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EBoML Project Proves Boda-Boda Riders Can Learn on the go

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Enhancing Behavioural Change of Boda-Boda Riders in Uganda Using Mobile Learning (EBoML) is a three-year project initially funded for one year by the Government of Uganda through the Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF). The goal of EBoML is to professionalise the Boda-Boda industry in Uganda using Mobile Learning (mLearning) for positive behavioural change of Boda-Boda riders. The project is being implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Works and Transport (MoWT), Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (MoGLSD) and Boda-Boda riders from the two pilot districts of Wakiso and Namayingo.

Speaking at the EBoML Research Dissemination Workshop held on Friday 28th May 2021, the Deputy Principal, College of Education and External Studies (CEES) and EBoML Principal Investigator (PI) Dr. Paul Birevu Muyinda noted that although the Boda-Boda industry employs more than 50% of youth, it lacks order, the riders have limited or no savings and they face a myriad of health risks.

Furthermore, riders by the “nomadic” nature of their work cannot be gathered into the organised classroom settings and given one-off training on behavioural change. The solution; take learning to the beneficiaries wherever they are, provided they have a smartphone and an internet connection.

“We therefore developed a multimedia-based Positive Behavioural Change virtual mLearning Environment (PBC-mLE) for self-paced and/or assisted lifelong learning in; safe-driving principles, health-living and entrepreneurship” remarked Dr. Birevu.

The PBC-mLE was then rolled-out in the pilot districts, evaluated and the purpose of the dissemination workshop was to present findings from that exercise.

Presenting findings from the Entrepreneurship Module, Mr. Turyakira Nazarius shared that the majority of Boda-boda riders (83%) knew the importance of saving and 69% were in the habit of saving regularly, with only 5% admitting to never having saved. The majority (40%) preferred to save with the Boda-Boda scheme, while a third (33%) opted to keep their savings in a secret location at home. 14% saved with a bank, 8% saved with a trusted person and 5% used other undeclared methods.

Further analysis revealed that solving daily household demands and paying school fees at 22% each accounted for the largest expenditure of savings. These were followed by buying household assets and caring for parents at 16% each, servicing loans (7%) and other expenditures (17%).

The Boda-Boda riders were also asked to share the most important skills they would wish to acquire. At 26%, the need for skills on how to secure more capital topped the riders aspirations. This was followed by basic knowledge about the Boda-Boda business at 22%, Marketing at 19% and Customer care at 16%. Record keeping accounted for 13% of the responses while 4% aspired to learn other skills in areas such treating cattle diseases.

The Deputy Principal CEES and EBoML Project PI, Dr. Paul Birevu Muyinda addresses the workshop.
The Deputy Principal CEES and EBoML Project PI, Dr. Paul Birevu Muyinda addresses the workshop.

At the end of the entrepreneurship module, riders were expected to know; the different ways of saving, the different types of businesses, good customer care practices and how to use savings from Boda-Boda riding to start up another business.

“Being a service industry, good or bad hygiene impacts directly on the riders’ lives and those of their customers thereby having an impact on the business” remarked team member, Ms. Lillian Mbabazi from the Department of Performing Arts and Film (PAF) as she presented findings from the Health and Safe-Living Module.

Findings revealed that 66% of Boda-Boda riders acquire health information from their fellow riders or friends, 51% from healthcare providers and 50% from family or the mass media. Other riders reported that they secure information from; health outreaches, social media, school or classes, herbalists, the internet and other sources.

A number of health issues were reported to impact the lives of Boda-Boda riders. Accidental injury, hygiene and substance abuse had the highest recorded impact at 80%, 44% and 42% respectively. Additionally, intentional injury and violence accounted for 38%, unwanted pregnancy and parenting-28.7%, Sexual health-27% and obesity-11%.

Boda-Boda riders reported a number of barriers they faced in accessing healthcare. These, in order of priority included; high costs, long waiting lists, embarrassment, lack of knowledge, long distances to facilities, time constraints and language barrier among others.

