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Mak-CAES Holds 2nd International GORILLA Conference

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The International Conference on Geographical Science for Resilient Communities, Ecosystems and Livelihoods Under Global Environmental Change (GORILLA) seeks to contribute to the realization of the Global Development Agenda 2030 and the AU Agenda 2063.

Overview

The resilience of ecological and social systems has gained heightened attention globally and are at the center of the United Nations Global Development Agenda 2030 manifesting in; (a) the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets, (b) the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, 2015-2030 with its four priorities and 7 targets, (c) the Paris Agreement geared at keeping temperature within the 1.5 º-2 ºC threshold.

The Chair of the Organizing Committee, also Deputy Principal CAES, Prof. Yazidhi Bamutaze welcomes participants to the conference.
The Chair of the Organizing Committee, also Deputy Principal CAES, Prof. Yazidhi Bamutaze welcomes participants to the conference.

Substantial efforts by the global community have been variously invested in resilience building and sustainable systems in light of multiple exposures and threats. But huge gaps and challenges still remain that compromise realizing the desired goals. The effects of the global financial crisis, existing geo-political tensions and the emergence of COVID19 altered the resilience trajectory with new dimensions in health, natural resources and poverty. Moreover, recent events exemplified by record temperatures registered in several countries but most notably in the UK, the increasing frequency and magnitude of hydrometeorological hazards as witnessed in Uganda, the increasing loss of biodiversity (>1,000,000 species lost) as recently reported by Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) have heightened the need for urgent interventions that protect vulnerable societies. A consequence of these processes coupled with other factors including but not limited to land use and land cover conversions, rapid urbanization, is that mixed progress has been registered in realizing the sustainability targets for 2030 (https://sdg-tracker.org) with Sub Saharan Africa (SSA) countries posting dismal progress. Uganda currently ranks 136/163 in SDG performance with an SDG Index Score of 53.5 (https://dashboards.sdgindex.org/profiles/uganda). Contextual knowledge creation and utility coupled with harnessing evolving and emerging technology are critical ingredients in building sustainable and resilience pathways and systems which the Global Sustainability Agenda aspired to achieve.

The Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Hon. Dr. Monica Musenero Masanza addressing participants.
The Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Hon. Dr. Monica Musenero Masanza addressing participants.

The 2nd GORILLA Conference

The 2ndGORILLA Conference organized by the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), Makerere University, and the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) sought to make a contribution to the realization of the Global Development Agenda 2030 and the AU Agenda 2063 by addressing two fundamental questions; (1) “how science, research and the academia can contribute to the expedited achievement of global targets and resolve societal challenges? (2) how local, regional and international partnerships as well as interactions between science, policy and practice can enhance the delivery and achievement of the global development targets?

Participants follow the proceedings of the conference.
Participants follow the proceedings of the conference.

The conference held on 8th-9th December 2022 at Protea Hotel in Kampala was coordinated by Prof. Yazidhi Bamutaze, Associate Professor in the Department of Geography, Geoinformatics and Climatic Sciences, also Deputy Principal, CAES (Chair), and Dr Jerome S. Lugumira, Natural Resources Manager (Soil and Land Use), NEMA (Co-Chair). Sponsored by UNESCO, Biodiversity Foundation, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, NORAD, UK Research and Innovation, BRAC Uganda, ARUA Water Centre of Excellence (CoE), and the Regional Centre for Mapping Resources for Development (RCMRD), the conference was attended by eminent scholars, researchers, representatives from the government and civil society organizations, and policy makers.It was presided over by the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Hon. Dr. Monica Musenero Masanza, and graced by the Vice Chancellor of Makerere University represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Finance and Administration, Prof. Henry Alinaitwe; the representative of the Executive Director, NEMA, Dr Daniel Babikwa; the Principal of CAES, Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga; and the Dean, School of Forestry, Environmental and Geographical Sciences, Prof. Fred Babweteera.

Makerere University Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Finance and Administration, Prof. Henry Alinaitwe represented the Vice Chancellor at the Conference.
Makerere University Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Finance and Administration, Prof. Henry Alinaitwe represented the Vice Chancellor at the Conference.

