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Mak Gender Directorate to Start Women’s Forum Amidst Calls for More Female Representation in Leadership

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By  Marion Alina and Rachel Kanyi

The Gender Mainstreaming Directorate (GMD) at Makerere University has embarked on an aggressive agenda to train female staff on leadership skills. This agenda is informed by the absence of women in several top leadership positions at Makerere University and other institutions of higher learning.

Makerere University, for instance, has no record of a female Chancellor or Vice Chancellor in its 100+ years of existence. As of 2024, the Vice Chancellor and his two deputies are all male. The female voices are partially comforted by the fact that the current Chairperson of Council is female. Through GMD, a wave is burgeoning to change this trend.  To kick start this agenda, the Directorate held a two-day workshop (28th-29th May 2024) that attracted over 70 female staff at Makerere and other universities. The meet-up was part of activities under a Research and Innovations Fund (RIF) project titled; Enhancing Women’s Participation and Visibility in Leadership and decision-making organs of Public Universities in Uganda through Action Research. It ran under the theme: ‘Building and Sustaining a critical mass of potential women leaders at Makerere University’.

Ms. Susan Mbabazi, a Principal Gender Officer at GMD. Gender Mainstreaming Directorate (GMD) training of female staff on leadership skills under Mak-RIF project titled; Enhancing Women’s Participation and Visibility in Leadership and decision-making organs of Public Universities in Uganda through Action Research. Workshop 28th-29th May 2024, theme: ‘Building and Sustaining a critical mass of potential women leaders at Makerere University’, Senate Conference Hall, Senate Building, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Ms. Susan Mbabazi, a Principal Gender Officer at GMD.

According to Ms Susan Mbabazi, a Principal Gender Officer at GMD, the workshop aimed at among other things to generate strategies on how women can position themselves for future leadership.

The project Principal Investigator who also doubles as the Director GMD, Dr. Euzobia Mugisha Baine, called upon women to gain confidence and stand out whenever leadership opportunities arise. “There is need for women to be on the discussion table, making decisions as opposed to keeping at the back. It is high time women gained confidence and took on these leadership opportunities. It all starts right from where you are,” she guided. She tipped women on how to balance work life with other responsibilities. A firm-talking Euzobia rebuked the scenario where women get successful in one aspect of life and fail to handle other aspects.  “A woman can be successful both in her career and home. You need to adopt life skills such as excellent time management, multi-tasking and also learn to prioritize what is important. As women, you can be a mother and also a career lady, find a formula to balance life as career worker, mother and wife,” she emphasized.

The project Principal Investigator and Director GMD, Dr. Euzobia Mugisha Baine. Gender Mainstreaming Directorate (GMD) training of female staff on leadership skills under Mak-RIF project titled; Enhancing Women’s Participation and Visibility in Leadership and decision-making organs of Public Universities in Uganda through Action Research. Workshop 28th-29th May 2024, theme: ‘Building and Sustaining a critical mass of potential women leaders at Makerere University’, Senate Conference Hall, Senate Building, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
The project Principal Investigator and Director GMD, Dr. Euzobia Mugisha Baine.

“Despite all the various efforts at national and international level, the number of women is not growing as fast as needed. Across the board in public and private institutions, women are persistently few in numbers as staff, but more so in leadership and decision making organs,” explained Assoc. Prof. Consolata Kabonesa, the project Co-Principal Investigator. “Females still face a lot of challenges some of which are institutional, personal, social/family related and economic. Under this project, we will conduct a situation analysis of the gender terrain across six public universities. These include Makerere, Kabale, Gulu, Busitema, Muni & Mbarara University of Science & Technology. We intend to obtain baseline information encompassing the composition of governance & leadership organs by gender; the composition of senior staff by gender; needs assessment and profiles of potential mentors and mentees; capacity to conduct gender-responsive research; and exploration of the male staff engagement in gender equality/equity interventions,” she added.

