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Mind Education, an Enabler of National Development

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In 1962, the GDP per capita of South Korea was US$90. Matters weren’t helped by the fact that country had poor soils, no mineral resources to exploit and hostile neighbours. During the winter when the temperatures dropped to -5 degrees centigrade, it was not uncommon for the less fortunate to either starve or freeze to death.

 This vicious cycle of poverty continued until the 1960s when President Park worked hard to introduce Mind Education to help change the mindset of the South Korean population. Mind Education programmes were introduced in school curricula and as the mindsets of people changed, the country evolved. Today, South Korea is ranked highly among developed countries with a GDP per capita above US$30,000.

This picture of South Korea’s remarkable transition was painted by Prof. Johan Kim, Chairman of the International Youth Fellowship (IYF) in East Africa. Prof. Kim made his presentation at the virtual Mind Education Workshop for staff of Makerere University hosted by the Vice Chancellor Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe on Friday 6th November 2020. The Workshop was organized by the Principal, College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS), Assoc. Prof. Josephine Ahikire and the Dean, School of Psychology, Assoc. Prof. Grace Milly Kibanja in partnership with IYF.

Welcoming participants to the workshop, Dr. Kibanja shared that the School of Psychology had been collaborating with IYF since 2015. Together, the School and IYF have organised youth conferences both within and outside the university and reached out to prisons to conduct Mind Education.

“In 2019 we piloted the Mind Education Course among second year students of the Bachelor of Industrial and Organisational Psychaology and this is still ongoing. We are planning to conduct an evaluation of the programme soon” added Dr. Kibanja.

Explaining why the School had taken lead in this initiative, the Dean said that since Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and behaviour, as sure as night follows day, training in upright judgment and clear reasoning would inevitably lead to positive behavioural change. “Mind Education is geared towards strengthening our hearts and minds to overcome resistance to change by rising above our unpleasant desires.”

Assoc. Prof. Grace Milly Kibanja (Left) and the rest of the IYF Uganda Team at their office in CTF1, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda during the Mind Education Workshop on 6th November 2020.

In her remarks, the Principal CHUSS observed that it is important to generate a network of people who will not just complain about problems but seek to create solutions and forge a way forward. “As Principal, I am happy about Mind Education because I think it will go a long way in creating a generation that will take the future in its hands and craft solutions accordingly.”

In this regard, she thanked the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Nawangwe for always being on the lookout for opportunities that can foster the delivery of Makerere University’s mandate. “The mindset change conversation is very important to us as an institution and we need to mainstream it in the programmes that we teach at Makerere.”

Dr. Ahikire pointed out that although people on the African continent face a number of challenges, the COVID-19 pandemic has illustrated that we have the capacity to come up with appropriate solutions. Strengthening this mindset, she noted, would enable us to train a resilient generation.

“I therefore thank the International Youth Fellowship for this very important collaboration with the School of Psychology and Makerere University in general. We welcome you and we embrace the Mind Education Programme as we build for the future.”

Prof. Johan Kim in his presentation noted that the mindset change in South Korea had spawned a generation of optimistic innovators and researchers who helped to turn their national economy around. This evolution meant that the hitherto disadvantaged country had gradually become a leading global exporter of goods whose raw materials they didn’t even produce.

“Today, South Korea is the seventh leading exporter of refined petroleum, a leading exporter of coffee and for a country that doesn’t have iron ore, home to the largest shipbuilding companies in the world” remarked Prof. Kim.  

The Founder of Good News Mission, International Youth Fellowship (IYF) and Gracias Choir-Rev. Dr. Ock Soo Park (R) delivers his special lecture on Mindset with the help of his interpreter (R) during the Mind Education Workshop on 6th November 2020.

He concluded his presentation with the illustration of Koi’s law. Koi is a Japanese fish whose growth is proportional to the environment it is kept in. In a fish bowl, it grows to from 5 to 8cm, while in a pond it grows from 12 to 25cm. However, when the same fish is placed in a river it grows to a whooping 90 to 120cm. “The environment in which we keep our minds will determine where (how far) we go.”

Prof. Kim reassured that once the youth acquire a strong and positive mindset through Mind Education, the way they look at their country is bound to change. “Through Mind Education, we shall be able to move the mindset of our young people from the fishbowl to the pond to the river.”

As participants were still absorbing Prof. Kim’s fascinating presentation, it was time to be treated to yet another captivating performance, this time by the Gracias Choir, an orchestra and choral ensemble founded by Rev. Dr. Ock Soo Park in the year 2000. Their melodious and well-assembled performance of the Ugandan National anthem and Yansumulula Nze; a Luganda gospel song, amazed the participants.