Furthermore, healthy eating, emergency services and dental services at 53%, 52% and 45% respectively were reported by the riders as aspects of healthcare that lacked sufficient information. Others reported were; mental health, prolonged disease or condition management, education about physical activity, primary health care, substance abuse and treatment, and reproductive health.

Boda-Boda riders when not on the move are usually stationed at designated stages. Under personal and workplace hygiene, only 30% of riders reported that they had access to running water for handwashing. Additionally, while 83% of riders admitted to bathing three or more times a week, 6% said they bathed only once a week. On the bright side, 39% of the riders admitted to bathing twice a day.

Ms. Lillian Mbabazi (R) assisted by the day's Emcee, Dr. Godfrey Mayende (L) makes her presentation on the Health and Safe-Living Module.
Ms. Lillian Mbabazi (R) assisted by the day’s Emcee, Dr. Godfrey Mayende (L) prepares to make her presentation on the Health and Safe-Living Module.

In terms of risky sexual behaviour, whereas 65.7% of the riders reported that they had sex with one to two sexual partners in the past 12 months, 23% had engaged in sex with three or more women in the same period. On an alarming note, 57% of the riders reported that they did not use a condom in the past six months prior to the survey.

Engaging with multiple sexual partners is a high-risk sexual behavior especially in the absence of condom use. The researchers therefore sought to find out the number of women impregnated by the riders in the last twelve months. Whereas the majority (53%) reported that they hadn’t impregnated any women in the period, 36% had impregnated one, 6% two, 4% three and 1% four or more.

Further examination of the relationship between riders and the women revealed that whereas 35% had impregnated their wives and 5% their girlfriends, disturbingly, 1% had impregnated a student and another 1% a stranger. 4% admitted to impregnating a girl/woman who was neither a wife, nor a girlfriend, nor a student, nor a stranger. The majority (54%) opted not to state their relationship with the woman they impregnated.

Transactional sex between Boda-Boda riders and clients who fail to pay cash for their trips has often been talked about but with no figures of its extent. Findings from the EBoML team revealed that whereas 88% of Boda-Boda riders reported that they do not engage in transactional sex, 12% admitted to engaging in the practice.

Away from the health and safe-living, the third and final module on Safe-Driving revealed that 63% of Boda-Boda riders sampled had less than five years of riding experience. Nevertheless, 12% admitted to having more than ten years of riding experience and the rest (25%) had six to ten years of experience.

Adulthood is a regulatory requirement for operation of motor vehicles because maturity is considered a critical factor for decision making. The project therefore sought to ascertain at what age the riders first operated a motorcycle. Whereas the majority of riders (84.6%) said that they were 18 years and above at the point of first riding, 6.8% admitted to have started riding while still below 18 years of age. 8.6% of respondents said they were more than 30 years of age at their first riding attempt.

Ms. Nazziwa Sharifah represented the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (MoGLSD) at the workshop.
Ms. Nazziwa Sharifah represented the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development (MoGLSD) at the workshop.

A driving permit is a legal requirement for every Boda-Boda rider. That notwithstanding, only 13% of respondents were in possession of a driving permit, with the majority (87%) having never acquired one. A further analysis of the reasons as to why riders didn’t possess permits revealed the expense involved as the biggest deterrent at 75%. Others reasons cited were; ability to freely ride without a permit (34%), ignorance of permit acquisition procedures (43%) and no time to process the permit (10%). Despite not possessing driving permits, 90% of Boda-Boda riders claimed to know the rules governing the road usage.

The pilot also sought to determine the leading causes of Boda-Boda accidents. Crossing animals at 43.5% were cited as the leading cause, followed by over speeding and other motorists/Boda-Boda riders at 41.5% and 30.5% respectively. Other causes cited included; poor mechanical condition of motorcycles, struggling for passengers with peers, overloading, excitement during celebrations, drink driving and other causes at 21.5%, 16%, 15.5%, 11%, 8.5% and 6.5% respectively.

