The Julius Nyerere Leadership Centre (JNLC) Presidential Lecture Series (PLS) is an annual event that brings together prominent speakers, great leaders and thinkers to Makerere University to engage in thought-provoking conversations with stakeholders particularly students and the youth. Held from 6th to 8th June, the 2023 edition of the PLS was graced by Her Excellency Fatoumata Jallow-Tambajang, former Vice President of The Gambia. As such, Her Excellency held one-on-one discussions with Young Female Leaders at a Media Blitz Roundtable on 6th, steered a Cross-generational Fireside (Ekyooto) Conversation with Female University Student Leaders on 7th and crowned it all with a Keynote Address on 8th June on the theme “Celebrating Women, Pan-Africanism and Community”.
“Coming back to Uganda, Kampala, Entebbe makes me feel very proud and honoured and happy to see that Uganda is growing both in terms of economic and social development but also the friendliness, the fraternity that I have always known” H.E. Jallow-Tambajang cheerfully remarked as she commenced her address. Her joy was indeed tangible as she recalled with nostalgia the time she spent in Uganda as a newly-married sixteen (16) year old housewife, later returning as a UN Expert for Missions around 1993.
In the same breath, she paid tribute to her Ugandan “Father” Ambassador Matiya Lubega, with whom she worked for close to five years in The Gambia. Amb. Lubega served as Resident Representative and Co-coordinator of United Nations activities in The Gambia in the late 1980s and was commended by Her Excellency for being truly Pan-African in ensuring that UNDP programs were responsive to needs and realities of the Gambian people. In so doing, she noted, Amb. Lubega transcended the elitist attitude often exuded by international experts and used the opportunity to connect with and empower the people.
Empowerment, particularly of the youth, is important in the African context where only 5-10% of national resources are invested in their programmes. “What we need to do is knock at every door and see what opportunities are available” remarked H.E. Jallow-Tambajang. “The AfCFTA (African Continental Free Trade Area) provides billions of dollars for entrepreneurship; the African Development Bank also has a programme (The Youth Entrepreneurship and Innovation Multi-Donor Trust Fund) which is giving so much money to the African Youth” she added, addressing political and other leaders.
Her Excellency’s remark was premised on the need for Africa to invest in her youth in order to sustain the continent’s aspirations to put people at the centre of development programmes, as envisioned by the “unify and uplift” principle of Pan-Africanism. She explained that the Pan-African spirit is rooted in the African culture of solidarity, sharing, leaving the comfort zone, and opting to serve mankind, aspects that she said have slowly been erased.
“The talent Africa has is a talent that has been underutilized, when we have everything. What we need is a sense of justice, really including the Pan-African spirit; rather than sitting in our corners and saying ‘I’m Gambian, I’m Ugandan,’ we say we are Pan-Africans” she remarked.
Turning to the area of Women, H.E. Jallow-Tambajang outlined misconceptions about Islam and the older more experienced women not communicating enough as some of challenges experienced in the quest to economically and politically empower women.
“People who do not understand religion will say that Islam suppresses women whereas when you look at the Holy Quran, God has confined two verses to women… the other challenge we have had is the fact that the elderly women have not been communicating enough with the young people to impart knowledge and pass the baton to prepare them for leadership” she noted.
To address the latter, Her Excellency demonstrated her commitment to pass the baton of leadership to the younger generation by introducing her granddaughter, Ms. Ejatou Barry, a personal assistant in her philanthropic work. In the same breath, she recognized Ms. Charlene Ruto, a Youth Champion and Advocate for Climate Change Action for her work, despite sections of the public linking it to State funding by virtue of her being a daughter to Kenyan President H.E. William Ruto.
H.E. Jallow-Tambajang saluted President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni for embodying the Pan-African spirit by waiving her requirement for a visa in order to attend the Lecture Series. She equally recognized Dr. Nansozi K. Muwanga, Executive Director, JNLC for her role in ensuring that she made the trip to attend the PLS and pledged as a Senior Citizen, to establish twinning relationships between JNLC and institutions in The Gambia.
“When I go back, I will look at how I can influence to have more students come to Makerere University and vice-versa, I can try as much as possible to influence how Makerere University students can also go to other parts of Africa that I have visited, because that is the way we can develop the culture of Pan-Africanism, the culture of solidarity, and the culture of sharing knowledge” she added.
