Researchers from Makerere University College of Computing and Information Sciences (CoCIS) have designed the Smart bee Monitor ready to conduct its first trials in the field in December 2022. This is the first time the device will be taken out of the laboratory to test how it performs in monitoring bee hives.
The first deployment is going to take place at the university apiary in Namulonge which will act as the study site for this first prototype, while several others will be stationed in different fruit farms and game parks in East Africa to predict the well-being of bees under different environments.
CoCIS researchers in a collaborative project dubbed, “Adaptive Environment Monitoring Network Africa (AdEMNEA)” revealed this new development during the project 2022 first Annual conference held at Kolping Hotel In Kampala on 16th-17th November 2022. The project commencement in 2021.
The Project is funded by NORAD under the NORHED II programme supported for five years with the main emphasis on Southern partners. It builds on past success and results from the WIMEA project which automated weather services funded under the NORHED I framework with several other projects currently funded with NTNU and Makerere as partners.
The partners in the AdEMNEA project are the Norwegian University for Science and Technology as the lead partner and the Southern partners led by Makerere University, the Dar es Salaam Institute of Technology (Tanzania) and the University of Juba (South Sudan). Other partners are the University of Bergen (Norway), the Uganda Meteorological Authority, NaCCRI and NARO. Other partners are the Ministry of Agriculture (MAAIF), The Uganda National Apiary Development Organisation (TUNADO), Research and Education Network for Uganda (RENU) and Fruit / Bee farmers (Nwoya fruit growers cooperative society and Green Zabu Farm).
At Makerere University the project is being led by Dr. Julianne Sansa-Otim with staff from the College of Engineering Design and Art (CEDAT) and the College of Veterinary Medicine Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB).
Speaking during the annual conference, the Principal Investigator Makerere University Dr. Julianne Sansa-Otim said, they are rolling out an adaptive resilient network infrastructure connectivity where data gathering instruments in the field can send their data through the internet.
“We are building this network and we want to contribute to protecting bees and building instruments that will gather data about bees and fruit flies. We are putting in place the smart bee monitor and have designed the first generation that it can gather the data that can help insect scientists to tell the health of the bees and the environment and aspects that are helpful to make conclusions”, Dr. Nsansa said.
Dr. Nsansa stressed that bees are endangered yet they are the biggest pollinators responsible for most of the fruits and vegetables. Bees according to Dr. Nsansa contribute towards biodiversity as other creatures rely on them for existence.
“The challenge is that because of climate change, different human factors and agro-chemicals, bees are on the decline and becoming extinct. For the remaining bees, we need to find ways of discovering what is affecting them, where do they thrive, which kind of plants do they like.
Most of the wild places where bees used to thrive have been converted into commercial farms and buildings so we need the optimize the smaller spaces remaining for bees”. She added.
She noted that as they investigate and deploy instruments out there, they will establish plants where bees can stay longer and multiply and help to come up with interventions to protect those tree species.
She reported that monitoring insects has traditionally been via manual observation and count by specialists such as entomologists and extension workers going in the bushes yet there are few specialists in Uganda and Africa that makes this method ineffective. In Uganda, it is estimated that there is one entomologist per region with less than eight entomologists in the MAAIF employed to do this work for the entire country.
The deployment of such tools in the field means that one entomologist in one place can be able to gather different data from different places. And because bees are mostly found where there are fruits and vegetables, and, one of the common pests in fruits being fruit flies, the project looked at both pollinators: – the bees which researchers want to protect and multiply and, fruit flies for study and destruction.
Fruit flies are known to be the biggest pests affecting mangoes leading to losses and likewise the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Industry and Fisheries that is responsible for monitoring and controlling pests is limited by the number of specialists.
Makerere University’s PhD student behind the design of the smart bee monitor Dr. Agatha Turyagenda said the goal is to solve the inefficiencies that come about with manual inspections of bee hives in Uganda which is associated with less productivity among Ugandan bee farmers.
Studies have shown that world over, the number of bees have declined but no study has been conducted in Uganda as farmers continue to complain about bees absconding to come to bee hives.
AdMNEA project researchers are investigating to come up with a solution to combat some of the challenges bee farmers are faced with.
“The smart bee hive has several parameters capturing images and videos, at the entrance of the bee hive and, temperature and humidity as well as carbon dioxide levels inside the bee hive and the weight of the bee hive.
All these parameters are then transferred to a remote website that anyone can be able to see as long as they have internet connectivity. So this can be on a mobile phone or laptop.
In the future we will be able to use the information collected to be able to develop programmes that can tell us which pests and diseases have infected the bee hive, if the queen is absent or present, it can tell us if the bees are preparing to swarm, the honey productivity, the weight module and also indicate the right time to harvest honey”, Dr. Turyagenda explained
Entomologist Dr. Deborah Ruth Amulen from CoVAB reported that whereas bees constitute 70% of the world’s crop pollination, their population has declined due to pesticide application, climate change, land use change and diseases.
