At their advent on the Uganda-Kenya frontier in the late 80s and early 90s, many saw Boda-Bodas as a heaven-sent remedy to all the transport bottlenecks facing petty traders operating between the two East African Community (EAC) nations. One of Uganda’s celebrated musicians, Elly Wamala, in fact dedicated a song entitled “Boda-Boda” in praise of their great work.
Fast-forward to the present day, these two wheeled taxis are to Uganda’s urban centers what yellow taxis are to New York. Looking at Uganda’s road safety statics, it is also true to assert that they have become to Uganda a cause of the loss of many lives. Over 3,000 people are estimated to die in road crashes annually in Uganda and 28% of these are cyclists. Worse still, more than half of all road traffic deaths are attributed to vulnerable road users namely; Pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. Boda-Boda cyclists have also become infamous for being accomplices in many crimes, having very poor entrepreneurial skills and are classified as a high risk group for HIV/AIDS, pneumonia and other respiratory diseases.
At Makerere University, we are alive to the fact that road safety is a shared responsibility. Therefore, with the help of the Research and Innovations Fund (RIF) from the Government of Uganda, Makerere University has embarked on a project codenamed Enhancing Behavioural Change of Boda-boda Riders in Uganda Using Mobile Learning (EBoML) .
This project aims at using innovations that spur lifelong learning on-the-go. This will involve learning on smartphones based on the fact that Boda-boda riding is “nomadic” in nature. The high rate of smartphone penetration in both urban centres and rural commercial zones is another factor likely to boost the chances of success of this project.
Research conducted by Paul Wanume and others in 2019 showed that over 50% of the male youths aged between 18 and 35 years in Uganda are employed in the Boda-boda industry. It therefore goes without saying that the absence of mobile innovations that aim at facilitating behavioral change education among these people will only have a multiplier effect on the worrying death rates that have become a common attribute of the Ugandan roads.
To help address this, a Public Dialogue was organised under the auspices of the College of Education and External Studies (CEES) on Thursday 27th February, 2020. The event was attended by distinguished officials and stakeholders from the Ministry of Works and Transport, Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, the Uganda Police Force, Makerere University, Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA), Kampala Capital City Authority, Leadership from Namayingo Town Council, Officials from RIF and Representatives of Taxi Drivers, Boda-boda Riders, Owners and Spouses.
Welcoming participants to the occasion, Prof. Fred Masagazi Masaazi, the Principal CEES thanked all stakeholders for sparing precious time to attend the important event. He noted that Makerere University’s core functions are teaching and learning, research and innovations as well as knowledge transfer partnerships and networking.
“Makerere University has in the past been referred to as the Ivory Tower. However, we cannot conduct research on our own; we need partners like you the stakeholders gathered here today so that we can ask all the important questions that can help transform our communities, the Boda-Boda industry being the focus in this case” explained Prof. Masagazi Masaazi.
Taking the case of the Uganda Police manned CCTV cameras system that is now able to monitor traffic and help apprehend perpetrators of crime, the Principal added that it was no longer possible to escape the integration of ICT in business operations.
According to Assoc. Prof. Paul Birevu Muyinda, Deputy Principal CEES and Principal Investigator (PI) of this trans-formative project, “When behavior is changed positively, sanity can return to the roads, thus reducing accidents and increasing the riders’ income through entrepreneurial skills passed on to them.”
The PI added that the three-year project has so far secured funding for the first year from RIF and urged all stakeholders to participate fully so as to ensure continuity of funding. “We have in the past built capacity to transfer knowledge to our students using eLearning and mLearning and this project is an opportunity to take important behavioural change knowledge to the communities.”
Among the activities at the Public Dialogue was a session on Continuous Professional Development and Learning conducted by ACP Charles Ssembambulidde, Assistant Commissioner/ Enforcement Directorate of Traffic and Road safety in the Uganda Police Force. He commended the initiative by Makerere University and emphasised that successful road safety strategies in all countries depend on a broad base of support and action.
Eng. Ronald Amanyire, the Secretary to the National Road Safety Council, who made remarks on behalf of the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Works and Transport, reaffirmed the central government’s resolve to support all efforts that aim at creating safe roads for all road users.
The event was crowned by a feedback session where stakeholders in the Boda-boda industry expressed gratitude for the educative session and called for a Nationwide training of all Boda-boda riders in a similar experience.
The EBoML Project will develop a Positive Behavioural Change Virtual mLearning Environment (PBC-mLE) for safe-driving, healthy-living and entrepreneurship and deploy it among Boda-Boda Riders, initially in the Districts of Wakiso and Namayingo. EBoML is just one of a multitude of other projects that have been funded under RIF to impact the Ugandan societies in our resolve to Build for the Future.
Article by Mpindi Percy Christopher, Volunteer, Mak Public Relations Office.
UNMA Advisory on Agriculture and Food Security Jun-Aug 2021
The Uganda National Meteorological Authority (UNMA) on 7th June 2021 released the seasonal rainfall outlook for the June-July-August (JJA) 2021 period. Contained in the outlook were advisories to various strategic sectors of the economy.
Particularly, the advisory to the Agriculture and Food Security sector was;
- JJA season is often part of the normal dry season in the areas of South-western, western, parts of the eastern, and central Uganda. The farming communities in these areas are therefore advised to be vigilant during post-harvest handling by considering proper drying of the harvest on clean surfaces, use of tarpaulins and drying on racks;
- Preparation of good storage facilities of produce to avoid compromising on quality and safety;
- Channeling of the run-off water into the gardens in order to maximize on the soil moisture conservation;
- For those areas where near normal to above normal rainfall is expected (most parts of northern and eastern Uganda), farmers are encouraged to continue with regular weeding, pest and disease surveillance and control;
- Due to the expected enhanced rainfall in those areas, water logging and proliferation of fungal and bacterial crop diseases are likely to occur.
- Open drainage channels around household and gardens to reduce risks from stagnant water causing damage to root tuber crops;
- Flash floods and waterlogging are highly anticipated to occur in low lying areas expected to receive enhanced rainfall such as Katakwi and Kapelebyong. Therefore, communities are encouraged to keep watch over their crops, animals and property;
- In Karamoja sub-region, where wetter conditions are expected, the pastoral communities are advised to diversify into boosting the production of cereals (sorghum, millet, and maize), beans, and ground nuts and sustain pasture availability for livestock.
Please see Downloads for the detailed outlook.
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
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