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Mak-RIF Plugs Tax Education Gaps in Uganda’s Informal Sector

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According to statistics from the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) Annual Data Book 2018/19, at 12.44%, Uganda’s average tax to GDP ratio over the last five years is one of the lowest in the region, and far below the sub-Saharan Africa average of 16%. Simply put, the total tax collected by URA has on average over the past five years accounted for only 12.44% of the size of Uganda’s economy. Comparatively, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi recorded average tax to GDP ratios of 16.10%, 12.83%, 15.80% and 13.55% respectively over the same period.

This should not come as a surprise, given that 2016 statistics from the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) indicated that approximately 98% of Uganda’s population of working age (14-64) were engaged in the informal sector. The title of a 2017 article published by the Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC) based on the same statistics put it aptly, “Informality Growing Faster than Formality”.

Expanding the tax base by tapping into semi-formal economic activities is going to be one of the major focus areas in the Third National Development Plan (NDPIII) 2020/21-2024/25. It is against this background that researchers in the College of Business and Management Sciences (CoBAMS) led by the Principal, Dr. Eria Hisali conducted a study that sought to understand which gaps exist in tax education and how these gaps can be packaged into improving compliance and subsequently broadening the tax base in Uganda.

Dr. Eria Hisali, Principal of College of Business and Management Studies (CoBAMS) as well as Principal Investigator (PI) of the project.

Funded by the Government of Uganda through the Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF) the research undertaken in 2020 targeted over 500 respondents with particular focus on the informal sector. In addition to the Principal Investigator (PI) Dr. Eria Hisali, the research team consisted of Dr. Ismail Kintu, Dr. Fred Bateganya, Ms. Marion Atukunda, Ms. Winfred Nalwoga, Mr. Nicholas Musoke, Mr. Patrick Lumala and Dr. Kagarura Willy.

Speaking at the research dissemination workshop held on 10th February 2021 in the School of Business Conference Room, Dr. Hisali shared that “The research advocates for a comprehensive review of Uganda Revenue Authority’s tax education programme with focus on linking tax collection to better service delivery,”

The research team’s interaction with members of the informal sector revealed that tax education being provided is not well suited to the informal sector. “For instance, tax exhibitions, messages on websites and brochures do not provide the best approach to reach out to the informal sector.  The informal sector needs more engagement with emphasis on field visits and face-to-face interaction,” explained Dr. Hisali.

Mr. Everest Kayondo, Chairperson – Kampala City Traders Association (KACITA)contributing to the discussion.

The Principal Investigator however pointed to some quick wins that could be adopted as URA evaluates and updates its tax education programme. He noted that approximately UGX 6 Trillion had been allocated to livelihood programmes by the Government of Uganda between the 2018/19 and current financial years. “How can tax education be included as part of the package that these Government livelihood programmes contain? I think we could see some quick wins because as recipients benefit from livelihood programmes, they could be asked to register as tax payers.”

Findings shared by the research team further revealed a limited coverage of tax education. Whereas 53% had been told or heard about the importance of paying taxes, only 40% had received education on how to register for taxes while only 38% had heard about filing tax returns. Furthermore, only 32% had received tax education on fines and penalties, 29% on the benefits of paying taxes and only 16% on audits and assessments.

Nevertheless, some of the registered respondents who admitted to not paying taxes cited low tax morale as well as poor service delivery and unfairness as reasons for their noncompliance. Researchers further took note of the limited personal touch with potential taxpayers in the informal sector, disconnect between the current taxpayer education modality and unique features of the informal sector, as well as the cost implications and overly technical language in existing modalities as some of the reasons for nonpayment of taxes.

The Study concluded that:

  • Majority of the respondents had limited or no knowledge about the Tax Identification Number (TIN), a critical requirement for tax payment. More than half of respondents did not know how to acquire a TIN.
  • Actors in the informal sector cannot differentiate between taxes paid to URA and those paid to local governments and other bodies that bring together operators.
  • Most respondents did not know how to formalize their business/enterprise, another important factor for tax registration.
  • There exists some form of registration of informal businesses/enterprises upon which formalization can build.
  • The URA tax education campaigns messaging and targeting has left out some potential tax payers. Messaging and targeting of tax education is key to realizing intended results of growing the tax base and ultimately the tax revenues.
Mr. Nicholas Musoke represented the Assistant Commissioner Research Planning and Development.

The Research Dissemination attracted participants from URA, Kampala City Traders Association (KACITA), Academia, Private Sector, Civil Society, the Media, Mak-RIF Grants Management Committee (GMC) as well as staff and students from Makerere University.

Painting a picture on the new ideas and innovations to foster a taxpaying culture through tax education, URA’s Mr. Nicholas Musoke who represented the Assistant Commissioner Research Planning and Development-Ms. Milly Nalukwago, noted that whereas Uganda’s population is approximately 45.7million, the taxpayer register stands at only 1.59million. Approximately 953,000 of those registered are active taxpayers, while 906 URA clients pay 80% of the tax. The informal sector currently contributes less than 1% (0.03%) of tax collected.

To help achieve this, URA plans to roll out the AEN strategy. AEN stands for Awareness, Empower and Nurture. Under Awareness, URA intends to intentionally engage the public on tax laws, roles, rights, obligations and opportunities relating to tax. Under Empower, URA will guide taxpayers on their rights as well as how and when to fulfil their tax obligations, while under Nurture, the Authority will set up and support mechanisms to cultivate and maintain a taxpaying culture.

Dr. John Mutenyo represented the Chairperson of MakRIF Grant Management Committee

Dr. John Mutenyo who represented the Chairperson of MakRIF GMC- Prof. William Bazeyo in his address commended the Government of Uganda for prioritizing research at Makerere University. “In phase One of Mak-RIF, the Government committed UGX 30billion and this was one of the research projects that
was funded under that phase. To date, over 500 competitive research grants have been supported.”

Prof. Bazeyo congratulated Dr. Hisali and the entire research team for undertaking a study geared towards strengthening the implementation of NDPIII and supporting the development of Uganda. “Most importantly, I would like to thank Dr. Hisali and the team for having a collaborative study that involved the key stakeholders such as URA. These are the stakeholders that are going to make it easy to buy into and implement the outcomes of this research.”

Commenting on the findings, the other stakeholders at the research dissemination workshop pointed out the need to embark on trust building programmes with the taxpayer. They equally emphasised the need to consider reducing the load on the tax payer.  The taxpayer in Uganda is subject to taxes such as;
Value Added Tax (VAT), Pay As You Earn (PAYE), Customs, Demurrage, Income Tax, Withholding Tax, Excise Duty, Over-The-Top (OTT)/Social Media Tax among others.

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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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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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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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