On Thursday 17th and Friday 18th November 2022, the Embassy of Sweden in Uganda and Makerere University celebrated the essential role of research, science, and innovation in supporting Uganda’s long-term growth and prosperity.
The two-day event took place at Makerere University guided by the theme; “20 years of cooperation: robust foundation for continued development”.
The main objective of the bilateral research cooperation between Sweden and Uganda (specifically universities) has been to enhance the capacity of public higher education institutions to conduct and sustain strategic and high-quality research that will contribute to the development needs of Uganda and beyond through building a critical mass of independent, robust, and dynamic researchers.
Prof. Nawangwe said Makerere, the Swedish government and other stakeholders came together to celebrate one of the biggest staff development projects at any University in the world, thanking the government of Sweden for the continued support.
“The most important investment by the government of Sweden is the investment in Human Resource in these public Universities so they can train the remaining Human Resource that is going to run the economy, Prof. Nawangwe said.” He expressed his gratitude for the collaboration saying a half of Makerere’s PHD’s were trained through this program.
He welcomed all stakeholders to the engagement, thanking them for honoring the invitation and always supporting Makerere University’s efforts to serve humanity. He also thanked the Republic of Uganda’s Parliamentarians who graced the engagement noting saying “Thank you our Members of Parliament for joining us in this engagement, your presence is evidence that you support Makerere University’s efforts towards positively transforming the communities through research and innovation among others”.
“Makerere University is grateful for the continued collaboration with the Embassy of Sweden in Uganda and all the other stakeholders. We remain open to such collaborations which are also supporting our efforts towards becoming a research led institution” Prof. Nawangwe added.
Prof. Nawangwe’s address is shared here.
Her Excellency Maria Håkansson, the Swedish Ambassador to Uganda congratulated Uganda on three accounts of 100 years of Makerere University, the recent launch of the satellite and 60 years of independence and diplomatic alliance with Sweden.
“In Makerere University, Sweden sees not only a friend but a key player in the efforts to create a more prosperous Uganda. Research, science, and innovation are key building blocks for creating economic growth, no matter the current economic status of a country. With this two-day engagement, we wish to celebrate and highlight the importance of research and innovation,” said Ms. Håkansson.
The programme was implemented by the five partner Ugandan public Universities (PPUs). Firstly, Makerere University and then Kyambogo, Busitema, Gulu and Mbarara joined under the framework memorandum of understanding. The PPUs continue to collaborate in mutually beneficial ways to share professional experiences and exchange of information on research and teaching methodology, curricula, the training of specialists, and to explore and implement other forms of professional interaction and exchange. The Universities also exchange students and staff for purposes of study or supervision in particular subjects, courses or projects where the relevant expertise is not available in their own institution.
The Ambassador’s Speech is shared here.
Some of the achievements emanating from this cooperation (also showcased during the Days of Excellence) include but are not limited to the following:
- Strengthening capacity building for staff in partner public Universities. Training human resource in PPUs, where 773 beneficiaries were supported i.e., 263 masters; 327 PhD graduates, 95 small research grants completed and 85 postdoctoral fellowships.
Table 1: Total Summary of Students and research supported, 2000 – 2022
|Small Research Grants||78||20||98|
|TOTAL||489 (63%)||284 (37%)||773 (100%)|
- Improvement of ICT Infrastructure, the ICT project established the MakCloud Data Centre at Makerere University.
- The University Library has continued subscribing to electronic resources as part of the efforts to support research at Makerere University. A total number of 49 databases are subscribed at the University including the Research4life portals and Makerere currently boasts of 20,000 journals on their on-line library.
- The BRIGHT Project at the Department of Computer Science established the Software Systems Centre (SSC) to strengthen the University-Industry linkages. The SSC innovation named, AirQo (www.airqo.net), that involves design and development of air quality devices and data visualization has contributed to the improvement of air quality in Kampala and other urban areas in Uganda. The innovation is jointly implemented with Kampala Capital City Authority, National Environmental Authority (NEMA), and the United States Embassy in Kampala.
- The Geographical Information Science (GIS) centre project acquired the state-of-the-art, data-rich, well-organized, and high-performance geospatial data archived on a server in the GIS laboratory. The GIS centre website is fully developed and functional i.e. (http://www.cedat.mak.ac.ug/GISCentre).
