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The Role of E-commerce in Commercializing Entrepreneurship Ventures at Mak

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E-commerce, the process of buying and selling goods using the internet, is a great facilitator of trade. Owing to the reduced cost of doing business – in most some cases there is no need for a physical shop, increased efficiency – orders and stock are easily tracked, and increased access to geographically distant markets, E-commerce has become a game changer for businesses that have adopted it. Unfortunately, student entrepreneurs at Makerere University have not been keen to make the most of this avenue of doing business.

According to a team of researchers led by Dr. Hellen Namawejje from the Department of
Statistical Methods and Actuarial Science, College of Business and Management Sciences (CoBAMS), less than 10% of the business enterprises exhibited at the 2018 Annual Students’ Entrepreneurship Expo organized by the College were using pure e-commerce. With partial e-commerce, goods and services are sold through internet, but hand-delivered to customers while with pure e-commerce, all the process involved are digital.

Dr. Patricia Ndugga – Department of Population Studies

The team, with funding from the Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF), therefore sought to understand this low uptake through a study titled “Commercializing of Entrepreneurship Ventures using E-Commerce: Evidence from Makerere University, Uganda”. Other members of the research team were; Dr. Proscovia Katumba-Department of Marketing
and Management, CoBAMS, Dr. Patricia Ndugga-Department of Population Studies, CoBAMS, Mr. Augustine Ssekyondwa, Directorate of E-Government Services, National Information Technology Authority-Uganda (NITA-U) and Dr. Isaac Shinyekwa-Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC).

Dr. Proscovia Katumba – Department of Marketing
and Management.

Speaking at the dissemination event held in the CoBAMS Conference Room and virtually on Thursday 17th December, 2020, members of the Mak-RIF Grants Management Committee (GMC) in attendance thanked Government of Uganda for the generous funding that enabled the research team to conduct studies that can help address youth unemployment in Uganda. They equally paid tribute to the Chairperson GMC, Prof. William Bazeyo for his negotiation skills that influenced the Government to allocate the funding.

Mr. Augustine Ssekyondwa, Directorate of E-Government Services, National Information Technology Authority-Uganda (NITA-U)

“With 70% of youth in Uganda currently unemployed, this study will be of great assistance in addressing this pertinent issue,” remarked Dr. John Mutenyo, a GMC Member. “I urge you to disseminate these findings widely so that the youth can know that there are other avenues through which they can get employment” he added.

Dr. Mutenyo reminded the audience that the call for RIF 3 (the third round of Mak-RIF funding) will go out early next year and urged them to prepare good proposals that can attract Government funding especially in research areas that address NDP III (the Third National Development Plan) and the SDGs.

“Entrepreneurship and E-commerce are currently big players in the economy of any country in the world. I believe that these findings are not going to end here but will be taken down to potential users and hopefully help them. This will boost the impact that we ought to see from these research funds” added Dr. Isa Kabenge, another GMC member.

When it comes to understanding business ventures, it is always advisable to hear from an established practitioner. E-commerce ought not to be the exception. Delivering a brief keynote address, Makerere University alumnus and Founder, Xente Tech Limited, Mr. Allan Rwakatungu paid tribute to his alma mater and the research team in particular for taking steps to bring more Ugandans into the digital economy.  

Xente is a platform founded in 2016 with a vision to make every person and business join the digital economy. “The opportunities out there are immense, not only for users of the platforms but also for entrepreneurs who are able to harness them” shared Mr. Rwakatungu.

Taking an example of Jumia, he noted that although the company controls less than 3% of the total retail market in Africa, it is worth billions of US dollars. “To show you what that actually means, the percentage covered by Alibaba is about 25%, and when you look at the size of the Chinese market, the opportunities for growth are immense” he added.

According to Wikipedia, the Alibaba Group recorded a net income of US$ 19.82 Billion in 2020 and had over 117,000 employees as at 31st March 2020.

Addressing participants, the Dean School of Business, CoBAMS-Dr. Godfrey Akileng observed that the current disruptions occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic have provided us all with an opportunity to rethink how we can better manage and do business. “Those who will not embrace international electronic payment systems will struggle as the pandemic continues to sustain itself.”

