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UCU signs MoU with UNBS to standardize academic products

By Jimmy Siyasa

Uganda Christian University (UCU) and Uganda National Bureau of Standards (UNBS) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at collaborating on the formulation and promotion of quality standards in Institutions of Higher Learning.

According to the MoU signed on Wednesday, UCU will operate in the core capacity of a ‘research agency’, and supply the Bureau of Standards with the necessary research data that will inform the standardization of curricula, short courses, student internships, and training, among others, nationally.

In return, UCU students will be attached to the internationally accredited laboratories of UNBS and trained on how to undertake quality analysis of product samples, in order to establish safety features UNBS considers before certifying a product. 

“Part of our mentoring and coaching of the university students will involve attaching them to our international standard laboratories,” said David Livingstone Ebiru, the Executive Director of UNBS, who further noted that it is important that students are initiated into a “quality culture” while they are still university.

“The students are future manufacturers, innovators, and entrepreneurs. Therefore, it is important that we try to create awareness on quality standards before they go out into the business world,” he said.

The recruitment of UCU trainees in the laboratories will in the long run enrich the manpower at UNBS, easing the problem of “understaffing”, which was cited as a major challenge in the agency’s 2020/2021 Annual Report to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives.

“The university takes excellence as its mark and this is what we hope for in what we do. So we are very excited for this opportunity since we are at a point where we are transitioning into a research-based university,” said Assoc. Prof. Elizabeth Balyejusa Kizito, Director of the Research, Partnership and Innovations directorate. “

UCU’s Vice-Chancellor Prof. Aaron Mushengyezi welcomed the initiative in his speech. “We are ready to work with you on developing standardization curricula, quality assurance courses, teach standards to students and our staff, and other people out there,” Mushengyezi said, after signing the MoU, during the ceremony held at the UCU Principals’hall.  

The UNBS team led by Executive Director David Livingstone Ebiru (Front row- 2nd Lt) and UCU top management staff led by the Vice-Chancellor Prof. Aaron Mushengyezi ( Front row- 2nd Rt)pose after the signing of the MoU. Photo/ Jimmy Siyasa

This is the first Memorandum of Understanding that the Bureau gets to sign with a Ugandan University for this cause; UCU has been prioritized as a piloting ground for the project before it can be extended to tertiary institutions and other universities- both private and public. 

U.S. Embassy sponsors multimedia training for UCU journalism students

By Yasiri J. Kasango
Thirty Uganda Christian University (UCU) students in the School of Journalism, Media and Communication have multi-media skills compliments of training sponsored by the United States Embassy in Uganda.  The students were trained for two weeks in February 2022.

Ultimate Multimedia Consult, a journalism and communications organization based in Kampala, conducted the training.

For the first week of the training, the students were taught how to write stories and to incorporate video, audio, photos, text and animation. The second week of the training was reserved for practical exercises, where the students were sent to the field to gather information and generate multimedia stories.

John Semakula, head of undergraduate studies at the UCU School of Journalism, Media and Communication, hands award to Elsie Tukahirwa after the training.
John Semakula, head of undergraduate studies at the UCU School of Journalism, Media and Communication, hands award to Elsie Tukahirwa after the training.

Before applying the skills outside the training room, the students pitched their ideas before a panel comprised of embassy officials, trainers from Ultimate Multimedia Consult and UCU lecturers.

The training comes at a time when the university is focusing its energies on producing all-round multimedia journalism graduates who are able to meet the realities in the current journalism job market.

Stories of Asenath Were, a second-year student, and Steven Kolawole, who is in third year, were considered the best.

“I’m grateful for everything I learnt in the training, and most especially the gadgets I got,” Kolawwole said.

Writers of the best four stories having multimedia components were awarded cash and technology with a directive to use their new equipment to produce products for UCU – namely for the Standard and UCU Partners. The first two – Were and Kolawwole – were given a smartphone, a tripod stand, and sh100,000 (about $28). The third and fourth-best stories were of Elsie Tukahire Kukunda and Irene Best Nyapendi. Kukunda and Nyapendi were awarded sh400,000 (about $113) each.