- The centre has continued to be consulted for training support to various organisations including the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development (MoLHUD), Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS), Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) and National Planning Authority (NPA).
Mr. Bemanya Twebaze, Director General African Regional Intellectual Property Organisation (ARIPO), based in Harare delivered the keynote address. He said, low levels of patents and trademarks is a hindrance to development and that innovations when harnessed properly benefit the needs of the grass root communities. He emphasised research in critical areas of food security, transport & infrastructure, technological advancements, and nutrition.
He advised that Intellectual Patent (IP), is a catalyst of innovation and creativity. He concluded his speech saying, “Let us today sow the seeds that we want to harvest tomorrow.”
Mr. Bemanya’s keynote address is accessible here.
Ms. Mercy Kainobwisho, the Director General, Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB), said the company has advanced in technology to suit all Ugandans, i.e., various messages are currently being shared via mass media and social media to suit even the vulnerable groups including the youth and women. She encouraged Ugandans to acquire patents saying innovation without protection is as good as nothing. She called on the key players in the economic sectors to bridge the communication gap if we are to achieve development.
Mr. Ahumuza Kansiime, a third-year student at Makerere University’s College of Computing and Information Sciences (CoCIS) extended a request to all institutions of learning to continuously involve the youth in all aspects given the fact that it is through the engagement of all stakeholders that we shall all march towards development. He also re-echoed the need to continue channeling efforts towards more practical learning as opposed to the theoretical approach noting that it is through practice that we shall all embrace innovation as means to address the diverse community challenges.
Some of the government of the Republic of Uganda funded and supported projects that were exhibited are listed below. These projects are supported through Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF).
- Virtual Reality Technology for Optimizing Safety and Competence in Management of COVID-19 Patients – Principal Investigator – Dr. Daudi Jjingo.
- Exploring Stingless Bee Products for Nutritional and Medicinal Values in Uganda (bee-nutri-medicine Project) – Principal Investigator – Dr. Moses Chemurot
- Essential oil crops commercialization for sustainable public health products development and rational promotion. Principal Investigator- Dr. Savina Asiimwe
- Development of a recyclable-water hand-washing facility (ECO-WASH). Principal Investigator- Dr. Peter Olupot
- Developing dry season feeding technologies for different cattle production systems in Uganda- Principal Investigator – Dr. Justine Nambi Kasozi
- Enhancing The Grain Amaranth Value Chain for Improved Nutrition, Livelihoods and Enterprises Development in Uganda- Principal Investigator – Dr. Dorothy Nakimbugwe
Prof. Nawangwe concluded by noting that “Nobody is going to be left behind in the research and innovation efforts. Even the community artisans will be part of these efforts so that we together achieve”. He invited all participants to join in an engagement with the exhibitors especially as we together pave a way to commercialize and scale the research and innovation outputs from Makerere University and elsewhere.
Friday 18th November 2022 was Day 2 of the Sweden – Makerere Days of Excellence. It was during this day when partners including Ericsson and United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) joined in to further engage Makerere University students. The team from Ericsson made a presentation to STEM students and later invited guests including Makerere University’s Vice Chancellor and the Swedish Ambassador engaged in Round Table Discussions guided by the theme “Digital Transformation in Uganda: Opportunities and Obstacles”.
Press Statement is shared here.
Media Stories are accessible on the following links:
MAK Researchers Urged on Intellectual Property Rights: Uganda Radio Network https://ugandaradionetwork.net/a/story.php?storyId=218449
Compiled by: Diana Ayikoru, Free Lance Journalist and Student of Masters of Corporate and Strategic Communications at Makerere University.
Contributor: Harriet Adong, Communications Officer at Mak-RIF.
Call For Nominations for the Position of Chancellor Makerere University
Makerere University invites nominations for the position of Chancellor of the University.
Purpose of the position
The Chancellor is the titular head of the University, presides over all ceremonial assemblies of the University and confers degrees and other academic titles and distinctions of the University.
Please see Download below for details.
The deadline for submission of nominations is 11th January 2024 at 5:00 p.m. East African Time.
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.
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