He added that the mix of entrepreneurship and e-commerce presents students of business with an opportunity to reflect further on the contribution of these areas to development. “Uganda is considered among top ten most enterprising countries in the world but unfortunately, the demise of these business startups is very high. I hope this research will help us illustrate how e-commerce can find a lasting solution in terms of sustainability of these firms.”

Giving an overview of the project, Dr. Prossy Katumba identified absence of delivery infrastructure and secure payment methods as two major barriers to the wider acceptance of E-commerce in Africa. “Several countries lack an organized physical address system, and cash on delivery is the main payment method that online merchants such as Jumia, SafeBoda, Café Javas, Xente among others must deal with.”

She added that the entrepreneurship course offered to all undergraduate students at the Schools of Economics and Business, CoBAMS as well as Masters of Business Administration (MBA) and Masters of Economic Policy and Management students equips them with skills that enable learners to start their own enterprises.

“We have some success stories that have come out of this entrepreneurship course such as Dalausi Juice in Wandegeya, which has become a must-have at high-end parties” shared Dr. Katumba. “This thriving business was birthed out of a simple coursework idea” she added.

Dr. Katumba equally made mention of Andrew Mupuya, who as a result of his course work in entrepreneurship went into the production of recycled paper, “and has as a result won many awards from various international organizations and been featured on CNN – we encourage our students to start small and grow their ideas into a formidable business,” she explained.

Presenting the findings, the Principal Investigator-Dr. Namawejje shared that 796 out of 1,320 students that took part in the 2018 Entrepreneurship Expo were surveyed. 47% of these were female while 53% were male. 77% of participants were below the age of 24 while 23% were aged 24 years and above. In terms of origin, 38% of participants were from the Western region, while 32% were from Central, 16% from Eastern, 8% from Northern and 6% either from other regions or of different nationalities.

Technology is an essential driver of e-commerce uptake. 88% of the 796 respondents used smart phones, while 52% used laptops, 4% used either desktops or tablets and 9% had no device to use. The high percentages recorded in the use of smart phones and laptops could imply that some respondents used more than one device.

Additional drivers of E-commerce uptake reported included; the Annual Students’ Entrepreneurship Expo that enabled budding entrepreneurs to practice what they had learnt in class and a regulatory environment that was conducive to doing business online – there are no restrictions imposed on entrepreneurs who posted their products and services on various platforms. The natural shift of businesses online due to the COVID-19 pandemic was also another driver of e-commerce uptake by both entrepreneurs and customers.

The findings further revealed that entrepreneurs employed three main models of E-commerce; Business to Customer (B2C), Business to Business (B2B) and Business to Government (B2G). At 80%, B2C had the largest share while B2G was understandably at only 1%. “Owing to the capital intensive nature of doing business with Government, we did not expect the B2G model to feature prominently in our findings” explained Dr. Namawejje.

At 95%, the use of Social Media Platforms dominated the channels employed by students to reach their customers. This was followed by Websites at 21%, Email at 18%, Mobile Short Codes (SMS Codes) at 4%, Word of Mouth at 1.8% and Making Calls at 0.8%. Platforms such as Facebook have already taken advantage of this trend by introducing Facebook Shops – enabling businesses to create online stores on Facebook and Instagram free of charge.

Despite the availability of free options for entrepreneurs to easily embrace e-commerce, it became apparent to the research team that some barriers were impeding this. The lack of e-commerce knowledge topped this list with 73% of entrepreneurs citing it. This was followed by the high cost of internet at 67%, Lack of access to gadgets at 54% and Poor Internet connections at 49%. Trust and cyber security issues were cited by 45% of respondents while Conservatism among community members accounted for 20%.

To help boost the commercialization of entrepreneurship ventures using e-commerce, the research team made the following recommendations at policy level;

  1. Government should provide subsidized or free Internet to Makerere University to enable students easily utilise online platforms for generating and nurturing entrepreneurship ideas and projects.
  2. Taxes on e-commerce enablers such as Internet and smart phones should be reduced as a way of attracting business enterprises especially the start-ups to take up e-commerce in their operations.
  3. Government should support building of e-commerce infrastructure at Makerere University since it’s a Government institution.