Asenath Were praised the US Embassy and Ultimate Multimedia Consult.

“I can’t believe that I was able to perform well since my story pitch looked shaky,” she said. “I am speechless.”

Prof. Monica Chibita, Dean of the School of Journalism, Media and Communication, gives award to Aseneth Were, the best female student in multimedia story composition.
Prof. Monica Chibita, Dean of the School of Journalism, Media and Communication, gives an award to Asenath Were, the best female student in multimedia story composition.

To further instill the need for students to acquire modern, real-world skills, in 2021, Uganda Partners, under a mentoring collaborative with students from the UCU School of Journalism, Media and Communication, embarked on a podcasting mentoring project, where students apply classroom learning to script podcast material, conduct interviews and edit audio. The podcast initiative is part of the UCU/Uganda Partners e-lab model initiated in January 2021 and is aligned with the university’s mission to prepare students for both continued learning and the world of work.

U.S. Kampala embassy spokesperson Anthony Kujawa and his deputy, Dorothy Nanyonga, commended Ultimate Multimedia Consult and UCU for spearheading the training of students.

“Multimedia is the future of communication in the world today,” Kujawa said, encouraging students to embrace the model to tell their stories.

At the closing ceremony, the Dean of the School of Journalism, Media and Communication, Prof. Monica Chibita, commended the U.S. Embassy for choosing to partner with UCU in many aspects, including the Save the Mothers’ project and the Fulbright scholarships.

Chibita also thanked Ultimate Multimedia Consults for training UCU staff during the Covid-19 lockdown and encouraged students to keep in mind journalism ethics while telling stories using the multimedia platforms.

Ultimate Multimedia Consult team leader Gerald Businge thanked UCU, and particularly the School of Journalism, Media and Communication, for the opportunity given to him to train students.

Prof.  Elizabeth Balyejusa Kizito, the Director for Research Partnerships and Innovations at UCU, urged the trainees to put into practice the skills that they had acquired.

UCU skills 300 teachers and clergy in South Ankole Diocese

By Frank Obonyo

Uganda Christian University (UCU) has trained over 300 primary and secondary school teachers from South Ankole Diocese in competence-based teaching and psycho-social support during the post-Covid era.

The two-day training, which is a pilot program and part of UCU’s mandate to offer corporate social responsibility to the church was held at St. Mathew’s Cathedral in western Uganda’s Kyamate village, South Ankole Diocese.

Dr. Mary Kagoire, the UCU Head of Education Department, urged teachers to incorporate learners’ community experience with that of class so as to make learning more engaging.

“The children whom you are teaching have been out of class for over 2 years,” she said. “This means that they are active and are used to playing. It is a whole new experience for them to sit in one place for a longer time. You need to know them by name and address their individual challenges.”

Director of Admissions, Mrs. Christa Oluka, addressed psycho-social support skills as a necessity in the post-Covid-19 period. She said the pandemic and lockdown caused many children to suffer from psychosocial stress, anxiety, fear of the unknown, depression, denial – issues that schools need to acknowledge and help resolve for effective learning to take place.

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic Affairs, Rev. Assoc. Prof. John Kitayimbwa speaks to a small group of teachers seated outside a church shade in Kyamate, Ntungamo district. Photo/ Andrew Bugembe.

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic Affairs, Rev. Assoc. Prof. John Kitayimbwa, called upon teachers to embrace competency-based learning, where students are at the center of the learning.

“Our training has shifted from lectures to competency-based methods,” he said. “And, we have adopted blended learning, especially for our postgraduate students who not only have career goals to achieve but have other responsibilities as well.”

The Bishop of South Ankole Diocese, the Rt. Rev. Nathan Ahimbisibwe, said in addition to the lessons from the training to help students, teachers need to improve on their own skills and knowledge through obtaining higher education certificates.

