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EfD-Mak Holds Policy Dialogue on L. Victoria’s Hydrology, Water Quality and Livelihoods

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Environmental economists from the Environment for Development initiative (EfD-Mak) Centre on 26th August 2020 held a policy dialogue with Jinja District Local Government officials on the theme, “Lake Victoria’s Hydrology, Water Quality and livelihoods”.

The workshop held at the Jinja District Council Hall attracted about 40 participants including the Resident District Commissioner (RDC), Chairperson Local Council Five (LCV), District Natural Resources’ Officers, officials from the Environmental Police Unit, Civil Society Organizations and the Private sector among others.

The objective of the meeting was to discuss and brainstorm on the status of the environment more especially the rising water levels on Lake Victoria and the rivers within the district, challenges faced in the management of the natural resources and identify possible solutions to mitigate environmental degradation.

In his welcome remarks, the LCV Chairman Titus Kisambira said  Jinja as an industrial district and city has had a number of environmental challenges with most of the industrialists  allocated  land tittles near the lake and investors encroaching on more land in the wetlands leading to adverse effects.

The Chairman said, the construction of industries in the wetlands and near the lake has affected the environmental pattern and water runways leading to overflooding and floating islands during heavy rainfall.

Mr. Kisambira reported that the district council took a decision and wrote to all industrialists asking them to vacate land allocated in the wetland. .

“The challenge was with us also, some of the industrialists would run to politicians to help them get titles but we have taken a firm decision as council and instructed the technical team like the land officers to prepare land titles that were acquired in the wetlands and those near the lake for cancelling immediately and all constructions made in the wetlands be destroyed to save the environment,

The Jinja District LCV Chairman, Mr. Titus Kisambira delivering the welcome remarks

At times we are let down by the technical people in terms of implementation but for us as a council we took it as a decision that whatever was done in the wetland is reversed. We have a lot of gazzetted  land which is not near the lake in Budondo, Mafubira, Busedde and Butagaya and we have advised industrialist to come and we give them land elsewhere so that they do not take away the factories but also conserve the environment”, Mr. Kisambira stated.

While opening the dialogue, the Acting RDC Lt. Alfred Musoke acknowledged that local governments were partly to blame for environmental destruction in the district..

 “There are many factories near the lake now swallowed by the lake and they were constructed after acquiring the land titles yet the policy is clear that no one should get a land title in the swampy area. So people got the land titles fraudulently and the government should come in and cancel the titles because they are destroying the environmental pattern.

All districts have environmental officers and before any construction is made, there is an environmental impact assessment report. So we wonder how those reports read because if they were done properly they would not be approved.

We should revise everything and see that the environment is protected. Very many houses in the islands have been swallowed by water. Recently the President came here because of the large floating islands had been broken up and disintegrated by people and when they moved, they entered our turbines leading the entire country to experience a total blackout when the President was expected to address the nation on the COVID-19”, Lt. Musoke reported.

As a district, the RDC said environmental officers have been sensitized on their roles and the need to enforce the law.

He said recently, environmental police did patrols on landing sites where soil had been dumped and ordered perpetrators to remove the soils as they block the movement of water.

The Acting RDC Jinja District, Lt. Alfred Musoke said environmental officers have been sensitized on their roles and the need to enforce the law.

He called upon participants to openly come up to condemn environmental degraders to protect the environment.

As head of security in the district, he condemned acts of security (UPDF and police) being used to protect destroyers of the environment saying, his office was open to receive reports of such acts for immediate intervention.

Delivering the Keynote address, the Senior Environment Officer, Jinja district Mr. Maganda Moses appreciated Makerere University for this initiative saying, it was the first of its kind in Jinja that revives and brings to light a sector that is still struggling in the country in terms of budgeting and whose impact trickles down to the Local Governments and Lower Local Governments.

Mr. Maganda commended the selection of participants for the meeting on grounds that it speaks volumes on how important they are in contributing towards the existing policies on Environment and Natural Resources in the country.

Maganda said Uganda is endowed with Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest freshwater lake and the second largest in the world by surface area measuring 68,800km2, River Nile, the longest river in the world and one of the 7 wonders of the world stretching 6,650km crossing 10 countries, streams, wetlands, a beautiful landscape with Mountains, undulating hills and valleys, Minerals in different parts of the country, the oil in the Albertine region, a rich biodiversity, and a favourable climate with an annual temp. of 26 degrees Celsius.