The dissemination event was moderated by Dr. Anthony Tibaingana from the School of Statistics and Planning, who last week disseminated his findings on “The impact of Skilling the Youth and Women in Household Enterprise Start-Up and Performance in Uganda”.

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Business & Management

ECRLF Helping to Co-create the Future of African Academic Leadership

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Makerere University in partnership with University of Pretoria on 14th September 2021 hosted the Future Africa’s Early Career Research Leader Fellowship (ECRLF) Dissemination Workshop in the Central Teaching Facility 2 (CTF 2) Auditorium and virtually. ECRLF’s aim is to offer an opportunity for development of research leaders who will be able to fill a critical gap in the African research capacity ecosystem. This fellowship program is offered by the University of Pretoria with support from the Carnegie Corporation of New York.

The Principal Investigator (PI) of the ECRLF program at Makerere University and Lecturer in the Department of Population Studies, Dr. John A. Mushomi, thanked Future Africa for the first-of-its-kind fellowship accorded to young African academics.

“We are used to taking leave from academia at a much later time in life, where we have professors taking their sabbaticals, but within five years of finishing my doctorate, I was given an opportunity to spend two years at the University of Pretoria and interact with academics from across different disciplines and universities in Africa” explained Dr. Mushomi.

The Principal Investigator (PI) of the ECRLF program at Makerere University and Lecturer in the Department of Population Studies, Dr. John A. Mushomi
Screenshot: The Principal Investigator (PI) of the ECRLF program at Makerere University and Lecturer in the Department of Population Studies, Dr. John A. Mushomi

In this respect, he thanked the Carnegie Corporation of New York for sponsoring the ECRLF and the University of Pretoria for hosting the fellowship. He equally thanked Dr. Cori Wielenga from the University of Pretoria for the mentorship accorded to him during the fellowship.

“We had the opportunity to interact with fifteen researchers from different disciplines and spent time learning and training together, and we have not been the same since. We were not just invited to participate but to also co-create what we think is the future of African academic leadership” added Dr. Mushomi.

Speaking on behalf of Future Africa, Rachel Fischer said, “In particular we see with this conference today our very important objective to work with a transdisciplinary mindset and engagement towards forming partnerships, and to collaborate across various disciplines.”

She added that the shift from physical to virtual and online collaboration is an active endeavour towards breaking down silos within disciplines, partnerships as well as across various countries on the African continent. The outcomes from such partnerships, she noted, would allow all stakeholders to have a peaceful and secure Africa that is stable and fully functional, while ensuring that the values and ideals of Africa are prioritised.

The Head, Department of Population Studies-Dr. Stephen Wandera represented the Dean School of Statistics and Planning.
Screenshot: The Head, Department of Population Studies-Dr. Stephen Wandera represented the Dean School of Statistics and Planning.

The Dean, School of Statistics and Planning (SSP), Dr. James Wokadala, who was represented by the Head, Department of Population Studies, Dr. Stephen Wandera noted in his remarks that SSP encourages staff to go beyond conducting research and publishing to mentoring students into the next generation of African academics by co-publishing with them.

In line with the workshop he thanked the University of Pretoria for the partnership, noting that “collaboration among African academics helps us to build more comparative studies across the continent, allowing colleagues to learn from each other the best practices and opportunities that can move us forward.”

He congratulated Dr. John Mushomi upon completing his post-doctoral research experience at UP, which culminated into the exciting workshop.

Screenshot: The DVCAA Dr. Umar Kakumba officially opened the ECRLF Dissemination Workshop
Screenshot: The DVCAA Dr. Umar Kakumba officially opened the ECRLF Dissemination Workshop

Officially opening the workshop, the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic Affairs)-DVCAA, Dr. Umar Kakumba applauded the University of Pretoria supported by the Carnegie Corporation of New York for the great capacity development for future academia and African leaders. The workshop was based on the theme, History Meets Demography: Multi-Disciplinary Inquiry on Poverty, Resource.