 “Teachers have been working comfortably without thinking of attaining higher qualifications, but with the newly introduced Uganda National Teacher Policy (NTP), all of them will be required to have degrees,” said Bishop Ahimbisibwe.

The aim of the policy is to provide a framework to professionalize and standardize the teaching profession and enhance the development and management of teachers. Its vision is a transformed teaching profession and learning environment for a skilled and globally competitive human resource. 

Bishop Ahimbisiwe, who also doubles as Chairperson, Provincial Board of Education, advised teachers without bachelor’s degrees to take up the opportunity of studying for the Higher Education Certificate (HEC) offered by UCU to elevate the academic status of practitioners, who have not scored the required minimum points for entry in a university. 

He also advised other dioceses to welcome UCU to train and equip their teachers and clergy in their respective areas of interest.

School of Law receives Humanitarian Law books from ICRC

By Muduku Derrick Brian 

The Uganda Christian University (UCU) School of Law has received a donation of publications and books on the subject of International Humanitarian Law (IHL), from the International Community of the Red Cross (ICRC). The assortment of literature, delivered in multiple khaki boxes, was handed over to Miriam Aceng, Associate Dean at the School of Law by Jane Patricia Bako, a representative of ICRC, yesterday, Friday, March 25, 2022. 

The donation comes to enrich the School’s International Humanitarian Law literature stock and to further enhance the knowledge base of students that undertake the course unit, during their course of study.

“This is a great initiative for the School. Students here offer International Humanitarian Law as an elective course unit in their fourth year of study. These books will help them in their academic work,” said Miriam Aceng, while receiving the assortment at the School’s premises. 

She also noted that the publications will aid students currently writing their dissertations in line with Humanitarian law and those who participate in international law moots and essay competitions will especially benefit from the donation. 

Aceng says that the books will be accessible to all students.” We are going to have some copies here at the School but also a shelf will be set up in the library for students to access these books,” she said in the presence of the Acting Deputy Librarian, David Bukenya.

Some of the book samples. Photo/ Derrick Muduku.

Speaking on behalf of ICRC- Uganda, Bako, the organization’s Communication and Prevention Manager, appreciated UCU’s focus on IHL as a course unit and said the organization was eager to boost the School’s effort in equipping students with knowledge within that field.

Bako noted that a survey they conducted revealed UCU as the only university in Uganda offering IHL as a full course unit; a finding that impressed ICR; hence the donation. “We know that UCU is the only University that teaches International Humanitarian Law as a course unit of its own, unlike other universities which fuse it with International law,” she said

“These books will ensure that there is teaching and reading material that will ensure that students understand this concept even more.”

Bako also challenged the administration to ensure that with possession of such knowledge, students are enlightened enough in the legal aspects of IHL, in order to address the issues that affect society such as police brutality, human rights violation, among other socio-political or economic evils. 

Agnes Kabatooro, a law student who witnessed the handover ceremony was excited about the new literature and said she was looking forward to benefiting from these publications so that she can achieve her dream of being a lawyer who will be of impact to society.

Miriam Aceng, Assoc. Dean of Law (L), David Bukenya Acting University Librarian (C), and Bako Jane, ICRC representative. Photo/ Derrick Muduku.

The donation comes as part of an ICRC effort to equip universities offering IHL with literature that would facilitate student learning. It had been a few days since they donated to Makerere, among other universities. 

The ICRC is an impartial, neutral and independent organization whose exclusively humanitarian mission is to protect the lives and dignity of victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence and to provide them with assistance. Among its mandates is the facilitation of the incorporation of International Law in education institutions.

URA Commissioner General calls for integrity

By Jimmy Siyasa

The Commissioner-General of Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) John Musinguzi Rujoki, challenged members of the Uganda Christian University (UCU) to embrace a life of integrity in their day-to-day professional and Christian life.

