In 2019, Makerere University, with funding from the Government of the Republic of Uganda, introduced a Fund to support high impact Research and Innovations that inform National Development Priorities. The objective of the Makerere University Research and Innovations Fund (Mak-RIF) is to increase the local generation of translatable research and scalable innovations that address key gaps required to drive Uganda’s development agenda. Other objectives include supporting the dissemination of high-quality research and innovations in a way that impacts on development policies and programmes, and supporting the growth of research leadership capacity in the university. The Research and Innovations Fund is open to researchers and innovators from all Colleges of Makerere University who have research that aligns with National Priorities. Makerere University Researchers and Innovators have through this Fund engaged and worked with other key stakeholders, students, faculty and community members from other higher Institutions of learning, Governmental and Non-Governmental Organizations, Ministries, Civil Society Organizations among others. The Government has so far (last two Financial Years) extended UGX60 billion towards the Fund.
Since FY 2019/20, the fund has supported 587 multidisciplinary research and innovation projects across the 10 colleges of Makerere University. Of these, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS) has obtained 61 projects across the two financial years.
In line with Objective Two of the Mak-RIF Fund – “Supporting dissemination of high-quality research and innovations in a way that impacts on development policies and programmes”, Mak-RIF in collaboration with CHUSS held an Open Day on 29th April 2021. The aim was to showcase some of the outputs of the different research and innovation projects at the College. The event held in the Arts Quadrangle at CHUSS was an opportunity for Makerere University to showcase research in the fields of Economic Integration, Education, COVID-19, Gender Based Violence, Linguistics, Tourism and Culture, Sexual Harassment and Performing Arts.
This engagement was presided over by the First Deputy Vice-Chancellor in charge of Academic Affairs, Dr. Umar Kakumba representing Makerere University’s Vice-Chancellor Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe. It was graced by among others, the Chairperson of Mak-RIF, Prof. William Bazeyo; representatives from the Mak-RIF Grants Management Committee including; Dr. Hellen Nambalirwa Nkabla (also Makerere University Council Member), Engineer Dr. Issa Kabenge, Engineer Dr. Robinah Kulabako and Dr. Sabrina Kitaka; the Secretariat led by Ms. Phoebe Kamya Lutaaya, Mak-RIF Coordinator representing Dr. Roy William Mayega, Mak-RIF Coordinator; the Principal of CHUSS, Dr. Josephine Ahikire; the Ag. Deputy Principal, Dr. Julius Kikooma; the Dean School of Psychology, Dr. Grace Kibanja; the Dean School of Languages, Literature and Communication, Dr. Saudah Namyalo; and the Dean School of Liberal and Performing Arts, Dr. Patrick Mangeni.
Projects showcased at the event included;
- “Whole University Approach: Kicking Sexual Harassment out of Higher Education Institutions in Uganda” led by Prof. Grace Bantebya – Kyomuhendo,
- “Men and Gender-Based Violence: Changing Masculinities for Effective COVID 19 Social Response in Uganda” led by Dr. Josephine Ahikire,
- “Adherence, lived experiences and resilient transformation among slum dwellers (ALERTs) in COVID-19: A study of Ki-Mombasa and Kabalagala Kataba slums in Kampala” by Dr. Gloria Kimuli Seruwagi,
- “Drug and Substance Abuse (DASA) in Primary and Secondary Schools in Uganda: Baseline Survey Implications for National Sensitisation, Curriculum Development and Capacity Building among Teachers” led by Dr. Leonsio Matagi and
- “Children’s Tales: the reality of Covid-19 related trauma on school children in rural Busoga, Uganda” by Mr. Richard Balikoowa.
Other projects showcased at the Open Day included;
- “Transforming Ugandan Folktales in Digital (Animation) Films for Educational and Leisure Purposes” led by Prof. Dominica Dipio,
- “Many peoples, many cultures, many heritages: Going Beyond nature-based tourism in Uganda” by Dr. William Wagaba,
- “Mainstreaming Kiswahili in Uganda’s National Agenda for Regional Integration and Sustainable Development” by Dr. Caroline Asiimwe,
- “Corpus Development of the “SO” Language”, led by Dr. Celestino Oriikiriza,
- “Communicating COVID-19-related messages in multilingual contexts” by Dr. Allen Asiimwe,
- “National Symbols and Values: Implications for Patriotism and National Development” by Dr. Paddy Musana, “Building peaceful communities in Kampala City amidst COVID-19 and beyond” led by Dr. Samson Barigye,
- “Use of episodic dramatics in promoting the uptake of behavioural measures for prevention of COVID-19” led by Dr. Michael Muhumuza, and
- “Leveraging Civic Technology To Address COVID-19 in Uganda” by Dr Firminus Mugumya Kabuzaranwa.
This was also an opportunity for the College also showcased programmes under the Confucius Institute, the Centre for Language and Communication Services and the Julius Nyerere Leadership Centre.