“I applaud the University of Pretoria on this move and demonstrating the great potential that Africa has, especially the academic institutions, in mobilising resources, bringing together the African scholars and giving them an opportunity to explore and forge South-to-South collaboration” remarked Dr. Kakumba.

He added that South-to-South collaborations help to build a solid academia across the continent, enabling them to find solutions to emerging problems of African societies. The DVCAA noted that COVID-19 had brought to light the vulnerability of Africa’s dependence on the global North to solve her fundamental problems as well as the greater role that universities ought to play.

“And we cannot play this role as Universities outside the shadows of partnerships between our institutions, and without building the huge capacity of early career researchers” he observed.

The DVCAA therefore noted that workshop’s theme and its concerns about issues of history and demography were source of great hope, especially given its transdisciplinary nature.

“We are able to dialogue on history and demography and see how we can address issues of poverty in light of our past experiences as well as interrogate the nature of our population and the characteristics that affect our society in various ways” he stated.

Screenshot: Prof. Cheikh Mbow, Future Africa Director at the University of Pretoria delivered his address virtually.
Screenshot: Prof. Cheikh Mbow, Future Africa Director at the University of Pretoria delivered his address virtually.

In his welcome message, Prof. Cheikh Mbow, Future Africa Director at the University of Pretoria noted that his organization had over the years been holding academic workshops on different topics across different African countries.

“The reason why were are trying to empower the early career scientists is actually to be able to close the loop in terms of availing science in order to package and deliver knowledge to everyone who needs it, particularly the stakeholders.

“Today’s topic is very timely. It’s about poverty in Africa, it’s about resources in Africa, and it’s about mobility in Africa. The poverty line which had come to be stable at some point or decreasing quite slowly over the projected years to come has just suddenly gone into a spike – Africa now has more than 50 million new poor people coming into the statistics of the World Bank” remarked Prof. Mbow.

He concluded by noting that research is not only about hardcore science but looking at all other aspects of life as contributors to knowledge production. “The transdiciplinary theme of the workshop is one of the most important discussions that ECRLF could have.”

The workshop featured four parallel sessions that covered;

  • Governance, Security, Peace and Conflict I
  • Mining, Resource, Extraction and Policy frameworks
  • Global Trends in Interdisciplinary Research and Governance, Security, Peace and Conflict II and
  • Education and Development and Resource extraction and Policy frameworks II

During the closing ceremony, Dr. Cori Wielenga on behalf of ECRLF thanked participants for the wonderful conference proceedings as fostered by Dr. Mushomi’s involvement with the University of Pretoria.

Screenshot: Dr. Cori Wielanga, ECRLF Mentor, University of Pretoria.
Screenshot: Dr. Cori Wielanga, ECRLF Mentor, University of Pretoria.

“The purpose of this fellowship and its collaboration is to promote interdisciplinary research as well as collaboration between institutions on the continent and in this regard Dr. Mushomi has made excellent use of the fellowship to meet its objectives including through this conference” she elaborated.

The program mentor from UP added that her collaborative work with Dr. Mushomi was particularly in the areas of resources, identity and migration, which remain a challenge to Africa and the entire globe.

Dr. Wielanga thanked Makerere University for supporting the event, and Dr. Mushomi as well as the coordination team for organizing a successful hybrid event. “We do hope that we will be able to meet in person in the near future as we deepen the collaboration between our institutions.”

Screenshot: The Principal CoBAMS, Dr. Eria Hisali called for the formation of policy labs to influence policy.
Screenshot: The Principal CoBAMS, Dr. Eria Hisali called for the formation of policy labs to engage policy makers and other stakeholders.

Addressing participants, the Principal, College of Business and Management Sciences (CoBAMS), Dr. Eria Hisali congratulated Dr. Mushomi upon successfully convening the hybrid workshop and extended his appreciation to the funding partners for supporting both the event and work of early career researchers.

In terms of providing sustainability to the collaboration, Dr. Hisali appealed to all the partners to regard the day’s workshop as a starting point and work towards strengthening their collaborations so that a lot more work can be done in other fields of research.