Preaching during the UCU Community Worship Service held yesterday, March 22, Musinguzi noted that much of his life’s success has been possible through divine favour he met through people who fund him a trustworthy person of integrity.

“I am where I am, not because I am qualified, but because the Lord has put his seal of integrity on me,” Musinguzi said, adding “I have not and I will not take a bribe as to pervert justice because I have discovered the root of integrity- Jesus Christ.”

He told a story of how he got born again in the 1990s to the congregation- both students and staff- who were gathered at the UCU Nkoyoyo Hall, noting that giving his life to Christ is the best decision he ever made. Musinguzi, therefore, urged members of the congregation, especially students, to exercise integrity during their university tenure and while serving in various capacities.

“Use your time at University and at the fellowships to lay a firm foundation of integrity, so that when the opportunity to serve comes, the Lord will weigh you and find you worthy,” he emphasized.

John Musinguzi: I have found a distinction with the graduates of UCU. Video/ Andrew Bugembe.

Pictorial: Former Agricultural Science Dean honored in send-off celebration

By Israel Kisakye
The Uganda Christian University (UCU) Faculty of Agricultural Science bids farewell to Assoc. Prof. Elizabeth Balyejusa Kizito, the outgoing Dean, as she early this year assumed a new university position as the head of the Directorate of Research, Partnerships and Innovation.

The send-off took place recently at the International Christian Medical Institute building at the UCU main campus in Mukono.

During the farewell, Dr. John Livingstone Mutyaba, a senior lecturer in the faculty, thanked Kizito for being a good mentor to everyone in the faculty.

“We still need your guidance, we shall miss you physically, but we know you are still with us,” Mutyaba said. “You have always guided me on family success and I will forever acknowledge you.”

Dr. Rosemary Bulyaba, the incoming dean of the faculty, together with her team, presented the gift (a refrigerator) to Kizito and also congratulated her upon the new post.

Kizito said she was glad to have worked with a team like the one she had at the faculty. She encouraged the team to always work harder and to value time. She promised to continue supporting the team in whatever way she can.

Dr. Kashub Tumwesigye, a senior lecturer, addresses audience at farewell party.
Dr. Kashub Tumwesigye, a senior lecturer, addresses audience at farewell party.
 Dr. John Mutyaba, a senior lecturer at the faculty, addresses audience at farewell party.
John Mutyaba, a senior lecturer at the faculty, addresses the audience at the farewell party.
Assoc. Prof. Elizabeth Balyejusa Kizito and her gift (a refrigerator) from the staff of the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences.
Assoc. Prof. Elizabeth Balyejusa Kizito and her gift (a refrigerator) from the staff of the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences.
Assoc. Prof. Elizabeth Balyejusa Kizito, outgoing dean, and Dr. Rosemary Bulyaba, new dean, cut cake at the farewell.
Assoc. Prof. Elizabeth Balyejusa Kizito, outgoing dean, and Dr. Rosemary Bulyaba, new dean, cut cake at the farewell.
Lecturers of the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences with Assoc. Prof. Elizabeth Balyejusa Kizito.
Lecturers of the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences with Assoc. Prof. Elizabeth Balyejusa Kizito.
The incoming Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, Dr. Rosemary Bulyaba (second-right) and her team present a reward to Assoc. Prof. Elizabeth Balyejusa Kizito (right
The incoming Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, Dr. Rosemary Bulyaba (second-right) and her team present a reward to Assoc. Prof. Elizabeth Balyejusa Kizito (right)

UCU signs partnership agreement with AIIJ

By Jimmy Siyasa

Uganda Christian University (UCU) and the Africa Institute of Investigative Journalism (AIIJ) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding. The agreement marks the beginning of a partnership between the UCU and School of Journalism, Media and Communication (SJMC) and AIIJ on various academic and media industry-related areas.

Solomon Sserwanja, the Executive Director at AIIJ, said the partnership was a long-awaited opportunity to partner on “advancing investigative journalism in areas of training, capacity building, resource and resource mobilization,” with UCU and, therefore, was highly welcomed.