Amulen observed that the traditional way of inspecting bee hives is time consuming, requires skills and knowledge, disrupts inside hive micro climate and risk of distributing diseases of bees while useful variables such as temperature, humidity, gases cannot be ascertained hence the need to automate the process.
“For entomologists, the smart bee monitor will help us to know when to harvest honey, when the bees are sick, when the population of bees is down so that we can check the hive and address the problem.
The smart bee hive is one of the common bee hives farmers use but the ICT team has modified it with sensors after which entomologist will populate them with bees and deploy them in fruit farms, university farms and in apiaries near the national parks so that we can compare what is happening in hives and in fruit farms where they spray a lot of chemicals.
We can therefore monitor and tell if the bees will be very sick or dying, whether the production of honey is lower compared to bees that are near national parks and where there is no chemical use near the national parks” Dr. Amulen stated.
Regular manual inspection of fruit fly traps according to Dr. Amulen is also inconvenient, misses out on critical data points such as the phenotype, density, diversity and relationships between variables such as population and weather toward prediction of infestation.
Project PIs & Accountants Urged to follow Budget Controls, Approval Structures & Policies
Principal Investigators (PIs), research assistants and accountants in the College of Computing and Information Sciences (CoCIS) on 23rd November 2023 were equipped with knowledge and skills on Accountability protocols to increase their knowledge on managing funds.
The half-day blended Workshop which attracted 30 participants was officially opened by the Principal CoCIS, Prof. Tonny Oyana and facilitated by the Manager Accounts and Reports Makerere University Mr. Lubowa S. Gyaviira and the Team Leader, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) Mr. Tom Vok Elwana.
The training highlighted the common accountability challenges, accountability procedures and approvals and submission of accountability reports.
Noting delays in accountabilities, Prof. Oyana said, he would like to see the college conduct research and grow big rather than being blacklisted by development partners and donors.
The Principal said, the college has established itself in four principle areas of research where it draws credibility namely; the Sensing Technology, Artificial Intelligence, Human Computer Interaction research and Information seeking research.
He observed that sometimes researchers under estimate the reasons to be financially knowledgeable and hence the need for the training.
“Everything happens because of money. If you are a poor manager of your money, then, you cannot pursue the activities you set. So, financial responsibilities and discipline are very important if you are to be a good negotiator”, He said.
Motivated by the need to build a system that is prudent and robust and building an inclusive place to learn, work and succeed, Prof. Oyana shared his experience of what he has learnt as critical.
“First of all, know your financial status and spend within those limits. Never destroy someone’s credibility. I also recommend responsible financial discipline and not to go by peer pressure.
The minute you indicate a budget, you have controls. You don not shift budget items from other controls. If you want to spend and move items that are 10% and above, you need to get permission from the treasury”, Oyana advised.
The Principal also advised researchers to learn and follow the approval structures and policies, stick to their values and ethics and, ensure funds are used for intended activities. He advised scientists to strive for excellence and make good returns to those that entrust them with the resources.
Prof. Oyana extended the call for discipline in the laboratories on grounds that laboratories run on ethics and honesty. He stressed that it is good practice to follow scientific evidence because Science does not depend on rumours but on data and evidence.
Oyana also urged every researcher to have a research gap, be visionary and ensure laboratories have good practices and procedures and, provide data and scientific evidence to back hypotheses.
He reminded researchers that the primary duty of research is contributing to the body of knowledge and secondly to train and mentor young scientists to contribute to their knowledge.
Accountability procedures and approvals
Giving an overview of Accountability procedures and approvals, Mr. Lubowa Gyaviira represented by Mr. Tom Elwana underscored the need for researchers to know the regulations for accountability when planning.
Key Accountability procedures as extracted from relevant laws, policies and procedures that govern public financial management include but not limited to; Public Finance Management Act 2015; Universities and Other Tertiary Institutions Act; Treasury Instructions 2017 and; Makerere University Financial Manual 2014.
Elwana said accountability helps to establish whether the funds advanced were used for the intended purpose and whether all documentation relating to the accountability was presented for review.
Section 10 paragraph 10.20.11 and 10.20.12 of the Treasury Instructions, 2017, requires all advances to be retired as soon as the necessity for their use ceases to exist or within sixty (60) days upon completion of the activity or by closure of business of the last working day of the financial year in which the advance was issued.
“The Makerere University Financial Procedures Manual 2014 under section 4.6.4 enjoins staff to account for all advances received within 14 days of the completion of the activity and in any case not later than 60 days.
Failure to comply with standing instructions leads to the withholding further advances; Recovery from payroll; and or Disciplinary action in accordance with laid down procedures”, he said.
