Engineer Mohamed Mohamud, the Deputy Rector for Academics of SIMAD University, Somalia together with Mr Abukar Nuktar Omar, the Dean Faculty of Education visited Makerere University last week. The visiting team interacted with Principals and Deputy Principals of Six (6) Colleges to learn more about Makerere University and explore possibilities of collaboration in specific areas.
SIMAD University was established in 1999 and started with a Department for Accounting and Information Technology. Currently, there are nine (9) faculties with a student population 3,700. The University has a good working relationship with the government, private sector and their former Rector is the President of the Somalia Government.
Somalia is a post-conflict country with SIMAD University having Nine (9) faculties and running 45 programmes offering bachelors and masters programmes. They have 450 staff, 300 of which are permanent. SIMAD University was founded by Direct Aid Organization and started as a Technology Institute. Direct Aid is a voluntary non-governmental organization assisting with development programmes in Africa. The Technology Institute transformed into SIMAD University and seeks to provide ample opportunities for high quality, advanced education in science, technology and arts for Somali students and adult learners in the greater Horn of Africa.
At Makerere University College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT), the visitors were received by Dr Anthony Gidudu who represented the Principal and Deputy Principal. In a presentation, Dr Gidudu highlighted the three Schools namely; School of Engineering; School of the Built Environment and the Margaret Trowell School of Industrial and Fine Arts. He mentioned the Departments under each of the Schools. He pointed out the new Institute of Innovation for business incubation aimed at producing entrepreneurs and a Centre for Research in Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation.
Dr Gidudu is the Dean, School of the Built Environment. He suggested to the visitors that since Somalia was facing a number of land issues/challenges between different tribes, the best way to cooperate with Makerere University would be capacity building. He implored SIMAD University to encourage its students to apply for the Masters programme in Land Management and Administration which was recently approved by Makerere University Council and yet to be advertised by the Directorate of Research and Graduate Training. The programme is interdisciplinary bringing on board lawyers, planners, historians, economists as well as sociologists to learn how to handle land rights and ownership. There would be opportunities for staff and student exchanges. He advised SIMAD University to keep in touch for information about semester dates and give the information to their students.
Dr Amin Tamale, the Head, Department of Physical Planning and Architecture at CEDAT informed the visitors that they had come up with a programme of skilling masons in the country and pointed out a possibility of extending an invitation to SIMAD University to participate in the training next year in March. The College was in the process of establishing a Centre of Urban and Regional Planning that would attract urban planners and managers within the region for specialized training.
Responding to the presentation from CEDAT, the Deputy Rector Eng Mohamed Mohamud informed the Staff of CEDAT that the Rector was not able to come as earlier communicated due to an emergency call from the President of their country. He thanked the CEDAT team for the cordial reception and the informative presentation.
The Dean Faculty of Education at SIMAD University, Mr. Abukhar Omar informed the CEDAT team that the Architecture programme at the University commenced two years ago, and as such, the partnership with Makerere University would build more capacity in that area. He also suggested faculty exchanges to their university.
At the College of Education and External Studies (CEES), the visitors met with the Deputy Principal Associate Professor Ronald Bisaso, Dr Rosemary Nabiryo representing the Humanities and Language Education Department; Dr Sanya Rahman representing the Dean, School of Distance and Lifelong Learning and Professor Fred Bakkabulindi from the East African School of Higher Education Studies and Development (EASHESD). Dr Bisaso welcomed the visitors and informed them that College has a rich history with buildings constructed in 1923. The College has been grounded extensively in teacher education and conducts a wide range of research. There are 100 members of staff with PhDs and others are yet to complete.
In his speech, Eng Muhamed Muhamud, the Deputy Rector of SIMAD University appreciated the warm welcome. He highlighted that the University has nine faculties with most employees being graduates of the University. It is these members of staff who are sent to other universities for further studies and return to head Departments and Schools. The University has greatly contributed to the community transformation by training and producing social workers, medical doctors and other health workers, as well as graduate teachers in schools. All first year students at SIMAD University are required to take the English Skills Programme to be able to study in English at higher levels. The Rector expressed interest in cooperation in teaching and learning by way of sending experts to teach the English language; joint research in writing and publishing.