In terms of training needs under this module, the majority (66%) of riders required training in basic mechanics to help reduce their expenses at the garage. Additionally, 65% required training in road safety while 4% preferred training in both defensive driving and understanding road signs.

The dissemination workshop would have been incomplete without feedback from the project beneficiaries. Speaking on behalf of the Boda-Boda riders, Mr. Ayebazibwe Rogers and Mr. Alibe Jonathan both based in Wakiso District thanked the EBoML team for according them the opportunity to access lifelong learning without interrupting their work schedules. The riders highlighted some of the valuable lessons learnt in each module as;

Under the Entrepreneurship Module:

  • How best to start up a small scale business alongside the Boda-Boda job
  • Importance of saving money even the least earnings and why one should save
  • Customer care
  • How to deal with losses
  • Book keeping
  • Good work ethics and appreciating the value of work

Under the Safe-Driving Module:

  • Importance of the wearing helmets and protective gear
  • Defensive driving
  • Simple mechanics
  • Importance of road signs and colour codes
  • Smartness and presentability
  • Road use in consideration of other road users

Under the Health and Safe-Living Module:

  • How to avoid use of drugs and narcotics
  • How to avoid pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
  • Healthy dieting
  • Good personal hygiene
  • A health body is the primary tool of work
  • A healthy rider attracts more customers

The riders’ representatives nevertheless asked that the learning materials be adapted into simpler English and make use videos/illustrations that are relevant to the Ugandan setting.

In her remarks, Ms. Nazziwa Sharifah who represented the Permanent Secretary (PS), MoGLSD expressed her Ministry’s gratefulness at being part of the project. She said the Ministry under its Department of Occupational Safety and Health inspects workplaces for safety standards and investigates accidents, occupational diseases and dangerous occurrences. She noted that though informal, the Boda-Boda industry, was an asset to the National workforce.

“I therefore encourage Boda-Boda riders as assets in our workforce to always ensure that they wear their helmets and maintain good personal hygiene and health practices” she said.

Ms. Nazziwa reassured participants of of her Ministry’s readiness to protect the rights and safety of all workers, the majority of whom are youth. She equally recommended that since the majority of the Boda-Boda riders were either illiterate or semi-literate, the EBoML project should translate learning materials into local languages so as to reach more beneficiaries.

The MoGLSD representative also shared that the Green Jobs and Fair Labour Market Programme under her Ministry is tasked with, among other objectives, providing support to youth and women in form of affordable credit and grants at both individual and group levels. She therefore urged the Boda-Boda riders to always value their group schemes.

Mr. Katunguka James represented the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Works and Transport (MoWT) at the workshop.
Mr. Katunguka James represented the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Works and Transport (MoWT) at the workshop.

Representing the PS, MoWT, Mr. Bageya Waiswa, the Senior Road Safety Officer in the same ministry, Mr. Katunguka James commended CEES for the EBoML innovation that is going to tremendously address behavioural change among Boda-Boda riders and improve road safety. Pointing to the over 3,500 lives lost per year due to road traffic accidents, the PS said there was need for a multi-sectoral approach to influence the behaviour of road users in order for Uganda to achieve the 50% reduction in road traffic fatalities target by 2030.

“Riding competence and discipline is a key foundation for road safety that demonstrates the rider’s abilities to use the road without endangering his/her life or other road users” he explained.

He added that findings by the EBoML project findings would go a long way in helping Government to develop scientifically proven evidence-based interventions aimed at improving behavioural change of Boda-Boda riders in Uganda.

Mr. Bageya in his speech read verbatim by Mr. Katunguka equally pledged his Ministry’s support and continued partnership with CEES and promised that MoWT would spearhead the implementation of project findings.

He challenged every participant to play to play their part in sustainable road safety enhancement, concluding that “Road safety begins with you, with me and road safety is a shared responsibility.”

Please see Downloads for the detailed presentations

Education

CEES to offer Soft skills Training to Police Officers

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The Principal Investigator, Dr. Badru Musisi (Front Row Centre) with members of the research team and participants during the training, 30th November 2021.