The conference featured a number of keynote speeches and presentations in relation to nature-based systems in mitigating Hydro-Meteorological hazards and disasters; climate smart agriculture for sustainable resilience; land degradation; migration and displacement; water management; biogeography, biodiversity and ecosystem conservation; and the future of smart cities and urban systems in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The Principal of CAES, Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga delivering her remarks.
The Principal of CAES, Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga delivering her remarks.

Keynote addresses

Prof. Tonny J. Oyana, Principal College of Computing and Information Sciences (CoCIS), Makerere University, also GIS and Spatial Analysis expert shared insights on optimizing biodiversity data science for societal benefits in developing countries. Dr Joy Obando, an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography at Kenyatta University delivered a presentation on building climate resilient communities and ecosystems in Sub Saharan Africa, whereas Dr Justine Namaalwa, an Associate Professor and Head, Department of Environmental Management at Makerere University addressed participants on the significance of optimizing green assets as a pathway to achieving the global development agenda. In her remarks, Prof. Namaalwa emphasized the need to preserve nature.

Participants attending the conference at Protea Hotel, Kampala on 8th December 2022.
Participants attending the conference at Protea Hotel, Kampala on 8th December 2022.

“Compromise nature then you fall on the targets of the Global Development Agenda.There is need to take stock of our natural assets and reflect on their value. If we are to continue with the mantra of no one should be left behind, there should be national ownership over the development process. We also need to adopt informal and formal knowledge systems,and embrace citizen science as well as global partnerships,” she explained.

The Conference Conveners, Prof. Yazidhi Bamutaze (C) and Dr Lugumira Jerome (2nd L) with some of the keynote speakers, Prof. Tonny Oyana (2nd R), Dr Joy Obando (R), and Prof. Jan Ketil.
The Conference Conveners, Prof. Yazidhi Bamutaze (C) and Dr Lugumira Jerome (2nd L) with some of the keynote speakers, Prof. Tonny Oyana (2nd R), Dr Joy Obando (R), and Prof. Jan Ketil.

Prof. Jan Ketil from the Department of Geography, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) briefed participants on the geography of disaster risk and participatory risk management, sharing insights on harnessing sensors and geospatial technology for disaster risk management. Dr Samuel Partey from UNESCO Regional Office in Nairobi, Kenya highlighted the significance of biosphere reserves in building resilient ecosystems and societies. Dr Partey is the youth focal person for science, and the evaluation focal point for UNESCO’S Oversight Unit at the Office in Nairobi.

Prof. Tonny Oyana delivered a keynote address on optimizing biodiversity data science for societal benefits in developing countries.
Prof. Tonny Oyana delivered a keynote address on optimizing biodiversity data science for societal benefits in developing countries.

In his presentation, Prof. Heiko Baltzer from the University of Leicester, UK called for improved satellite earth observation as a measure to strengthen forest governance and livelihood resilience in Africa.

Dr. Joy Obando delivered a presentation on building climate resilient communities and ecosystems in Sub Saharan Africa.
Dr. Joy Obando delivered a presentation on building climate resilient communities and ecosystems in Sub Saharan Africa.

Panel discussion

The conference also featured a panel discussion on a number of topical issues in regard to Sustainable Development Goals (SDG); research and policy formulation; building resilient communities;prioritization of resilience in government planning and budgeting;factors undermining innovativeness; and the use of geoinformation in the quest to achieve sustainable development. Discussants included Hon. Dr. Magolo John Faith, Member of Parliament Bungokho County North and member of the Parliamentary Committee on Climate Change; Mr. Othieno Odoi, Senior Planner, Trade and Tourism at the National Planning Authority; Ms. Celia Nalwadda, Senior Research Officer, Uganda National Academy of Sciences (UNAS); Ms. Hellen Aketch, Project Manager BRAC Uganda; and Dr Anastasia Wahome, Lead, Science/Data at the Regional Centre for Mapping Resources for Development, Nairobi.