The environmental Officer noted that Uganda has the best policies but the problem is the implementation. He called for the strengthening the institutional capacity to implement the RIO conventions, focusing on the three conventions, UNFCCC, UNCBD, UNCCCD.

“Kenya is a step ahead in implementing the three conventions, for instance being largely a desert, Kenya is shifting from the use of biomass as a source of energy and has subsidized on the costs of natural gas so that it’s affordable to all. They have also considered importing timber from neighboring countries and keeping their biomass intact.

In Kenya, the Law banning Kaveera was enacted in 2017 following a benchmark trip made by Kenya to Uganda a year before. We enacted a law on the ban of kaveera in 2009, and ever since we have been in battles with different stakeholders on the implementation of the ban, to-date it has not come to pass. On the contrary, the Kenyans are jubilating having succeeded with the ban in a space of 2 years. The manufacturers of kaveera from Kenya were actually warmly welcomed in Uganda.

Mr. Maganda Moses (L) consults with Mr. Titus Kisambira (R) during the dialogue

But we know how much damage kaveera can has cause on our water bodies, we know tonnes of kaveera are always harvested from Nakivuubo channel and other water channels on a daily basis and all this most likely ends up in the Lake.

In Kenya, the law on protection of wetlands, riverbanks, Lakeshores, is enforced to the dot. Most of their wetlands are intact, illegal structures on the river banks have been demolished and re-planning of such areas has taken root.” Mr. Musoke stated

He told participants that as they focus on the day’s theme, they should also focus on what their contributions have been towards the existing policies on Natural Resources, how far they have been successful, where they have failed as Government, including other stakeholders such as CSOs, Academia etc , and the possible proposals for Review where necessary.

Mr. Maganda reported that this year’s theme for celebrating World Environment Day was ‘Time for Nature, with a focus on its role in providing the essential infrastructure that supports life on Earth and human development‘, that  was celebrated on the 5th of June 2020 in Colombia.

He said Uganda adopted the theme ‘Nature is speaking, Listen’, and because of the COVID-19 Pandemic, on the 5th June, 2020 an online discussion was held to celebrate the day, where the focus was on the food we eat, the air we breathe, the water we drink and the climate that makes our planet habitable, all coming from nature.

He reckoned that there would not be any other better description of the recent events that have devastated nature and humanity and threatened the livelihoods of millions of people dependent directly and indirectly on Lake Victoria than the theme itself.

The environmental officer said the volume of water in Lake Victoria has risen before and available data shows that the ever highest recorded increase was 2.5m between 1960 and 1964 though the impact to livelihoods was not as significant as it is today.

The rains that started on the 1st October 2019 he said, surpassed the last ever recorded increase and consistently went up from the 12m to the current highest level of 13.32m as of 30th April 2020.

A section of participants that attended the EfD-Mak Policy Dialogue held in the Jinja District Council Hall listen to Prof. Edward Bbaale (L)

“Of course, we have seen glaring negative impacts of the rise on people’s livelihoods, settlements, animal habitats, water quality, among many others. The population explosion around the Lake Victoria basin largely accounts for this.

Today, there’s a high affinity for land along the buffer zone of Lake Victoria, there are; numerous ungazetted landing sites, unplanned settlements, industrial hubs, illegal farming activities, non-permitted recreation facilities, and unregulated sand mining activities.” He said.

Mr. Maganda attributed the rising water levels to two major causes;

He said Global Warming is the primary cause of the current water level rise (Extreme heat events experienced on earth as a result of the depletion of the ozone layer) while human activities like, charcoal burning, cutting down trees, pollution from industries, CFCs from old fridge’s, have contributed to an increase in the atmospheric concentrations of heat trapping gasses and caused the planet to warm by 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit. The rising temperatures are warming the ocean waters, which in turn expand and cause global sea level rise.

Secondly, he said are the glaciers and ice caps that are shrinking at a faster rate in response to rising temperatures adding water to the world’s oceans and in turn other water bodies.

“So where we have no direct control over such significant causes; how can we best weigh the costs and risks of accommodating the impacts; retreating from them? Or are we instead trying to defend the properties and infrastructure with protective measures.

