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.
Please see Downloads for the presentations
4th Call For Applications: MURBS Departmental Ambassadors
In February 2018, the Makerere University Retirement Benefits Scheme (MURBS) launched the Departmental Ambassadors Programme. MURBS hopes to use this Ambassadors Programme to engage more directly with its membership and enhance member education. MURBS further perceives this Programme as a means to mitigate succession planning risks.
MURBS Fund Value continues to grow, and as at 31st March 2021, it stood at Ushs 235.5bn as compared to Ushs 209.6bn as at 30th June 2020. Given this growth, there is increased need for prospective Trustees, who are well equipped with relevant knowledge and skills, and with practical exposure to the management and governance of MURBS.
- Must be employed by the University on permanent terms
- Must be an Active Member of the Scheme (currently contributing to the Scheme) and appear on the Official Register of the MURBS Active Membership as at 30th April 2021.
- Must be willing to commit time to trainings and other ambassadorial activities organised by the Scheme.
Mode of training for 4th Cohort of Ambassadors
Training for this (4th) Cohort of Ambassadors is envisaged to be conducted over the zoom online platform only, due to Covid-19 restrictions. The Scheme does not envisage any face-to-face interactions.
Tenure of Office & Termination or Withdrawal
There is no tenure of office for the Departmental Ambassador. As long as a member is willing to continue serving as an Ambassador, and the Ambassador continues to satisfy the eligibility criteria above, she or he will remain a MURBS Ambassador.
How to Apply
Interested members should complete the MURBS Departmental Ambassador Application Form 01-0218. The completed Form together with the requested attachments should be sent to info[at]murbs.mak.ac.ug and copy to wilber.naigambi[at]mak.ac.ug no later than 5:00 p.m. on Monday, 14th June 2021. We discourage hand delivery of applications.
MURBS shall acknowledge receipt of each application received within 12 hours and will respond to the applicants to confirm the status of their application in writing (by e-mail). Upon approval of the application, the name of the approved Ambassador together with the Department and School/Unit will be updated on the list of the MURBS Departmental Ambassadors in the Group 4 category and published on the MURBS website.
NOTE: There is no limit as to the number of ambassadors that MURBS can have in a department.
Please see Downloads for the detailed call and application form.
Chair Council Communication on Closure of Makerere University
7th June 2021
All Members of Staff
All Students and Stakeholders
RE: CLOSURE OF MAKERERE UNIVERSITY
Following the address to the Nation by H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of Uganda, on 6th June 2021, this is to inform you that the University will be closed with effect from today 7th June 2021 for 42days.
During the closure, the University shall observe a 30% physical presence of staff while other faculty and administrative staff shall continue to work online.
Management will inform staff and students on the implementation of teaching, learning, and research activities online. Construction activities shall continue as per the President’s directives and with strict adherence to the COVID-19 SOPs.
Lorna Magara (Mrs.)
Chairperson, Makerere University Council
RUFORUM: Transforming Higher Education Videos and Links
Video Series developed by Julieta Mazzola, EARTH University.
- What is Community Engagement? Video 1 of 3. https://youtu.be/etv2-W1U3O0
- Different Forms of University Engagement with the Community. Video 2 of 3. https://youtu.be/73h2p8P0BLw
- Student learning through Community Engagement. Video 3 of 3. https://youtu.be/Ule3P1-tjC4
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