Prof. Rhoda Wanyenze the Dean, Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH). Gender Mainstreaming Directorate (GMD) training of female staff on leadership skills under Mak-RIF project titled; Enhancing Women’s Participation and Visibility in Leadership and decision-making organs of Public Universities in Uganda through Action Research. Workshop 28th-29th May 2024, theme: ‘Building and Sustaining a critical mass of potential women leaders at Makerere University’, Senate Conference Hall, Senate Building, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Prof. Rhoda Wanyenze the Dean, Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH).

Speaking at the same workshop, Prof. Rhoda Wanyenze shared her experience as Dean, School of Public Health. “All the Heads of Department at the School of Public Health are women. The Deputy Dean is a man. When I was a student at this school, I never saw a female Head of Department or Dean. In my first week as Dean, I heard somebody say; will this woman manage? It is then that I felt that this space had to change. People had to get used to accepting that women can deliver,” she said. “Do not limit your abilities and qualifications to where you are. Do not look at Makerere for your growth, the world is big with many other opportunities. Lay your nets everywhere, it is another way of adding value to Makerere University. Work with people who are better than you. How can you become better if you dislike better? How will money come to you if you talk ill of people with money? I love working with smart people. You are as good as the company you keep,” she added.

The outgoing Principal of CHUSS, Prof. Josephine Ahikire. Gender Mainstreaming Directorate (GMD) training of female staff on leadership skills under Mak-RIF project titled; Enhancing Women’s Participation and Visibility in Leadership and decision-making organs of Public Universities in Uganda through Action Research. Workshop 28th-29th May 2024, theme: ‘Building and Sustaining a critical mass of potential women leaders at Makerere University’, Senate Conference Hall, Senate Building, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
The outgoing Principal of CHUSS, Prof. Josephine Ahikire.

The outgoing Principal, College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS) Prof. Josephine Ahikire called upon women to be more intentional in taking up leadership positions at all levels in the university. “At CHUSS, we have a critical mass of qualifying females. But you need to aspire too. There are new ways through which patriarchy recreates itself and brings women down even when they qualify. You therefore ought to be determined and stand strong in order to take on these leadership spaces,’ she argued. Prof. Ahikire advised women to understand their work environment and policies, since this will help propel them higher. “It is quite helpful to understand the institution, policies, and have them on your fingertips so that you are not looking for favouritism. We need a critical mass in these mid-level and upper positions. We need to be more intentional and have unity among us, fighting against ourselves will not put us anywhere,” she emphasized. As she leaves office, Prof. Ahikire was proud of leaving behind a vibrant CHUSS. “I’ have enjoyed being a leader. CHUSS has five schools and one institute. Four of these schools are led by women. We have three Deans and MISR is headed by a woman too,” she said to a thunderous applause.

The Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic Affairs Bunyoro University, Prof.  Grace Bantebya Kyomuhendo. Gender Mainstreaming Directorate (GMD) training of female staff on leadership skills under Mak-RIF project titled; Enhancing Women’s Participation and Visibility in Leadership and decision-making organs of Public Universities in Uganda through Action Research. Workshop 28th-29th May 2024, theme: ‘Building and Sustaining a critical mass of potential women leaders at Makerere University’, Senate Conference Hall, Senate Building, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
The Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic Affairs Bunyoro University, Prof.  Grace Bantebya Kyomuhendo.

Basing on her leadership experience, the Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic Affairs Bunyoro University, Prof.  Grace Bantebya Kyomuhendo advised   women to strategise and use every opportunity available in leadership by showing up, even when they know they will not win the race. She noted that the act of showing interest is a visibility gate for them to be known and adopt good networks in the world. She tipped women on ways of navigating the maze synonymous with work environments. “Learn the insider system in order to know how things are done. Do not fear failure since it is part of the leadership game,” she counselled.

The Manager GAMSU, Prof. Sylvia Nannyonga-Tamusuza. Gender Mainstreaming Directorate (GMD) training of female staff on leadership skills under Mak-RIF project titled; Enhancing Women’s Participation and Visibility in Leadership and decision-making organs of Public Universities in Uganda through Action Research. Workshop 28th-29th May 2024, theme: ‘Building and Sustaining a critical mass of potential women leaders at Makerere University’, Senate Conference Hall, Senate Building, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
The Manager GAMSU, Prof. Sylvia Nannyonga-Tamusuza.

