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73rd Graduation: College Research Highlights

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1. College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES)

Over 300 quality publications

The College continues to rank high in teaching, research and innovations that align with the strategic direction of the University and address both the national and global development priorities. Over the past one year, the faculty at College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences have produced cutting-edge research and innovations that have greatly uplifted the ranking and position of Makerere University. Last year alone, the faculty at the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences produced over 300 publications and we congratulate the staff upon this milestone.

Outstanding Societal transformative projects and innovations

The KeBERA App

Organic Agriculture (OA) is a rapidly growing sector due to health concerns by consumers. Globally, Uganda is only second to India in terms of the number of organic producers (210,000 VS 1,366,000). Uganda was the first African country to develop a National Organic Agriculture policy-supporting environment in 2019. Despite an annual global organic market worth $100 billion USD, annual organic exports from Uganda only account for $50 million USD of the totaI. Agricultural products from Uganda are usually rejected in international markets due to standard challenges. 45% of organic products in Uganda are reportedly contaminated and this poses a danger to health. To minimize the challenge, researchers led by Prof. Fred Kabi from the Department of Agricultural Production, CAES developed an App that detects pesticides and aflatoxins in organic foods. The KeBERA Organic App was designed by a group of researchers from CAES, the College of Computing and Information Sciences (CoCIS) and the College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT). The App has been validated against globally recognised tools and proved suitable for field use and complies with the Food Safety Standards set by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO). Research and development of the APP was supported by the CAES Innovation Scholars Programme (CAESISP) which offers an eighteen-month opportunity for CAES academic staff to work as interdisciplinary teams to solve problems in the food systems in Africa. The Programme is supported by Michigan State University’s Global Centre for Food Systems Innovation (GCFSI).

Launch of SophiA Project to Aid Remote Health Facilities

Sustainable Off-grid solutions for Pharmacies and Hospitals in Africa (SophiA) is a 4-year multi-disciplinary project commissioned in December 2021. SophiA aims at improving health service delivery in remote areas of Africa through provision of electricity to health facilities, preservation of medicine, water purification and improvement of hospital room temperatures in remote areas.  I commend our researchers, especially Dr. Nicholas Kiggundu the Principal Investigator for their efforts towards addressing challenges in our health system. I also thank the European Union for funding this project.

Launch of edible insect products and standards

CAES Researchers led by Dr. Dorothy Nakimbugwe in collaboration with Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) in 2022 launched the edible insect products and standards. The products include shelf-stable, safe and well packaged grasshoppers, cricket enriched flours, snacks, and cookies enriched with crickets. By formally setting standards through this initiative, farmers and entrepreneurs dealing in grasshopper and cricket enriched enterprise are likely to accrue maximum economic benefits while the market will have safe and secure products. I applaud SIDA and BioInnovate Africa for supporting this noble initiative.

Introduction of 24 new sweet potato varieties on the Ugandan Market

Our scientists in collaboration with experts from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), Uganda National Agricultural Research Organisation, Tanzania Agricultural Research Institute Mikocheni (TARI-M), Addis Ababa University and Rwanda Agricultural Board introduced 24 new elite varieties of sweet potatoes on the Market and farming systems of Uganda. This was achieved through a collaborative project titled “Enhancing Food Security Through Improved Seed Systems of Appropriate Varieties of Cassava, Potato and Sweet Potato Resilient to Climate Change”, also funded by SIDA and Bio-Innovate Africa and led by Prof. Samuel Kyamanywa.

MaRCCI Elevated to an African Host Centre for PhD Training in Plant Breeding and Biotechnology

Makerere University Regional Centre of Excellence for Crop Improvement (MaRCCI) was identified as a premium centre train quality PhDs in Plant Breeding and Biotechnology, and is now known as an “African Host Centre (AHU/C)’. As an AHU/C, MaRCCI is charged with training quality PhD students from across Africa to address the human resource gap of highly qualified specialists in the fields of Plant Breeding and Biotechnology. As an AHU/C, MaRCCI will be supported by the Partnership for skills in Applied Sciences, Engineering and Technology – Regional Scholarship Innovation and Fund (PASET – RSIF) to undertake this training in five Priority Thematic Areas of Food security and Agri-business.  

