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.”
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.
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.
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.”
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.
Call For Nominations for the Position of Chancellor Makerere University
Makerere University invites nominations for the position of Chancellor of the University.
Purpose of the position
The Chancellor is the titular head of the University, presides over all ceremonial assemblies of the University and confers degrees and other academic titles and distinctions of the University.
Please see Download below for details.
The deadline for submission of nominations is 11th January 2024 at 5:00 p.m. East African Time.
Ambassador of Sweden to Uganda calls for full involvement of men and boys in achieving Gender Equality
The Ambassador of Sweden to Uganda Her Excellence Maria Håkansson has emphasized the need to fully engage men and boys in all the initiatives geared towards achieving Gender Equality in Uganda and other parts of the world. She said this on 28th November 2023 at a press conference organized by the Embassy of Sweden in close collaboration with Makerere University Gender Mainstreaming Directorate, UN Women and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to unveil the National Orange Pledge campaign and officially launch the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.
The press conference was headlined by a Ugandan rapper and record producer Daniel Lubwama Kigozi, popularly known by his stage name Navio and his fellow from Sweden Jason Michael Bosak Diakité popularly known as Timbuktu. Over 200 students both male and female from Makerere University and other institutions of higher learning attended the press conference at Makerere University Rugby Grounds.
According to Her Excellence Maria Håkansson, Gender Equality cannot be achieved without involving men and boys to take their responsibilities and be the drivers of change. “For real change to happen, we need to change attitudes and norms that might cause Gender Based Violence, one of the social ills in Uganda and an extreme of gender inequality that occurs at all levels of society,” she said.
Referring to the national survey conducted in 2020, the Ambassador was concerned about the escalating burden of gender based violence in Uganda when she said, “the Survey highlighted that 95% of women and girls experience physical or sexual violence since the age of 15.”
She therefore emphasized the Global 16 Days of Activism as key international movement to increase awareness and advocate for an end to Gender Based Violence. The Ambassador also mentioned that preventing and responding to Gender Based Violence is a cornerstone for Sweden’s commitment to promote democracy, human rights and gender equality and this is done as an investment in a society that upholds the principles of equality, dignity and justice.
She acknowledged the full participation of university students in all campaigns and activities geared towards achieving gender equality as well as ending Gender Based Violence when she said, “You are the leaders of tomorrow and you have an opportunity to build a future where everyone can thrive. So please use today to take an active stand against Gender Based Violence.”
Every year Uganda joins the rest of the world to enhance the global campaigns on 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence and also add a voice to the call for an end to violence against women and girls. These campaigns run from 25th November (the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) until 10th December of the Human Rights Day.
The United Nations Secretary-General’s UNiTE by 2030 initiative calls for global action to increase awareness, galvanize advocacy efforts and share knowledge and innovations to help end all types of violence against women and girls. This year 2023, the UNiTE campaign theme is; Invest to Prevent Violence against Women & Girls.
Over the years, Makerere University through its Gender Mainstreaming Directorate and School of Women and Gender in partnership with UN Women and many other partners have been at the fore front to support the campaign on 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence in Uganda. This has been done through debates, theatre forums, student dialogues, thematic artistic presentations, media exposures, drama and music skits presentation, and student peer led discussions and quarterly competitions.
This year 2023, the University in partnership with the Embassy of Sweden, UN Women and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) unveiled the Orange Pledge. According to Eric Tumwesigye the Senior Gender Specialist at Makerere University Gender Mainstreaming Directorate, this campaign calls upon government, policymakers, activists, civil societies, academicians, students and all members of community from all parts of the country to make their heartfelt pledges towards ending Gender Based Violence in Uganda and the rest of the world.
The UN Women Country Representative Paulina Chiwangu recognized the investment Makerere University, the Embassy of Sweden and UNFPA have made to end violence against women and girls. “Thanks to our collective efforts, the silence that used to shroud violence against women has now been broken” said.
In the same spirit, she acknowledged the progress Makerere University has made in establishing and implementation of the University’s Policy and Regulations against Sexual Harassment to protect students and staff from potential abuses of power and conflict of interest. She also applauded the increased support and training for students and the strengthened mechanisms for investigations that allow students and staff to anonymously report sexual misconduct.
