By Ritah Namisango
Makerere University in partnership with LIFE Ministry Uganda and the Global Leadership Summit is implementing the Emerging Leaders Program (ELP), the brainchild of the First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports, Hon. Janet Kataaha Museveni aimed at raising a dignified generation of youth in Uganda.
Addressing over 120 student leaders on the third day of the Emerging Leaders Program- orientation workshop on Saturday 21st October 2023, the Chairperson of Makerere University Council, Mrs. Lorna Magara applauded the Minister of Education and Sports for being a true mother committed to building a critical mass of young people and upcoming leaders grounded with values, good character, life skills and above all, a healthy generation that is free from HIV-AIDS.
The Chairperson of Makerere University Council informed the participants that on 2nd February 2023, Hon. Janet Kataaha Museveni inaugurated the University Council. At the inauguration, the Minister tasked the University Council to join her to implement a national Anti-Corruption and HIV/AIDS Campaign, starting with Makerere University.
Responding to this call, the University Council and Management engaged members of staff, student leaders and key stakeholders. The University Management carried out a survey and findings indicated that some of the students were already sexually active and needed help to know how to live a value based life, while others were grappling with drug abuse. In the survey, some of the respondents disclosed that they started using drugs before they joined the University due to peer pressure, stress and anxiety as well as exposure to such substances from some family members, slums and communities. During the engagements, some students revealed that they had knowledge of what constitutes good values, but in real life situations, they were facing challenges with sticking to the required values.
Personally touched by this deeper analysis of the underlying issues, the Minister of Education and Sports initiated the Emerging Leaders Program to equip and empower students with life skills, value based leadership and character development.
Mrs. Lorna Magara revealed that the Emerging Leaders program is a life skills program, aiming at fostering character mindset change at Makerere University, to influence the present and shape the future of our nation. She pointed out that the trainings would also entail a planned and deliberate effort to ensure that the youth take every step to remain healthy and free from HIV/AIDS as they pursue their studies at Makerere University.
“The Emerging Leaders Program is an empowerment initiative that focuses on values, character development and life skills. You may have the academic degree, but you need the right set of values and character to succeed in life,” said the Chairperson of Makerere University Council.
Mrs. Magara stated that the orientation workshop (19th to 21st October 2023) was organized to give participants exposure to the program content with the aim of enlisting them as active participants during its course of implementation. She commended the 125 student leaders, 60 lecturers as well as the Facilitators for accepting to be part of the program, and creating time to participate in the three-day orientation workshop. The workshop enabled participants to understand the objectives of the Emerging Leaders Program, learn and appreciate the key concepts, as well as set the pace for the unveiling of the Emerging Leaders Program and trainings that will commence next Semester.
On behalf of the students, the Guild Speaker, Rt. Hon. Babinga Gozan Wilson said that the Emerging Leaders Program was timely for it seeks to address the challenges faced by students and young people in general. The Guild Speaker noted that some of the students at the University are sexually active and engaging in relationships, which puts them at the risk of contracting HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. He added that some of the students were grappling with the issue of managing finances and how to overcome corrupt tendencies in a highly commercialized world advanced by competitive lifestyles espoused through social media.
In an interactive session with the Student Leaders on Saturday 21st October 2023, Mrs. Lorna Magara who has served as a leader at different levels in society shared with students the true meaning of leadership. She demystified the adage that some people are leaders while others are followers. She disclosed that such a narrative leads to slavery. She informed the student leaders that each and every one of us is a leader who has been gifted to lead and serve people in politics, church, family, community, in the lecture room, among other settings.
“Leadership is about discovering who you are. Leadership is about uniqueness and service. Leadership is about identifying your uniqueness, and the ability to use that uniqueness to serve society. Leadership is self-manifestation. You must value yourself. If you do not value yourself, no one will value you,” Mrs. Magara highlighted.
Acknowledging the role of social media, Mrs. Magara advised the student leaders to use social media to serve society, and cautioned them against the temptation of using social media to define who they are.
“Many of you receive so much information through social media. There is a growing trend of everyone desiring to be like some of the personalities presented to you by social media. When you start to imitate people, and convince yourself that you should be like them in all ways, then you begin to lose the true definition of who you are. Discover the uniqueness in you, use that uniqueness to be a leader who serves society,” she advised.
Underscoring the need to redefine leadership, Bishop Joshua Lwere, the Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Global Leadership Summit informed participants and journalists that leadership had reached a level where people take on roles not because they love the people, or want to serve, but for self glory.
“We notice that our leadership has degenerated so much, to the extent that people go into leadership not because they want to serve, or to carry the weight of people’s needs, but to use these positions to get personal enrichment,” he stated.
