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

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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)

Business & Management

Business owners trained on social media usage in business operations by Makerere University Researchers

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Dr. Kasimu Sendawula (L) shakes hands with one of the officials after the research dissemination workshop at St. Joseph’s Inn Virika-Fort Portal on 29th September 2022.

On Thursday 29th September 2022, happened a research dissemination workshop at St. Joseph’s Inn Virika-Fort Portal that presented a policy debrief on social media technology as a feasible strategy in catalyzing Sustainable growth of small businesses in Uganda. A case study of Mbale and Fort portal by Makerere University’s Business Management expert and Lecturer Dr. Kasimu Sendawula.

The research project themed “Strengthening the Social Media Competencies of Business Owner Managers for Sustainable Growth of Small Businesses in Uganda” objected at equipping business owner-managers with social media competencies that are relevant in boosting productivity, marketing and promoting business operations for sustainable growth.

The project team first conducted a needs assessment before training where it was revealed that 195 (92%) of the business owner-managers in Fort Portal and Mbale had never obtained training on social media usage. The research team engaged the project participants in a hands-on social media training and eventually social media platforms were integrated into the functionality of their businesses.

Uganda being the most entrepreneurial country in the world, it is unfortunate that 64% of businesses started do not live to see their first birthday and those that do, 30% collapse before their 3rd anniversary, this all has been made worse by the covid 19 pandemic.

This research further revealed that 85% of the participants demonstrated readiness to use social media in the operations of their business and 77% of Business owner-managers have smartphones. On the other hand, 87% of participants were concerned that social media platforms may make it easy for Governments to spy on their businesses hence Privacy and Security threats.

Dr. Kasimu Sendawula the project Principal Investigator reported that after engaging the Business owner-managers in a hands on training; they appreciated social media and opened up social media platforms, channels, and pages that were suitable for their businesses and that the project team used the training materials to develop social media digital training modules that can be adopted by institutions of higher learning to equip nascent entrepreneurs with social media competencies relevant for sustainable business growth.

Dr. Mercy Amayo the Representative of the Grants Management Committee (GMC), Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund applauded the project team for the job well done and also congratulated them upon winning such a prestigious grant.

Mr. Ssekyondwa Augustine a Business Process Analyst and National Information Technology Authority Uganda Directorate of E-Government Services added his voice to appreciate and congratulate the research team on doing such an impactful study. He encouraged the trained business owners to exercise their marketing goals in respect to computer ethics and patent rights of businesses to avoid falling culprits of plagiarism and offensive communication.

The research recommends that government of Uganda amends the current social media guide by integrating issues concerning social media usage by the business community as it will guide business owner-managers on the requirements and guidelines for social media usage, potential risks, security, transparency and the legal considerations of using social media in business operations, for small businesses will trust social media platforms and fully utilize them with a goal of fostering sustainable business growth in Uganda.

Further recommendations highlight that government integrates social media technology training in the skilling Uganda program to enable nascent entrepreneurs to acquire competencies needed to successfully integrate social media technology into the functionality of their startups for sustainable growth.

The Ministry of Education and Sports should encourage academic institutions to adopt the social media training modules developed from this project to equip learners with practical soft and technical social media skills to enable future entrepreneurs to acquire competencies relevant in launching social media platforms, selling and marketing online.

This study was spearheaded by Dr. Sendawula Kasimu, Professor. Peter Turyakira, Professor Grace Kibanja, Dr. Saadat Kimuli Nakyejwe, Ms. Najjinda Shamirah, Mr. Ashiraf Mutagubya, Mr. Muhsin Mutagubya and Ms. Betty Tuhaise: funded by the Government of Uganda through Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RiF).

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Business & Management

MBA Shortlist for Graduate Admission Test (GAT) 2022/2023

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An aerial photo of L-R: The Main Library, Central Teaching Facility 2 (CTF2), School of Economics and School of Business (CoBAMS), Makerere University, Kampala Uganda.

The Academic Registrar, Makerere University, invites all shortlisted candidates who applied for the Master of Business Administration (MBA) programme offered at Makerere University Main Campus; College of Business and Management Sciences (CoBAMS) for academic year 2022/2023 for a Graduate Admission Test (GAT).

The test is scheduled to take place on Saturday 27th August, 2022 starting 9:00 AM at CoBAMS.

Further information can be accessed by following the link:

Shortlist for Graduate Admission Test (GAT) 2022/2023

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Hon. Baryomunsi Launches Book with Pledge to continue Supporting Research

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Hon. Chris Baryomunsi signs a dummy of the Book "Academics, Research and Leadership in Institutions of Higher Learning: Experiences from Makerere University" signifying its launch on 29th July 2022.

The Minister for ICT and National Guidance, the Hon. Chris Baryomunsi today July 29, 2022, launched a book authored by 20 researchers of Makerere University.

The book titled “Academics, Research and Leadership in Institutions of Higher Learning: Experiences from Makerere University” details the research and training experiences of some academic units in Makerere University. The programs analyzed in the book include training of statisticians, population scientists, quantitative economists among others. The book documents past, present and emerging issues in training and research in the above fields. The book, according to Prof. Ben Kiregyera who gave the keynote address, makes the case for strengthening the infrastructure for training and research including technical and administrative leadership. The book also looks at the acquisition of new knowledge, strategic skills and competences in different disciplines to meet the 21st century development and data challenges.