On her part, Prof. Monica Chibita, the Dean of SJMC said the partnership will enable collaboration with AIIJ in areas such as “internship, research, visiting lectureship, teaching short courses and partnerships for securing scholarships for investigative journalism at MA and Ph.D. levels at UCU.”

Assoc. Prof. Aaron Mushengyezi, the team from AIIJ led by Solomon Sserwanja, Prof. Monica Chibita and other guests going for a photoshoot after signing the agreement. Photo: Courtesy of AIIJ.

During the ceremony, graced by the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Aaron Mushengyezi, acclaimed the partnership saying it would enrich the training of students at SJMC to embrace investigative journalism because some media stories, indeed, “require more research and digging in and that is why investigative journalism is important”.

The partnership was signed on eve of the International Women’s Day, annually celebrated on March 08. Together UCU and AIIJ organized a dialogue hosted by the former, to discuss the role of women and their inclusion in the discipline of investigative journalism.

The panel: Dr. Anette Kezaabu- Head of Post Graduate Studies, SJMC (Far right), Anna Reisman- Country Representative, KAS Uganda and South Sudan (Far left), Cecilia Okoth- Multimedia investigative journalist at New Vision (3rd Right) and Dr. Patricia Litho- Communication Specialist (2nd Left).

During the panel discussion comprised of five, prominent women in the media industry and academia in Uganda, the moderator, Raymond Mujuni, Deputy Executive Director at AIIJ, noted that only a few women in the newsroom were practicing investigative journalism.

“There are only 24% females in the newsroom. If you look at the ACME awards which award exceptional journalism, only 7% of awards have been won by female journalists. When I walk around the newsroom, I see fewer women,” Raymond said.

With the intent to encourage female journalists to embrace investigative journalism, a documentary film entitled A thousand cuts. The film captures the journalistic work of Maria Rossa, a Nobel-Prize winner and investigative journalist, whose remarkable investigative journalism works revealed ongoing corruption and abuse of power in the Philippines, in the regime of President Rodrigo Duterte, who was infamous for Press repression.

In light of the film, Dr. Annette Kezaabu, Head of Postgraduate studies at SJMC and also one of the panelists, urged young women to work hard like Maria Rossa and to not expect the ‘easy way up’. She cautioned them against “the love of money” that often causes one to compromise on moral values, further encouraging them to endure the humble, and due process in the newsroom that rising to the top of the media industry entails.

This is one of many, major partnerships UCU has consecutively signed with various notable institutions this year, 2022.

UCU, AIIJ to host special international women’s day celebrations

By John Semakula

The Uganda Christian University School of Journalism, Media and Communication and the African Institute for Investigative Journalism (AIIJ) will host special celebrations to mark this year’s International Women’s Day. This will be in form of a dialogue made of a women’s panel. 

The celebrations targeting female journalists in Uganda will take place on Monday, March 7, at Uganda Christian University’s (UCU) main campus in Mukono on the theme “Women and Investigative Journalism: An Untapped Opportunity.”  It will be graced by top journalists, academics and media managers, including Raymond Mujuni, an investigative journalist and the Deputy, Director at AIIJ, who will host the panel discussion. International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8.

During the event at UCU, AIIJ will show a special film titled, “A Thousand Cuts” that chronicles President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on the Press in the Philippines and the spread of disinformation, plus the life of the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize winner, investigative journalist, Maria Ressa, and how she goes against all odds to hold the powerful in the country accountable. 

Later, a panel of senior female journalists and communication scholars in Uganda will discuss issues related to investigative journalism and the role of women in the field. These include; Dr. Anette Kezaabu- Head of Post Graduate Studies, School of Journalism, Media and Communication, Anna Reisman- Country Representative, KAS Uganda and South Sudan, Cecilia Okoth- Multimedia investigative journalist at New Vision, Dr. Patricia Litho- Communication Specialist and Trainer,  and Gillian Nantume- Journalist at Daily Monitor.