Elwana explained that staff advanced funds should follow the accountability and approval process from the unit accountant to the Internal Audit/examinations and compliance office which delivers to the Secretary Directorate of Internal Audit, who shall ensure it is stamped received, recorded in the register.
He said, a report for accountability must be attached and receipts indicating clearly amount of advance being accounted for while outstanding advances at end of year will be posted to the general ledger to make up the funds balance.
“Balances on advances not utilized at the end of the work/research should be surrendered to the Head of accounts and a receipt should be issued.
Failure to submit accountability will necessitate refund of all unaccounted for funds by the implementer.
After clearance of all accounted funds, a Journal Voucher (JV) is issued to show clearance of total amount accounted for,” Elwana emphasized
Submission of projects to GAMSU, a MUST for implementation of any activity
Elwana told researchers that all project PIs must not only register their projects and budgets with the Makerere University Grant Administration, Management and Support Unit (GAMSU) but also submit quarterly reports to this unit.
“GAMSU has an application and is calling upon PIs to submit their projects for capturing in their data. Failure to be captured, they may not implement their activities”, Elwana warned
Makerere University established GAMSU, which is tasked with the responsibility of overseeing all projects and grants within the university. This measure, Elwana explained, was an agreement with Government to allow the university oversee and receive the grants instead of the funds going directly to the consolidated fund.
The key responsibility of GAMSU is to ensure that reporting is streamlined within the university. GAMSU requires quarterly accountability reports from all grants and projects.
Submission of all budgets by all projects and grants is also mandatory as part of the accountability reports required by the University and Government.
As a matter of emphasis, on submission of accountability reports, PIs were advised to pay attention to their MoUs since different funders have different requirements.
Detailed presentations from the training follow below.
ICT Bootcamp for Vacists (P7, S4 & S6), Students & General Public
Makerere University, College of Computing and Information Sciences (CoCIS) is the main ICT training, research and consultancy Centre in Makerere University and the region. The College runs a Center for Innovations and Professional Skills Development (CiPSD), through which the College addresses various industrial challenges, like skills development, incubation of new ideas and nurturing of new technology-based business.
CiPSD has organised an ICT Bootcamp to equip participants with hands-on tech skills. Practical sessions are open to vacists (P.7, S.4 and S.6), Students and the general public.
DURATION : 2 Weeks – Instructor Led (Hands-on practical training)
Start Dates : 20th/11/2023 (P.7 & S.4 ) | 04th/12/2023 (S.6 & Others)
CERTIFICATE : Each participant will receive a certificate at the end of the training
BOOTCAMP REGISTRATION LINK : https://bitly.ws/X9kv
TARGET AUDIENCE :
- Vacists (P.7, S.4 & S.6)
- Anyone interested in acquiring hands-on tech skills.
- Microsoft Office Suite, Internet & Online Collaboration – 50,000/= (2 weeks)
- Programming/Dynamic Website Design, – 50,000/= (2 weeks)
- Graphics Design & Image Editing – 50,000/= (2 weeks)
- Networking & Systems Administration – 50,000/= (2 weeks)
- Computer Repair & Software Maintenance – 100,000/= (2 weeks)
- 3D Computer Animation – 50,000/= (2 weeks)
- Computerised Accounting – 350,000/= (3 weeks)
PAYMENT PROCEDURE: To book your slot, go to the Accounts Office, CIT Block A, Level 2, and get a reference number. Proceed to any nearest bank and deposit training fees.
The Center for Innovations and Professional Skills Development (CIPSD)
Block A – Front Office/Block B, Level 5
College of Computing and Information Sciences (CoCIS)
Tel: +256 753 200013/ +256 392 000180 / +256 782 512897
CoCIS CIPSD Short Courses Nov, Dec 2023 & Jan 2024
Makerere University College of Computing and Information Sciences (CoCIS) is the main ICT Training, Research and Consultancy Centre in Makerere University. The College has six Academic departments comprising of the Department of Computer Science, Department of Networks, Department of Information Technology, Department of Information Systems, Department of Library and Information Sciences, and the Department of Records and Archives management.
In addition to the mainstream degree programmes, C0CIS has a specialized Center for Innovations and Professional Skills Development CIPSD) which delivers state-of-art training in ICT e.g. the Cisco Networking Academy for Cisco related courses, the Microsoft IT Academy Program for Microsoft related courses, International Computer Driving License course, Oracle Certified Training center for Oracle, Linux and Unix Training center. The College is also an authorized Testing center, operating under PearsonVUE and Kryterion. Listed in the table below are the courses currently offered at the Center with their next start dates, duration, and cost.
- For SENIOR 4 & 6 VACISTS at affordable fees.
- Utilize your vacation and achieve an international certificate to help your future career and stand out from the crowd.
- Nov 2023 / Jan 2024 / April 2024 / July 2024 (For all courses)
Tel: +256 392 000 180
Mob: +256 782 512 897
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