Her Excellency had some nuggets of wisdom to share with the youth too. “Young men usually think when they are educated and have their PhDs, they no longer need the elders” she observed, before emphasizing “this is the time you need elders. What the elders are going to give you in terms of wisdom, you cannot read from books… the elders have the experience; they have journeyed through life with little resources and are able to help you.”
She equally urged the youth to use social media as a tool to empower each other, reach out to peers in the Pan-African setting and learn from their good experiences. And whereas the Former Vice President respected the youth’s right to protest, she urged them to choose the path of dialogue instead. “Every time you go onto the streets, you are losing something. If you break infrastructure and want to become leaders, where will you find the resources to rebuild your countries?” she reasoned.
H.E. Jallow-Tambajang concluded by urging African political leaders, thinkers and policy makers to make the dream of a borderless Africa a reality so as to eliminate the barriers to free trade imposed on us by colonial boundaries. “Africa’s vision is shared prosperity and this can no longer hold without empowering the youth through entrepreneurship and different leadership fora they want.”
The Chairperson of Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara who graced the PLS thanked H.E. Jallow-Tambajang for making the trip to Makerere to deliver her keynote address. Quoting from Mwalimu Julius Nyerere’s famous book “Women’s Freedom: Women are Eagles, Not Chickens” she reiterated the University leadership’s commitment to ensuring that the youth, particularly women that go through the gates of Makerere University will be empowered to straighten their wings and fly like the eagles that they truly are.
She noted that Makerere has consistently been an advocate of women’s emancipation, right from the 1945 admission of the first six females and the 1990 enactment of 1.5 extra points for all female students to the 2019 policy providing for a 40 percent enrollment quota for female students in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and the 2021 policy doubling the number of awards under the Female Scholarship Initiative (FSI) from 20 to 40.
“All these milestones notwithstanding, it is of utmost importance that our students enjoy an environment that is conducive to academic excellence and free of any form of abuse… with support of our partners, we have revised our Policy and Regulations Against Sexual Harassment and empowered our Gender Mainstreaming Directorate to receive and investigate any allegations of sexual harassment levelled against our staff and students” she added.
Mrs. Magara congratulated the Julius Nyerere Leadership Centre on their efforts to groom and equip our young leaders with the moral campus for leadership and a willingness to serve through various courses, which have even been used to induct Student Leaders of the 88th Guild.
Elaborating further on the JNLC’s role in empowering students, Executive Director Dr. Suzie Nansozi Muwanga said that Centre’s youth leadership training programme is aimed at addressing skills gaps among young leaders through short courses in Financial Literacy, self-awareness as well as mental health and wellbeing. “One of the products we are particularly proud of; a tailored leadership course, will be made available on the Makerere University E-Learning Environment (MUELE) platform and accessible to all students starting this academic year.”
She added that in H.E. Jallow-Tambajang, the JNLC had found the perfect candidate to deliver the 2023 PLS. “Her Excellency’s track record as a mediator, human rights defender, political activist, and effective advocate for women’s rights, in addition to being a champion of basic education, maternal care, healthcare and women in entrepreneurship is nothing short of remarkable. Furthermore, her ability to do all this while fulfilling her obligations as a mother paints an amazing picture for our young women and aspiring female university student leaders to emulate.”
PLS 2023 also featured a panel discussion moderated by Ms. Charlene Ruto, with the 89th Guild President H.E. Maseruka Robert, Vice President Uganda Management Institute (UMI) Guild Union, Ms. Akatukunda Maureen, and former Makerere Guild Minister and Lawyer, Ms. Kirabo Marion as panelists.
Delivering the closing remarks, Director General UMI, Dr. James Nkata clarified that Pan-Africanism is neither an agenda, nor an event, nor a political slogan but rather a supra philosophy that all other philosophies on the continent are supposed to fit within. He added that leaders are not made but grown through the process of socialization. “The social structures that bring up the human beings that live in those communities are the ones that grow the leaders.”
Consequently, Dr. Nkata clarified that Pan-Africanism cannot be promoted through legislative announcements but through societal socializations. He therefore urged JNLC to initiate research on how we can 1) re-socialize our societies to develop a new conscience of Pan-Africanism where everybody is accorded equal opportunity and 2) de-construct human constructs in Africa that demean women, “because it is through academia that knowledge is generated and value is created.”