Hon. Chris Baryomunsi challenged researchers to engage in new research areas such as robotics, nano-technology, big data, Internet of Things and integrate them in our day to day lives.
Hon. Chris Baryomunsi challenged researchers to engage in new research areas such as robotics, nano-technology, big data, Internet of Things and integrate them in our day to day lives.

Hon. Chris Baryomunsi, also a former lecturer in the department of population studies said the government would continue to support research and innovation because they drive development of the economy. “What we need to do better is engage policy makers in our research processes,” Dr. Baryomunsi advised. “Your research needs to inform government but you also have a role of simplifying statistics to the public”. He challenged researchers to engage in new research areas such as robotics, nano-technology, big data, Internet of Things and integrate them in our day to day lives.

Prof. Henry Alinaitwe, the Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Finance and Administration, who represented the Vice Chancellor, applauded the authors of the book, saying they are greatly contributing to the research agenda of the university. He said the book will go a long way in informing decision making in the university, as the university moves into becoming a research led university.

Prof. Henry Alinaitwe delivers the remarks on behalf of the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe.
Prof. Henry Alinaitwe delivers the remarks on behalf of the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe.

The Principal of the College of Business and Management Science, Prof. Eria Hisali, who was represented by the Deputy Principal Prof. Bruno Yawe, congratulated the authors and editorsfor a job well done. “This is yet another reminder that a lot can be achieved when we are determined and when we choose to work closely together,” the Principal said.

The Principal told the authors, most of whom were drawn from CoBAMS that the college will be launching a special purpose vehicle for policy engagements called the Policy Labs. This will bring together policy makers, implementers, private sector actors, development partners and the academia to engage on topical policy issues. It will enable researchers to share the recommendations with a wider audience of policy makers and implementers.

Prof. Buyinza Mukadasi (2nd L), Prof. Eria Hisali (R) and other officials at the Book Launch.
Prof. Buyinza Mukadasi (2nd L), Prof. Eria Hisali (R) and other officials at the Book Launch.

The Director of Research and Graduate Training, Prof. Buyinza Mukadasi also congratulated the authors and reemphasized the university’s commitment to supporting research geared at finding home grown solutions to society challenges.

The coordinators of the book project, Prof. Abel Nzabona, shared with the audience the 5-year journey of writing the book.

The journey started in June 2018 when Prof. Ronald Wesonga (in the company of Dr. Fred Maniragaba) mentioned that he had a book idea and wanted Prof. Nzabona to coordinate the writing process. Prof Ronald Wesonga’s idea of the book was an academic document that was researched, evidence-based, informative, marketable and interesting to read. The team then set out on a journey or writing, vetting, peer-reviewing and manuscript writing, identifying editors and publishers. 

Part of the audience at the Book Launch.
Part of the audience at the Book Launch.

“We started off with just 4 chapters but never gave up. We intensified the popularization of the book idea and eventually reached the 15-chapter mark,” Prof. Nzabona said. The team was delighted to have been joined by colleagues from the College of Education and External Studies namely Dr David Onen and Prof. Fred Bakkabulindi.

The vision bearer and funder of the publication, Prof. Ronald Wesonga, in his remarks highlighted the objectives of the book which included:

  1. To Share evidence-based, data-driven experiences pertaining academics and research leadership at Makerere University.
  2. To Infer how leadership shapes academics and research outputs at universities
  3. To Provide viable recommendations based on findings from different studies
  4. To Contribute to the Mak@100 celebrations

The book Prof. Wesonga shared addresses the following research questions:

  1. What is the effect of leadership on excellence in academics? Addressed in seven chapters: {4,5,6,7,9,10,12}
  2. What is the effect of leadership on research outputs? Addressed in six chapters: {2,3,8,11,13,14}
One of the Book Authors, Dr. Anthony Tibaingana.
One of the Book Authors, Dr. Anthony Tibaingana.

The book employed the following methodology:

  1. Teamwork and networking
  2. Primary and secondary data sources
  3. Literature Search
  4. Mixed Methods
  5. Descriptive and Inferential Approaches
  6. Quality Standardization and Flow (Abstract, KW, Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion, Conclusion & Recommendations)

According to Prof. Wesonga, the book’s unique attributes include:

  1. First ever in the history of Mak to demonstrate impeccable teamwork and network with 20 contributing authors
  2. Pioneering book in Mak history that focuses on leadership audit
  3. Proven data-driven scientific approach
  4. Baseline for various monographs, yet to come soon
  5. First book to be internationally demanded before its launch
Hon. Chris Baryomunsi (5th R) poses with officials and some of the authors at the Book Launch on 29th July 2022, Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility Auditorium, Makerere University.
Hon. Chris Baryomunsi (5th R) poses with officials and some of the authors at the Book Launch on 29th July 2022, Yusuf Lule Central Teaching Facility Auditorium, Makerere University.

THE AUTHORS

  1. Anthony Tibaingana
  2. Abraham Y. Owino
  3. Mwanga Yeko
  4. Fred Maniragaba
  5. Ronald Wesonga
  6. John Mushomi Atwebembeire
  7. Abel Nzabona
  8. John Paul Tugume
  9. Christian Kakuba
  10. Charles Lwanga
  11. Ishmael Kalule-Sabiti
  12. James Ntozi
  13. Edward Musoke
  14. Richard Tuyiragize
  15. Fabian Nabugoomu
  16. John Bosco Asiimwe
  17. Yeko Mwanga
  18. Paulino Ariho
  19. Fred Edward K. Bakkabulindi
  20. David Onen

EDITORS:

  1. Fredrick Ruguma Tumwine
  2. Fred E. K. Bakkabulindi
  3. James Ntozi

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