Following this spectacular performance, the Keynote Speaker Rev. Dr. Ock Soo Park “took to the stage” to deliver his Special Lecture on Mindset with through his proficient translator. He began by stressing the importance of applying ones heart to scenes that play out daily, noting that people who’d mastered the art of taking care of and using their heart were a world apart.

Like a true Evangelist, Rev. Dr. Park delivered his special lecture in storytelling fashion, starting off with his own life as a nineteen year old and the difficulties he faced to the story of the beautiful, well-educated young lady who against all advice chose to marry a crippled uneducated young man.

He captivated his audience by painting a picture of the uphill task faced by the girl in breaking the news to her parents, to the suspicion she aroused from the young man’s family, which suspicion melted into pure bliss when they discovered how serious she was. Rev. Dr. Park had us all eating out of the palm of his hand as he narrated how this love story progressed into marriage, complete with all the facial expressions, appropriate sounds and hand gestures, leading us past blooming flowers up the mountain to the peak.

Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe delivers the closing remarks at the Workshop organised by CHUSS in partnership with IYF.

Suddenly, the beautiful tale veered off, taking a dark ghastly turn. Happily ever after gave way to ominous foreboding as the young man’s envy and rage overwhelmed his sense of reason. Mistaking his beautiful bride’s market errands for moments spent cavorting with other able-bodied men, he resorted to violent assault, shattering body and heart, a sad turn of events, a bitter end.  

The Evangelist now had us where he wanted. It was time to deliver his blow, or so we thought. He then switched gears, shifting to a tale of South Korean car manufacturers and how the power of Mind Education had turned this sector’s fortunes around. Having depended on the Japanese to supply car engines for their brands for years, the South Koreans felt that they had gained sufficient experience to assemble their own and therefore asked their former supplier to teach them this skill. This request had been met with persistent “it’s too hard” responses year after year. When the South Koreans threatened to make their own engines, this announcement was received as the joke of the century by the Japanese.

Frustrated and insulted, the South Koreans had returned home, assembled their teams, shared their vision to build their own engines going forward and embarked on the herculean task. As fate would have it, they were pleasantly surprised to learn assembling car engines wasn’t as hard as the Japanese had made it seem. The rest as they say is history. Today South Korean car exports are worth billions of dollars.  

“If you think more deeply, you get to think of things other people don’t. Leave behind your first level of thought and try to embrace deep thinking. If you go about life thinking deeply, you will live a blessed glorious life” concluded Rev. Dr. Park.

In the reactions that followed, a participant wondered why mindset change has been less experienced in Africa and whether the environment had any effect on this. In response, Prof. Kim noted that South Koreans too were in the past more concerned about basic living (eating and sleeping), and quitessentially focused more on how to become rich. “Many people in Africa are focusing on the materialistic or hardware more than the software part of our life. We need a lot of awareness through Mind Education especially for the youth so that they can think more in terms of development than daily needs.”

Another participant sought to find out whether frustration plays a role in mindset change. Prof. Kim responded by sharing that a weak heart and mindset are the primary reason why people are easily frustrated or stressed by anything. “This is because such a person is usually avoiding burdens or difficulties of life. When we continuously allow our mindset to collide with burdens and difficulties, our hearts become stronger. As such, we are able to easily overcome hardship when it comes our way.”

Part of IYF’s Technical Team that coordinated the Mind Education Workshop at work in CTF1, Makerere University

Delivering the closing remarks, the Host, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe shared that civilization started in Africa 5,000 years ago and for over 800 years, the Moors occupied Spain. Whereas these ancient civilizations had collapsed, the Vice Chancellor opined that it was still possible for Makerere University to be inspired by the South Korean success and as the top black University lead the mindset change campaign. “For the last few weeks, I have seen a lot coming out of Makerere University in the form of research and innovations from every college. This is commendable.”

Prof. Nawangwe observed that whereas our population is exploding, our resources are not and as such a quick solution is needed to address this. As a first step, the School of Psychology was working closely with IYF to explore how to incorporate Mind Education into the curriculum. The Vice Chancellor also shared that a second workshop was in the offing and staff would be informed about the dates accordingly.

He thanked Rev. Dr. Park for delivering the keynote, as well as Dr. Ahikire, Dr. Kibanja and the IYF representatives, Prof. Kim and Pastor Part for organizing the Workshop. He equally thanked all participants taking time off to attend the workshop. “We cannot continue leaving our fate to chance; we have this fate in our hands.”

Article by Public Relations Office.  

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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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