Responding to the request from SIMAD University, Dr Rosemary Nabiryo said the Department of Humanities and Language Education could assist in teaching pedagogical skills. Dr Rahman Sanya from the Distance and Lifelong Learning Department informed the visitors that a big component of distance learning deals with e-learning which cushioned the university during the Covid-19 pandemic. The School used distance learning mode both offline and online for lectures and examinations.
At the Directorate of Research and Graduate Training, the visitors were received by the Deputy Director, Associate Professor Robert Wamala who reiterated that Makerere University was focused on increasing the number of graduate students. He explained that the Grants Management and Support Unit (GAMSU) coordinates external research done by staff with other universities while the Directorate of Research and Graduate Training (DRGT) coordinates research done by students. Commending the move towards collaboration with Makerere University, Dr. Wamala said: “What you are doing is what every university that seeks to grow does. Somali students can apply for masters programmes here and will be admitted if they qualify. It is better to partner with the institution rather than particular units. Going forward, draft proposal of the partnership envisaged should be sent to us so that we start the dialogue.”
At the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS), the Deputy Principal Dr Awich Ochen informed the visitors about the four major areas of the University’s Strategic Plan (2020-20230) namely; being a Research-led University responding to national, regional and global development challenges; Internationalization; innovation in teaching and learning; engaging the community. Makerere University cannot work alone but as a Consortium for research collaboration as well as student and staff exchanges. Makerere Staff can be invited as key-note speakers at their conferences. He added that the School of Linguistics and Languages would be ready to cooperate with SIMAD University once a general agreement is signed signed by the institution.
At the College of Health Sciences (CHS), the visitors interacted with the Deputy Principal Prof Isaac Kajja; the Dean of Health Sciences Prof Kamba Pakoyo; Dean School of Medicine Prof Annette Nakimuli; the Deputy Dean Public Health Associate Professor Elizeus Rutebemberwa and the Assistant Manager International Programmes Ms Norah Namirembe. The Deputy Principal welcomed the visitors to the College of Health Sciences-the oldest and a descendant of a long history. The highlighted that the College has four schools namely: Medicine, Biomedical Sciences, Health Sciences and Public Health with a total of 27 departments. The College has the largest number of research outputs and it is highly ranked internationally. The major areas of collaboration are teaching; external examining, joint supervision, research, community service in the area of medicine and public health. The College is very selective and keen on the ranking of the collaborating partner internationally.
Responding to the highlights from the CHS team, the Deputy Rector informed the hosts that SIMAD University became fully fledged in 2011 with the Faculty of Medicine starting in 2014. They were visiting Makerere University College of Health Sciences to explore possibilities of collaboration in order to benefit from their vast and rich experience.
During the interaction, they noted that collaborations are demand driven. The partners would therefore generate the needs and the College of Health Sciences would find a way of assisting them. “It is important to know what the partners are bringing to the partnership and the benefits to each other. Since SIMAD Faculty of Medicine was still young, SIMAD needs to build capacity first by bringing their faculty for training and staff exchanges.”
Both parties (CHS and SIMAD) reached consensus that SIMAD develops a curricula involving specialists within Makerere University. They also noted the need for a clear roadmap of the collaboration to guide the flow of activities.
At College of Business and Management Sciences (CoBAMS), the visiting team held a meeting with the Principal, Associate Professor Eria Hisali who briefed them on the College and Governance structure. “CoBAMs has three schools namely: Business, Economics and Statistics. We have 120 full time academic staff. 51 administrative and support staff. The College runs 25 undergraduate programmes in Economics, Statistics, Actuarial Sciences and Population Studies,” said Associate Professor Hisali.
In the meeting, Associate Professor Hisali highlighted that the strategic focus of the College is to be the best on the continent. The College has an elaborate Quality assurance system with indicators to check performance and an automatic process flow of activities for staff and students. The students are in position to follow the system from first year up to completion time. The College is student centered with incubation centres for students to develop business ideas. This is blended with infrastructure development and expansion of creating policy laboratories to produce policy indicators by researchers and policy makers who will engage government, manufacturers and decision makers. The College also embarked on monthly seminars at lunch time to present research findings and share experiences.
