Overall Objective: The ECSDevelop Project launched at Makerere University on 8th June 2022 aims to increase capacity and contribution of environmental chemistry research in higher education in a bid to address the local and global priority needs in improving water quality.
East Africa faces serious challenges in relation to atmospheric, soil and water pollution. The Lake Victoria basin and the Albertine Graben have not been spared either. The Lake Victoria Basin that is shared by Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania has undergone rapid urbanization in the last three decades. The high population density, rapid industrial growth and wastewater treatment plants in the vicinity of the lake have been reported as some of the sources of environmental contaminants such as plastic debris and endocrine disrupting chemicals. Aquatic ecosystems such as Lake Victoria have been reported as endpoints for plastics of all sizes, including microplastics. The harmful effects of microplastics such as starvation, death, oxidative damage, developmental defects and neurotoxicity to organisms have been reported. However, studies on the extent of microplastics pollution in fresh water bodies such as Lake Victoria and River Nile are limited.
The Environmental Chemistry for Sustainable Development (ECSDevelop) project, a joint programme between Makerere University, Uganda; Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology, Kenya; the University of Natural Sciences and Life Sciences, Vienna; and Kyambogo University targets to investigate the seasonal fluxes, sources and trophic transfer of microplastics within the aquatic ecosystem of Lake Victoria and River Nile. To establish the effect of petroleum exploration and production activities carried out in the Albertine Graben, the research team will examine multifaceted application of nanotechnology in the field of bioremediation of petroleum hydrocarbons.
The overall objective of the ECSDevelop Project is to increase capacity and contribution of environmental chemistry research in higher education in a bid to address the local and global priority needs in improving water quality and advancement of remediation technologies. Through the project, the researchers will explore regional capacities to jointly streamline existing curricula on environmental chemistry and ecotoxicology; develop a novel cost-effective state of the art technology to track and clean up contaminants in wastewater using locally available resources such as moringa oleifera and other plant materials; and develop efficient remediation technologies for crude oil contaminated soils and water of the Albertine Graben, Uganda.
The project will also support training of 5 PhDs and 4 MSc graduate researchers at Makerere University, Kyambogo University and Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology, Kenya.
The three-year project launched by the Principal, College of Natural Sciences, Makerere University, Prof. Winston Tumps Ireeta on 8th June 2022 is funded by the Austrian Partnership Programme in Higher Education and Research for Development (APPEAR). The Principal Investigator is Dr Christine Betty Nagawa from the Department of Forestry, Biodiversity and Tourism at the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), Makerere University. Other members of the consortium are; Dr Patrick Sebugere from the College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS), Makerere University; Dr Christine Kyarimpa from Kyambogo University, Uganda; Dr Solomon Omwowa from Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology (JOOUST), Kenya; Mr Silver Odongo, Makerere University; and Ms. Emily Chelangat (KAFUCO).
Impact of the project
- Under the project, curriculum in Environmental Chemistry and Ecotoxicology will be developed. It will be practical oriented to address the increasing societal challenges in environmental pollution and climate adaptations.
- Publications, patents and policy briefs arising from research results will form an important baseline for new knowledge and technologies to be adopted.
- The project intends to equip local farmers with relevant skills to boost the production of moringa and gooseberries, which will be a sustainable source of the scaled-up bioremediation technologies. This will in the long run contribute to environmental conservation in the Lake Victoria basin and Albertine graben, and improve livelihoods among the famers through sale of moringa and gooseberries.
The research team held a two-day (7th-8th June 2022) meeting to introduce the project to stakeholders. The two-day workshop featured the launch of the project, presentations by Masters and PhD students, and a plenary discussion on how best to manage the project.
During the workshop, the Principal, CoNAS, Prof. Winston Tumps Ireeta and the Head, Department of Chemistry at Makerere University, Dr. John Wasswa pledged total support towards the implementation of the project.