Prof. Samuel Kyamanywa (Left) together with other participants listening to the keynote speeches.
Prof. Samuel Kyamanywa (Left) together with other participants listening to the keynote speeches.

In his submission,Hon. Magolo informed participants that Parliament had passed the National Environment Act, 2019and the National Climate Change Act, 2021 to fast track the implementation of SDG 13 (Climate Action). Brac Project Manager, Ms. Hellen Aketch called for strengthened partnerships between universities and industry for increased uptake of research and sustainability of innovations. Ms. Anastasia Wahome emphasized the importance of geoinformation in disaster planning and management, whereas Dr Othieno Odoi from National Planning Authority noted that checks had been put in place to ensure issues regarding resilience, climate change, gender, and environment are catered for before government plans and budgets are passed. The discussion was moderated by Dr Patrick Byakagaba, a Lecturer in the Department of Environmental Management, CAES, Makerere University.

Prof. Justine Namaalwa addressing participants on the need to optimise green assets as pathways to achieving the global development goals.
Prof. Justine Namaalwa addressing participants on the need to optimise green assets as pathways to achieving the global development goals.

Remarks by the Minister – Hon. Dr. Monica Musenero Masanza

In her remarks, the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Hon. Dr. Monica Musenero Masanza urged Africans to embrace technology development as a measure to foster socio-economic transformation on the Continent. “Science contributes 50% to our national development. However, we haven’t done much to embrace technology development. We are blindly technology consumers, mainly relying on imports which makes it hard for us to achieve sustainable development. Africans should stop delegating thinking and work towards developing their own technology. We need to stop thinking of ourselves as consumers of technology and work on educating a thinking generation that can develop our own technology. Universities have done well but I encourage them to change their mindset and focus more on developing technology. We cannot afford as a country, in this new dispensation of green energy economies, post COVID19, and the future as envisioned in Vision 2040, to remain dependent on imported technology. We need to be more innovative,” she advised.

Dr. Samuel Partey briefed participants on the role of biosphere reserves in building resilient ecosystems and societies.
Dr. Samuel Partey briefed participants on the role of biosphere reserves in building resilient ecosystems and societies.

In line with the conference, the Minister emphasized the importance of geospatial tools in conserving ecosystems. Highlighting the significance of geography in developing the mobility industry, the Minister called for development of newer construction technologies. “The continued use of soil and stones in construction will lead to deformation of the ecology,” she noted.

Prof. Jan Ketil delivering his keynote address.
Prof. Jan Ketil delivering his keynote address.

Addressing participants, the Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Finance and Administration, Prof. Henry Alinaitwe decried the continued depletion of ecosystems.“Climate change resulting from the continued destruction of ecosystems has led to erratic weather conditions with severe consequences for humanity. Because of erratic weather conditions, we cannot have good produces in terms of food and we are likely to have long spells of hunger. Achieving resilient and sustainable livelihoods requires continued research and invention of technologies to address challenges of climate change. It is gratifying that this conference seeks to address many of these challenges,” he noted.

Prof. Fred Babweteera moderated Day 2 keynote presentations.
Prof. Fred Babweteera moderated Day 2 keynote presentations.

The Principal, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga reiterated the need to build resilient communities and ecosystems for improved livelihoods. “Through research, we are looking for ways of improving community resilience in order to have sustainable ecosystems for improved livelihoods. This conference serves as a platform for us to share experiences in the different ecosystem research areas and best practices in trying to curb climate change. Climate change is real and a lot has to be done. We need to re-adjust the way we do things. There are practices we have come up with in relation to our day to day activities like water conservation and soil management that will help us combat some of the hazards resulting from climate change, and at this conference, we are focusing on climate smart agriculture. As a country, we purpose to move from substance climate smart agriculture to an income-oriented climate smart agriculture,” she said.The Principal also noted that the College was committing more efforts towards achieving the sustainable development goals. “As a country, we committed to having an input to achieving the SDGs.At this conference, we are emphasizing our intention and being very proactive in ensuring that we tackle the SDGs, putting it in mind that we have only 8 years to hit our target.As researchers, we are purposing to make contribution to the realization of all SDGs, with special focus on Goal 1 that seeks to alleviate poverty.”