Unveiling a hybrid solar dryer for perishable agricultural products

CAES in collaboration with Green and Gold Uganda Ltd, Badaye Technologies Ltd, and the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development constructed a Hybrid dryer to support drying of perishable agricultural produce. The hybrid solar dryer has a loading capacity of 300 kg of fresh and sliced fruits (approximately 450 pineapples each weighing 1 kg on average) per drying batch. This will greatly minimize postharvest losses.

Launch of CAES Botanical Gardens

The College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) through the School of Forestry, Environmental and Geographical Sciences on 6th December launched the first CAES Botanical Gardens at Makerere University Agricultural Research Institute Kabanyolo (MUARIK). The Botanical Gardens will cover 30 acres of MUARIK land. This is one of the College initiatives geared towards the protection, conservation and recreation of ecosystems. The gardens will also be used for teaching and research. During the launch, over 300 trees were donated to the Gardens.

Commissioning of the New CURAD Incubation Hub

The Danish Ambassador to Uganda, H.E. Nicolaj H Petersen on 31st March 2022 commissioned the new CURAD Incubation Hub at the Namanve Business Park.  The Consortium for enhancing University Responsiveness to agribusiness Development (CURAD) is a public-private partnership initiative promoted by Makerere University through the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), the National Union of Coffee Agribusinesses and Farm Enterprises (NUCAFE), National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) and NIRAS international. CURAD is one of the six agribusiness incubators in Africa supported by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa under the UniBRAIN facility with funding from DANIDA. It has in place a revolving fund to support incubatees to develop their agri-businesses to sustainable levels while paying back to CURAD to sustain its activities in a mutually beneficial arrangement.

FLYGene Project

Makerere University College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), in partnership with AARHUS University in Denmark, International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE), University of Nairobi, and Marula Proteen Limited, is undertaking a research project titled FLYGene (Sustainable and efficient insect production for livestock feed through selective breeding). FLYGene is a new project funded by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs with the overall aim to enable the implementation of selective breeding of the Black Solder Fly (BSF) for improved livestock feed availability in Kenya and Uganda by generating new knowledge of insect genetics, genomics and phenomics.

2. College of Business and Management Sciences (CoBAMS)

PIM Centre of Excellence

Government, through the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development accepted to take over support to the Public Investment Management Centre of Excellence at the College. The Centre supports government to provide advanced practical oriented training in Tools for Public Investment Analysis as well as research.

EfD-Mak: Inclusive Green Economy

The Environment for Development Centre won funding to the tune of 400,000 US dollars from SIDA to support capacity building for senior government officials in the area of Inclusive Green Economy. This is part of the ongoing efforts globally to ensure inclusive and sustainable economic growth. The Center also successfully hosted the Joint Cross Country Workshop of the global network of EfD Centers at an event that took place in Kampala in July 2022.

B.Com Accreditation & Actuarial Science Reward Scheme

The quality of Programmes at the College has continued to attract valuable partnerships. The ACCA Global accredited our Bachelor of Commerce Degree program and in so doing has given an exemption of eight of the possible thirteen papers to students graduating from our Bachelor of Commerce Degree Programme. The College also partnered with Prudential Assurance Uganda Limited to recognize outstanding students of Actuarial Science Programme. The leading five students graduating from the Programme will receive a full scholarship to pursue the Professional Actuarial qualification in addition to a cash prize of USD500.

3. College of Computing and Information Sciences (CoCIS)

Smart Classroom and Robotics

In 2022, the University through the College of Computing and Information Sciences launched the First Smart Classroom and Robotics Technology for teaching in Uganda worth over $100,000 funded by the Chinese taxpayer and education technology companies under the auspices of UNESCO.  The facility is for recording, broadcasting, and automation of the classroom environment. The Robot undertakes Artificial intelligence functionalities such as speech recognition, identification, photo taking and management of attendance.

Mak QuickTest App

The  Mak QuickTest App won the Huawei Continental ICT Competitions 2021-2022 held in South Africa.  A team of students led by Rutanana Arnold designed the App for diagnosis of HIV/AIDs and Malaria on a smart phone where data is directly uploaded onto the Ministry of Health servers for monitoring and support in terms of sensitization and medication. Uganda is one the countries spending billions buying HIV and malaria testing kits hence, the technology aims at reducing the burden on the budget on such expenses, patient transport and stigmatization because the patient can do it anywhere without  being afraid of the doctor or other people knowing their HIV status.