At the plenary session, stakeholders deliberated on the best modes of engagement with different stakeholders to increase impact of the project. They also discussed the gaps in the project and brainstormed on ways of sustaining the project. Participants called for massive sensitization on the dangers of microplastics and involvement of communities in the implementation of the project.
Research projects of students sponsored by the ECSDevelop project
- Application of Nano particles in Bioremediation of Oil Spill in the Albertine Graben, Uganda– Abura Tobby Oliwit from the Department of Chemistry, CoNAS, Makerere University
- Assessment of Acaricide Residues in Trans Nzoia County and Mechanism of their Adsorption by Zeolites – Sifuna Douglas Bukhebi from Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology (JOOUST), Kenya
- Occurrence of microplastics in the gastrointestinal tract and gills of Oreochromis niloticus from fish breeding areas of northern Lake Victoria– Faith Atukwatse, Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences, Makerere University
- Seasonal variations in the levels and trophic transfer of microplastics and nanoplastics in Lake Victoria basin – Godfrey Muhwezi, Department of Chemistry, Kyambogo University
- Investigating Sources of Microplastic Contaminants into Lake Victoria through Nakivubo Channel – Simon Ocakacon, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Makerere University
- Thermodynamics and Kinetics of Hexachlorobenzene Adsorption on zeolites – Manada Timothy, Department of Physical Sciences, (JOOUST), Kenya
- Sources, Seasonal variations, trophic transfer and magnetic carbon nanotunbe-removal of microplastics from the Ugandan portion of Lake Victoria – Omara Timothy, Uganda National Bureau of Standards
- Sorption of Dichlorophenyltrichloroethane, Chlorpyrifos, Atrazine, and Glyphosate by activated charcoal and moringa husks in a packed small diameter column – Ahimbisibwe Michael, Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, Makerere University
- Quantification, spatial prediction and green nano remediation of crude oil contamination in the soils and water of the Albertine Graben, Uganda, Amina Nalweyiso, Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering, Makerere University
Two Nutrifish-sponsored PhD students win awards of best oral presentations at ICAFA
Two of the NutriFish-sponsored PhD students, Nakiyende Herbert and Julliet Nafula Ogubi won the awards for the best and second-best oral presentations in the young scientists’ category at the International Conference on Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture (ICAFA) held in Jinja, Uganda from 1st-3rd September 2022. The conference was organized under the theme “Breaking new grounds to recognize and celebrate the contribution of small-scale fisheries towards food security and nutrition”.
Supported by the International Research Development Centre (IDRC) and the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) through their joint programme, Cultivate Africa’s Future Fund (CultiAF), NutriFish aims to address the nutritional needs of vulnerable groups that cannot afford expensive commercial fish but are in critical need of high quality nutritious diets. The Project is coordinated by Dr. Jackson Efitre, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences, College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS), Makerere University.
The title for Nakiyende Herbert’s presentation was: “Are small pelagic fisheries a blessing or curse? Understanding fisher community perceptions towards light fishing on Lake Albert, Uganda”.
Light fishing, the technique of catching fish by light attraction was introduced to Lake Albert, Uganda around early 2000s, to target two small pelagic species (SPS), Engraulicypris bredoi (muziri) and Brycinus nurse (ragoogi). The introduction of light fishing coincided with a period when stocks of large-bodied fishes, such as Tilapia spp, Lates niloticus, Bagras bajad, Alestes baremose, and Hydrocynus forskahlii in the Ugandan waters of Lake Albert had started to decline. Although Lake Albert is shared by Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), light fishing is prohibited in DRC waters. This study evaluated socio-ecological consequences of light fishing on the fisheries and lakeside communities of Lake Albert in Uganda, to inform sustainable management. Data was collected in April 2021 from three landing sites (Ntoroko, Kaiso, and Dei), through semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions. Light fishing has transformed the lake’s annual fish catch from < 60,000 tonnes (t) in early 2000s, mainly of large species to about 330,000 t, dominated by SPS (60 – 80%) by 2021. The SPS light fishery currently engages over 30% of total fishing boats and 60% of fishers in the Ugandan waters of the lake. The technique has also led to conflicts with fishers targeting the large-bodied species, the main concerns being: i) excessive light fishing effort; ii) competition for fishing grounds; iii) high by-catch (~10%) dominated by juveniles of the large species; and iv) destruction of passive fishing gears used in the large-bodied species fisheries. To ensure co-existence in the multi-species fishery and continued livelihood benefits (employment, income, and food) of the SPS light fishery, resting and closed periods and light-fishery effort control were proposed by 95.4% of respondents. Detailed scientific investigation of the light fishing methods is recommended, to guide on the proposed closed season and fishing effort controls.