The College of Education and External Studies (CEES) is to start equipping Uganda Police Force (UPF) officers with soft skills. The training will be conducted by a team of researchers led by Dr. Badru Musisi and Dr. Joyce Bukirwa Rebecca. The project; Promoting Community Policing by Integrating Soft-skills in Uganda Police Training Programs, is funded by the Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (RIF).

The project seeks to augment Community Policing by integrating Soft Skills in Uganda Police Force training programs.

While UPF is rated among the best forces in the region, the same cannot be said about its image.The discrepancy between the force’s performance and the way it is perceived by the public is due to the widening social-distance between UPF and the community it needs to collaborate with. 

The Principal Investigator of the project, Dr. Badru Musisi, attributed this to the officers’ limited display of soft-skill policing.

“Yet, a professional blend of hard and soft skill policing is the cornerstone for effective Community Policing,” he emphasized.

Participants take part in a group exercise.
Participants take part in a group exercise.

Dr. Musisi was speaking during the launch of the project on November 30th at Nican Hotel in Lweza. The stakeholder engagement was attended by various commissioners of police, directors, prisons officers, military officers, private security firms, legal officers, religious leaders, civil society, boda boda and Taxi operators among others.

It is hoped that the blend of soft and hard skills will enable UPF to collaboratively work with communities to keep Uganda safe and secure.

The research team intends to design a transformative, scalable and context specific framework to guide the police in its training and conduct.

Speaking during the opening of the meeting, the Director of Training, AIGP Golooba Godfrey Kiwanuka, thanked Makerere University for partnering with the Uganda Police Force to contribute to its professionalisaiton, saying learning is a process that never ends.

AIGP Golooba Godfrey Kiwanuka (standing) addresses participants.
AIGP Golooba Godfrey Kiwanuka (standing) addresses participants.

He thanked the university for its continued support to the force especially through the various short trainings offered as well as the masters training the university offers to UPF.

The project hopes to achieve some milestones in getting the police officers to use intra and inter-personal attributes such as:

  • Cope with stress and manage stressful situations
  • Relate with people, think critically and creatively;
  • Use emotional intelligence to solve problems;
  • Demonstrate good judgement, keep an open mind;
  • Control one’s impulse, display empathy/compassion
  • Resolve conflict; de-escalate tense situations;
  • Use effective verbal and non-verbal communication

Dr. Musisi said the project team intends to integrate Soft-skills in UPF training programs because owing to concerns for officer safety, police training curricula emphasize hard skills such as physical control tactics and weapons more than soft skills such as de-escalation skills and behavioral science.

Participants engage in group discussions during the project launch on 30th November 2021 at Nican Hotel, Lweza.
Participants engage in a group discussion during the project launch on 30th November 2021 at Nican Hotel, Lweza.

He also noted that the power dynamics in police training schools in a way is a challenge to the Community Policing culture because in training schools, the tradition is that the powerless (police cadets), have to submit without question to the authority of the powerful (training staff). Failure to comply is punished by verbal abuse or physical punishment and yet the same cadets are expected to treat the powerless wanainchi in the community with dignity and respect.

“So, integrating empathy, compassion, impulse control etc., in police training programs can help to pacify the young Police officers,” Dr. Musisi emphasized.

PROJECT OBJECTIVES

  • Determine the Soft Skills gaps in UPF training programs;
  • Develop a catalog of the needed Soft Skills by benchmarking domestic and foreign police soft-skilling programs;
  • Design a transformative, scalable and context-specific framework for embedding Soft Skills in UPF training programs;
  • Train UPF trainers to integrate Soft Skills in police training programs using the framework designed.