AirQo

The ‘AirQo’, one of the innovations spearheaded by Prof. Engineer Bainomugisha, manufactures low-cost air monitors to empower communities to advance air quality management. 100 devices have already been installed in many Ugandan municipalities and in at least 25 cities in 10 African countries including Dar es salaam, Senegal, in Doula Cameroon, and soon will be rolling out to Lagos, Nairobi, and other cities. The technology has featured on international media. During the UN General Assembly, it was one of the highlights of the technologies for climate change being produced in Africa.

Smart Bee Monitor

The solar powered sensor technology was introduced by Dr. Julianne Sansa Otim for monitoring and management of bees. The ‘smart bee monitor” was designed in the college lab and deployed in the field in December 2022. It enables a farmer to monitor the behavior and health of their bees from the comfort of their home. It uses the internet of things (IoT) technology to monitor the temperature, weight, carbon dioxide, and humidity of the beehive. By delivering the bee sounds, images, and videos, the system can give the farmer notification of pest invasion, disease infestation, disruptions caused by pollution, hive strength, and opportune time to harvest the honey.

AI-based Mobile Tools

Dr. Joyce Nabende is leading the Artificial Intelligence Lab (AI). She has developed  AI-based mobile tools to monitor diseases that affect agricultural production in Uganda. AI is one of the grants and works that excite students. A number of technologies that directly answers to both local and international demands have been developed including the Tool for fraud detection in mobile money transactions, Device for the blind to move without human aid, AI app to identify and deter birds from cereal farms and the Boldungu Mobile App for primary children to improve performance in Mathematics.

4. College of Education and External Studies (CEES)

University-wide Extension of Online Learning

In line with the university strategic plan, the College of Education and External Studies has embarked on a university-wide extension of online learning. With a grant from the MasterCard Foundation, every college will have an e-learning laboratory. Training across the university is conducted by the Institute of Open Distance and e-learning (IoDEL). Online education allows you to enjoy a more flexible schedule, reduces the cost of your degree, and allows you to more easily develop your career alongside furthering your education.

Entrepreneurship Skilling for Kampala Ghetto Youth

As we are aware, Makerere University is transitioning into a research-led and research-intensive University as well as building knowledge transfer partnerships. The College of Education and External Studies has embarked on an entrepreneurship skilling program among the ghetto youth in the divisions of Kampala, funded by the Government of Uganda, through the Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (MakRIF). The program will not only create employment, but also reduce crime in and around the city. These skillsets will contribute to the successful implementation of the Government of Uganda’s Parish Development Model (PDM), the SDG 8 “Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all”.

Contribution to Education Policy Review Commission

Staff in the College of Education and External Studies have continued to greatly contribute to the development of Uganda’s education sector. Our staff are part of a committee tasked with reviewing the education sector. The major objective of the Education Policy Review Commission is to investigate several issues in the Education and Sports Sector; generate recommendations and draft a White Paper (Macro Policy) framework for Education and Sports services. The output of the Commission is envisaged to be a new Government White paper on Education and Sports which will reposition the country’s Education and Sports system to meet the needs and challenges of the 21st century. 

5. College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT)

MAPRONANO ACE

The six-million-dollar World Bank funded Africa Center of Excellence for Materials, Product Development and Nanotechnology (MAPRONANO ACE – CEDAT) consolidated its activities through cutting-edge research and development in nanotechnology, nanomedicine, science artificial intelligence and engineering. The following prototypes/products have been developed and scaled towards commercialization:  3 diesel engines (being deployed in scale-up products for pumping water, electricity generation and tuku-tuku van; 1 Solar weed cutter; 1 Robotic tractor; 1 Saliva diagnostic test kit for COVID 19; 2 Vaccine delivery systems i.e., Lipid nano particles, silver nanoparticles and Chitosan Nano particles; Antimicrobial Nano coated mask; Paramagnetic nano particles for DNA extraction test kit (applications for COVID test kits); and Graphene-based batteries from maize cobs and coffee husks for electronic devices like TVs, computers, watches and for electric vehicles. The project has been able to attract more grants totalling US $ 1,934,636 for commercialization of the Nano adjuvant project, Saliva project, Development and Manufacture of Medical Plastics in Uganda and others. During this 73rd graduation ceremony, MAPRONANO ACE has supported a number including: 2 PhDs from Mechanical Engineering; 1 PhD from Physics; 1 PhD Medicine; 1 PhD from Veterinary Medicine; 20 MSc. from Engineering, Science and Medicine. There are 5 graduating in regional universities.