The day would have been incomplete without a display of culture and creativity, and the Department of Performing Arts and Film was on hand to deliver a thrilling display of dance as well as an original composition by Dr. Milton Wabyona. To crown it all, the 89th Guild represented by President H.E. Maseruka Robert and Finance Minister Ms. Kiranda Sharifah presented a portrait by the School of Liberal and Performing Arts GRC, Mr. Ainamaani Brian to H.E. Jallow-Tambajang. PLS 2023 was moderated by the Acting Deputy Principal, School of Law, Dr. Zahara Nampewo and Principal Public Relations Officer, Ms. Ritah Namisango.
Ambassador of Sweden to Uganda calls for full involvement of men and boys in achieving Gender Equality
The Ambassador of Sweden to Uganda Her Excellence Maria Håkansson has emphasized the need to fully engage men and boys in all the initiatives geared towards achieving Gender Equality in Uganda and other parts of the world. She said this on 28th November 2023 at a press conference organized by the Embassy of Sweden in close collaboration with Makerere University Gender Mainstreaming Directorate, UN Women and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to unveil the National Orange Pledge campaign and officially launch the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence.
The press conference was headlined by a Ugandan rapper and record producer Daniel Lubwama Kigozi, popularly known by his stage name Navio and his fellow from Sweden Jason Michael Bosak Diakité popularly known as Timbuktu. Over 200 students both male and female from Makerere University and other institutions of higher learning attended the press conference at Makerere University Rugby Grounds.
According to Her Excellence Maria Håkansson, Gender Equality cannot be achieved without involving men and boys to take their responsibilities and be the drivers of change. “For real change to happen, we need to change attitudes and norms that might cause Gender Based Violence, one of the social ills in Uganda and an extreme of gender inequality that occurs at all levels of society,” she said.
Referring to the national survey conducted in 2020, the Ambassador was concerned about the escalating burden of gender based violence in Uganda when she said, “the Survey highlighted that 95% of women and girls experience physical or sexual violence since the age of 15.”
She therefore emphasized the Global 16 Days of Activism as key international movement to increase awareness and advocate for an end to Gender Based Violence. The Ambassador also mentioned that preventing and responding to Gender Based Violence is a cornerstone for Sweden’s commitment to promote democracy, human rights and gender equality and this is done as an investment in a society that upholds the principles of equality, dignity and justice.
She acknowledged the full participation of university students in all campaigns and activities geared towards achieving gender equality as well as ending Gender Based Violence when she said, “You are the leaders of tomorrow and you have an opportunity to build a future where everyone can thrive. So please use today to take an active stand against Gender Based Violence.”
Every year Uganda joins the rest of the world to enhance the global campaigns on 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence and also add a voice to the call for an end to violence against women and girls. These campaigns run from 25th November (the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women) until 10th December of the Human Rights Day.
The United Nations Secretary-General’s UNiTE by 2030 initiative calls for global action to increase awareness, galvanize advocacy efforts and share knowledge and innovations to help end all types of violence against women and girls. This year 2023, the UNiTE campaign theme is; Invest to Prevent Violence against Women & Girls.
Over the years, Makerere University through its Gender Mainstreaming Directorate and School of Women and Gender in partnership with UN Women and many other partners have been at the fore front to support the campaign on 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence in Uganda. This has been done through debates, theatre forums, student dialogues, thematic artistic presentations, media exposures, drama and music skits presentation, and student peer led discussions and quarterly competitions.
This year 2023, the University in partnership with the Embassy of Sweden, UN Women and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) unveiled the Orange Pledge. According to Eric Tumwesigye the Senior Gender Specialist at Makerere University Gender Mainstreaming Directorate, this campaign calls upon government, policymakers, activists, civil societies, academicians, students and all members of community from all parts of the country to make their heartfelt pledges towards ending Gender Based Violence in Uganda and the rest of the world.
The UN Women Country Representative Paulina Chiwangu recognized the investment Makerere University, the Embassy of Sweden and UNFPA have made to end violence against women and girls. “Thanks to our collective efforts, the silence that used to shroud violence against women has now been broken” said.
In the same spirit, she acknowledged the progress Makerere University has made in establishing and implementation of the University’s Policy and Regulations against Sexual Harassment to protect students and staff from potential abuses of power and conflict of interest. She also applauded the increased support and training for students and the strengthened mechanisms for investigations that allow students and staff to anonymously report sexual misconduct.
“We are however, aware that despite this, sexual harassment is still happening in the university and that not many students report to the authorities when they experience it. It is therefore, our humble appeal to the university leadership to continue monitoring the implementation of the Policy and Regulations Against Sexual Harassment, take all allegations of sexual harassment and violence seriously, ensure that all personnel have information on available support services and take action to ensure that perpetrators are held accountable.”
