A total of 37 staff drawn from the various units at Makerere University have successfully completed the Training of Trainers (ToT) Academic, Professional and Administrative staff -APAS course, thanks to the Consortium for Advanced Research Training in Africa (CARTA).
In line with CARTA’s mainstreaming initiatives, the weeklong workshop from July 17–21, 2023, aimed to improve institutional responsiveness to graduate training and research and equip trainees to efficiently lead APAS workshops for their units.
The Consortium initially applied for and was awarded a NORHED II grant for the institutionalization of Advanced Research Training in Project Africa in order to institutionalize the gained experiences and best practices for sustainability.
Dr. John Bosco Isunju, a Lecturer at MakSPH and CARTA Focal Person Makerere University remarked; “The APAS workshop is one of these innovations to enhance the capacity of institutional functionaries to create an enabling environment for high quality research and graduate training.”
Professor Anne Kisaka Nangulu, an economic historian and the Principal of Bomet, a Moi University constituent college in Kenya, challenged iCARTA trainees to demonstrate good academic citizenship and integrity.
She also gave advice to the trainees on how to lead ethically: “Leading in a manner that respects the rights and dignity of others, knowing your core values, and having the courage to live them in all of your life as well as parts of it in service of the common good are important.”
Prof. Nangulu observed, “Whenever we have new graduates, I just feel wonderful. I not only feel nice but I sleep well. CARTA philosophy is to stop brain drain and demonstrate to the rest of the world our independence. Just remember there’s is no institution without people as you go about your day. Please make a tiny adjustment where you are. I believed that we all have great potential. Although I’ve never believed in teamwork, I do believe in group work. Let this APAS be a community that exists. Change using this platform.
Dr. Daphney Nozizwe Conco, a Senior Lecturer at University of the Witwatersrand School of Public Health and CARTA facilitator urged the ToT graduands to; “Use this platform for connecting and enhancing the CARTA vision. What pays us is the impact. You can’t quantify it. Most of the time, such a training is a stepping stone. Such moments are overwhelming. Being in Makerere University is a moment of pride as South African. Historical moments.”
Dr. Rhoda Wanyenze, Professor and Dean, MakSPH hailed CARTA for the opportunity to train the staff citing that Makerere University cannot improve graduate training when its support system improve including the administrators is not improved.
Professor Wanyenze urged the trainees as strong support system of the university to work with diligence and ensure the university stakeholders good experience and services from the university for improved relations.
“How can we provide quality support system to our students so that they can come to us again? We like to create alumni networks and we want them to engage with us, contribute the money. Are we sure they want to see us or look in our eyes? You are supporting your future collaborators when you are supporting your students. There has to be quality, quality is more of perception. What people feel about what we do is the quality that lasts in their minds. Forget about the standards, people will always remember how they are treated whenever they interact with us,” said.
Professor Wanyenze thanked the organizers of the training under CARTA for supporting Makerere University towards realizing its ambitious target of becoming a “research-led” institution with a multi-faceted research agenda.
“We are talking instutionalisation. CARTA was helping us to do what we were supposed to do. It is excellent because it talks about training people locally. CARTA is a great program for me in many ways. I hope we can institutionalise some of those good practices,” she noted.
According to Professor Wanyenze, every time universities have policy shifts they tend to focus on professors but not both the professors and the support systems.
“The biggest challenge that we have in our graduate training in most of the universities in Africa that I know; is support systems. We are not going to improve graduate training in Makerere University unless we improve support systems. Everybody that comes in contact with or interfaces with graduate students has a role to play in graduate training. In terms of ensuring training quality and an enjoyable time at university. How do you handle the students when they come to you as finance officers, what about the administrators, who delays submission of the dissertation books when they have been submitted? We need to put the systems right and start looking at a student as a human being. We have to interface with the students and engage them as human beings,” observed Prof. Wanyenze.
Professor Edward Bbaale, Director of Research and Graduate Training at Makerere University, stressed the importance of providing students with excellent experiences during their time at the university. He highlighted that these students could become future leaders, and their experiences could have a significant impact, potentially holding consequences if mishandled.
“The current Permanent Secretary Ministry of Finance/Secretary to the Treasury was my student in economics through his undergraduate degree. Still, when he came back for his master’s degree, I taught him and also supervised his research, but I didn’t know that this young man would at one time be the one making decisions on how much money comes to Makerere University,” said Prof. Bbaale.