He equally appealed to the collaborating parties to use the findings generated thus far to engage policy makers, civil society and the private sector under a framework of policy labs, at least once every quarter. The Principal further called for the integration of students into research activities, as a way of creating multiplier effects that can continue to inform policy debates.

“As the College of Business and Mangement Sciences, we commit that out of our small grants research programme, we should be able to take up funding to further studies in some of these areas” concluded Dr. Hisali.

The Principal, College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS), Dr. Josephine Ahikire applauded the re-centering of history in interdisciplinary scholarship.
Screenshot: The Principal, College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS), Dr. Josephine Ahikire applauded the re-centering of history in interdisciplinary scholarship.

Delivering the closing remarks, the Principal College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS), Dr. Josephine Ahikire noted that interdisciplinarity increases the University’s relevance to society by bringing forth perspectives that enrich the understanding what is at stake in terms of development challenges.

“It is very exciting that we are re-centering history as a key perspective in whatever we do as a university. We know that in the past decade, history had been relegated as a study of the past but actually, history is not just a study of the past, it is the understanding of the totality of humanity for you to be able to actually craft a way forward” Dr. Ahikire explained.

The Principal noted that resource conflicts and contestations are at the heart of human existence. As such, she opined that issues such as citizenship, tribe and nation were very important and the workshop had commendably provided a space where early career researchers can try to provide answers to questions of the time on the African continent.

“A research-led university is one where the people engage intellectually. These engagements improve the academic environment for staff as well as students” she concluded.  

The abstracts and presentations from the workshop will contribute to an edited book to be published by Palgrave.

Please click the embedded video below to view proceedings from the Workshop

Opening Session


Early Career Research Leader Fellowship (ECRLF) Dissemination workshop, 14th September 2021, Opening Session

Session 1A: Governance, Security, Peace and Conflict I



Session 2A: Global Trends in Interdisciplinary Research and Governance, Security, Peace and Conflict II



Closing Ceremony



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Business & Management

Mak Researchers Tipped by EfD-Tanzania on Operating from a Policy & Research Perspective

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EfD-Mak Centre Director Prof. Edward Bbaale and research fellows pose for a group photograph with the facilitator Dr. Byela Tibesigwa on screen during the seminar on 7th September 2021, CTF2, Makerere University.

By Jane Anyango

Researchers from Makerere University Environment for Development Initiative (EfD-Mak) Centre on 7th September, 2021 converged in a seminar to learn from EfD-Tanzania on how to effectively operate the centre to attract and motivate research fellows, mobilize resources, conduct research and influence policy.

The seminar held both virtually and physically at EfD-Mak  Conference room was officially opened by Assoc. Prof. Eria Hisali the Principal Makerere University College of Business and Management Sciences (CoBAMS) represented by his Deputy Assoc. Prof. Yawe Bruno.

Dr. Yawe thanked the EfD-Tanzania and EfD-Mak centre for nurturing and managing the relationship noting that it speaks volumes in terms of working together, mobilizing resources, building trust and partnerships.

Assoc. Prof. Yawe Bruno opening the conference online Photo: EfD-Mak centre
Assoc. Prof. Yawe Bruno opening the conference online Photo: EfD-Mak centre

The seminar was facilitated by Dr. Byela Tibesigwa, a Senior Research Fellow from EfD- Tanzania who highlighted Tanzania’s experience and the collaborative research recently conducted with development partners, universities and policy makers to drive policy oriented research.

Dr. Byela  said the centre has senior and junior research fellows and a ten (10) member multi-stakeholder policy board comprising ministries, the Vice President’s Office, UNDP ,UNEP, Ministry of Tourism, university lecturers, heads of departments, Permanent Secretaries, National Environmental Management Council, different Embassies, among others.

“We identify key policy challenges and convene a policy board workshop once a year to highlight our research plans, engage with and get direction from the board”, she said.

In terms of attracting funding and co-funding, Dr. Byela described the Swedish embassy and the EfD Global Hub as very important reliable partners for funding and connection with other partners.