Master of Science in Land Management

CEDAT received funding from the World Bank through the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development under the Competitive and Enterprise Development Project to run the newly approved Master of Science in Land Management. This programme is designed to address the skills, knowledge and scholarship gap in the increasingly complex land sector. Through the funding the department of Geomatics and Land Management will receive state-of-the art equipment, textbooks and support for staff exchange. The funding also provides full scholarships for 10 Masters students and the College has received its first intake – thus building on the University’s vision of becoming a Research Led University addressing pertinent societal challenges. The collaboration with the Ministry of Lands Housing and Urban Development has fostered the automation of the land registry systems. Customary land titles have been made and distributed to various communities in districts such as Kabale. The customary titles have increased the security of the tenure and they will reduce land conflicts, land grabbing and encroachment. These will protect the land rights for women, children, the elderly and marginalized,

Support to University Projects

The College has continued to support the University in obtaining solutions to the university infrastructure challenges. Staff and students of the college have been involved in design and supervision of a number of projects at the university such as the Main Administration Building, the perimeter wall fence, the indoor sports stadium and others. The college has been instrumental in setting up the Muteesa II Memorial Museum. The public is invited to visit the museum and have an experience of Kabaka Muteesa II’s journey.

Inclusive Art Education

The college spearheaded community activities such as the Ntinda School for the deaf to do advocacy for inclusive art education. This development was celebrated during International Deaf Week 2022 through an art exhibition in which lecturers, students and the deaf community presented their works. The college took the lead in using art to raise funds to support brain surgery for children with hydrocephalus and brain tumors at Cure Children’s Hospital in Mbale in Eastern Uganda. The College also hosted a photography exhibition based on the experiences of refugees from West Nile in Northern Uganda Rhino camp in Northern Uganda.

Workshop for Masons/Fundis

In partnership with the National Building Review Board and key local companies manufacturing building materials, the College organised a pioneer skills and knowledge enhancement workshop for the masons/Fundis from the five divisions of Kampala during  February 2022. Over 120 Masons/Fundis received training in modern building design and construction technologies. The training was also intended to bridge the existing gap between the training institutions and local communities as well as to share the accumulated knowledge and skills in building design and construction at CEDAT. This year, the training has been scheduled for 1st  – 3rd  March 2023 and 150 Fundis will benefit from the initiative.

6. College of Health Sciences (CHS)

Innovations in Health training, research and health care

The College of Health Sciences is a leader of health-related research in sub-Saharan Africa region and continues to impact health outcomes nationally and globally. As a research-led college that promotes graduate training and research, the college launched a state-of-the-art PhD lounge to provide dedicated space for a conducive environment for graduate students and early career scientists to read, write, innovate and conduct blended seminars and webinars with scientists in different part of the country, region and globally.

As a leading college in translational research, the College of Health Sciences has developed research laboratories to perform specialized immunology and genomics research and acquired the latest flow cytometry and sequencing equipment; and currently hosts the Human Heredity and Health in Africa (H3Africa) biorespository which facilitates fundamental research into diseases on the African continent – led by African scientists, for the African people. This year the college graduated the first cohort of 21 bioinformaticians (MSC Bioinformatics) and has a growing program in bioinformatics and data science. 

East Africa hub for capacity building for Vaccine Research

The College of Health Sciences also hosts the East Africa hub for capacity building for Vaccine research under the Africa Research Universities Alliance (ARUA) and is a member of the ARUA center of excellence for Non-Communicable Diseases. Together with the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm Sweden, Makerere University College of Health Sciences hosts a virtual Center of Excellence for Sustainable Health, which aims to develop capacity and actions to drive the agenda towards sustainable health.