Julliet Nafula Ogubi’s presentation was on: “Spoilage mechanisms and associated drivers in post-harvest loss management in freshwater small pelagic fishes in Africa”.
Small pelagic fishes (SPFs) are steadily being recognized for their contribution to livelihoods, food and nutritional security especially in developing countries. The SPFs are schooling fishes with a total length of 20 cm, preserved mainly by open sun-drying. Despite the bulk harvests, post-harvest losses associated with spoilage continue to hamper their availability, accessibility and consumption. A review of available literature on similar marine species revealed that spoilage commences immediately after harvest and progresses through three cascading but overlapping processes: autolytic (enzymatic), microbial and chemical reactions causing physical, quality, nutritional and economic losses. Spoilage in SPF is accelerated by i) their large surface to volume ratio; ii) the reliance on fluctuating sun radiation for drying which depends on prevailing weather condition; c) limited drying spaces for large quantities landed. With regard to magnitude of losses, spoilage-related quality deterioration and nutritional changes in fish are rarely evaluated, hence associated economic value is lacking. The magnitude of losses attributed directly to the spoilage mechanisms have not been determined in freshwater SPFs, yet cost-effective interventions target significant processes. Handling practices, especially stacking and mixing of different fish hauls as drivers of spoilage mechanisms have not also been evaluated. In addition, the effect of prolonged trips and lack of controlled temperature on-board, are less understood. Therefore, an urgent in-depth assessment of quality and nutritional losses and the associated economic value; the contribution of each spoilage mechanism to the magnitude of losses and the effect of handling practices on the rate of spoilage among freshwater SPFs is needed.
Dr. Perpetra Akite wins British Ecological Society Marsh Award for Ecologists in Africa
Dr. Perpetra Akite has been awarded the Marsh Award for Ecologists in Africa. This prize aims to celebrate the significant scientific achievements of African ecologists and raise their profile in the UK. It is provided by the Marsh Charitable Trust and administered by the British Ecological Society.
Dr. Akite is one of Uganda’s leading entomologists and experts in butterflies. She has made important advances in improving knowledge around insects in Uganda, contributing to assessing and mapping key ecologically sensitive species in the country. She has even had a moth named after her.
Dr. Akite is also passionate about passing on her knowledge to younger generations and takes part in a great deal of outreach activities at both school and university level. Her goal is to encourage more young people – especially African girls – to begin a career in science.
The winners will be presented with their prizes during a ceremony held at the BES Annual Meeting which runs from 18th – 21st December in Edinburgh. The meeting will bring together over 1000 ecologists (in person and online) to discuss the latest advances in ecological research across the whole discipline.
PESCA Call For Applications: Short Courses Training in Aquaculture
PROVISION OF TRAINING SERVICES TO THE PROMOTING ENVIRONMENTALLY SUSTAINABLE COMMERCIAL AQUACULTURE IN UGANDA (PESCA) PROJECT
ADVERT FOR SHORT COURSES TRAINING IN AQUACULTURE
The Department of Zoology, Entomology, and Fisheries Sciences, College of Natural Sciences, Makerere University was awarded a contract under the European Union-funded PESCA project implemented by Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) for the provision of training services. The overall objective of the assignment is to support training that will improve knowledge, skills, and practices that enhance aquaculture production and productivity in Uganda. This will be achieved through the following specific objectives:
- Support the placement of undergraduate students to work (internships) with fish farmers or other suitable aquaculture value chain (AVC) actors;
- Conduct inclusive customized short-term training with gender considerations (women, men, youth, people with disabilities) including farmers, Producer Organizations (POs), feed & seed producers, service providers, and other aquaculture stakeholders; and
- Support MSc. research and training.