“We are however, aware that despite this, sexual harassment is still happening in the university and that not many students report to the authorities when they experience it. It is therefore, our humble appeal to the university leadership to continue monitoring the implementation of the Policy and Regulations Against Sexual Harassment, take all allegations of sexual harassment and violence seriously, ensure that all personnel have information on available support services and take action to ensure that perpetrators are held accountable.”
Reaffirming the University’s position in fighting GBV and particularly sexual harassment, the Vice Chancellor of Makerere University Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe was highlighted the various measures Makerere University has put in place to prevent and respond to Gender Based Violence. To him, the Policy and Regulations against Sexual Harassment; the appointment and capacity building for the Vice Chancellor’s Roster of 100 eminent people from the various colleges and administrative units; recruitment and training of the Gender Mainstreaming Programme Student Peer Trainers and setting up Sexual Harassment Investigation Committees are bigger milestones to celebrate.
He appreciated the move by the Gender Mainstreaming Directorate and all the partners to embrace entertainment and artistry as a critical advocacy and awareness tool to reach several communities especially the youth.
“We firmly believe in the transformative power of music and the arts in promoting social change. Music and art does serve as a powerful medium to advocate for the world free from violence especially violence against women,” said to Mr. Dainel Alemu, the UNFPA Deputy Country Representative.
“It is heartening to see artists like Navio taking a stand and using their influence to challenge harmful norms. As we revel in the beats and melodies, let us not forget he underlying message that everyone , regardless of gender, has a role to play in fostering a world where everyone is free from shackles of gender based violence,” he added.
Speaking at the Press Conference at Makerere University Rugby Grounds, Navio said that for the 20 years he has been an activist of Gender Based Violence, he has faced the reality of many young girls and women in Uganda being victims of sex and physical abuse. He therefore sent a huge condemnation to men especially artists that who are perpetrators of Gender Based Violence and called for serious government action and clear policies and laws against such injustices.
Navio applauded the women and men who have stood tall over the years to fight against Gender Based Violence in Uganda when he said, “ As we launch the 16 days activism in Uganda and through these pledges we are making, let us be accountable for our actions. For long in our cultures, men have considered force and violence as power and protection. They have been tough to their children hence instilling fear to the extent that the children cannot freely interact with them on serious matters such as abuse and torture.”
He applauded all families that have adopted the new parenting model of free conversations and interaction hence encouraging children to freely open up whenever they have challenges. Navio also acknowledged the role of his mother Mrs Maggie Kigozi as a human rights activist and a champion in fighting against Gender Based Violence in Uganda.
Jason Michael Bosak Diakité popularly known as Timbuktu from Sweden appreciated the wider platform provided by the music industry globally for artists to act as role models and champion of change. The rapper highlighted the need to respect women for their roles and support towards community development.
“I am a son and it is extremely important for me to respect my mother and all women. Also being a father to a beautiful daughter, I am always eager and looking forward to seeing the best future for her. I want daught to grow up in the world where she is able to feel safe and be allowed to freely associate without being discriminated or threatened because of her gender,” he said.
Scholars & Alumni of Mastercard Foundation light up Achukudu Community, Napak District
By Bernard Buteera
On Saturday 2nd December 2023, all roads led to Achukudu Community Primary School in Napak District, Karamoja sub-region, as the Scholars and Alumni of Mastercard Foundation at Makerere University commemorated their Scholars’ Annual Day of Community Service (Giveback). The 2023 Scholars Annual Day of Community Service was held at Achukudu Community Primary School, Napak District in the Karamoja sub-region. Established in 2013, Achukudu Community School serves two ethnic communities—The Iteso and Karamojong.
With a total population of 1,097 pupils only three government-paid teachers, and nine community-paid teachers, the School faces a plethora of challenges. Key among the challenges is the lack of Classrooms, decent Ventilated Pit Latrines, and Desks. Therefore when the Scholars identified the School as one that deserved to be given a gift of a classroom block, it was a befitting choice!
The Scholars with support from the alumni, the Program Team, Members of the Steering Committee, and partners of the Scholars Program at Makerere University intervened by constructing a two-classroom block, which was supervised by one of the alumni who is an Engineer. Alongside the classroom block, the Scholars also provided 40 desks, helping the school meet UNEB Center eligibility criteria.