Dr. Magolo John Faith (L), Mr. Othieno Odoi (2nd R), Ms. Celia Nalwadda (C), Ms. Hellen Aketch (R), and Dr Anastasia Wahome (2nd L) in a panel discussion at the conference.
Dr. Magolo John Faith (L), Mr. Othieno Odoi (2nd R), Ms. Celia Nalwadda (C), Ms. Hellen Aketch (R), and Dr Anastasia Wahome (2nd L) in a panel discussion at the conference.

Addressing participants, the Chair of the Organizing Committee, Prof. Yazidhi Bamutaze said the conference presented a great opportunity for conceptual, empirical and theoretical discourse on pressing sustainability and resilience issues. “The GORILLA conference serves as a platform for bridging the science-policy-practice gaps and deriving actionable and policy-oriented measures that can potentially transform societies,” he noted. He said a special publication had been planned with the African Geographical Review (AGR) journal in commemoration of Mak@100. He expressed gratitude to the sponsors of the conference and the local organizing committee.

Dr. Giregon Olupot reacting to the presentations.
Dr. Giregon Olupot reacting to the presentations.

Delivering his remarks, the Head, Department of Geography, Geoinformatics and Climatic Sciences, Makerere University, Prof. Mugagga Frank appreciated the sponsors of the conference and the participants for committing time and resources to address issues crucial for sustainable management of ecosystems and livelihoods. He also appreciated the International Geographical Union (IGU) for its support towards the Uganda Geographical Association. “We profoundly thank IGU, through Prof. Michael Meadows for supporting us when we petitioned against the merger of the Bachelor of Geographical Sciences with Meteorology and Environmental Sciences at Makerere University. The petition was successful and the programmes were left as distinct disciplines,” he noted. Prof. Mugagga is the President of the Uganda Geographical Association, an organization that works to develop professional geographers with knowledge and skills to effectively address global environmental challenges. The Association conducts research on pertinent issues affecting humanity such as climate change adaptation and mitigation, landslides, floods, soil erosion and sedimentation, land degradation, regional development, ecosystems management, urbanization, population growth and development, water scarcity and food security. The Association also holds periodic retooling courses for geography teachers and other civil servants. Prof. Mugagga congratulated Prof. Yazidhi Bamutaze upon being elected IGU Vice President for Africa.

Participants in group presentations at the conference.
Participants in group presentations at the conference.

In his closing remarks, Dr Jerome S. Lugumira, Natural Resources Manager (Soil and Land Use), NEMA said government was committed to the use of science in fostering national development. He reiterated the power of networking in trying to address global development challenges and urged researchers to actively engage policy makers in their projects.

The Dean School of Agricultural Sciences, Dr. John Baptist Tumuhairwe addressing participants.
The Dean School of Agricultural Sciences, Dr. John Baptist Tumuhairwe addressing participants.

Pre-conference hackathon and training

Satellite Earth Observation (EO) provides a wide range of environmental data information which is key to the effective planning and monitoring of the environment. In this regard, the College held a three-day pre-conference hackathon on geospatial-based cloud computing for biodiversity and ecosystem resilience with the aim of engaging early career scientists, researchers and practitioners with diverse backgrounds to foster collaboration in the use of geospatial technology and earth observation to address sustainable development issues, especially on biodiversity and ecosystem resilience.

Participants in a pre-conference training on geospatial based cloud computing.
Participants in a pre-conference training on geospatial based cloud computing.

The College also held a three-day training on optimizing emerging geospatial technologies in evaluating climate change impacts on vegetation. Vegetation resources in tropical Africa are under increasing threat both from climate change and a spate of anthropogenic activities. Yet a substantial proportion of livelihoods in Africa is linked to environment and natural resources. Thus, the need for improved monitoring to ensure integrity and resilience of vegetation resources and ecosystems is apparent in line with the goals and tenets of the Global Development Agenda 2030. Geospatial technologies occupy a vintage position in monitoring, analysis and overall resilience building. The training aimed to, 1) equip participants with emerging tools and technologies that can be harnessed in analyzing climate change impacts on vegetation and ecosystems, 2) build an ecosystem of champions to propel the utility of geospatial technology, 3) to improve the ecosystem and vegetation resilience to climate change.