The expected outputs from the short-course trainings are:
- Trainees (farmers, Producer Organizations, feed & seed producers, service providers etc.) with job-demanded competency skills & knowledge;
- Increased engagement of AVC actors in the training of students & review of university curricula;
- Orientation of tertiary Fisheries and aquaculture training institutions’ curricula to practical thematic areas; and
- Compendium of different modules compiled and shared with partners.
A certificate of attendance will be issued to trainees who successfully complete the training.
B. THE SHORT COURSE TRAINING OPPORTUNITY
Applications are invited for 180 fully funded bursaries for six (6) trainings covering relevant modules specified in (C) below. Each course is expected to be conducted within seven (7) days jointly with the Aquaculture Research and Development Center (ARDC), Kajjansi, National Fisheries Resources Research Institute (NAFIRRI).
C. SHORT COURSE MODULES
|TARGET GROUP(S)||RELEVANT MODULES||TRAINING DATES|
|1.Hatchery operators and managers||Introduction to commercial aquaculture; Fish seed production and hatchery management (including fingerling transportation; early stock management in grow-out pond); Fish diseases and health management; Aquaculture business planning and organisation.||9th-14th October 2022|
|2.Fish farmers and farm managers||Introduction to commercial aquaculture; Establishing a commercially viable aquaculture enterprise; Aquaculture business planning and organisation; Aquaculture production systems.||23rd-28th October 2022|
|3. Producer groups||Introduction to commercial aquaculture; Aquaculture production systems; Fish diseases and health management; Aquaculture business planning and organisation (including group dynamics, resource mobilisation for group self-sustenance; fish marketing skills).||6th-11th November 2022|
|4. Feed producers||Introduction to commercial aquaculture; Fish feeds production; Fish feeding and feed management; Aquaculture business planning and organisation||13th-18th November 2022|
|5. Aquaculture Extension workers||Introduction to commercial aquaculture; Aquaculture production systems, Fish diseases and health management; Aquaculture business planning and organization; Aquaculture Extension workers (including service delivery; aquaculture extension methods and tools).||7th November – 2nd December 2022|
|6. Food and Fish Processors||Introduction to commercial aquaculture; Value addition for farmed fish; Aquaculture business planning and organisation.||11th-16th December 2022|
|Target groups||Selection requirements for admission|
|Hatchery operators and managers||Ability to read and write|
|Fish farmers and farm managers||Ability to read and write|
|Producer groups||Ability to read, write and presentation of a registration certificate as a CBO or cooperative society|
|Feed producers||Ability to read and write|
|Aquaculture Extension workers||Minimum is a certificate in Fisheries and aquaculture|
|Food and Fish Processors||Ability to read and write|
E. APPLICATION PROCESS
Application form should be electronically filled and submitted here: https://forms.gle/52JWCEaDH1ADcbVk7. In addition, a signed recommendation from your District Fisheries Officer or Leader of Producer Organisation should also be sent to the Head of Department (firstname.lastname@example.org), with a copy to the Team Leader, Dr. Jackson Efitre (email@example.com), and the short courses Coordinators, Juliet Nattabi Kattabi (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Rosemary Nalwanga (email@example.com) by the deadline of 30th September, 2022 at 5:00PM.
The advert is linked below.
General1 week ago
Government Sponsorship Admissions Lists 2022/2023
General1 week ago
Mak Private Sponsorship Undergraduate Admission Lists 2022/23
General1 week ago
Mature Age Entry Scheme Admissions List 2022/2023
General1 week ago
Application for Mature Age Entry Admission 2023/2024
General6 days ago
Uganda’s policymakers implored to address forest loss, plastic & water pollution