While presiding over the event, the area member of Parliament, Hon. John Bosco Ngoya, thanked the Scholars and alumni community at Makerere University for supporting the young pupils of Achukudu Primary School and the entire community by gifting them with a two-classroom block.
“Thank you Scholars and alumni of Mastercard Foundation at Makerere University for the Christmas gift of a classroom block to the young people and the entire community of Achukudu. This classroom block will go a long way in improving the learning environment of the young children of Achukudu primary school.” Hon. Ngoya pointed out.
Hon. Ngoya called upon other people to emulate the Scholars and alumni of the Mastercard Foundation in embracing the spirit of giving back to the vulnerable people in the community. On his part, he donated One Million Five hundred shillings (1,500,000/=) to help the School purchase more desks, and he had earlier contributed One million shillings (1,000,000/=) towards the construction of the classroom block.
The District Education Officer (DEO) for Napak District, Ms. Joyce Nakoya, praised the Scholars Community for embracing and practicing the spirit of giving back to other people at an early age.
“Thank you Scholars and alumni of the Mastercard Foundation at Makerere for embracing the spirit of giving back to other people at such an early age. If all people gave back to the less privileged in our communities, we would have a better world for everyone.” Ms. Nakoya pointed out.
Ms. Nakoya further pointed out every child deserves to study in a decent environment, therefore it was a befitting cause for the Scholars to construct a classroom block for the young pupils of Achukudu community primary school, who were studying in open grass thatched classrooms.
The Program Manager of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at Makerere University, Ms. Jolly Okumu who led the team of Scholars, alumni, and staff to Karamoja thanked the community of Achukudu for supporting the Scholars to deliver the class block by contributing to the construction sand.
“We come here today to join with you as a community driven by a shared commitment to education, empowerment, and ethos of giving back. Today is a historic occasion as we celebrate the completion and commissioning of the classroom block, which is a remarkable testament to the transformative power of education and our unwavering spirit of community service.” Ms. Jolly remarked.
The President of the Scholars Association, Mr. Godfrey Okello, thanked all the Scholars and alumni, and all stakeholders who contributed to the construction of the classroom block, which was a dream that became a reality.
“I would like to thank my colleagues and people of goodwill who supported us to realize our dream of constructing this classroom for our young brothers and sisters of Achukudu Primary School. Together we can make a difference in the lives of our fellow young people in Uganda and Africa as a whole.” Mr. Okello remarked.
The Headteacher of the School, Mr. Eryebu Raymond, who was visibly very excited was full of praises for Scholars and alumni of the Mastercard Foundation, for what he termed as an iconic classroom block they had gifted to his School.
“This day is very special to us, we will not see this day again. We are delighted to receive the Scholars and alumni of Mastercard Foundation from Makerere University, thank you for considering supporting our School” Mr. Eryebu excitedly remarked.
The Headteacher revealed that one of the major challenges the school was facing was an acute shortage of classrooms for his 1,097 pupils. He was therefore grateful to Mastercard Foundation Scholars for choosing to construct a two-class block for the School.
“This donation of a classroom block and Desks is a testament to your commitment to education and empowering the lives of the vulnerable people in the community. This classroom block and desks will go a long way in improving the quality of teaching and learning at our school.” Mr. Eryebu further remarked.
The 2023 Scholars Annual Day of Community Service (Giveback) was punctuated with a lot of joy, pomp, and fanfare, as the pupils and the entire community of Achukudu danced and ululated at the commissioning of the classroom block. The construction of the classroom block and purchase of desks for Achukudu Community Primary School was made possible by generous contributions by the Scholars, alumni, the Program Team, and members of the Steering Committee.
Among the Partners who made financial contributions towards the class block construction included; DFCU Bank, Post Bank, URA, Katumba Estates, Footsteps Furniture Ltd, and Sion Travels Ltd.
The Scholars and Alumni Day of Community Service (Give back) is an annual event, where Scholars and alumni of the Mastercard Foundation go out into the community to give back by providing solutions to challenges that a particular community is facing. Over the years Scholars have given back to the communities in numerous ways that range from offering professional services and erecting major projects like classroom blocks.
Bernard Buteera is the Communications and Public Relations Officer of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at Makerere University.
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