As a country, we have clear safeguards within the existing environmental legislation; The NEA 2019 is clear on protection of fragile areas. The National Environment (Wetlands, Riverbanks and Lakeshores management) Regulations 2000 provides for the buffering of our water bodies, lakes, 200m, rivers 100m, small rivers 30m, streams 10m. Therefore, to what extent have we referred to these regulations? He asked.

At a global scale. Maganda reported that rising waters have led to destructive and devastating effects on marine habitats, erosion, wetland flooding, and agricultural soil contamination. In Jinja and most of the neighboring districts he said, Islands have either been fully or partially submerged. e.g at the source of the Nile; Agricultural land and crops have been lost; Peoples settlements have been invaded with the rising waters and forced the affected communities to migrate.and; Factories like Sunbelt, Skyfat, LIU, Agromarines, Keswhala industries have all been flooded and are counting losses.

He further observed that Recreation facilities like Rumors, Sailing club have all been flooded; Landing sites and beaches have adversely been affected by the rising waters and it this is evident in Ripon village landing site, Masese Landing site, Wanyange and Wairaka landing sites. The beach in Wairaka is no more. In addition, the breeding ground for the aquatic life washed downstream. and lastly, we had Uganda’s Hydro-electricity production dam at Nalubaale suffering a technical set back when a big mass of land moved downstream and clogged the power system leading to a total power shutdown.

Highlighting on the challenges Mr. Maganda said first, there’s need to acknowledge the fact that there’s substantial damage that has been caused on the Natural Resources and not until when they realize the mistakes made over time as a country then shall we move forward.

A participant from Environmental Protection Unit of the Uganda Police Force (R) contributes to the day’s deliberations. Left is Dr. Anthony Tibaingana.

He said that there is also need to acknowledge the fact that much as there are several challenges facing the environment and natural resource sector, several strides have been made but  there are many gaps in the existing policies and legislation and emerging issues like oil and gas, and these have triggered new legislation in particular to address environmental concerns for example, Review of the NEMP, in 2019 after over 15 years in existence,  Review of the NEA 1995, now the NEA 2019, Presentation of the National Climate Change Bill, 2019 and now before parliament, Review of the National Wetland Policy, 2018 in a bid to safeguard the wetland resources in the country and Review of a number of Regulations in the environment sector e,g the National Environmental Audit Regulations.

He proposed the  need for  strong policies that will ensure that value is attached to natural resources noting that many of fringe wetlands, forests, have no economic value attached to them and this has always made it hard to convince policy makers especially at local government level to preserve these resources in the face of structural development.

He also proposed the need to ensure total respect for the fragile areas especially the River banks, Lake shores, and forest reserves siting Section 56 of the NEA 2019 refers to declaration of Special Conservation Areas in the country. The Kalagala-Itanda Offset area in Butagaya and Budondo and Kalagala on the Western and Eastern banks respectively of the Nile happens to be the first area under the Act to be declared a SCA and  many more areas to be declared as so and exclusively be conserved.

The environmental officer further recommended the need to ensure strong co-ordination with other MDAs so that Environmental Concerns are clearly addressed e.g, titling of fragile areas like wetlands as purely a coordination gap with the different MDAs.

He also expressed the need to cover the gap that exists on how to prevent conversion of forest land or wetlands on private land and that anybody who owns land that has such a resource should be bound to exclusively protect it and not to convert it. 

Mr. Maganda also noted that there is lack a clear and direct fund in Local governments to exclusively protect water bodies and yet local governments play a pertinent role in supervision and monitoring of compliance by the adjacent communities. He reported that LVEMP as a running project for the management of Lake Victoria and the Nile Basin Initiative that has always focused on the Nile River at policy level have played a role in empowering LLGS hence LGs need to be directly supported financially with a special fund to protect these resources.

Physical planning, he said, remains an important pillar in planning, gazetting, managing and conserving fragile areas and green spaces. The physical planning Act 2019 emphasizes taking into consideration the Environmental concerns/aspects when drawing Physical plans of particular areas. By strengthening physical planning, he noted it is possible get rid of the development scenario the country is currently embroiled in where it’s a developer to decide where to put up an industry as opposed to government planning for industrial parks or industrial hubs.

He also proposed the need to highlight and strengthen the polluter pays principle so that a developer who pollutes is responsible for paying a fee to government commensurate to the amount of pollution they have introduced into the environment. This he said is still very weak and needs to be re-emphasized.

