments and feeling that you have been let down, betrayed and not properly appreciated. The best way to stay light, to take the burden away is to share. Find other women with whom to soar… it is by finding strong women to surround yourself with that you will soar,” concluded Prof. White, the audience simultaneously according her rapturous applause.
The barriers to female advancement in higher education are not the preserve of developing countries. Nevertheless factors like strong cultural influence, segregation according to caste, socioeconomic background and institutional biases make them more endemic in Africa and Asia. There was therefore no better candidate to deliver a presentation on the aforementioned than Amb. Dr. Gennet Zewide, who has in the past served as Ambassador of Ethiopia to India; Chair Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE) and Minister of Education for Ethiopia.
Dr. Zewide whose PhD focused on the impact of education on women appreciated the role of FAWE in mentoring her as a female professional and underscored the importance of successful senior career women in uplifting their junior peers. She noted that the mindset of women not being decision makers was so entrenched in society, that in her personal experience, she rejected the first callup to serve as Minister of Education for Ethiopia, only agreeing after a few weeks of dealing with her deeply rooted fears. She went on to serve as Minister for thirteen years between 1992 and 2005.
Citing the caste system of India the former Ambassador of Ethiopia to India from 2006 to 2016 observed that women in certain jurisdictions face even greater barriers in advancement in higher education due to belonging to particular certain caste. She noted that it is important that affirmative action trickles even further down in such societies.
Borrowing from personal experience as a former academic and mother, she shared that society unknowingly expects women to not only perform as per their job descriptions but to also excel in order to be recognized. “As a mother, I had to bring my two daughters to my workplace whenever I had classes to teach in the evening and keep checking that they were doing their home work. I also had negotiated with students of my early morning classes to push them into mid morning because as a mother, I could not make it to work early enough!”
Dr. Zewide therefore urged the women to use their job placements to break the stereotypes of men as sole breadwinners and women as only being capable of home keeping. “I found it hard to convince my daughter who was in Grade 3 at the time that I had to work because her school textbooks portrayed women solely as the nurses, maids, cleaners and not bread winners. As soon as I became Minister, I made sure that this stereotype was changed in our children’s textbooks.”
Makerere University enjoys a good reputation as the champion of gender mainstreaming in the region. Delivering a presentation on Gender Mainsteraming: Situation analysis of the host university, the Director Gender Mainstreaming Directorate (GMD), Dr. Euzobia Mugisha Baine shared that Makerere’s first women studies programme was launched in 1991. This was however not without incidence as the first cohort was constantly asked why they were studying women.
Dr. Mugisha Baine however noted that rather than offend, this lingering question brought to light the need to progress from simply teaching and conducting research about women and gender to promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment in Makerere University.
“The Gender Mainstreaming Programme was approved by Senate and Council in 2001 and since 2000, institutionalization of gender as a cross cutting theme, has been a priority area in the University’s Strategic Plans” added Dr. Mugisha Baine.
On the research and innovation front, the Director noted that Makerere’s Gender Mainstreaming Programme (GMP) supports gender focused research and publications. She noted that although publishing in high impact journals lends credence to Makerere as an academic institution, research that leads to socioeconomic transformation was increasingly being promoted as part of institutional relevance to society. “This is where our Gender Mainstreaming Programme links up well with the HERS-EA model to bridge the gap between women in higher education and those at the grassroots.”
Dr. Mugisha Baine further noted that Makerere University was one of the institutions that was compliant with the Public Finance, Management Act because it is keen on addressing gender and equity concerns in the budget making processes. “We however have to go beyond simply budgeting and ensuring that gender-specific interventions are seen to their successful end.”
The HERS-EA Third Academy will run until Saturday, 6th July 2019, where participants will on the final day of training, be tipped on the how to land that much-desired job.
Article by Public Relations Office.
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Ambassador of Sweden to Uganda calls for full involvement of men and boys in achieving Gender Equality
The Ambassador of Sweden to Uganda Her Excellence Maria Håkansson has emphasized the need to fully engage men and boys in all the initiatives geared towards achieving Gender Equality in Uganda and other parts of the world. She said this on 28th November 2023 at a press conference organized by the Embassy of Sweden in close collaboration with Makerere University Gender Mainstreaming Directorate, UN Women and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to unveil the National Orange Pledge campaign and officially launch the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.
