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The Impact of Swedish Research Collaboration with Makerere University, Uganda (2000-2020)

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The Makerere University research capacity building program supported by Sida started in 2000 running three phases to 2015 followed by the ongoing phase (Phase IV, 2015-2020). This funding has targeted the creation of research capacity and environment for Makerere University through training at Masters, PhDs and Post Doctorate levels; joint research activities among collaborating partners in Uganda and Sweden; Support to institutional reforms; infrastructural support: (ICTs and Library); Iganga-Mayuge Demographic Surveillance Site; Gender Mainstreaming and Quality Assurance.

Tremendous achievements have been registered involving the creation of an environment conducive to high-quality relevant research. Over 300 PhDs (over 30% of all the current PhDs at the university) have been trained to completion since the start of the program in 2000. The current phase has targeted training another 125 PhDs including 90 from participating public universities in Uganda (Kyambogo University, Mbarara University of Science and Technology – MUST, Gulu University and Busitema University). Curriculum for taught PhD has been developed in Mathematics at Makerere University and 20 students are registered on this curriculum. Other taught PhD curriculum has been supported in three colleges at Makerere University and all participating public universities. More than 200 supervisors at Makerere University and participating public universities have undergone training in quality supervision.

The publication profile of the university has greatly improved during the period of support from 72 in 2001 to over 382 in 2011 publications per year (Bunting et al. 2014). The current output is at more than 1000 publications as per citation indices. Most of the research considered in international citation databases is of very high impact. In addition to improved publication output, the PhD output has greatly improved from less than 20 PhDs graduating per year in 2000 to more than 70 PhDs graduating each year as of 2018. Of most significance in relation to knowledge generation is the tremendous networks that got ignited for the institution. The university is among the top 100 universities in the world in terms of connectivity with other top institutions, according to scimago (an agency that aggregates science evaluation resources).

In terms of equity, the Sida support targeted gender mainstreaming in the institution. This support to gender has moved the terrain to near level in students’ enrolment and generated some significant variation in staff ranks. In addition, the support to gender has spurred interest from other agencies like the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the MasterCard Foundation who have offered scholarships targeting female students.

Infrastructural support to the University Library, Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and the Iganga Mayuge Demographic Surveillance Site have generated multiplicative benefits that will make it easy for future increments in the intervention. Some of the infrastructure and equipment to this end is available for use by other people inclined to the purpose of these establishments. For instance the university library is the National Referral Library and National Legal Repository.

The collegiate system at Makerere University was developed as a result of a reform process that was supported in the third phase of the Sida funding. The reforms in Research, Administration and Finance saw the development of the University’s Organizational Manual as well her Research Manual. These documents guide all officers of the university in ensuring the provision of quality services to her stakeholders especially students at the university. The quality assurance regime at the university has been greatly impacted with the institutionalization of mechanisms to support compliance to national standards as well international practices. Such mechanisms include self-assessment, tracer studies, tracking of graduate students and student evaluation of courses and teaching. Support in the current phase has seen the inauguration of the University Press with 6 inaugural books in 2019.

The Sida support has generated benefits that, in the university’s consideration, are beyond what could be expected in such a small span of time. The base for illuminating on this view is from the aspirations that university had in the year 2000 at a time when it was developing its strategic plan for the period 2000-2005. An assessment of the prevailing situation at the time of planning clearly indicated the state of affairs that university wanted to overcome; especially the state of research and that of infrastructure.

However, despite the tremendous achievements outlined in this report, there are still some areas that call for more work, and therefore it is still a work in progress. Of significance are: delays in completion rates of PhD training, an imbalance in funding between the humanities and science based disciplines, inadequate incentives for research and the infancy of partnerships in participating public universities. The inclusion of other participating public universities came towards the second half of the period of review, with inadequate intensity of activities. The collaboration with these universities mainly centred around PhD training, and yet insufficient capacity has been built in these universities as the project winds up. This then raises a level of uncertainty on how these universities will continue on their own in strengthening this training.

That notwithstanding, the impact of Sida is perhaps best told by some of the beneficiaries in explaining how this support has transformed them at both a personal and institutional level. Some of these beneficiaries have gone on to hold leadership positions such as becoming Vice Chancellors; Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe – Makerere University, Prof. Celestino Obua – MUST, Prof. Eli Katunguka – Kyambogo University and Prof. Paul Waako – Busitema University. This partnership successfully brought these Vice Chancellors and consequently their universities to work together towards enhancing research capacity in Uganda. This publication brings you their voices. In addition are the voices of other beneficiaries including College Principals and Heads of Department.

Please Click Here for the full report

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UNMA Advisory on Agriculture and Food Security Jun-Aug 2021

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A male researcher inspects a maize cob in a demonstration plot on 13th August 2010 at the Makerere University Agricultural Research Institute Kabanyolo (MUARIK), Wakiso Uganda.

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.

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4th Call For Applications: MURBS Departmental Ambassadors

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URBRA’s Mrs. Ritah Nansasi Wasswa (2nd L) assisted by Ag. University Secretary-Mr. Yusuf Kiranda (L) hands over a plaque of recognition to Outgoing Trustee-Ms. Dorothy Nannozi Kabanda (2nd R) as Incoming Trustee-Ms. Franco Angida Mugyema (R) applauds during the MURBS Board Handover on 26th March 2021.

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.

Eligibility

  1. Must be employed by the University on permanent terms
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

Confirmation/Approval Process

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.

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Chair Council Communication on Closure of Makerere University

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An older photo of the Main Building, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda as seen from across the Freedom Square. Date taken: 22nd October 2012.

7th June 2021

All Members of Staff
All Students and Stakeholders
Makerere University

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.

Yours sincerely,

Lorna Magara (Mrs.)
Chairperson, Makerere University Council

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