Reaffirming the University’s position in fighting GBV and particularly sexual harassment, the Vice Chancellor of Makerere University Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe was highlighted the various measures Makerere University has put in place to prevent and respond to Gender Based Violence. To him, the Policy and Regulations against Sexual Harassment; the appointment and capacity building for the Vice Chancellor’s Roster of 100 eminent people from the various colleges and administrative units; recruitment and training of the Gender Mainstreaming Programme Student Peer Trainers and setting up Sexual Harassment Investigation Committees are bigger milestones to celebrate.
He appreciated the move by the Gender Mainstreaming Directorate and all the partners to embrace entertainment and artistry as a critical advocacy and awareness tool to reach several communities especially the youth.
“We firmly believe in the transformative power of music and the arts in promoting social change. Music and art does serve as a powerful medium to advocate for the world free from violence especially violence against women,” said to Mr. Dainel Alemu, the UNFPA Deputy Country Representative.
“It is heartening to see artists like Navio taking a stand and using their influence to challenge harmful norms. As we revel in the beats and melodies, let us not forget he underlying message that everyone , regardless of gender, has a role to play in fostering a world where everyone is free from shackles of gender based violence,” he added.
Speaking at the Press Conference at Makerere University Rugby Grounds, Navio said that for the 20 years he has been an activist of Gender Based Violence, he has faced the reality of many young girls and women in Uganda being victims of sex and physical abuse. He therefore sent a huge condemnation to men especially artists that who are perpetrators of Gender Based Violence and called for serious government action and clear policies and laws against such injustices.
Navio applauded the women and men who have stood tall over the years to fight against Gender Based Violence in Uganda when he said, “ As we launch the 16 days activism in Uganda and through these pledges we are making, let us be accountable for our actions. For long in our cultures, men have considered force and violence as power and protection. They have been tough to their children hence instilling fear to the extent that the children cannot freely interact with them on serious matters such as abuse and torture.”
He applauded all families that have adopted the new parenting model of free conversations and interaction hence encouraging children to freely open up whenever they have challenges. Navio also acknowledged the role of his mother Mrs Maggie Kigozi as a human rights activist and a champion in fighting against Gender Based Violence in Uganda.
Jason Michael Bosak Diakité popularly known as Timbuktu from Sweden appreciated the wider platform provided by the music industry globally for artists to act as role models and champion of change. The rapper highlighted the need to respect women for their roles and support towards community development.
“I am a son and it is extremely important for me to respect my mother and all women. Also being a father to a beautiful daughter, I am always eager and looking forward to seeing the best future for her. I want daught to grow up in the world where she is able to feel safe and be allowed to freely associate without being discriminated or threatened because of her gender,” he said.
Scholars & Alumni of Mastercard Foundation light up Achukudu Community, Napak District
By Bernard Buteera
On Saturday 2nd December 2023, all roads led to Achukudu Community Primary School in Napak District, Karamoja sub-region, as the Scholars and Alumni of Mastercard Foundation at Makerere University commemorated their Scholars’ Annual Day of Community Service (Giveback). The 2023 Scholars Annual Day of Community Service was held at Achukudu Community Primary School, Napak District in the Karamoja sub-region. Established in 2013, Achukudu Community School serves two ethnic communities—The Iteso and Karamojong.
With a total population of 1,097 pupils only three government-paid teachers, and nine community-paid teachers, the School faces a plethora of challenges. Key among the challenges is the lack of Classrooms, decent Ventilated Pit Latrines, and Desks. Therefore when the Scholars identified the School as one that deserved to be given a gift of a classroom block, it was a befitting choice!
The Scholars with support from the alumni, the Program Team, Members of the Steering Committee, and partners of the Scholars Program at Makerere University intervened by constructing a two-classroom block, which was supervised by one of the alumni who is an Engineer. Alongside the classroom block, the Scholars also provided 40 desks, helping the school meet UNEB Center eligibility criteria.
While presiding over the event, the area member of Parliament, Hon. John Bosco Ngoya, thanked the Scholars and alumni community at Makerere University for supporting the young pupils of Achukudu Primary School and the entire community by gifting them with a two-classroom block.
“Thank you Scholars and alumni of Mastercard Foundation at Makerere University for the Christmas gift of a classroom block to the young people and the entire community of Achukudu. This classroom block will go a long way in improving the learning environment of the young children of Achukudu primary school.” Hon. Ngoya pointed out.