The press conference was headlined by a Ugandan rapper and record producer Daniel Lubwama Kigozi, popularly known by his stage name Navio and his fellow from Sweden Jason Michael Bosak Diakité popularly known as Timbuktu. Over 200 students both male and female from Makerere University and other institutions of higher learning attended the press conference at Makerere University Rugby Grounds.
According to Her Excellence Maria Håkansson, Gender Equality cannot be achieved without involving men and boys to take their responsibilities and be the drivers of change. “For real change to happen, we need to change attitudes and norms that might cause Gender Based Violence, one of the social ills in Uganda and an extreme of gender inequality that occurs at all levels of society,” she said.
Referring to the national survey conducted in 2020, the Ambassador was concerned about the escalating burden of gender based violence in Uganda when she said, “the Survey highlighted that 95% of women and girls experience physical or sexual violence since the age of 15.”
She therefore emphasized the Global 16 Days of Activism as key international movement to increase awareness and advocate for an end to Gender Based Violence. The Ambassador also mentioned that preventing and responding to Gender Based Violence is a cornerstone for Sweden’s commitment to promote democracy, human rights and gender equality and this is done as an investment in a society that upholds the principles of equality, dignity and justice.
She acknowledged the full participation of university students in all campaigns and activities geared towards achieving gender equality as well as ending Gender Based Violence when she said, “You are the leaders of tomorrow and you have an opportunity to build a future where everyone can thrive. So please use today to take an active stand against Gender Based Violence.”
Every year Uganda joins the rest of the world to enhance the global campaigns on 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence and also add a voice to the call for an end to violence against women and girls. These campaigns run from 25th November (the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) until 10th December of the Human Rights Day.
The United Nations Secretary-General’s UNiTE by 2030 initiative calls for global action to increase awareness, galvanize advocacy efforts and share knowledge and innovations to help end all types of violence against women and girls. This year 2023, the UNiTE campaign theme is; Invest to Prevent Violence against Women & Girls.
Over the years, Makerere University through its Gender Mainstreaming Directorate and School of Women and Gender in partnership with UN Women and many other partners have been at the fore front to support the campaign on 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence in Uganda. This has been done through debates, theatre forums, student dialogues, thematic artistic presentations, media exposures, drama and music skits presentation, and student peer led discussions and quarterly competitions.
This year 2023, the University in partnership with the Embassy of Sweden, UN Women and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) unveiled the Orange Pledge. According to Eric Tumwesigye the Senior Gender Specialist at Makerere University Gender Mainstreaming Directorate, this campaign calls upon government, policymakers, activists, civil societies, academicians, students and all members of community from all parts of the country to make their heartfelt pledges towards ending Gender Based Violence in Uganda and the rest of the world.
The UN Women Country Representative Paulina Chiwangu recognized the investment Makerere University, the Embassy of Sweden and UNFPA have made to end violence against women and girls. “Thanks to our collective efforts, the silence that used to shroud violence against women has now been broken” said.
In the same spirit, she acknowledged the progress Makerere University has made in establishing and implementation of the University’s Policy and Regulations against Sexual Harassment to protect students and staff from potential abuses of power and conflict of interest. She also applauded the increased support and training for students and the strengthened mechanisms for investigations that allow students and staff to anonymously report sexual misconduct.
“We are however, aware that despite this, sexual harassment is still happening in the university and that not many students report to the authorities when they experience it. It is therefore, our humble appeal to the university leadership to continue monitoring the implementation of the Policy and Regulations Against Sexual Harassment, take all allegations of sexual harassment and violence seriously, ensure that all personnel have information on available support services and take action to ensure that perpetrators are held accountable.”
Reaffirming the University’s position in fighting GBV and particularly sexual harassment, the Vice Chancellor of Makerere University Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe was highlighted the various measures Makerere University has put in place to prevent and respond to Gender Based Violence. To him, the Policy and Regulations against Sexual Harassment; the appointment and capacity building for the Vice Chancellor’s Roster of 100 eminent people from the various colleges and administrative units; recruitment and training of the Gender Mainstreaming Programme Student Peer Trainers and setting up Sexual Harassment Investigation Committees are bigger milestones to celebrate.