Bishop Lwere reiterated that leadership is not about occupying positions, but servanthood. He explained that the Emerging Leaders Program starting with Makerere University provides a platform to nurture young leaders to acquire leadership skills so that we can get a new breed of skilled leaders.
At the end of the session on character matters and valuing relationships, Bishop Lwere requested the student leaders who after going through the three days’ training were convinced that they were ready to change their lives by leaving the bad practices and adopting to the accepted standards.
“May I request those who are ready to commit to the new set of values, those who are saying, I will never defile my body again, those who are ready to stand strong like Joseph in the bible who refused to defy his God and Master when tempted by his Master’s wife, to raise up their hands, and after stand up. I would like to pray for you and bless you,” he said.
It was gratifying to see majority of the student leaders raising up their hands, and taking that bold step to commit to changing their life’s trajectory.
One of the Facilitators, Mr. Elon Katweheyo explained that the Family is the best unit to consider in values and character development. He shared that young people and students are part of the family. “At LIFE Ministry Uganda, we believe that we must focus on the young people. We are privileged to start this program at Makerere University-the premier University in Uganda, and the place full of young people and upcoming leaders. Through the Emerging Leaders Program, LIFE Ministry Uganda will apply its Life at the Crossroads character development tool to build and nurture morally upright youth,” remarked Mr. Katweheyo.
Rolling Out the Emerging Leaders Program
Following a successful orientation workshop, the Chairperson of Makerere University Council highlighted that the Emerging Leaders Program training sessions would commence early next year (2024). The team will identify teaching staff and Trainer of Trainers to be part of be part of the cohort to roll out the Emerging Leaders Program. She revealed that during the Semester, the First Lady and Hon. Minister of Education, Hon. Janet Kataaha Museveni will launch The SAFE Campaign under the Emerging Leaders Program. TheSAFE Campaign stands for Sexually Fortified, Addiction Free, Financially Stable and Education Focus. The University Management and teaching staff will roll out the program to the respective Colleges and Schools, and it is planned that every semester should have 20 units of training. After building a significant number of Trainers of Trainers, the Emerging Leaders Program will be rolled out to other universities in Uganda.
Emerging Leaders Program Orientation
The three-day orientation officially commenced on Thursday 19th October 2023 with a joint workshop of a select number of staff and all our student leaders. Delivering the opening remarks, the Team Leader, Global Leadership Summit Uganda, Ms. Betty Byanyima noted that the workshop was aimed at sharing ideas and discussing different aspects of the challenges of corruption and HIV/AIDS. The beneficiaries would then be charged with influencing their Halls of Residence, Schools, Hostels, Families and Communities because the aforementioned challenges go beyond Makerere.
The Deputy Vice Chancellor (Finance and Administration) and Chair of the Emerging Leaders Program, Prof. Henry Alinaitwe acknowledged that Universities have got a big role to play in influencing change in societies. He encouraged the leaders to look beyond the dates of the workshop and feel free to draft dossiers on how best these challenges can be tackled, in the event that the time assigned is insufficient to comprehensively debate the various topics.
The Board Chairman of the Global Leadership Summit Uganda, Bishop Joshua Lwere who served as lead facilitator for Day One of the workshop not only provided great insights into self-governance but also matched it with a great delivery that kept his audience engaged. Furthermore, he noted that holistic education ought to address the 4Hs (Heart, Head, Hands and House) and emphasised the need for all to revere God, adding that the more one loves God, the more they loves oneself.
Describing it as the policeman within, Bishop Lwere asked his audience to protect their conscience and it will protect you them in times of crucial decisions. Failure to do this, he cautioned the leaders, would result in its voice growing softer until it eventually goes silent. “When you compromise on your way up – getting there by hook or crook – you cannot challenge the wrong you find up there. You have the hook in you.”
Bishop Lwere further noted that leaders who espouse self-sacrifice and moral aptitude inspire those they lead to do likewise. He emphasised the need for leaders to set a high level of discipline for themselves and to live by conviction, not convenience. As you continue to live by conviction, it becomes part of your character;
Additional topics covered during the three-day workshop included; Mindset Change by the School of Psychology Makerere University, Character Matters and Sex in Perspective by the LIFE Ministry Uganda’s Dr. Eunice Kateshumbwa and Dr. Audrey Kisaka respectively. Additional topics covered were Grace, Truth and Time, Relationships and Life Skills.
The 89th Guild was on their part commended for their smartness and good grasp when it came to articulating issues. This commendation could not have been more accurate, seeing as it came from The Acting Dean of Students, Mr. Peter Rivan Muhereza. He reminded the Student Leaders that Makerere is a hill of endless possibilities and that the ball was in their court, to lay a solid foundation for their future.
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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