PROJECT TEAM

  1. Dr. Badru Musisi (PI)
  2. Prof. F.M. Masagazi (CO-PI)
  3. Dr. Joyce Bukirwa
  4. Dr. Kasozi Ferdinand
  5. Dr. Allen Nalugwa
  6. Hajat. Nuliyati Nabiwande

Betty Kyakuwa is the Principal Communication Officer CEES

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Education

Education and Covid-19 Symposium: Govt. Pledges Support to Schools

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The Chairperson of Council, Mrs Lorna Magara (6th R) who represented the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports, Hon. Janet Museveni, H.E. Kevin Colgan, Ireland's Ambassador-designate to Uganda and Rwanda (5th L), Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (4th L), Mr. Timothy Ssejjoba-MoES (3rd R) and other officials at the symposium on 24th November 2021.

The Ministry of Education and Sports is to offer some interventions to schools ahead of their re-opening in 2022.  The Minister, in her speech delivered by the Chairperson of the Makerere University Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara, said the ministry would repair schools, review the school curriculum for recovery of lost time, orientation of teachers and students, promotion of safe and healthy learning environments through psychosocial support. The government also pledged to provide additional infrastructure to cater for the increased enrolment at primary one.

The Minister, Hon. Janet Museveni, was speaking during the opening of the symposium on Education and Covid-19.  The symposium was organized by the College of Education and External Studies (CEES) in partnership the Ministry of Education and other development partners.

The symposium is the first of its kind to bring together major stakeholders in the education sector to deliberate on the impact of Covid-19 on education and come up with strategies that would take us through the pandemic and beyond. The outcomes of the discussions will result in the formation of a National Participatory Consolidated Plan of Action on Covid-19 and Education.

The First Lady in her speech noted that while people were anxious about the prolonged closure of schools, the risk associated with the hurried reopening especially of pre-primary, primary and secondary schools outweigh the benefits. Mr. Timothy Ssejjoba from the Ministry of Education said the Ministry was training school head teachers to prepare them for opening and ensuring they have enough information on Covid-19 and how to help the students. Mr. Ssejjoba said the Ministry may not completely do away with Distance and e-learning among schools until we have completely done away with the pandemic. This he said is to ensure safety of students.

Makerere University on its part has heavily invested in e-learning infrastructure. Ms. Magara said “the university council has strongly supported initiatives for building the adaptability of university systems and processes to the challenges presented by Covid-19.”

The university recently successfully held it first online examinations. It is envisioned that this mode of examination will continue amidst the pandemic. The Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, thanked the government for its continued support towards e-learning infrastructure especially though funding to the Research and Innovations fund of the university.

Participants called on the government to invest in teacher education because the quality of education depends on the quality of its teachers. “No country can develop when its education system is limping,” Dr. Mathias Mulumba, the Dean of the School of Education said. “The quality of a country’s education system determines the pace at which other sectors such as health, technology and others develop.”

The occasion was also graced by the Ambassador of Ireland, H.E Kevin Colgan. He thanked Makerere University and the Ministry of Education for organizing the symposium which gives people an opportunity to brainstorm on how to better the education system, address psychosocial impacts of the pandemic and school dropouts. He noted that there was an increase in teenage pregnancies and cautioned that we all must do more to realise the universal right to education. 

The Principal of CEES, represented by Dr. Okot Alex, called on staff of Makerere University to play a pivotal role in training the human resource of the country. “Covid-19 has forced us to prepare for the unknown. We want to prepare our educators to be ready to manage the unknown,” Dr. Okot said. The principal called for collaboration, saying we don’t need to reinvent the wheel, sometimes we just have to collaborate and find solutions to community challenges.

The principal informed participants that CEES had established a good distance and e-learning platform to spearhead alternative modes of teaching. The Institute of Distance and e-learning has developed MUELE, on online teaching and learning platform that the university fully embraced during the pandemic.

He appreciated the management of the university for the support given to the college and the Ministry of Education and Sports for the support given during the planning and execution of the symposium.

The symposium was supported by the Embassy of Ireland, UNICEF, Uwezo, Action, CRANE and Link Partners among others.