He appreciated the move by the Gender Mainstreaming Directorate and all the partners to embrace entertainment and artistry as a critical advocacy and awareness tool to reach several communities especially the youth.
“We firmly believe in the transformative power of music and the arts in promoting social change. Music and art does serve as a powerful medium to advocate for the world free from violence especially violence against women,” said to Mr. Dainel Alemu, the UNFPA Deputy Country Representative.
“It is heartening to see artists like Navio taking a stand and using their influence to challenge harmful norms. As we revel in the beats and melodies, let us not forget he underlying message that everyone , regardless of gender, has a role to play in fostering a world where everyone is free from shackles of gender based violence,” he added.
Speaking at the Press Conference at Makerere University Rugby Grounds, Navio said that for the 20 years he has been an activist of Gender Based Violence, he has faced the reality of many young girls and women in Uganda being victims of sex and physical abuse. He therefore sent a huge condemnation to men especially artists that who are perpetrators of Gender Based Violence and called for serious government action and clear policies and laws against such injustices.
Navio applauded the women and men who have stood tall over the years to fight against Gender Based Violence in Uganda when he said, “ As we launch the 16 days activism in Uganda and through these pledges we are making, let us be accountable for our actions. For long in our cultures, men have considered force and violence as power and protection. They have been tough to their children hence instilling fear to the extent that the children cannot freely interact with them on serious matters such as abuse and torture.”
He applauded all families that have adopted the new parenting model of free conversations and interaction hence encouraging children to freely open up whenever they have challenges. Navio also acknowledged the role of his mother Mrs Maggie Kigozi as a human rights activist and a champion in fighting against Gender Based Violence in Uganda.
Jason Michael Bosak Diakité popularly known as Timbuktu from Sweden appreciated the wider platform provided by the music industry globally for artists to act as role models and champion of change. The rapper highlighted the need to respect women for their roles and support towards community development.
“I am a son and it is extremely important for me to respect my mother and all women. Also being a father to a beautiful daughter, I am always eager and looking forward to seeing the best future for her. I want daught to grow up in the world where she is able to feel safe and be allowed to freely associate without being discriminated or threatened because of her gender,” he said.
Scholars & Alumni of Mastercard Foundation light up Achukudu Community, Napak District
By Bernard Buteera
On Saturday 2nd December 2023, all roads led to Achukudu Community Primary School in Napak District, Karamoja sub-region, as the Scholars and Alumni of Mastercard Foundation at Makerere University commemorated their Scholars’ Annual Day of Community Service (Giveback). The 2023 Scholars Annual Day of Community Service was held at Achukudu Community Primary School, Napak District in the Karamoja sub-region. Established in 2013, Achukudu Community School serves two ethnic communities—The Iteso and Karamojong.
With a total population of 1,097 pupils only three government-paid teachers, and nine community-paid teachers, the School faces a plethora of challenges. Key among the challenges is the lack of Classrooms, decent Ventilated Pit Latrines, and Desks. Therefore when the Scholars identified the School as one that deserved to be given a gift of a classroom block, it was a befitting choice!
The Scholars with support from the alumni, the Program Team, Members of the Steering Committee, and partners of the Scholars Program at Makerere University intervened by constructing a two-classroom block, which was supervised by one of the alumni who is an Engineer. Alongside the classroom block, the Scholars also provided 40 desks, helping the school meet UNEB Center eligibility criteria.
While presiding over the event, the area member of Parliament, Hon. John Bosco Ngoya, thanked the Scholars and alumni community at Makerere University for supporting the young pupils of Achukudu Primary School and the entire community by gifting them with a two-classroom block.
“Thank you Scholars and alumni of Mastercard Foundation at Makerere University for the Christmas gift of a classroom block to the young people and the entire community of Achukudu. This classroom block will go a long way in improving the learning environment of the young children of Achukudu primary school.” Hon. Ngoya pointed out.
Hon. Ngoya called upon other people to emulate the Scholars and alumni of the Mastercard Foundation in embracing the spirit of giving back to the vulnerable people in the community. On his part, he donated One Million Five hundred shillings (1,500,000/=) to help the School purchase more desks, and he had earlier contributed One million shillings (1,000,000/=) towards the construction of the classroom block.