Dr. Byela Tibesigwa presenting online
Dr. Byela Tibesigwa presenting online

“We were so lucky to get  additional funding from the Swedish Embassy and the global hub that connected and allowed us nurture good relationships and link us with partners like the World Bank, Government of Tanzania, Embassy of Norway, UK, Germany and many other development partners.

You want to keep senior and junior researchers interested besides the EfD core funding, get funds through consultancies and other funding. Invite government ministries and present ideas on their interest of funding. Keep advertising yourself, looking at policy interaction, keeping on news, and summaries in newspapers to attract funding”, Dr. Byela said.

Despite the minimum funding, Dr. Byela advised the center to come up with non-conventional ways to motivate and keep research fellows interested in center activities for example by mentoring their junior research fellows through lunch seminars.

“You can keep and motivate research fellows through research seminars outside the university. Hire the junior and senior research fellows to organize EfD tasks or events. Instead of centre administrators, let the junior and senior research fellows organize field tours.

A section of the research fellows attending the seminar at the EfD-Mak Centre, CTF2, Makerere University.
A section of the research fellows attending the seminar at the EfD-Mak Centre, CTF2, Makerere University.

Most research fellows target publications and making research that is relevant to drive policy dialogue in the country. Put them as authors in publications”, Dr. Byela Tibesigwa advised.

Dr. Byela also noted that currently, EfD-Tanzania does not have written guidelines on how to engage researchers and authorship criteria on projects. She said, it would be good for Makerere University to have guidelines for various operations.

Presenting one of the recently conducted environmental studies on sustainable use of charcoal and resultant policy note in Tanzania, Dr. Byela observed that most of the environmental issues, such as use of charcoal, single use plastic bags and bottles and wrappers are a huge environmental problems cutting across Africa but presenting a delicate balance that requires consideration of other political, economic, social and other aspects.

She said with the EfD Inclusive Green Economy (IGE) program, centers are set to look at the social acceptance and policy issues and this could be good for Makerere University to provide policy direction for the country.

Some of the research fellows interact during the seminar.
Some of the research fellows interact during the seminar.

While closing the seminar, the Director EfD-Mak Centre Prof. Edward Bbaale extended appreciation to Prof. Razack of the EfD-Tanzania for making time and nurturing the collaboration with EfD-Mak centre reporting that there is a joint project about gender, food security and COVID-19, a sign of internationalization of research among the centers.

Prof. Bbaale appreciated Dr. Byela Tibesigwa for the inspirational presentation about the EfD- Tanzania.

“You have pointed out the gaps to Makerere and we have learnt. We have a big debt to establish a policy board as a steering committee to provide strategic direction for the centre.

You have talked about collaboration between EfD and the Swedish Embassy. Ours has not been deep. We have had officials attending our policy engagements and presentations. It was not deep to support and recommend us to funders. This is one thing to pick up seriously”, Prof. Bbaale stated.

Some of the research fellows who attended the seminar physically follow proceedings intently.
Some of the research fellows who attended the seminar physically follow proceedings intently.

The Director appreciated Dr. Byela for sharing on how to keep researchers motivated and expressed commitment to involve them in data collection and other center activities.

Prof. Bbaale observed that Tanzania’s’ environmental analysis was key in connecting environment to the economy and pointed out key gaps and research areas that are applicable to Uganda.

“We have a debt to mobilize colleagues and partners to take up environmental analysis to implement research from an informed point of view”. The Director said.

Prof. Bbaale thanked the Office of the Principal CoBAMS for according the centre a conducive environment to operate and Prof. Yawe Bruno for opening the seminar.

EfD-Mak Centre Director Prof. Edward Bbaale delivering the closing remarks.
EfD-Mak Centre Director Prof. Edward Bbaale delivering the closing remarks.

He said the seminar was one of the many that have been held under the centre except that the facilitator was from another country, a move towards embracing internationalization with many more of the kind expected.

“We are not blocking our local facilitators. They have been facilitators for the last two years but we are building bigger into international experiences”, Prof. Bbaale explained.