The event marks the beginning of a long-term partnership between the School and AIIJ in training investigative journalists. The two institutions are also expected to use the event to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) sealing the partnership.

Investigative journalism plays a key role in enhancing accountability and good governance, which are pre-requisites for democracy and development. While AIIJ is renowned for its practical skills and award-winning experience in investigative journalism, UCU, being a training institution, brings to the table the conceptual aspects, research, and training skills. We, therefore, see the potential for collaboration in areas such as internship, research, visiting lectureship, teaching short courses and partnerships in securing scholarships for investigative journalism at MA and Ph.D. level at UCU.

Prof. Monica Chibita, the Dean of the School.

On his behalf, the executive director of AIIJ, Solomon Serwanjja said the celebrations at UCU are intended to commend the job and efforts by the school to advance investigative journalism in Uganda. “We also intend to use the event to encourage and interest female journalists to pursue this form of journalism. We believe that the film which we are going to show is a classic example of how far women investigative journalists can be part of public interest mission and break systematic barriers to women in investigative journalism,” Serwanjja said. “We believe that together we can pass investigative journalism mindset, skillset, and toolset to the next generation of female investigative journalists.”

UCU students of journalism showcase a production, during the launch of the FJMC, which has since been elevated into a school in 2019. Courtesy.

Until the start of this year, the UCU School of Journalism operated as a Faculty with two departments, Strategic Communication; and Journalism and Media Studies. But late last year, the University Council approved the Faculty’s elevation to a school’s status, erasing the old departments and introducing two new ones: Postgraduate and Undergraduate Studies. 

With an enrollment of over 400 students before Covid-19 struck in 2020, the school is growing rapidly, with prospects of starting a Ph.D. programme within the next one year. This will be one of the few in the East African region. 

In 2021, UCU in partnership with NLA University College, University of Kwazulu Natal, and University of Rwanda, won the highly competitive NORHED II grant worth sh7.9b to start the Ph.D. at the School. 

SSRC Symposium at UCU: Scholars speak out on experience

By Jimmy Siyasa

“It can be scary for your work to be criticized by other scholars; you never really outgrow that fear. But we have to be okay with others finding loopholes in your research work.”

Those words constituted the closing remarks of Dr. Emilly Maractho, convener of the 2022 Social Sciences Research Council (SSRC) symposium themed “Ideology, Identity and State Formation in East Africa”, held at Uganda Christian University (UCU). Emilly is the Director of Africa Policy Centre (APC) at UCU. She noted that the debates and discussions- laced with incisive criticism of some papers- that ensued during the symposium were crucial and relevant, especially to the scholars who had presented.

Emilly also reminded fellow scholars that academic criticism and/or rejection of one’s research should not be taken in bad faith, but instead, embraced as “cause” for the researcher “to go back and revisit your research”.

The two-day symposium started on February, 24-25, 2022, and attracted scholars from at least four universities including: Makerere, Kyambogo, Mbarara University of Science and Technology (MUST) and Uganda Martyrs University. They presented various papers, both complete studies and those underway; 14 papers were presented all together, on divergent topics, but all converging at the general theme.

Day two of the symposium started with a percipient keynote address by Prof. Apuuli Phillip Kasaijja, Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and Public Administration at Makerere University. He dissected the sub-theme “Resource-based Conflicts in Uganda”, crowning his presentation with a call upon the scholars in attendance to work hand in hand with policymakers in order to ensure that their research findings eventually, directly inform policy in the country.

Prof. Apuuli Phillip Kasaijja was a keynote speaker at the symposium. Photo/ Andrew Bugembe.

“People are doing a lot of original research. But it will not be helpful if it does not influence policy. It should be able to…,” said Prof. Kasaijja, arguing that part of the cause of this trend is an ‘unhealthy’ division between academics and politicians. He urged the two to forge common ground for coexistence because the former do research that the latter [ who don’t do research] need [because it is backed by empirical data] to make informed policies make policies.