COmmunity-based Education, Research and Service (COBERS)

Graduates of the College of Health Sciences are skilled during their training through the community-based education, research and service (COBERS) program where all the students spend time in different communities throughout the country to experience health care, research and service in the communities they are prepared to serve. Clinical graduate students also have opportunities to serve the community through several surgical camps that are co-hosted with international specialists to promote advanced surgical skills and technology transfer to Uganda. Some of the country’s best specialist interventional cardiologists, nephrologists, gastroenterologists, neuroscientists, infectious disease specialists, to mention, but a few, are faculty members at the college of health sciences.

Research Dissemination

Faculty and students at MakCHS have opportunities to disseminate their research findings to impact health care nationally and globally. As a part of the 16th Joint Annual Scientific conference MakCHS hosted international scientists under the theme at which MakCHS co-hosted the 1st National Antimicrobial resistance symposium and the 3rd International conference on Mining and occupational Health (MinOSH). 2023 has also started great; as Makerere University College of Health Sciences together with the Infectious Diseases Institute (IDI) hosted the 11th International meeting on Cryptocococcus a leading cause of death among HIV/AIDS patients. These results have influenced policy and practice globally including World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines and FDA approval of point-of-care diagnostics and treatments.

The College of Health Sciences continues to provide an environment that develops life-long learners and transformational leaders in science and innovation to meet our community’s health needs in the 21st Century.

7. College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS)

Three staff nationally and internationally recognized:

i. Grace Bantebya Kyomuhendo,  a Professor of Women and Gender Studies, advocate for gender equality, social transformation and respect for women’s rights was appointed President National Academy of Sciences (UNAS) . UNAS was created to provide credible, balanced, and evidence-driven advice to the nation on matters of science and development.

ii. Susan Nalugwa Kiguli, An Associate Professor of Literature, was in August  2022 appointed as the international consultant/ Judge for the Nigeria Prize for Literature 2022 Edition of Africa’s most prestigious prize for literature. Kiguli will be identifying poetic talents in Nigeria.

iii. Rev. Sister Professor Dominica Dipio, a Professor of Literature and Film received the SIGNIS-Africa Award of Excellence for Contributing to the Communication Apostolate in Africa during the premiere SIGNIS-Africa delegates Conference held in Kigali, Rwanda in July 2022. SIGNIS-Africa recognized, for the first time, individuals and organizations – Africans and non-Africans – who have, over the years, contributed to the vision and mission of SIGNIS-Africa, which is basically to enhance human communication and to provide a forum for people to speak out. 

Celebration of the lives of four (4) former and living alumni whose works have marketed Makerere University

Recognition of employees and alumni is one of the best investments you can make in creating value for an individual, and for the organization.

i. The living 90-year old former prominent music lecturer, conductor, dancer and professional performer in the recent history of Arts Education in East Africa Zadok Adolu-Otojoka was honored in March 2022. Adolu served as Head of Department of Music, Dance and Drama (now Performing Arts and Film) in the mid- to late-1990s and was particularly famous for his charismatic conducting of the university anthem and the mesmerizing leadership of the academic procession during Makerere graduation ceremonies.

ii. Novelist and Poet, Professor Timothy Wangusa, who clocked 80, had his birthday and legacy celebrated by his Alma mater Makerere University in July 2022. His literary works were hailed for nurturing many literature giants and branding Makerere University as a top breeder of academic excellence. Wangusa tirelessly strived to improve his art which he has kept on sharing with his  colleagues, students and readers.  Wangusa is one of Uganda’s prolific writers well known for his novel, Upon this Mountain and his Psalms 23 poem.

iii.The Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature Prof. Ngugi Wa Thiong’o was honored in August 2022. Ngugi’s body of work represents the highest level of achievement in fiction, non-fiction, poetry and/or drama. His more than three dozen books, plays, poetry and essays have been translated into more than 30 languages. Ngũgĩ was celebrated for shaping culture with daring and original written works in novels like Weep Not Child, A Grain of Wheat, The River Between and Wizard of the Crow. 

iv. In December 2022, the university   paid glowing tribute to iconic African writer Prof. David Rubadiri in appreciation of the professional and personal relationship that he has cultivated in the course of both his outstanding career as a poet, as well as his intermittent teaching in the department of Literature.

8. College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS)

Development of the Kesha Anti-Fungal and Anti-bacterial gel

Our students from the Department of Biochemistry and Sports Science, College of Natural Sciences, led by Mally Anthony, currently in his third year developed Kesha Anti-fungal and Anti-bacterial gel to help fight infections in women. The gel was certified by the Uganda National Bureau of Standards and can be bought from supermarkets and pharmacies within Kampala but also from the College of Natural Sciences, Makerere University.