Writer: Martha Muwanguzi, Head-Mak International Office
Ambassador of Sweden to Uganda calls for full involvement of men and boys in achieving Gender Equality
The Ambassador of Sweden to Uganda Her Excellence Maria Håkansson has emphasized the need to fully engage men and boys in all the initiatives geared towards achieving Gender Equality in Uganda and other parts of the world. She said this on 28th November 2023 at a press conference organized by the Embassy of Sweden in close collaboration with Makerere University Gender Mainstreaming Directorate, UN Women and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to unveil the National Orange Pledge campaign and officially launch the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.
The press conference was headlined by a Ugandan rapper and record producer Daniel Lubwama Kigozi, popularly known by his stage name Navio and his fellow from Sweden Jason Michael Bosak Diakité popularly known as Timbuktu. Over 200 students both male and female from Makerere University and other institutions of higher learning attended the press conference at Makerere University Rugby Grounds.
According to Her Excellence Maria Håkansson, Gender Equality cannot be achieved without involving men and boys to take their responsibilities and be the drivers of change. “For real change to happen, we need to change attitudes and norms that might cause Gender Based Violence, one of the social ills in Uganda and an extreme of gender inequality that occurs at all levels of society,” she said.
Referring to the national survey conducted in 2020, the Ambassador was concerned about the escalating burden of gender based violence in Uganda when she said, “the Survey highlighted that 95% of women and girls experience physical or sexual violence since the age of 15.”
She therefore emphasized the Global 16 Days of Activism as key international movement to increase awareness and advocate for an end to Gender Based Violence. The Ambassador also mentioned that preventing and responding to Gender Based Violence is a cornerstone for Sweden’s commitment to promote democracy, human rights and gender equality and this is done as an investment in a society that upholds the principles of equality, dignity and justice.
She acknowledged the full participation of university students in all campaigns and activities geared towards achieving gender equality as well as ending Gender Based Violence when she said, “You are the leaders of tomorrow and you have an opportunity to build a future where everyone can thrive. So please use today to take an active stand against Gender Based Violence.”
Every year Uganda joins the rest of the world to enhance the global campaigns on 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence and also add a voice to the call for an end to violence against women and girls. These campaigns run from 25th November (the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) until 10th December of the Human Rights Day.
The United Nations Secretary-General’s UNiTE by 2030 initiative calls for global action to increase awareness, galvanize advocacy efforts and share knowledge and innovations to help end all types of violence against women and girls. This year 2023, the UNiTE campaign theme is; Invest to Prevent Violence against Women & Girls.
Over the years, Makerere University through its Gender Mainstreaming Directorate and School of Women and Gender in partnership with UN Women and many other partners have been at the fore front to support the campaign on 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence in Uganda. This has been done through debates, theatre forums, student dialogues, thematic artistic presentations, media exposures, drama and music skits presentation, and student peer led discussions and quarterly competitions.
This year 2023, the University in partnership with the Embassy of Sweden, UN Women and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) unveiled the Orange Pledge. According to Eric Tumwesigye the Senior Gender Specialist at Makerere University Gender Mainstreaming Directorate, this campaign calls upon government, policymakers, activists, civil societies, academicians, students and all members of community from all parts of the country to make their heartfelt pledges towards ending Gender Based Violence in Uganda and the rest of the world.
The UN Women Country Representative Paulina Chiwangu recognized the investment Makerere University, the Embassy of Sweden and UNFPA have made to end violence against women and girls. “Thanks to our collective efforts, the silence that used to shroud violence against women has now been broken” said.
In the same spirit, she acknowledged the progress Makerere University has made in establishing and implementation of the University’s Policy and Regulations against Sexual Harassment to protect students and staff from potential abuses of power and conflict of interest. She also applauded the increased support and training for students and the strengthened mechanisms for investigations that allow students and staff to anonymously report sexual misconduct.
“We are however, aware that despite this, sexual harassment is still happening in the university and that not many students report to the authorities when they experience it. It is therefore, our humble appeal to the university leadership to continue monitoring the implementation of the Policy and Regulations Against Sexual Harassment, take all allegations of sexual harassment and violence seriously, ensure that all personnel have information on available support services and take action to ensure that perpetrators are held accountable.”