The District Education Officer (DEO) for Napak District, Ms. Joyce Nakoya, praised the Scholars Community for embracing and practicing the spirit of giving back to other people at an early age.
“Thank you Scholars and alumni of the Mastercard Foundation at Makerere for embracing the spirit of giving back to other people at such an early age. If all people gave back to the less privileged in our communities, we would have a better world for everyone.” Ms. Nakoya pointed out.
Ms. Nakoya further pointed out every child deserves to study in a decent environment, therefore it was a befitting cause for the Scholars to construct a classroom block for the young pupils of Achukudu community primary school, who were studying in open grass thatched classrooms.
The Program Manager of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at Makerere University, Ms. Jolly Okumu who led the team of Scholars, alumni, and staff to Karamoja thanked the community of Achukudu for supporting the Scholars to deliver the class block by contributing to the construction sand.
“We come here today to join with you as a community driven by a shared commitment to education, empowerment, and ethos of giving back. Today is a historic occasion as we celebrate the completion and commissioning of the classroom block, which is a remarkable testament to the transformative power of education and our unwavering spirit of community service.” Ms. Jolly remarked.
The President of the Scholars Association, Mr. Godfrey Okello, thanked all the Scholars and alumni, and all stakeholders who contributed to the construction of the classroom block, which was a dream that became a reality.
“I would like to thank my colleagues and people of goodwill who supported us to realize our dream of constructing this classroom for our young brothers and sisters of Achukudu Primary School. Together we can make a difference in the lives of our fellow young people in Uganda and Africa as a whole.” Mr. Okello remarked.
The Headteacher of the School, Mr. Eryebu Raymond, who was visibly very excited was full of praises for Scholars and alumni of the Mastercard Foundation, for what he termed as an iconic classroom block they had gifted to his School.
“This day is very special to us, we will not see this day again. We are delighted to receive the Scholars and alumni of Mastercard Foundation from Makerere University, thank you for considering supporting our School” Mr. Eryebu excitedly remarked.
The Headteacher revealed that one of the major challenges the school was facing was an acute shortage of classrooms for his 1,097 pupils. He was therefore grateful to Mastercard Foundation Scholars for choosing to construct a two-class block for the School.
“This donation of a classroom block and Desks is a testament to your commitment to education and empowering the lives of the vulnerable people in the community. This classroom block and desks will go a long way in improving the quality of teaching and learning at our school.” Mr. Eryebu further remarked.
The 2023 Scholars Annual Day of Community Service (Giveback) was punctuated with a lot of joy, pomp, and fanfare, as the pupils and the entire community of Achukudu danced and ululated at the commissioning of the classroom block. The construction of the classroom block and purchase of desks for Achukudu Community Primary School was made possible by generous contributions by the Scholars, alumni, the Program Team, and members of the Steering Committee.
Among the Partners who made financial contributions towards the class block construction included; DFCU Bank, Post Bank, URA, Katumba Estates, Footsteps Furniture Ltd, and Sion Travels Ltd.
The Scholars and Alumni Day of Community Service (Give back) is an annual event, where Scholars and alumni of the Mastercard Foundation go out into the community to give back by providing solutions to challenges that a particular community is facing. Over the years Scholars have given back to the communities in numerous ways that range from offering professional services and erecting major projects like classroom blocks.
Bernard Buteera is the Communications and Public Relations Officer of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at Makerere University.
Innovations using low cost locally available materials for point of use water treatment system unveiled
The College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT) conducted a Research Dissemination of two studies aimed at the Development of Materials for point of use water treatment systems.
The investigations were conducted by a team of researchers comprised of P. W. Olupot, H. M. Kalibbala, E. Menya, G.M. Wangi, J. Jjagwe, J. Wakatuntu, M. Turyasingura, R. Walozi, C. Kanyesigye and R. N. Kulabako.
The dissemination event held on Wednesday 29th November 2023 follows the successful completion of two MakRIF supported Research projects namely; Development of rice husk based granular activated carbon for point-of-use water treatment systems and Development of zeolite-based nanocomposite filters for drinking water treatment.
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