“I don’t know how I treated him as a student. Recently, the undersecretary in the ministry of finance, who is now a council member, was our PhD student in economics, and I don’t know how we treated him. Those two people combined, if they are to fail the university in terms of financing as a payback, can Both of them were our students in the same environment, but we really thank God that maybe they are working in our favor. One of them is a council member making critical decisions,” he added.
Huzaifah Mutyaba, an administrator at MakSPH, committed to implementing the APAS program after receiving facilitator training. “I have met a lot of new friends. We are going to meet soon, and we shall be discussing how to support our other colleagues to support graduate training and research at Makerere University,” Mutyaba said.
Jackie Norah Nanteza, an iCARTA trainer, emphasizes that quality goes beyond standards; it’s about how the recipients of your services perceive them. “This has been a very wonderful group to facilitate speaking sincerely. Continuously building on capacity and enthusiasm, you feel like there is power inside you. Get that energy and commit to doing better things.”
Alison Annet Kinengyere, a Library and Information Scientist at Sir Albert Cook Medical Library, commended the participants for their dedicated attendance throughout the five-day course. “I am impressed by the participants’ commitment. At Makerere University, for participants to be available for the five days is a great thing, and I congratulate all of you on your successful completion of this course.”
Twenty years ago, CARTA was formed to address a critical gap in research capacity in African public universities through a suite of interventions to enhance individuals’ and institutional capacities for high quality research at eight institutions.
The Consortium composed of African (Malawi, Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria, and South Africa) and non-African partner universities and institutions from Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK sought to produce high-quality early career researchers (ECRs) who will, in turn, become research leaders enhancing the engagement between the CARTA community (ERC’s, supervisors, graduates) and society to influence policy and programmatic change to improve long-term health outcomes.
Dr. Isunju observes that CARTA trains doctoral and post-doctoral students and other institutional functionaries that support research and graduate training. “So far 22 PhD fellows have graduated and another five in the pipeline to graduate soon. We are very grateful for what CARTA has done.”
CARTA not only trains doctoral students but also provides support to various university staff members, including administrative, professional, and academic roles. APAS was initially targeted at administrative and academic staff. It was later expanded to include crucial professional roles like communications, procurement, and registrars, recognizing their pivotal role in advancing graduate education and research within our institutions.
The first APAS ToT which was held at Makerere University where CARTA trained three people from each of the main institutions in Uganda, Nigeria, Ghana, Wits, Malawi, Nairobi -Moi and University Rwanda. who have since become our local trainers. In Makerere University, Jackie Nanteza, Dr. Andrew Tamale and Dr. Alison Kinengyere benefited from the initial training.
According to Prof. Bbaale, Makerere University’s strategic plan 2020-2030 aims at transforming a university into a research led institution and that one of the building blocks for this realization is to increase graduate enrolment and knowledge production that responds to national, regional and global developments and challenges.
He highlighted that Makerere University is determined to have the share of graduate students at 30% by 2030 many of which must be international students. “The School of Public Health and the entire College of Health Sciences has already gone over and above this target but definitely your performance is dampened by the rest of the units in the university taking us to around 12%,” Prof. Bbaale said.
He added that; “We want to internationalize as much as possible, out of the 30% target for graduate students, we want to have 10% international students but currently we are around 2%. The second building block of our strategic plan is establishing research entities that leverage largescale multidisciplinary and multi-institutional research activities. The third block is packing and marketing of research outputs for appropriate adoption to impact communities. Makerere University through UNDP has established an innovation hub in an effort to package the research outputs and innovations.”
Dr. Bbaale emphasizes DRGT’s commitment to graduate education and research. “Collaboration with various units continues to improve,” he says. The number of PhD students enrolled and graduating has steadily risen, and despite resource limitations, every department at Makerere can at present supervise doctoral students.
Prof. Bbaale is enthusiastic about participants becoming trainers since it is in line with Makerere University‘s ambition on being a research-led institution. The program boosts facilitators’ abilities, addressing PhD training capacity.
“It is interesting to note that the ToT program seeks to enable trainees to effectively create a multiplier effect in their respective units. This model is quite unique. It will build a critical mass of trainers with a requisite capacity to manage doctoral studies in respective units. I would like to congratulate the MakSPH for taking lead in this front and for building synergies with DRGT as we strive to take graduate training and research at our university. I would like to appreciate the CARTA secretariat that combined effort with Makerere University that led to the grant that is enabling all these activities to take place. I would like to appreciate the vice chancellor for the able and visionary leadership that has identified,” he said.
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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