Providing solutions to the National historical problem of poor performance in Biology at Uganda Advanced Certificate Examination (UACE)

Makerere University through its School of Biosciences in the CONAS recently analysed the academic performance in Biology at UACE for nearly half a century. We observed that since the late 1970s, academic performance in Biology at UACE has never been at its best, and recently, it only deteriorated further to worrying levels as observed almost every year whenever UNEB results are released.

For example, in the UACE sitting of 2018 whose results were released in February 2019, UNEB statistics show that a total of 13,061 candidates sat for Biology countrywide, and of these only One (1) candidate scored an “A”. That year, only up to 38% of the candidates scored at least an “E” leaving almost 80% failed (score O or F). In the next year’s sitting of 2019, only 44 candidates countrywide scored “A” in Biology. This trend was found quite repeated several times before 2018 and has not improved to-date post COVID-19.

The danger is that Biology is crucial because the subject alone accounts for 70-100% of our entire academic and research work in the CONAS, CHS, COVAB and CAES at Makerere University. This means that poor performance at Advanced level affects the totality of life-sciences academic and research ecosystem in Makerere University, numerous other essential sectors, and MDAs of Uganda government whose mandates are hinged on Biology.

To solve this problem, Makerere University through the School of Biosciences in CONAS in partnership with CEES under the supervision of the office of the DVC-AA has embarked on addressing this grand challenge.

Establishment of a Petroleum Field Research Station in the Albertine Graben

As Uganda moves to the next stages of petroleum development, there is need for highly skilled workforce at various stages of exploration, development, production, transportation and refining. However, the progression of teaching and research in these fields has been largely hampered by serious shortage of sector specific physical infrastructure especially laboratories. With support from the Government of Uganda through the Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (MakRIF), the College of Natural Sciences established a Petroleum Field Research Station in the Albertine Graben to support practical training in petroleum studies. The training facility is located at the Makerere University Biological Field Station (MUBFS) in Kibaale.

Biofuel production

Our researcher from the Department of Chemistry successfully produced Biofuel from water hyacinth through the hydrothermal liquefaction process. The researchers have successfully produced the bio-crude oil (on lab scale) and characterized it. They have now embarked on the process of upgrading the bio-crude oil to the different bio-fuel fractions such as petrol and diesel. We thank the Government of Uganda for funding the project through Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (MakRIF).

Micro gasifier – improved cooking stove

Our researchers from the Department of Chemistry designed and developed a micro gasifier; as an improved cooking stove with potential to offer clean cooking and biochar production. The gasifier uses biomass materials as the primary sources of energy and has the potential to generate clean fuel (producer gas) with a blue flame that is smoke free. The project was supported by the Government of Uganda through Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (MakRIF).

New Method of Measuring Stress Levels in Plants

Just like animals and human beings, plants too can be stressed. Whereas one may easily detect stress in animals and humans basing on their behavior, plant “behaviour” is not easy to interpret. Plants under stress cannot reproduce or grow well because they have to divert much of their physiological energy to fighting stress. If the plants are critical food crops, this will lead to perpetual food shortages because their energy resources are spent fighting stress. A new study titled “Sandwich Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay for Quantification of Callose” and led by a team of scientists at the Department of Plant Sciences, Microbiology and Biotechnology at Makerere University in collaboration with the University of California, Davis, USA, shows how stress in plants can be measured.

Boosting maternal and child health using small pelagic fishes

Through the NutriFish Project, researchers at the Department of Zoology, Entomology, and Fisheries Sciences, College of Natural Sciences utilized small fishes to produce five (5) high-value nutritious fish-enriched products (baby food, sauce, maize meal, snacks, and seasoning) especially targeted to mothers and their young children, who are particularly vulnerable to micronutrient deficiencies. The products are offering a more diverse and more sustainable diet. A mukene recipe book was also developed to improve mukene consumption and endorsed by the Minister of State for Fisheries. We appreciate our development partners- the International Research Development Centre (IDRC) and the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) who supported this initiative.