Betty Kyakuwa is the Principal Communication Officer CEES

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Education

CEES to Champion Quality Education amidst COVID-19 disruptions

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L-R: Dr. Rebecca Nambi, Dr. Mathias Mulumba, Mr. Timothy Ssejoba-Principal Education Officer in charge of University Education (MoES) and Dr. Muhammad Kiggundu Musoke at the Press Conference on 12th November 2021 in the AVU Conference Room, CEES, Makerere University.

Makerere University is taking the lead to ensure that quality education remains a priority as the country grapples with the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Makerere University through the College of Education and External Studies took keen interest in the topical debate that education will never be or mean the same after the Covid-19 pandemic that disrupted the education system with schools closed to safeguard the lives of learners and teachers.

Dr. Mathias Mulumba, Dean of the School of Education, CEES addresses the media.
Dr. Mathias Mulumba, Dean of the School of Education, CEES addresses the media.

“No one knows how many of the estimated 500,617 teachers in both government and private schools will return to class and in what form,” Dr. Mathias Mulumba, the Dean, School of Education said, during the press briefing.

In Uganda, the school system was disrupted for close to two years and different actors have expressed the need for the country to rise to the COVID-19 challenges and continue to provide quality education.

To address this critical issue, CEES and the Ministry of Education and Sports have organized the National Stakeholders’ symposium on Covid-19 and Education to analyze and discuss key issues and innovations that can keep the quality of education afloat during and after the pandemic.

Dr. Mathias Mulumba (R) and Dr. Charles Kyasanku National Coordinator Working Groups (L) confer during the press conference.
Dr. Mathias Mulumba (R) and Dr. Charles Kyasanku National Coordinator Working Groups (L) confer during the press conference.

The National Stakeholders’ Symposium slated for 24thto 26th November 2021 at the Imperial Royale Hotel, Kampala will provide a platform to stakeholders and actors to dialogue and provide solutions under the theme, “Getting back a right to quality education during and after the Covid-19 pandemic.” The First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports, Hon. Janet Kataaha Museveni will grace the National Stakeholders’ Symposium.

Addressing journalists during a press conference held on Friday 12th November 2021 at Makerere University, Dr. Mathias Mulumba, Dean of the School of Education highlighted that the key stakeholders to participate in this discussion include school administrators at all levels, private and public players, agencies and the academia. The symposium will also involve other partners namely The World Bank, USAID, UNICEF, and Raising Voices among others.

Dr. Mulumba expressed concern that some of the challenges that the learners were exposed to were more likely to result in loss of interest in learning. He pointed out teenage pregnancies, domestic violence and the uncertainty of what classes the learners would join when schools re-open.

Mr. Timothy Ssejoba represented the Ministry of Education and Sports at the Press Conference.
Mr. Timothy Ssejoba represented the Ministry of Education and Sports at the Press Conference.

Similarly, teachers as he further explained have adopted to businesses outside the profession for survival which may cause some to drop out of their professional practice.

On behalf of the Ministry of Education and Sports, Mr. Timothy Ssejoba-Principal Education Officer in charge of University Education pointed out that the National Stakeholders’ Symposium will lead to the formulation of the National Participatory Consolidated Plan of Action on Covid-19 and Education.

Mr. Ssejoba also underscored the policy direction that requires all teachers to attain a degree in education over the next 10 years. “This is aimed at professionalizing the education sector. We would like the teachers to upgrade, acquire more skills and knowledge and also to be in tandem with the trends in the education sector.”

Dr. John Ssentongo-Head of Science, Technical and Vocational Education, CEES addresses the media.
Dr. John Ssentongo-Head of Science, Technical and Vocational Education, CEES addresses the media.

Also present at the press conference were Dr. Muhammad Kiggundu Musoke Head Department of Humanities and Language Education, Dr. Rebecca Nambi Member of Staff Department of Humanities and Language Education, Dr. John Sentongo-Head of Science, Technical and Vocational Education, Dr. Charles Kyasanku National Coordinator Working Groups and Ms. Ritah Namisango Principal PRO Makerere University.

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