Reaffirming the University’s position in fighting GBV and particularly sexual harassment, the Vice Chancellor of Makerere University Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe was highlighted the various measures Makerere University has put in place to prevent and respond to Gender Based Violence. To him, the Policy and Regulations against Sexual Harassment; the appointment and capacity building for the Vice Chancellor’s Roster of 100 eminent people from the various colleges and administrative units; recruitment and training of the Gender Mainstreaming Programme Student Peer Trainers and setting up Sexual Harassment Investigation Committees are bigger milestones to celebrate.
He appreciated the move by the Gender Mainstreaming Directorate and all the partners to embrace entertainment and artistry as a critical advocacy and awareness tool to reach several communities especially the youth.
“We firmly believe in the transformative power of music and the arts in promoting social change. Music and art does serve as a powerful medium to advocate for the world free from violence especially violence against women,” said to Mr. Dainel Alemu, the UNFPA Deputy Country Representative.
“It is heartening to see artists like Navio taking a stand and using their influence to challenge harmful norms. As we revel in the beats and melodies, let us not forget he underlying message that everyone , regardless of gender, has a role to play in fostering a world where everyone is free from shackles of gender based violence,” he added.
Speaking at the Press Conference at Makerere University Rugby Grounds, Navio said that for the 20 years he has been an activist of Gender Based Violence, he has faced the reality of many young girls and women in Uganda being victims of sex and physical abuse. He therefore sent a huge condemnation to men especially artists that who are perpetrators of Gender Based Violence and called for serious government action and clear policies and laws against such injustices.
Navio applauded the women and men who have stood tall over the years to fight against Gender Based Violence in Uganda when he said, “ As we launch the 16 days activism in Uganda and through these pledges we are making, let us be accountable for our actions. For long in our cultures, men have considered force and violence as power and protection. They have been tough to their children hence instilling fear to the extent that the children cannot freely interact with them on serious matters such as abuse and torture.”
He applauded all families that have adopted the new parenting model of free conversations and interaction hence encouraging children to freely open up whenever they have challenges. Navio also acknowledged the role of his mother Mrs Maggie Kigozi as a human rights activist and a champion in fighting against Gender Based Violence in Uganda.
Jason Michael Bosak Diakité popularly known as Timbuktu from Sweden appreciated the wider platform provided by the music industry globally for artists to act as role models and champion of change. The rapper highlighted the need to respect women for their roles and support towards community development.
“I am a son and it is extremely important for me to respect my mother and all women. Also being a father to a beautiful daughter, I am always eager and looking forward to seeing the best future for her. I want daught to grow up in the world where she is able to feel safe and be allowed to freely associate without being discriminated or threatened because of her gender,” he said.
Scholars & Alumni of Mastercard Foundation light up Achukudu Community, Napak District
By Bernard Buteera
On Saturday 2nd December 2023, all roads led to Achukudu Community Primary School in Napak District, Karamoja sub-region, as the Scholars and Alumni of Mastercard Foundation at Makerere University commemorated their Scholars’ Annual Day of Community Service (Giveback). The 2023 Scholars Annual Day of Community Service was held at Achukudu Community Primary School, Napak District in the Karamoja sub-region. Established in 2013, Achukudu Community School serves two ethnic communities—The Iteso and Karamojong.
With a total population of 1,097 pupils only three government-paid teachers, and nine community-paid teachers, the School faces a plethora of challenges. Key among the challenges is the lack of Classrooms, decent Ventilated Pit Latrines, and Desks. Therefore when the Scholars identified the School as one that deserved to be given a gift of a classroom block, it was a befitting choice!
The Scholars with support from the alumni, the Program Team, Members of the Steering Committee, and partners of the Scholars Program at Makerere University intervened by constructing a two-classroom block, which was supervised by one of the alumni who is an Engineer. Alongside the classroom block, the Scholars also provided 40 desks, helping the school meet UNEB Center eligibility criteria.
While presiding over the event, the area member of Parliament, Hon. John Bosco Ngoya, thanked the Scholars and alumni community at Makerere University for supporting the young pupils of Achukudu Primary School and the entire community by gifting them with a two-classroom block.
“Thank you Scholars and alumni of Mastercard Foundation at Makerere University for the Christmas gift of a classroom block to the young people and the entire community of Achukudu. This classroom block will go a long way in improving the learning environment of the young children of Achukudu primary school.” Hon. Ngoya pointed out.