Launch of the Natural Products Industry Advancement Network Africa (NAPIANA)

The Natural Products Industry Advancement Network Africa (NAPIANA) through its transdisciplinary approach aims at bridging the gaps between the stakeholders along the different Natural Products Value chains in order to advance the Natural Products Industry in Africa. The idea to establish NAPIANA was motivated by the fact that the Natural Products Industry in Africa was far behind compared to those in Asia and Europe yet Africa is richer in Biodiversity. We applaud our researchers from the College of Natural Sciences for this noble venture that will greatly support and strengthen the standardization of the Natural products industry in Uganda.

9. College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB)

Centre for Biosecurity and Global Health (CEBIGH)

With ADB funding, highly specialized laboratory facilities have been established that are spearheading critical research to solve national and global Challenges. The Centre for Biosecurity and Global Health (CEBIGH) is one of those units supported by the Government of Uganda, through the Science Technology and Innovation (STI) secretariat. At this center, CoVAB is spearheading the development of Covid-19 sub unit Vaccine and anti-tick vaccine.  The vaccine prototypes are being tested in laboratory animals and glad to let you know that the results show great potential.  Also ongoing is the development of points of care or rapid diagnostic tests tools using covid 19 and human African trypanosomiasis or sleeping sickness. In this study, two prototypes are already being tested and the goal is to slowly initiate the development of similar tests for malaria and other diseases like cancer.  Further, CoVAB is now positioned to be a one stop center for laboratory animals experimental testing, useful for testing efficacy of drugs and vaccines before further testing on human subjects.

Institutional Animal Care and use Committee

In line with the University’s vision of being research led, CoVAB, the School of Veterinary and Animal Resources (SVAR) 2017 established the Institutional Animal Care and use Committee (SVAR IACUC) which has played a pivotal role in collaboration with Uganda National Council for science and Technology (UNCST) in guiding the research policy of the nation.  The college supported the national efforts towards the formulation of the national guidelines for research and teaching involving of animals.  The guidelines provide a framework for scientists, institutional animal care and use Committees, facility managers, sponsors, funders, teaching institutions and animal care staff to consider while planning to use animals in research and teaching. The college with support from the Government of Uganda is working towards enhancing the capacity of the existing centers namely Nakyesasa and Buyana to become fully fledged research centers.

Field Attachments and Community Outreaches

The strategic direction of the college in teaching and learning is to have increased presence in the community.  To date, all our students in veterinary medicine, biomedical Sciences and animal production participate in mandatory field attachments and community outreaches and are spread throughout the districts where they are gainfully engaged in service learning. Through this program Makerere University is being taken various communities and institutions including local government (Districts), farming communities, the National Parks and other animal related places.  This however requires a lot of logistical support in form of transportation and availing the required inputs for student service learning. This therefore, calls upon the Government of Uganda and other stakeholders to come to us as we take Makerere University to the community.

Dairy Demonstration Farm Facility

The college formerly received the Korea Rural Community Corporation (KRC) supported Dairy Demonstration farm facility on Thursday 25th August 2022. This facility is supporting the college efforts of improving productivity in the Dairy Value chain. Makerere University appreciates the support given by the Republic of Korean Government in establishing this facility, which is not only to serve as a model farm in training students, dairy farmers, extension workers and Artificial Insemination Technicians but also helped the establishment of an elite dairy herd at Makerere University working closely with National Animal Genetic Resource center and Data Bank.

10. School of Law (LAW)

Makerere University Law School, is the oldest law degree awarding institution in Uganda. Established in 1968, the School continues to make significant contribution to human resource development in the legal profession.  Many of the School’s alumni are in high offices in the Judiciary, in Parliament, in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions, in Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), in Local Governments, and in corporate entities and NGOs at the national and international levels. The School of Law’s products in legal practice constitute the best and the most sought-after advocates in this country. The School is also playing a pivotal role in producing legal academics for the many emerging law faculties in the Government and private Universities in Uganda.  

New Specialized Masters Programmes

In addition to the traditional degree programmes i.e., the Bachelor of Laws (LL.B), Master of Laws (LL.M) and Doctor of Laws (LL.D); the School of Law has developed two new specialized demand-driven Master of Laws degree Programmes. These are the Master of Laws in Human Rights Law and Practice and Master of Laws in Corporate and Commercial Law. These two Programmes are at the tail end of the approval process. Developing new demand-driven graduate programmes is important more especially now when Makerere is shifting focus to graduate training and becoming a research-led institution of higher learning.