In her advice to participants about the challenges that manifest with showing interest in leadership, the Manager of the Grants Administration and Management Support Unit (GAMSU) at Makerere University, Prof. Sylvia Nannyonga-Tamusuza cautioned that, “it is when you have shown interest in leadership that people start uttering all sorts of insults just to discourage and intimidate you because they think women break down so fast. Do not allow yourself to be pulled down. Know when to talk, when to engage and when to act. Sometimes give them silence and move on, it is better than fighting or responding back at insults.” Prof. Nannyonga-Tamusuza, who is a professor at the Department of Performing Arts and Film, CHUSS emphasized the value of mentorship. She recommended that women ought to have a mentor for these leadership positions. She praised Prof. Bantebya for having been a good mentor to her.

The Director for Africa 4W Women and Wellbeing Initiative at the School of Human Ecology University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA, Dr. Deborah Kaddu-Serwadda  noted that Uganda can leverage  the success of Makerere University’s gender mainstreaming policy to build a critical mass of university students, faculty, and staff; able to work together. She mentioned some of the proposed objectives of a 4W Initiative Pilot at Makerere University, Uganda as: piloting an interdisciplinary multigenerational higher education collaboration for the promotion of gender equality and women’s wellbeing. The pilot project would further initiate an academic women leaders’ South to North research-to-action network for gender equality and social transformation. She emphasized the need for self-priority and love and advised women to also think about their lives first before prioritizing other people. “You offer what you have, first build yourself, then extend it to others. This does not mean that you become selfish. I refer you to 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8,” she preached.

The Senior Gender Mainstreaming Officer at GMD, Mr Eric Tumwesigye. Gender Mainstreaming Directorate (GMD) training of female staff on leadership skills under Mak-RIF project titled; Enhancing Women’s Participation and Visibility in Leadership and decision-making organs of Public Universities in Uganda through Action Research. Workshop 28th-29th May 2024, theme: ‘Building and Sustaining a critical mass of potential women leaders at Makerere University’, Senate Conference Hall, Senate Building, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
The Senior Gender Mainstreaming Officer at GMD, Mr Eric Tumwesigye.

The Senior Gender Mainstreaming Officer, Mr Eric Tumwesigye reminded participants that gender constructs are made and maintained by society. “Society has already written a script for every gender and that is how it tends to judge you.  Society expects a man to provide for his family and failure to do so could be interpreted as grave on the man’s part. He will be identified with all sorts of names. This can be challenged,” he said.

Ms Caroline Abilat Asio, a Gender Officer at GMD used the Gender River of life concept to inspire women to rise to leadership. Using this analogy, she explained that every river widens and narrows at some point. And that likewise everyone experiences moment of challenges and triumph interchangeably.

Some of the participants and speakers enjoy a light moment. Gender Mainstreaming Directorate (GMD) training of female staff on leadership skills under Mak-RIF project titled; Enhancing Women’s Participation and Visibility in Leadership and decision-making organs of Public Universities in Uganda through Action Research. Workshop 28th-29th May 2024, theme: ‘Building and Sustaining a critical mass of potential women leaders at Makerere University’, Senate Conference Hall, Senate Building, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda, East Africa.
Some of the participants and speakers enjoy a light moment.

With the workshop now ignited, Dr. Euzobia Mugisha Baine took to the stage to propose a women’s forum; a platform she hopes will help to unify the voice of women. “Where is the women’s voice in several of the issues around us? Who articulates our issues? What can we do differently so as to create that space for women? To help answer this question, we intend to launch a Makerere University Women’s Forum. This forum should be our space. We shall have regular meetings,” she said.

In her closing remarks, Ms Phoebe Kamya Lutaaya, the Deputy Coordinator at Mak-RIF encouraged the participants to broaden their network. “Experience has shown me that the higher you go in the ranks, the lonelier you become. To prevent this, learn to survive in the changing political environment at the workplace,” she said.

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Advert: Mature Age Entry Scheme – Private Sponsorship 2024/2025

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Students sit for an exam in the pre-COVID era, Makerere University, Kampala Uganda.