The air inside the UCU Principals’ hall was rife with upbeat intellectual discourse as the different scholars presented their studies for peer-review, and therefore, scrutiny.

Jimmy Siyasa caught up with some of the scholars to learn their experience from the symposium and reflections on its significance and relevance to Uganda’s academic and policy landscape. [Photos by Andrew Bugembe]

This is a very important conference. I am very grateful to the convener because it is very important for us scholars to meet and share our experiences on our journey as academics, but also on how to impact policy and practice in our country. Other scholars [from other universities] should take the initiative to be part of such arrangements because it is one of the best ways to mentor the younger generation of scholars.

Dr. Resty Naiga, Lecturer in the Department of Development Studies, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, at Makerere University

The symposium was fantastic and a great opportunity to meet some of the scholars we had taken long without meeting. It was also a good introduction to the research of other scholars and insights from their fields of study. It really rejuvenates and helps us to also shape our own thoughts. I noticed that some of the people here are rich in methodology and different things, although, interestingly, much of the work presented was related. Generally, there was a lot to learn from each presenter. We have left different people challenged to revisit their work and to work harder, while encouraged that they are on the right track. We hope these papers will be published eventually, and the knowledge disseminated because we have agreed on polishing the works for publication.

Dr. Robert Ojambo, Senior Lecturer and Head of Department of History and Political Science.Kyambogo University

First of all, I love the UCU environment. Perfect. I thought Makerere was the highlight of everything [a University should be in Africa], but this is a beautiful space [for thinking and studying]. As far as the conversation in the symposium is concerned, I felt at home because the scholarly topics and faces I interacted with were familiar. The debates were top-quality debates. So, I am happy, I enjoyed every bit of it and was not disappointed at any point.

Yosef Sintayehu Jemberie, Ph.D. Candidate at Makerere Social Research Institute (MISR)

Fascinating papers! Fascinating presentations. The keynote today [Day two] was on-point for me. High-level engagement! I was inspired by some of the young people, the students inside the room who were asking very critical questions without feeling intimidated by the PhDs and Professors present. It was good watching some of the students I mentored present papers. When we come together from different backgrounds, we have a larger conversation, otherwise, we are always talking to each other and there is nothing new. For me what excited me was hearing from people coming from elsewhere [other universities]. We should think about organizing research panels in order to generate synergy that often comes in handy when writing grant proposals as a panel as opposed to individual effort.

Dr. Pamela Kanakhwa, Lecturer Department of History, Archaeology, and Heritage Studies at Makerere

This symposium was excellent because it has brought us together, and the focus on “State, security…” was very clear and relevant. The presentations were great and everyone participated. This symposium is going to take us a long way into academia, specifically exiting gaps in the available literature. Most researches were empirical, others desk studies, but were all informing policy and existing gaps we have in knowledge as a country.

Dr. Specioza Twinamatsiko, Lecturer, MUST

For me, this was a fascinating experience. I would like to thank the Africa Policy Centre at UCU for organizing this symposium. My major highlight is the experience of sitting in an interdisciplinary conference: People have different approaches to research. So, this was very fascinating and exciting for me. Secondly, I am happy to have disseminated my finding about the experiences of children living with violent caregivers. I am grateful that I was able to attend.

Herbert Twinamatsiko, Ph.D Candidate, MUST

The symposium brings to us the academic engagement that we have been missing for a long time. It has enabled us to; sit down, discuss, theorize, and think beyond the boundaries, and critic one another’s work. That is my major highlight. It was an opportunity to interact with fellow scholars and I think we should have it more often. It is a platform to speak a common language; when you speak to most of the people out there sometimes, it is like you are speaking Greek; because you are talking about theory, methodology, informing policy, etc. It is like you are speaking to the wrong audience. But here, you are able to engage, wrap your head around concepts and how they can be applied in real life, societies and our community for their betterment.