Dr. Jerome Lugumira delivering closing remarks at the end of the conference.
Dr. Jerome Lugumira delivering closing remarks at the end of the conference.

The trainings were coordinated by Dr Daniel Waiswa from the School of Forestry, Environmental and Geographical Sciences, Makerere University; and conducted by Dr Allan Mazimwe from the Department of Geomatics and Land Management, College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT), Makerere University; Dr Bernard Barasa from the Department of Geography, Kyambogo University; and Mr. Thomas Enuru from the School of Food Technology, Nutrition and Bio-Engineering, CAES.

Details on the 1st GORILLA Conference at: https://news.mak.ac.ug/2020/12/the-1st-international-gorilla-conference-opens-at-mak/

Please see below for conference documents.

GORILLA Keynote Presentation_Dr. Samuel Tetteh Partey, UNESCO: https://doc-0s-58-docs.googleusercontent.com/docs/securesc/b07ld2tllpi647jp9b09m7chohgqnct1/tv2v4ikl813e11s5vhhkmrlatg2j282v/1670919975000/13459373403972771569/11467171637526004956/14Vc2iWRxryo_MNXMxq0I_dLBYocO7O34?e=download&authuser=0

Agriculture & Environment

CAES Annual Report 2023

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Cover page of the CAES Annual Report 2023. Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga
Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga

With utmost delight, I am honoured to present the Annual Report of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) for the year 2023. As we look back on the accomplishments and obstacles of the past year, I extend my deepest appreciation to each and every one of you who contributed to our collective achievements. It has truly been a year of fulfilment and progress. In 2023, CAES proudly celebrated the graduation of 592 students, of whom 48% were female, at the 74th Graduation Ceremony. Among them were 14 PhD, 94 MSc, 5 Post Graduate Diplomas, and 479 BSc graduates across various disciplines in agricultural and environmental sciences. My sincere congratulations to all the graduates and the dedicated staff who supported them throughout their journey.

Reflecting on the commitments made in 2022 for the year 2023, we have made substantial strides. I am pleased to report that our faculty and students successfully adapted to the blended mode of teaching and learning. We remain steadfast in our dedication to a learner-centered, practical-oriented, and gender-responsive approach, with the goal of nurturing skilled, entrepreneurial, and innovative graduates capable of addressing challenges in the Agricultural and Environmental sectors.

Furthermore, we have revised the curriculum for approximately 15 programs, enriching content to include skills relevant to entrepreneurial green economies. This underscores our commitment to fostering innovation within CAES and equipping our graduates with the tools they need to thrive in dynamic professional landscapes.

Moreover, our college continues to advance knowledge, tackle critical challenges, and make a positive impact on society. Notably, the Makerere University Regional Centre of Excellence for Crop Improvement (MaRCCI) has been elevated to an “African Host Centre (AHU/C) for training high-quality PhDs in Plant Breeding and Biotechnology.” This initiative aims to address the human resource gap in highly qualified specialists in these fields across Africa, reaffirming our commitment to excellence and leadership in agricultural education and research. For the reporting year, CAES has registered several achievements as highlighted.

Teaching and Learning for improving learner experiences

The introduction and implementation of the CAES-GRADCARE Management System represents a significant milestone in our efforts to enhance graduate management processes within the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. This innovative system was meticulously crafted to streamline operations, optimize workflow, and elevate overall efficiency and effectiveness. Its primary objectives include improving supervision mechanisms, reducing lead times, and minimizing costs associated with thesis examination. Moreover, the system empowers stakeholders with invaluable data insights, facilitating informed decision-making across various levels of academic administration.