Last but not least, the officer said there should be a deliberate mechanism at Local Government level where strict data capture, monitoring, supervision and reporting is continuously done on the activities taking place around Lake Victoria.

Director EfD-Mak Centre Prof Edward Bbaale said the EfD initiative is a global network of environmental economics research centre with 15 centres across the world in Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Kenya, Nigeria, Sweden, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, USA and Vietnam coordinated by the EfD Secretariat, a special Unit at the School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Prof. Bbaale told participants that the EfD invests in policy interaction not dissemination, Creates interfaces, targets national and Local Government policy level  and invests in professional staff development.

On the day’s policy interaction and the theme, Prof. Bbaale said the Lake Victoria Basin (LVB) is a critical transboundary natural resource, underpinning the economy and livelihoods of the population, acting as a waste repository and provides food, energy, irrigation, drinking water, tourism and transportation to the economy.

He said that being the source of the White Nile, the lake also supports the livelihoods of Egypt, Sudan and South Sudan and is the primary modulator of the region’s climate. Despite its importance, Prof. Bbaale said, the LVB has undergone intense environmental degradation for decades, resulting in significant ecological and economic challenges.

He highlighted that rapid population growth, agricultural expansion, urbanization, and industrialization have mounted extreme pressure on the lake and its basin’s ecosystems leading to the degradation of lands, and the loss of wetlands and forests.

Speaking on human activities and degradation the director said insufficient monitoring and weak enforcement of regulations on illegal- and over-fishing activities have reduced fish stocks, which threaten crucial livelihoods and food security among others.

“Climate change has also affected the basin as temperatures have consistently increased between 0.1°C and 2.5°C, based on historical data from 1920 to 2013. The LVB and its inhabitants are vulnerable to the increasing effects of climate shocks, which would likely exacerbate its environmental problems.” Prof. Bbaale reported

He said, water levels in the Lake are influenced by direct rainfall over the lake, runoff from the basin, evaporation from the Lake, and outflows into the Nile, the latter of which is currently controlled by more than one hydropower dam.

The fish stocks according to Prof. Bbaale are threatened by climate change due to warmer waters and pollution induced changes in water quality while increased rainfall increases erosion due to the farming close to the shores and pollution, directly impact the lake’s water quality.

The changing temperatures according to the Director, introduce disease vectors and increase the risk of malaria and other vector-borne diseases for the basin’s human population and that during the period of late January 2020, the effect of Lake Victoria bursting its banks started to be felt with several landing sites and settlements damaged by floods.

This, the professor notedhas left almost half a million people homeless and property worth billions of money had been lost in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.

Prof. Bbaale attributed Lake Victoria’s Hydrology change to mainly three causes namely  Climate change, lack of regional consensus on a well-coordinated policy of regulating Lake Victoria inflow and outflow and  Lake Sedimentation due to catchment degradation and Buffer zone encroachment.

On livelihood impacts of changes in Lake Victoria Eco-system. Prof. Bbaale said there is declining fish biomass, catch and exports, impact on infrastructure especially the Hydropower generation, water transport and reduced business activity along the landing sites, poverty and unemployment plus high crime risks.

Report compiled by: Jane Anyango, Communication Officer, CAES

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Rotary International President visits Mak

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The Chairperson of Council, Mrs Lorna Magara (L) presents a plaque to Rotary International President Shekhar Mehta in appreciation of his visit and invaluable service, 15th September 2021, CTF1, Makerere University.

By Hasifa Kabejja

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.

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Intentionality Key to Nurturing More Women Leaders

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The "Enhancing Women’s Participation and Visibility in Leadership and Decision-Making Organs of Public Universities in Uganda through Action Research" Phase One Study dissemination poster for the event held on 14th September 2021, CTF1, Makerere University and Online.

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.

The Director GMD, Dr. Euzobia Mugisha Baine
The Director GMD, Dr. Euzobia Mugisha Baine

 “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.  

The Executive Director, NCHE, Prof. Mary Okwakol. Courtesy Photo.
The Executive Director, NCHE, Prof. Mary Okwakol. Courtesy Photo.

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.  

The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe follows proceedings during the dissemination.
The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe follows proceedings during the dissemination.

“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.

A screenshot of the Chairperson of Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara delivering the concluding remarks.
A screenshot of the Chairperson of Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara delivering the concluding remarks.

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.

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Section Editors & Associate Editors Wanted-CABI Agriculture & Biosciences Journal

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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

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