Dr. Ronald Kalyango Sebba, lecturer in the School of Women and Gender Studies Makerere University

As Africa Policy Centre, this is why we exist; to do research that informs policy and therefore, these were insightful and relevant discussions. I am happy with this meeting and that it happened. I have gotten to meet and know people who are passionate and knowledgeable about their field. I hope that we are not going to stop this conversation here and I look forward to the time when we can have an annual symposium.”

Dr. Emilly Comfort Maractho, Director, APC, UCU

Background

The symposium convened the inaugural Uganda Fellows of The Africa Peacebuilding Network (APN) and the Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa (NextGen), both programs of the Social Science Research Council (SSRC), courtesy of APC, UCU, which collaborated with the former institution(s). The APC is a Think Tank at UCU which aims at advancing research and evidence-based policies in Africa, whereas the SSRC is an independent, international non-profit organization that fosters innovative research by supporting scholars through its Africa-related programs.

The symposium brings together former Uganda-based grantees of the two programs to present and receive feedback from their peers on their latest research projects. Open to the wider university public, the symposium shall involve paper presentations from the alumni.

Dr. Emilly Maractho publishes and launches health research report

By Jimmy Siyasa

The Uganda Christian University (UCU) Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Finance and Administration, David Mugawe, has launched a health research report by Dr. Emilly Maractho, the Director of Africa Policy Centre. The report, which was launched on February 23, 2022, is the result of a collaborative health research between UCU and US-based Lehigh University. Dr. Maractho is one of five scholars, four from Lehigh, who prepared the report; they include: Judith Lasker, Sirry Alang and Kelly Austin.

At the launch, Mugawe, noted that the study, entitled “Enhancing the value of Short term volunteer missions in health from host country perspectives: The Case of Uganda,” is timely and brings relevant empirical data that is of utility to national stakeholders in the health sector. “This report, as a case study of Uganda, is going to be a point of reference and source of empirical data that will inform and influence policymakers and other relevant stakeholders that are looking for such data to advocate for change, investment, etc.”

David Mugawe receives a copy of Dr. Emilly’s research. Photo: Andrew Bugemebe.

Mugawe also welcomed more like research partnerships with other universities, acclaiming Lehigh’s collaboration with UCU. He further emphasized UCU’s robust commitment to the research agenda, encouraging other UCU scholars to publish their works, while counting on full university support. “This is exciting, for us to see products that are homegrown, and we are glad for the partnership [with Lehigh university],” Mugawe said.

“Within top management, we do have research as a key agenda and this has been seen in our [significant] budgeting for 2022. As a University, we’ve supported research initiatives by some of our professors, who [early this year] formed teams and competed for a grant that the University did award.”

During her presentation to both an online and physical audience that had gathered at the UCU Principals’ Hall, Dr. Maractho noted that her research study, which kicked off in 2018, was inspired by the overall health needs of Uganda, which relate to Short Term Medical Missions (STMMs).

Within the context of the research study, STMMs refer to the various medical teams that come to an area to offer medical assistance within the host communities for a given period of time, then later return to their countries of origin.

According to the study, by 2018, Uganda was having a rapid population growth, especially within the rural areas, a trend which made them more susceptible to STMMs, and therefore, there was an overwhelming need to assess, “ the perspectives of host communities on STMMs, their practice from host country perspectives, the extent to which sending organization aligns with host communities in order to understand their need and, final, the regulatory and policy environment within which they operate in host communities,” Dr. Maractho said.

She also noted that by 2018, STMMs involved about 1.6 million volunteers and were estimated at US$ 2-3 billion annually. The majority of the STMMs came from the USA (46%), followed by Europe (36%), then Asia (13%), among other origins.

Data for the study was collected from 10 districts which included: Gulu, Nebbi, Arua, Lira, Mbale, Kasese, Mbarara, Bududa, Kampala and Mukono

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