Research and Innovation for impacting society

In our relentless pursuit of ethical research practices, we are proud to announce the establishment and full operationalization of the CAES Research Ethics Committee/Institutional Review Board (CAES-REC/IRB). This critical initiative underscores our commitment to upholding the highest standards of integrity and transparency in our research endeavors. Our dedication to innovation is exemplified by the introduction of the MakSol Cooker—a solar-powered marvel poised to revolutionize cooking practices while significantly reducing carbon footprints within households. This transformative solution not only addresses environmental concerns but also promotes sustainable living on a tangible, everyday level. Furthermore, our research efforts have yielded remarkable breakthroughs in agriculture and food security. Through the development of bio-fertilizer formulations, we aim to unlock crop productivity while simultaneously addressing soil nitrogen deficiencies, thereby enhancing household food security and bolstering agricultural sustainability. In tandem with our agricultural innovations, we have successfully bred resilient Mak Soybean, Cowpea and Sorghum varieties, capable of withstanding drought, disease, pests, and climate stress while boasting shortened maturity periods. These advancements provide a vital protein source, particularly in regions prone to agricultural challenges, and enable the production of value-added products, contributing to enhanced food security and resilience, further enhancing the agricultural value chain. In our quest for sustainable agricultural practices, we have developed innovative solutions such as the Soil Test Kit, facilitating simplified soil management by offering rapid semi-quantitative evaluations of essential elements crucial for optimal plant growth. This tool empowers farmers with actionable insights to optimize crop yields and promote sustainable land stewardship. Additionally, our Hybrid Refractance Window Drying equipment represents a game-changer in post-harvest handling, ensuring consistent drying of perishable agricultural produce. By preserving the quality of fruits and vegetables, this technology enhances the value chain, thereby maximizing agricultural productivity and reducing post-harvest losses. Furthermore, our efforts extend beyond crops to encompass livestock management and nutrition. Through the development of protocols for Banana Tissue Culture and value addition to Sweet Potato-Sorghum enterprises, we aim to improve agricultural livelihoods and economic resilience among farming communities. Innovative solutions such as rearing and utilizing blue flies, maggots, and earthworms as alternative protein sources for poultry and fish feeds demonstrate our commitment to sustainable feed production. These efforts not only diversify protein sources but also promote circular economies by utilizing agricultural by-products effectively. Moreover, our research endeavors have yielded transformative solutions to combat malnutrition and poverty. The development of a livestock milk booster, derived from sugarcane industrial waste, addresses nutritional deficiencies while enhancing dairy production, thereby improving livelihoods and food security. Our commitment to research and innovation for societal impact is unwavering. From ground-breaking agricultural technologies to transformative solutions for nutrition and food safety, we remain dedicated to advancing sustainable development and improving livelihoods across communities. Through collaborative efforts and relentless innovation, we strive to create a brighter, more resilient future for all.

Knowledge transfer and Community engagement

This 2023 Annual Report highlights several impactful knowledge sharing initiatives undertaken by CAES: i) NARO-Makerere Third Joint Scientific Conference, ii) Summer School on Landscape Ecology, iii) International Collaboration in Soybean Research, iv) Policy Dialogue on Climate Science, v) Recognition at the 29th Source of the Nile National Agricultural Show, vi) Youth and Innovation Expo 2023, vii) Training Programs for Capacity Building, viii) Capacity Building in Seed and Agronomic Practices, and ix) Soybean Seed Distribution. These initiatives underscore CAES’ commitment to knowledge transfer, community engagement, and sustainable agricultural development, reflecting our dedication to fostering innovation and driving positive change in Uganda and beyond. The accomplishments detailed in this report are a testament to the unwavering dedication and collaborative efforts of our esteemed staff, students, and partners.

Throughout this reporting year, we have witnessed remarkable growth and achievement among our faculty members, with several individuals being promoted and duly recognized for their outstanding contributions.