Hon. Ngoya called upon other people to emulate the Scholars and alumni of the Mastercard Foundation in embracing the spirit of giving back to the vulnerable people in the community. On his part, he donated One Million Five hundred shillings (1,500,000/=) to help the School purchase more desks, and he had earlier contributed One million shillings (1,000,000/=) towards the construction of the classroom block.
The District Education Officer (DEO) for Napak District, Ms. Joyce Nakoya, praised the Scholars Community for embracing and practicing the spirit of giving back to other people at an early age.
“Thank you Scholars and alumni of the Mastercard Foundation at Makerere for embracing the spirit of giving back to other people at such an early age. If all people gave back to the less privileged in our communities, we would have a better world for everyone.” Ms. Nakoya pointed out.
Ms. Nakoya further pointed out every child deserves to study in a decent environment, therefore it was a befitting cause for the Scholars to construct a classroom block for the young pupils of Achukudu community primary school, who were studying in open grass thatched classrooms.
The Program Manager of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at Makerere University, Ms. Jolly Okumu who led the team of Scholars, alumni, and staff to Karamoja thanked the community of Achukudu for supporting the Scholars to deliver the class block by contributing to the construction sand.
“We come here today to join with you as a community driven by a shared commitment to education, empowerment, and ethos of giving back. Today is a historic occasion as we celebrate the completion and commissioning of the classroom block, which is a remarkable testament to the transformative power of education and our unwavering spirit of community service.” Ms. Jolly remarked.
The President of the Scholars Association, Mr. Godfrey Okello, thanked all the Scholars and alumni, and all stakeholders who contributed to the construction of the classroom block, which was a dream that became a reality.
“I would like to thank my colleagues and people of goodwill who supported us to realize our dream of constructing this classroom for our young brothers and sisters of Achukudu Primary School. Together we can make a difference in the lives of our fellow young people in Uganda and Africa as a whole.” Mr. Okello remarked.
The Headteacher of the School, Mr. Eryebu Raymond, who was visibly very excited was full of praises for Scholars and alumni of the Mastercard Foundation, for what he termed as an iconic classroom block they had gifted to his School.
“This day is very special to us, we will not see this day again. We are delighted to receive the Scholars and alumni of Mastercard Foundation from Makerere University, thank you for considering supporting our School” Mr. Eryebu excitedly remarked.
The Headteacher revealed that one of the major challenges the school was facing was an acute shortage of classrooms for his 1,097 pupils. He was therefore grateful to Mastercard Foundation Scholars for choosing to construct a two-class block for the School.
“This donation of a classroom block and Desks is a testament to your commitment to education and empowering the lives of the vulnerable people in the community. This classroom block and desks will go a long way in improving the quality of teaching and learning at our school.” Mr. Eryebu further remarked.
The 2023 Scholars Annual Day of Community Service (Giveback) was punctuated with a lot of joy, pomp, and fanfare, as the pupils and the entire community of Achukudu danced and ululated at the commissioning of the classroom block. The construction of the classroom block and purchase of desks for Achukudu Community Primary School was made possible by generous contributions by the Scholars, alumni, the Program Team, and members of the Steering Committee.
Among the Partners who made financial contributions towards the class block construction included; DFCU Bank, Post Bank, URA, Katumba Estates, Footsteps Furniture Ltd, and Sion Travels Ltd.
The Scholars and Alumni Day of Community Service (Give back) is an annual event, where Scholars and alumni of the Mastercard Foundation go out into the community to give back by providing solutions to challenges that a particular community is facing. Over the years Scholars have given back to the communities in numerous ways that range from offering professional services and erecting major projects like classroom blocks.
Bernard Buteera is the Communications and Public Relations Officer of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at Makerere University.
Innovations using low cost locally available materials for point of use water treatment system unveiled
The College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT) conducted a Research Dissemination of two studies aimed at the Development of Materials for point of use water treatment systems.
The investigations were conducted by a team of researchers comprised of P. W. Olupot, H. M. Kalibbala, E. Menya, G.M. Wangi, J. Jjagwe, J. Wakatuntu, M. Turyasingura, R. Walozi, C. Kanyesigye and R. N. Kulabako.
The dissemination event held on Wednesday 29th November 2023 follows the successful completion of two MakRIF supported Research projects namely; Development of rice husk based granular activated carbon for point-of-use water treatment systems and Development of zeolite-based nanocomposite filters for drinking water treatment.
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