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Carnegie-Supported NERLP Project Teams Disseminate Research Findings

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Today, Wednesday 28th October 2020, we held a successful dissemination conference of the Carnegie-funded postdoctoral research training project titled “Nurturing Emerging Research Leaders through Post-Doctoral Training at Makerere University, NERLP”, 2017 – 2019. In his opening remarks, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, the Vice Chancellor and Chief Guest applauded the Carnegie Corporation of New York for being the one of the foreign partners that played a crucial role in the process of revitalization of Makerere University.

He reminded the participants that Carnegie support for Makerere goes as far back as 1943.  The Vice Chancellor noted that over the last decade, a deliberate effort was made to build a critical mass of staff with PhDs. He noted that the postgraduate training and postdoctoral research has helped Makerere not only to nurture but also to retain its staff. Likewise, the beneficiaries of the travel and publication grants and the participants of the skills enhancement workshops have also come to develop a stake in the Makerere system. The international stature of Makerere has in the process been enhanced along with the deepening of Makerere’s linkages with partner research institutions.

Prof. Nawangwe appreciated that the postgraduate training and postdoctoral research under NERLP project has appreciably helped to strengthen the early-career academics’ research skills and turned many into research leaders that are capable of writing grant applications, publishing their research results, supervision and mentoring graduate students, and transforming society through policy dialogue.

This project’s architecture fits in well the current staffing constraints at Makerere University, because it was difficult to grant participants sabbatical study leave. It is for this reason that the fellows have conducted their research projects within the country with short research visits to regional Universities and research institutions and travel to disseminate research findings at international conferences.

The Vice Chancellor commended the project’s successes record including the increased the fellows’ capacity to carry out quality and relevant research at the University; improved research environment and retention of academic staff at the University; increased visibility of the University as a key policy influencer and adviser in Uganda and the region; improved publication culture contributing to better university ranking; and most importantly enhanced international exposure and opportunities for collaboration as a result of growth of international stature of Makerere University.

The workshop was graced by the former Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic Affairs) Prof. Ernest Okello-Ogwang, who gave a resounding keynote address on the importance of research leadership and the need to nurture early-career Faculty if Makerere University is to remain a premier University. Prof Okello-Ogwang emphasised the critical need to nurture the fresh PhD graduates by providing research funds to train them at Postdoctoral level. This, he noted, would enhance their research productivity and create a community of scholars with the potential to become leaders in their fields. This will in turn improve the quality of supervision, publication scholarship and contribute to the strategic direction of Makerere as a research-led university.

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor  (Academic Affairs) and current Chairperson of the Carnegie Project Implementation Committee, Prof. Umar Kakumba, observed that the  success of the NERLP project has totally depended on the effort, talent, and energy of postdoctoral fellows who have written and submitted papers on a variety of topics. He paid special gratitude to Ms. Andrea Johnson, the Program Director, Higher Education and Research in Africa, International Programs, Carnegie Corporation of New York for her vision and strategic focus on research training in Africa.

The project has supported 15 teams to conduct research. These comprised of the Senior Mentor, the Postdoctoral fellow, and a Masters degree to conduct quality research. The support has included funds to conduct quality research; professional skills enhancement training courses; tuition and research costs for the masters degree student attached to the teams; mentorship and research team building; grants to enable fellows travel and disseminate their research results at International conferences; dissemination and outreach activities; maintenance and sustenance of web portal as a source of  research information; and provision of funds for academic writing and publication.

All the 15 Postdoctoral fellows presented their research findings highlighting the key results (academic and innovations) and salient policy recommendations. Evidently, the project has had a great impact on
society, the University and the research community in different forms. We are proud of the 15 Postdoctoral  fellows and wish them a rewarding research career as they transit into research leadership.

Please see Downloads for the NERLP Book of Abstracts

Professor Buyinza Mukadasi, Director, DRGT, Makerere University

General

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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Humanities & Social Sciences

Dr. Tayeebwa wins UN-SDGF Continental Research Grant

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Dr. William Tayeebwa, Senior Lecturer, Department of Journalism and Communication, College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS), Makerere University.

By Hasifa Kabejja

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Fund (UN-SDGF) has awarded to Dr. William Tayeebwa and five of his continental research associates USD 339,650 towards his research project titled “Airwaves for Building Peace and Inclusive Societies: The Case of United Nations Peacekeeping Mission Radio Networks in Africa”.  Dr. Tayeebwa is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Journalism and Communication, College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS), Makerere University.

This continental research project examines how the programming of nine United Nations (UN) peacekeeping mission supported radio networks has addressed issues of ‘national integration and security’ in the respective countries. It also probes how the radio programmes have covered the implementation of the 17 SDGs and the country-specific targets. The goal and main output of the project will be a book tentatively titled “United Nations Radio Framing of Peacebuilding in Africa” that has already been solicited by Palgrave McMillan Publishers based on previous research on Burundi and DR Congo by Dr. Tayeebwa.

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Research

Call for Applications: Schlumberger 2022-2023 Faculty for the Future Fellowships

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Schlumberger Foundation Call for Applications 2022-2023 Faculty for the Future Fellowships

The Schlumberger Foundation Faculty for the Future program, launched in 2004, awards fellowships to women from developing and emerging economies to pursue PhD or Post-doctoral research in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields at leading universities worldwide.

The Schlumberger Foundation is committed to gender parity in science and recognizes that full access to and participation in STEM curriculum is essential for the empowerment of women and girls. By facilitating STEM research for women scientists in emerging economies, scientific and technological advances will be enhanced in the local communities and regions from where selected candidates are awarded this program.

Since its launch in 2004, 770 women from 84 countries have received Faculty for the Future fellowships to pursue PhD and Post-doctoral research in STEM in leading universities and research institutes outside of their home country.

Faculty of the Future grants are based on actual costs for eligible expenses up to a maximum of USD 50,000 per year for a PhD and maximum of USD 40,000 per year for a Post-doc and may be renewed through to completion of studies.

Please see Downloads for the detailed Call For Applications.

If you believe you meet all the eligibility criteria, apply online from September 8th to November 5th 2021: https://www.fftf.slb.com/

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