Looking ahead, we are presented with a multitude of opportunities to further our impact and achieve even greater heights of excellence. As we embark on the next chapter of our journey, we remain steadfast in our commitment to academic excellence, research, innovation, and societal impact. In the coming year, we will continue to focus on strengthening our academic programs, fostering interdisciplinary and multi-stakeholder collaboration, and expanding our innovative research initiatives to address pressing challenges in agriculture, environmental sustainability, and food security. We will also prioritize initiatives aimed at enhancing diversity, equity, and inclusion within our college community, ensuring that all voices are heard and valued. As we navigate the path ahead, I am confident that together, we will overcome any challenges that may arise and continue to make significant contributions to the advancement of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. As Winston Churchill stated, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts”.

I invite you to explore the pages of this Annual Report to learn more about our achievements, challenges, and aspirations for the future.

Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga
PRINCIPAL, CAES

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Agriculture & Environment

The Joint ClimSMART-NORHED II CSA Summer School Second Edition 2024 Kicks Off at Mak

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Participants of the joint CSA-ClimSMART Summer School at Makerere University’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES). Inauguration of the 2024 edition of the ClimSMART-NORHEDII CSA Summer School funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) and the Norwegian Research Council, kick off theory sessions from May 27th to 28th, 2024, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

By Brian Ogenrwoth

Makerere University, in collaboration with Gulu University, has inaugurated the 2024 edition of the ClimSMART-NORHEDII CSA Summer School. Funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) and the Norwegian Research Council, the program began with a series of theory sessions from May 27th to 28th, 2024. This year’s event has drawn 23 postgraduate students (MSc and PhDs) from 7 countries studying at 5 African universities namely; Makerere University, Gulu University, University of Zambia, Hawassa University and University of Juba, and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU). Additionally, 16 scientists and three postdoctoral researchers from the participating institutions have joined the initiative.

CAES Principal, Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga addressing the participants. Inauguration of the 2024 edition of the ClimSMART-NORHEDII CSA Summer School funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) and the Norwegian Research Council, kick off theory sessions from May 27th to 28th, 2024, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
CAES Principal, Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga addressing the participants.

Prof. Jackline Bonabana, the Principal Investigator of the ClimSMART project and Co-Principal Investigator of the NORHED II CSA project who coordinated the Summer School, emphasized the comprehensive and multifaceted nature of the program. She highlighted that the sessions would cover critical topics in climate-smart agriculture, biochar, climate change, and food security. Prof. Samuel Kyamanywa, the Principal Investigator of the NORHED II CSA project, applauded the collaborative efforts of the Climsmart/NORHED II partners and delivered an engaging presentation on insect pests and their management in the context of climate change.

Prof. Jan Mulder of NMBU delivering a presentation on food security in Sub-Saharan Africa. Inauguration of the 2024 edition of the ClimSMART-NORHEDII CSA Summer School funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) and the Norwegian Research Council, kick off theory sessions from May 27th to 28th, 2024, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Prof. Jan Mulder of NMBU delivering a presentation on food security in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Prof. Vegard Martinsen from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) underscored the vast research opportunities in climate-smart agriculture on the African continent. He noted the region’s unique context and the increasing impact of climate change as pivotal factors for continued need for meaningful research and empirical evidence.

Participants and scientists listening to presentation on site assessment and sampling for agriculture. Inauguration of the 2024 edition of the ClimSMART-NORHEDII CSA Summer School funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) and the Norwegian Research Council, kick off theory sessions from May 27th to 28th, 2024, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Participants and scientists listening to presentation on site assessment and sampling for agriculture.

Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga, Principal of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) at Makerere University, presented on critical thinking and officially welcomed participants, stressing the urgent need to upscale such collaborative efforts to tackle food insecurity and climate change. She affirmed that such programmes align to the Makerere University agenda and strategic direction.

Participants at MUARIK. Inauguration of the 2024 edition of the ClimSMART-NORHEDII CSA Summer School funded by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) and the Norwegian Research Council, kick off theory sessions from May 27th to 28th, 2024, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Participants at MUARIK.