Touring the exhibition stalls, the Chairperson of Mak-RIF, Prof. William Bazeyo, in company of the First Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Academic Affairs, Dr. Umar Kakumba; the Principal of CHUSS, Dr. Josephine Ahikire; the Ag. Deputy Principal, Dr. Julius Kikooma; the Deans of CHUSS and officials from Mak-RIF, applauded the researchers and innovators for the achievements registered and pledged more support for the projects. Commenting on the capacity of the projects to transform the country, Prof. Bazeyo noted that because of the able leadership, research and innovations were taking shape at Makerere University. He shared that Makerere University has continued to open eyes of many Universities in Africa noting that Makerere was the first institution of learning to respond to the fight against the further spread of COVID-19 in the country and globe at large. “This is one of the reasons why the President of the Republic of Uganda has continued to support research and innovations at Makerere University and we are nearly taking all resources because we have continued to nurture and grow research and innovations’’ Prof. Bazeyo said. He urged researchers and innovators never to stop engaging in research and innovation as some of the research results are now being used to inform processes at the African Union; specifically citing the Mathematical Modeling Research. Prof. Bazeyo advised the researchers to apply for more funding under Mak-RIF Round 3 (whose deadline was May 2nd , 2021) to further enrich their research and promote uptake. Besides the support from Mak-RIF, Prof. Bazeyo briefed the researchers on other funding opportunities, including those under the World and National Research and Innovations Fund.
Specifically impressed by Dr. Michael Muhumuza’s research on the “Use of episodic dramatics in promoting uptake of behavioural measures for prevention of COVID-19”, Prof. Bazeyo reechoed the significance of the performing arts in fighting pandemics. “When HIV/AIDS broke out in the early 1980s, the performing arts largely contributed to creation of awareness about the pandemic and the measures for controlling it,” he noted. Disturbed by the high level of resistance to the COVID-19 vaccine, Prof. Bazeyo noted that the government could take the same model (use of music and drama) to promote uptake of the vaccine. He expressed gratitude to the Government of the Republic of Uganda for the unwavering funding and support towards research and innovations. He appealed to academics to continue engaging in research that contributes to development, noting that the humanities and social sciences have great capacity to transform the country.
Prof. Bazeyo appreciated Makerere University Management led by Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe for the visionary leadership that is greatly contributing to the transformation of the country through high-impact research and innovations. He also appreciated officials at the Mak-RIF Grants Management Committee and Secretariat for their efforts in ensuring the Fund achieves its objectives.
In his remarks delivered by the First Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge Academic Affairs, Dr Umar Kakumba, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe appreciated CHUSS for its contribution towards Makerere University’s research agenda. Through the Mak-RIF and other donors, Makerere University researchers and innovators have enormously engaged with key stakeholders within and outside the University to carry out transformative research and also innovate. We should continue working towards strengthening Uganda’s research capacity and output, so as to increase the country’s contribution to the world of knowledge and innovations,” he noted. Prof. Nawangwe appreciated the Government of the Republic of Uganda as well as local and international development partners for the great contribution towards learning and research activities at Makerere University.
Commenting on the large volumes of research generated at Makerere, Dr. Kakumba reminded researchers of the need to patent their work. He urged researchers and innovators to actively engage and use the new Intellectual Property office which the university has already put in place. “We need to promote commercialization of our innovations’’ Dr. Kakumba reechoed. “Let us together extensively disseminate and use all research findings to transform livelihoods, learning and teaching’’ Prof. Kakumba said. He also thanked Prof. Bazeyo for all his resource mobilization skills and efforts noting that the focus on research for Makerere University was/is key. He noted that Prof. Bazeyo had extensively built a network, among others attracted over 500 billion Uganda shillings under the National Research and Innovation Fund and now over 60 billion Uganda shillings under Mak-RIF.
In her remarks, the Principal of CHUSS, Dr. Josephine Ahikire appreciated Mak-RIF Secretariat for according the College an opportunity to showcase its research. She thanked the University Management for the great initiative (Mak-RIF), saying it had created positive energy and greatly improved research and innovations at the University. “There is no University worth its name without vibrant research. I thank the Government of the Republic of Uganda and other development partners for funding/supporting research at Makerere,” she said. She noted that empathy is key in humanities research and Makerere University was leading as a voice for transformation. “At this College, we are committed to utilizing research and innovation to inform development as we create knowledge for development’’ she added. The College is also engaged in framing solutions to inform economic integration.
The Open Day featured performances by staff and students from the Department of Performing Arts and Film. It was coordinated by officials from the Mak-RIF Secretariat and the CHUSS Communication Office with support from the Office of the Principal, CHUSS.
Mak-RIF/CHUSS Open Day in the Media
- Salt TV – https://youtu.be/LXmlEeU_5Ls
- MailChimps – https://chimpreports.com/muk-scholars-tipped-on-harnessing-research-to-boost-covid-19-response/
More pictures are shared on https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1uTjnJSiSMpDgDXJpVLOIMZKmmHy5wzW0