He thanked participants for honoring the invitation and making time to attend. He extended invitation for the upcoming researcher’s training on impact evaluation to be facilitated by a colleague from the USA.

Jane Anyango is the Principal Communication Officer, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES)

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Agriculture & Environment

Mak Wins Two Sida EfD 2021 Grants Worth USD 144,918

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The Principal CoBAMS, Dr. Eria Hisali (C) with the EfD 2021 Grants Recipients Dr. Aisha Nanyiti (L) and Dr. Fred Matovu at the event on 18th August 2021, CTF2, Makerere University.

By Jane Anyango

A team of researchers from Makerere University led by Dr. Aisha Nanyiti and Dr. Fred Matovu have won two of the Environment for Development Initiative (EfD ) 2021 Grants  worth  USD 144,918 funded by Sida.

The two collaborative projects involving Makerere University, the University of Dar es Salaam Tanzania and Total Uganda were officially launched by the Principal College of Business and Management Sciences (CoBAMS)  Assoc. Prof. Eria Hisali on behalf of university management on 18th August, 2021.

The blended  function was held  phyisically and online at the EfD-Mak Conference room in the Central Teaching Facility 2 (CTF2)  and graced by partners from EfD Tanzania, and  Dr. Franklin Amuakwa-Mensah the EfD Research Manager, responsible for administrating the EfD research fund at the EfD Global Hub in Sweden.

The USD 55,747 project titled, “A Randomized Control Trial (RCT) on the Adoption of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) Cooking Technology among Fast Food (Chapati) Vendors in Uganda”, is being spearheaded by  Dr. Aisha Nanyiti as the Principal Investigator (PI) assisted by three Co-PIs  Dr. Fred Matovu,  Dr. Suzan Kavuma and Mr. Richard Ssebagala.

Dr. Nanyiti said, whereas Biomass is predominantly the energy used for cooking by households and food vendors in Africa, the technologies burden women and pose negative health and economic effects.

The PI reported that these technologies lead to deforestation which poses a risk to the environment and contributes to climate change.

Dr. Aisha Nanyiti, Principal Investigator of the Randomized Control Trial (RCT)

She observed that there are cleaner technologies like LPG available on market but the question is adoption.

“The main objective of this study is to assess the effect of hire purchase schemes and health and safety information on adoption of LPG. Specifically, this study seeks to examine the impact of information on health and safety benefits,Hire purchase, Learning from LPG use in grace period before purchase amortization, and Peer learning on adoption of LPG stoves by chapati vendors for their businesses”, Dr. Aisha Nanyiti stated.

To achieve the objective Dr. Nanyiti said the study will employ a RCT in Kampala, three treatment arms (Treatment A- information only, Treatment B-information + hire purchase and Treatment C-information + grace period learning+ hire-purchase) and also carry out Surveys (Baseline., Endline, Follow-up surveys and Peer learning interviews)

The second project worth USD 89,171  titled, “Gender differences in COVID-19 effects on food security and adaptive strategies among the urban poor: Experiences from Uganda and Tanzania”, is being led by Dr. Fred Matovu assisted by  Mr. Fred Kasalirwe, Dr.Razack Lokina and Byela Tibesigwa

“The aim of the study is to understand the impacts of the pandemic on the food situation of the households under different COVID-19-related movement restrictions, the coping strategies and the gender dimension” the PI said

Dr. Matovu said the study seeks to understand the effect of COVID-19 pandemic on food security among the urban poor and how this vary across gender.

Dr. Fred Matovu, PI of the project on Gender differences in COVID-19 effects on food security

The study will also explore the effect of COVID-19 disruptions on food affordability and consumption among urban poor and their gender dimension and how the urban poor cope with the effects of food security shocks during COVID-19 pandemic across gender.

The study methodology according to Dr. Matovu will involve the use of both primary and existing national household surveys, collection of primary data on a sample of households in Kampala and Dar es Salaam to establish the effects of COVID-19  pandemic and related lockdown measures on the food security and the coping measures adopted and how these varies by gender.