The Academic Registrar, Makerere University invites applications for the Undergraduate
Programmes under the Mature Age Entry Scheme only for Private Sponsorship for
2024/2025 Academic Year.
Non-Refundable Application fee of Shs. 50,000/= for Ugandans OR $75 Equivalent for
Internationals, plus bank charge should be paid in any of the banks used by Uganda
Revenye Authority after generating a Payment Reference Number (PRN).

  • Apply using the Institution’s Applications Portal URL:https: //apply.mak.ac.ug
  • Application is for candidates who passed the Mature Age Entry Examinations of December 17, 2022 and February 24, 2024 only.
  • Any candidate who passed the examinations in mentioned above and was not admitted on Government/ Private sponsorship for December 17, 2022 sitting, and for Government sponsorship for February 24, 2024 sitting, is eligible to apply for admission on Private Sponsorship for 2024 /2025 Academic Year.

The closing date for applying will be Friday 26th July, 2024.

Further details can be accessed by following this link.

Prof. Mukadasi Buyinza
ACADEMIC REGISTRAR

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Diploma/Degree Holders Admission Lists 2024/25

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Main Library, Makerere University. Photo taken on 29th February 2016.

The Office of Academic Registrar, Makerere University has released lists of Diploma/Degree Holder applicants admitted under Private/Self Sponsorship for the academic year 2024/25. Please note that admission is subject to verification of academic documents by the awarding institutions.

The admission list is displayed here below:

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African Futures Research Leadership Program: Cohort 5 – Call for Scholars

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Participants at the initial AAP convening participate in design-thinking exercises to help imagine the future of partnerships between MSU and Africa. Photo: AAP

The Alliance for African Partnership (AAP) is seeking applicants for the fifth cohort of the AAP African Futures Research Leadership Program. This competitive visiting scholar program supports early career researchers from the AAP consortium to work for one year under the mentorship of faculty members from MSU and their home institution, focusing on building skills in research for impact, writing scholarly and/or policy publications, disseminating of research results, and developing grant proposals for external support. Scholars will also participate in a structured professional development program while building bridges and lasting connections with MSU contacts and across their cohort. 

The main objective of the African Futures program is to strengthen the capacity of a cadre of African researchers to return to their home institutions and become scientific leaders in their community, establish long-term partnerships with MSU faculty, co-create innovative solutions to Africa’s challenges, and in turn become trainers of the next generation of researchers. This program aims to address the gender gap in Africa, where only 30% of researchers are women, so scholars selected for the program will be women, or men who can demonstrate they are committed to support efforts towards gender equity in higher education institutions in Africa. The research areas that the scholars will engage in during the program should be aligned to AAP’s research priority areas

The AAP Management Team requests applications from early career researchers to participate in the next cohort, with work to begin virtually in February 2025. Scholars will spend September – December 2025 at MSU for the in-person portion of the program, followed by another period of virtual collaboration, ending in early 2026. The scholar and mentor team will receive a small grant for research and professional development activities including conference attendance and publication. Scholars will also receive a stipend during their time at MSU, visa application support, and round-trip travel from their home institution.

Eligibility

  • Citizen of an African country 
  • Completion of a PhD degree within the last 10 years 
  • Employed as an Academic Staff member at one of the AAP African consortium universities including Egerton University, Makerere University, University of Dar es Salaam, Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Botswana, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, University Cheikh Anta Diop, University of Arts and Humanities, Bamako, United States International University-Africa, and University of Pretoria 
  • Have documented approval of leave or sabbatical to participate in the program for the in-person period 
  • Have a mentor at their home institution that will serve as a collaborator and mentor
  • Research must be in one of the AAP priority areas
  • Applicants may only submit one proposal to AAP in this round of funding. Prior scholars are not eligible to apply. 

To learn more about the program, including how to apply, click below

Learn more

Applications to be an African Futures scholar are due August 18, 2024

Additional program dates:

  • Program start date (virtual): February 2025
  • In-person program: Sept – Dec 2025
  • Program end date: February 2026

Please contact Jose Jackson-Malete at jacks184@msu.edu or +1 517-353-6989 with any questions.

Source: AAP

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