Hon. Ngoya called upon other people to emulate the Scholars and alumni of the Mastercard Foundation in embracing the spirit of giving back to the vulnerable people in the community. On his part, he donated One Million Five hundred shillings (1,500,000/=) to help the School purchase more desks, and he had earlier contributed One million shillings (1,000,000/=) towards the construction of the classroom block.
The District Education Officer (DEO) for Napak District, Ms. Joyce Nakoya, praised the Scholars Community for embracing and practicing the spirit of giving back to other people at an early age.
“Thank you Scholars and alumni of the Mastercard Foundation at Makerere for embracing the spirit of giving back to other people at such an early age. If all people gave back to the less privileged in our communities, we would have a better world for everyone.” Ms. Nakoya pointed out.
Ms. Nakoya further pointed out every child deserves to study in a decent environment, therefore it was a befitting cause for the Scholars to construct a classroom block for the young pupils of Achukudu community primary school, who were studying in open grass thatched classrooms.
The Program Manager of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at Makerere University, Ms. Jolly Okumu who led the team of Scholars, alumni, and staff to Karamoja thanked the community of Achukudu for supporting the Scholars to deliver the class block by contributing to the construction sand.
“We come here today to join with you as a community driven by a shared commitment to education, empowerment, and ethos of giving back. Today is a historic occasion as we celebrate the completion and commissioning of the classroom block, which is a remarkable testament to the transformative power of education and our unwavering spirit of community service.” Ms. Jolly remarked.
The President of the Scholars Association, Mr. Godfrey Okello, thanked all the Scholars and alumni, and all stakeholders who contributed to the construction of the classroom block, which was a dream that became a reality.
“I would like to thank my colleagues and people of goodwill who supported us to realize our dream of constructing this classroom for our young brothers and sisters of Achukudu Primary School. Together we can make a difference in the lives of our fellow young people in Uganda and Africa as a whole.” Mr. Okello remarked.
The Headteacher of the School, Mr. Eryebu Raymond, who was visibly very excited was full of praises for Scholars and alumni of the Mastercard Foundation, for what he termed as an iconic classroom block they had gifted to his School.
“This day is very special to us, we will not see this day again. We are delighted to receive the Scholars and alumni of Mastercard Foundation from Makerere University, thank you for considering supporting our School” Mr. Eryebu excitedly remarked.
The Headteacher revealed that one of the major challenges the school was facing was an acute shortage of classrooms for his 1,097 pupils. He was therefore grateful to Mastercard Foundation Scholars for choosing to construct a two-class block for the School.
“This donation of a classroom block and Desks is a testament to your commitment to education and empowering the lives of the vulnerable people in the community. This classroom block and desks will go a long way in improving the quality of teaching and learning at our school.” Mr. Eryebu further remarked.
The 2023 Scholars Annual Day of Community Service (Giveback) was punctuated with a lot of joy, pomp, and fanfare, as the pupils and the entire community of Achukudu danced and ululated at the commissioning of the classroom block. The construction of the classroom block and purchase of desks for Achukudu Community Primary School was made possible by generous contributions by the Scholars, alumni, the Program Team, and members of the Steering Committee.
Among the Partners who made financial contributions towards the class block construction included; DFCU Bank, Post Bank, URA, Katumba Estates, Footsteps Furniture Ltd, and Sion Travels Ltd.
The Scholars and Alumni Day of Community Service (Give back) is an annual event, where Scholars and alumni of the Mastercard Foundation go out into the community to give back by providing solutions to challenges that a particular community is facing. Over the years Scholars have given back to the communities in numerous ways that range from offering professional services and erecting major projects like classroom blocks.
Bernard Buteera is the Communications and Public Relations Officer of the Mastercard Foundation Scholars Program at Makerere University.
Innovations using low cost locally available materials for point of use water treatment system unveiled
The College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT) conducted a Research Dissemination of two studies aimed at the Development of Materials for point of use water treatment systems.
The investigations were conducted by a team of researchers comprised of P. W. Olupot, H. M. Kalibbala, E. Menya, G.M. Wangi, J. Jjagwe, J. Wakatuntu, M. Turyasingura, R. Walozi, C. Kanyesigye and R. N. Kulabako.
The dissemination event held on Wednesday 29th November 2023 follows the successful completion of two MakRIF supported Research projects namely; Development of rice husk based granular activated carbon for point-of-use water treatment systems and Development of zeolite-based nanocomposite filters for drinking water treatment.
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