Moot Competitions

Makerere University takes pride in providing different opportunities for our learners. One of the areas that our School of Law participates in is Moot Competitions at national, regional and international levels. The School of Law excelled at various moot competitions in 2022; The Makerere University School of Law (SoL) team (Ms. Kevin Nakimbugwe and Mr. Edwin Sabiti) are reigning champions of the All Africa Human Rights Moot Competition held in July 2022 in Cairo, Egypt. The competition attracted a total of 50 Law Schools, 38 of these were from English speaking countries in Africa. SoL students also excelled at the Inaugural Arbitration Moot competition held in Nairobi, Kenya, November 2022; organised by Chartered Institute of Arbitrators – Kenya Chapter. Our students also won the Inaugural Tech Law Moot Court Competition held in October 2022 at Cavendish University, Kampala-Uganda. The Moot futured discussion of issues pertaining to Technology and the Law. We also won the Constitutional Law Moot organised by the Centre for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD) held in November, 2022.

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Ambassador of Sweden to Uganda calls for full involvement of men and boys in achieving Gender Equality

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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.

 Ambassador of Sweden to Uganda Her Excellence Maria Håkansson
Swedish Envoy to Uganda Her Excellence Maria Håkansson.

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.

UN Women Country Representative Paulina Chiwangu

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.

Vice Chancellor Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe

“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.”

Eric Tumwesigye

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.

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Scholars & Alumni of Mastercard Foundation light up Achukudu Community, Napak District

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Scholars, Alumni and the community of Achukudu Primary School during the commissioning of the classroom block on 2nd December 2023. Makerere University Mastercard Foundation Scholars and Alumni Annual Day of Community Service (Giveback), 2nd December 2023, Achukudu Community Primary School, Napak District, Karamoja, Uganda, East Africa.

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.

Hon. John Bosco Ngoya, the area MP (Right) who was the chief guest, addressing the gathering. Makerere University Mastercard Foundation Scholars and Alumni Annual Day of Community Service (Giveback), 2nd December 2023, Achukudu Community Primary School, Napak District, Karamoja, Uganda, East Africa.
Hon. John Bosco Ngoya, the area MP (Right) who was the chief guest, addressing the gathering.

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.

Ms. Joyce Nakoya, the District Education Officer, Napak District. Makerere University Mastercard Foundation Scholars and Alumni Annual Day of Community Service (Giveback), 2nd December 2023, Achukudu Community Primary School, Napak District, Karamoja, Uganda, East Africa.
Ms. Joyce Nakoya, the District Education Officer, Napak District.

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.

Ms. Jolly Okumu, the Program Manager of Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at Makerere University. Makerere University Mastercard Foundation Scholars and Alumni Annual Day of Community Service (Giveback), 2nd December 2023, Achukudu Community Primary School, Napak District, Karamoja, Uganda, East Africa.
Ms. Jolly Okumu, the Program Manager of Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at Makerere University.

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.

The new classroom block and desks that were donated by the Scholars and Alumni of Mastercard Foundation. Makerere University Mastercard Foundation Scholars and Alumni Annual Day of Community Service (Giveback), 2nd December 2023, Achukudu Community Primary School, Napak District, Karamoja, Uganda, East Africa.
The new classroom block and desks that were donated by the Scholars and Alumni of Mastercard Foundation.

“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.

Mr. Raymond Eryebu, the Headteacher of Achukudu Primary School addressing the gathering. Makerere University Mastercard Foundation Scholars and Alumni Annual Day of Community Service (Giveback), 2nd December 2023, Achukudu Community Primary School, Napak District, Karamoja, Uganda, East Africa.
Mr. Raymond Eryebu, the Headteacher of Achukudu Primary School addressing the gathering.

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.

The old grass thatched structure that the pupils were using as their classroom block. Makerere University Mastercard Foundation Scholars and Alumni Annual Day of Community Service (Giveback), 2nd December 2023, Achukudu Community Primary School, Napak District, Karamoja, Uganda, East Africa.
The old grass thatched structure that the pupils were using as their classroom block.

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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Engineering, Art & Tech

Innovations using low cost locally available materials for point of use water treatment system unveiled

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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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