Dr. Matovu also explained that to analyse the effects of COVID-19  on food security, they will estimate the extent to which the COVID-19 crisis has affected the food security using dummies capturing the varying degrees of income loss due to the pandemic

Launching the two projects, the Principal CoBAMS Assoc. Prof. Eria Hisali  congratulated the grantees for making Makerere University proud by winning the highly competitive studies.

“It is a clearly deserved win, the effort you put in has been rewarded and it is our sincere hope that you will continue putting in the effort you have put in up to the very end and you should not relax at this stage.

The Director EfD-Mak centre and the team at the secretariat, we want to say thank you. We see the results of your efforts. I have been part of these activities and it has been one of those centre where we can see clear results”, the Principal commended.

The Principal CoBAMS, Dr. Eria Hisali speaks at the Launch of the RCT and Project on 18th August 2021

Dr. Hisali hailed the grantees for initiating the collaborative studies appealing to the collaborating institutions that this should the starting point of engaging in bigger collaborations.

He said the two studies have clear huge potential for policy whether looking at coping with effects of COVID-19 and hazardous effects of the current used energy imploring grantees to bring on board policy makers as quickly as possible to have their insights so as to quicken the uptake.

“Here we are in the middle of two things. We want to  come up with very good research results used  with rigorous techniques but we also want to use research in  in a way that will keep policy makers on board , to appreciate what is taking place and  they have a full believe that these are results that they can rely on to implement policy,” Dr. Hisali said.

Dr. Hisali also expressed the need for staff and graduate students to be brought on board to learn the new techniques and tools being used in these studies. He expressed commitment to provide administrative support that the center and researchers would require.

The Director EfD-Mak Centre Prof. Edward Bbaale welcomed participants to the launch saying, the two projects are funded by the Sida at the EfD Global Hub in Sweden .

Prof. Edward Bbaale thanked the EfD Secretariat for funding policy-oriented research projects

Prof. Bbaale said the center had already received the funding for the two projects and congratulated the two PIs and their teams for emerging as winners of the EfD grants of the year 2021.

“I want to thank the EfD Secretariat for considering to fund this policy oriented research projects. The PIs went through a competitive process starting with developing concept notes which we discussed locally here  at the EfD-Mak centre and also at  the EfD Tanzania and then sent to  EfD Secretariat for consideration and the two grantees were invited to develop full proposals”, Prof. Bbaale explained.

Prof. Bbaale said Dr. Aisha Nanyiti’s project will take one year and that of Dr. Fred Matovu is unique in the sense that it is a collaboration between EfD-Mak center and EfD Tanzania.

“EfD encourages collaborative research between centers and also between the South and the North. EfD-Mak is leading the project and it will require a transfer of part of the resources from Makerere University to the University of Dares salaam,” Prof. Bbaale said.

Research Manager EfD secretariat Dr. Franklin Amuakwa-Mensah congratulated the fund recipients for being successful. He explained that the fund acquisition process undergoes three processes involving concept note,full proposal writing and presentation. He encouraged centers to link up   to have additional funds.

The Principal Investigators, Dr. Aisha Nanyiti (L) and Dr. Fred Matovu (R) at the EfD event

He said the EfD has a Swedish grant for applied research capacity for sub-Saharan Africa where the fund is allocated to all centers in Africa to encourage them do research relating to a particular country.

The other fund he said is for other countries and open to other centers together with those in Africa and the idea is to encourage collaboration across countries.

In addition he said, there is a collaborative research program fund covering different aspects including energy, gender, carbon emissions among others to encourage collaboration across countries.

He said the global hub released money for this financial year late due to the closure of the five year term for the EfD and drafting of new programs that involved so many bureaucracies.

“Because of the delay, the projects which are supposed to end this year 2021 will be extended to  next year .

To enable unsuccessful applicants a chance to get funding and to make centers more vibrant, Dr. Amuakwa-Mensah reported that some centers have devised  a strategy of encouraging  only successful winners  to apply for funds with previous successful grantees participating  as a team .

He encourage centers to have research committees that can scrutinize and select the best  proposals  for submissions for funding.

Jane Anyango is the Principal Communication Officer, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES)

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