On 4th September 2019, the Secretary General of the African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) Prof. Ernest Aryeetey launched the Centre of Excellence in Notions of Identity at Makerere University-a multi disciplinary collaborative effort involving six (6) research intensive universities in Africa.
The colorful ceremony was attended by Deputy Vice Chancellors in charge of research and academics from the member states of ARUA, researchers, management, staff and students of Makerere University, other invited dignitaries and media.
The ARUA Centre of Excellence in Notions of Identity is one of the 14 Centres of Excellences established around the world. Hosted by Makerere University, the Centre of Excellence in Notions of Identity seeks to establish, expand and deepen scholarship around the notion of identity in Africa and how it manifests, shapes and impacts on contemporary African society.
According to the Director of the Centre, Associate Professor Sarah Ssali who also doubles as the Dean School of Women and Gender Studies at Makerere University, the Centre of Excellence in Notions of Identity brings together six (6) universities dedicated to deepening scholarships and harnessing research on identities in Africa. The Universities include; Makerere University the host (Uganda), University of Ghana (Ghana) Obafemi Awolowo University (Nigeria), University of Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), University of Witwatersrand (South Africa) and University of Rwanda (Rwanda). In addition, the Centre will collaborate with eight (8) Universities in United Kingdom (UK).
“Our research will focus on knowledge production, influencing factors shaping identities, medium communicating identifies, advocacy collaborations among other areas,’ she said.
The objectives of the Centre are:
- Develop a network of African institutions and researchers engaging with the question of identity
- Share knowledge, skills and other resources between the network partners in the CoE
- Develop a research agenda in the area of Identities in Africa between network partners
- To develop an intellectual community to engage with the notion of identity in each partner university
- Build capacity to research identities in Africa in the partner universities
Speaking at the launch, the Prof Ernest Aryeetey emphasized the need for African scholars to focus on excavating African richness and beauty through African research. He appealed to ARUA member Universities to embrace new ideas and relate the notions of African identities to the different sectors of development.
“We want to understand ourselves and where we are coming from. We need to improve research across all sectors of development without neglecting the African research on the thematic areas of Climate change, Food security, Non-communicable diseases, Mobility & migration, Poverty & inequality, Unemployment & skills development, Notions of identity, Good governance, Post-conflict societies and Water conservation,” he said.
Prof. Aryeetey congratulated Makerere University upon winning the rights to host the Centre. He also applauded Makerere University Management, faculty and students for undertaking research that has developed solutions to community problems.
He urged collaborating Universities to visualize the African Research Universities Alliance as a Pan-African network that brings research and academic excellence to the fore front throughout the region by developing strong and viable research universities.
The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe welcomed the Secretary General and the Deputy Vice Chancellors in charge of research and academics from the member states of ARUA to Makerere University. Prof. Nawangwe expressed Makerere University’s commitment to work with other partners in Africa to significantly contribute to global research development.
“At Makerere University, we fully subscribe to the vison and mission of ARUA and we want to play our part in ensuring that Africa truly joins the global knowledge community,” he said.
He acknowledged the team under the leadership of Associate Prof. Sarah Ssali that worked tirelessly on the proposal to have the Centre hosted at Makerere University. In the same spirit, Prof. Nawangwe thanked the judges for finding Makerere University proposal worthy supporting. He also thanked ARUA Vice Chancellors for endorsing the recommendation for Makerere University to host the Centre.
“My sincere gratitude also goes to the Secretary General, who has continuously encouraged us and provided valuable guidance. We became active in ARUA, after the 13 Centres of Excellence had been allocated to other universities and the Centre of Excellence in Notions of Identity was the one hanging. I said what an opportunity! We quickly applied for the opportunity to host the center,” he narrated.
During the ceremony, the congregation listened to an informative and inspirational keynote address on Unpacking Identities in Uber-Colonial Africa. The Keynote Speaker, Prof. J. Oloka-Onyango highlighted the objectives of the ARUA Centre of Excellence in Notions of Identity premised on a question; What kind of political framework is most viable for the full expression of our varied African identities?
According to Prof. Oloka-Onyango, ARUA scholars should avoid the notion of a single story during their research. He urged them to embark on exploration of the multiple positive stories of identity that abound on the continent, while also examining and critiquing the more problematic and disempowering ones.
“We must avoid the “single story,” the result of which “robs people of dignity. It makes our recognition of our equal humanity difficult. It emphasizes how we are different rather than how we are similar. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign, but stories can also be used to empower and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people, but stories can also repair that broken dignity,” said Prof. Oloka-Onyango.
On the issue of Theory, Research and Advocacy Audit, Prof. Oloka-Onyango advised ARUA scholars to develop methodological tools of analysis which suit the African local contexts. He cautioned members, against turning ARUA into a space where theories from elsewhere are imported and given free reign. He encouraged scholars to actively engage in designing and applying home-grown theory.
He appreciated the move for ARUA to embrace feminism without ifs or buts when he said, “Indeed, I would add that it is long overdue for an unapologetic embrace of the basic tenets of feminist principles in the African Academy. ARUA’s focus on Afro-feminism must point out that the situation of women is the result of several factors, the first of which is the multiple inequalities they face. The second are the structural factors embedded in the kind of political and economic systems in operation.”
The keynote address was further enriched by a panel discussion that was moderated by Mr. Yusuf Kiranda, the Acting Makerere University Secretary. The discussants included;
- Associate Prof. Rhoda Wanyenze- Dean, School of Public Health
- Dr Paul Omach-Head, Department of Political Science and Public Administration
- Associate Prof. Josephine Ahikire- Acting Principal, College of Humanities and Social Sciences
The African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA)
The African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) is a network of universities from different countries and different historical backgrounds, but with a common vision of expanding and enhancing significantly the quality of research done in Africa. Inaugurated in Dakar in March 2015, ARUA brings together sixteen (16) of the region’s leading universities with the aim of strengthening African research through effective capacity-building. Its intention reflects what Africa needs at the moment from its leading universities.
The ARUA is focusing on;
- Increasing significantly the amount of research that is being done in the 16 universities
- Expanding the graduate training activities in the 16 universities
- Research management on the African continent
- Africa’s Research advocacy
Mak Hosts Deputy VCs and Pro-VCs (Research) under the African Research Universities Alliance (ARUA)
The Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic Affairs), Dr. Umar Kakumba, hosted the distinguished Deputy Vice Chancellors in charge of research and academics, Pro-Vice Chancellors, and Directors from reputable research intensive African Universities. The two (4th -5th September 2019) days’ workshop undertaken by the Partnership for Pedagogical Leadership in Africa (PedaL) aimed at engaging the participants into a discussion on research, research funding, collaborations, setting up ARUA Centres of Excellence, and the ARUA Split-Site PhD programmes.
The participating Universities included; University of Ibadan, University of Pretoria, Stellenbosch University, Rhodes University, University of Kwazulu-Natal, University of Lagos, University of Nairobi, University of Dar Es Salaam, and Makerere University.
PedaL is a formal partnership of eight institutions that aims at embedding and catalyzing systemic change in teaching and learning practices and to maximize learning outcomes through strategic interventions in graduate social science programmes.
Guests were entertained by the Department of Performing Arts and Film.
Article by: 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