The sessions also featured a variety of expert presentations, including:

  • Food Security in SSA by Prof. Jan Mulder (Norwegian University of Life Sciences)
  • Site Assessment and Sampling for Agriculture by Prof. Lydia Chabala (University of Zambia)
  • Aqua Crop Model for Land Management by Prof. Elijah Phiri (University of Zambia)
  • Understanding Basic Concepts in Soil Fertility by Dr. Patrick Musinguzi and Prof. Twaha Basamba Ali (Makerere University)
  • Weed Management by Dr. Sylvester Katuromunda (Makerere University)
  • Co-Composting Organic Wastes with Biochar by Prof. Fantaw Yimer (Hawassa University)
  • Socio-Economic Topics like personal branding and marketing by Prof. Basil Mugonola and Dr. Walter Odongo, climate resilience governance and management practice by Dr. Patrick Byakagaba (Makerere University), and communication and presentation skills by Mr. Edward Gita (Rural Enterprise Development Solutions). Very insightful presentations were made by the Post Doc and PhD students as well.

The practical sessions, scheduled from May 29th to June 9th, 2024, will include farmer field visits, laboratory sessions, group discussions, data analysis, and presentations at Gulu University.

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Agriculture & Environment

Eco Brixs Seeks to Collaborate with Mak in Plastics Waste Management

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The CEO of Eco Brixs, Mr. Andrew Bownds (2nd R) with the Makerere University team led by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe (3rd R) after the meeting on 8th May 2024. Rotary Peace Centre, Frank Kalimuzo Central Teaching Facility, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.

Poor waste disposal remains one of the biggest challenges in Uganda pausing a number of environmental and health risks. According to the Ministry of Water and Environment, plastic waste is becoming disastrous to urban and rural areas due to poor disposal practices. All store purchases are packaged in polythene bags, and without proper disposal, plastic garbage can be seen everywhere. During the rainy season, they are washed into water channels, where they block drainage. Single-use packaging for soda, water, and other drinks results in mountains of garbage heaping up in legal and illegal dumpsites – The Independent Magazine, 30th May 2022.


As a measure to improve plastics waste management in the country, Eco Brixs has reached out to Makerere University to collaborate in addressing the challenge. On 8th May 2024, the CEO, also Co-Founder of Eco Brixs, Mr. Andrew Bownds held a meeting with Makerere University officials led by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe in which they brainstormed on different areas for collaboration.

Proposed areas for collaboration

  1. Research, Eco Brixs seeks to collaborate with Makerere University in Product Testing. Eco Brixs is producing new products monthly and requires lab tests to support UNBS certification. The Company also seeks to collaborate with Makerere in Environmental Research. The Company intends to work with PhD students to complete focused research on plastic pollution and the recycling process.
  2. Internships – Eco Brixs has had 50 students complete internships and would love to grow that with Makerere.
  3. Be Makerere Official Recyclers – Eco Brixs seeks to be the recycler of Makerere University. Suggestions were made to jointly source funding to address the challenge and to set up a plastic waste collection centre at Makerere University.

During the meeting, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe welcomed the initiative and reiterated the need to include students on projects to ensure sustainability. The meeting was attended by among others the Principal, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga; the Dean, School of Forestry, Environmental and Geographical Sciences, Dr Revocatus Twinomuhangi; and the Manager in charge of Accounts and Reporting at Makerere University, Mr Lubowa Ssebina Gyaviira.

About Eco Brixs

Eco Brixs is a plastic recycling enterprise which uses a sustainable circular economic model to address the challenges of plastic waste and high unemployment levels in Uganda. Eco Brixs collects, recycles, and processes plastic waste into Eco Products for a ready market. Addressing plastic pollution and lifting people out of abject poverty through sustainable employment is one of the core roles of Eco Brixs. Operating since 2017, Eco Brixs has a plastic waste collection network that has seen 3,000 people delivering plastic into one of the enterprise’s 44 Buy-Back centres and engaging in earning through the recycling economy. Eco Brixs model is replicable and scalable to achieve its vision of being the Biggest Recycler in East Africa with franchises across the developing world. Eco Brixs is focused on driving green job creation through sustainable conservation.

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