Copyright 2018 - #

Makerere hosts training on Gender-responsive cereal grains breeding

Prof. Bazeyo handing over a certificate to one of the trainees as Dr. Ebong looks on

  • Participants awarded certificates of attendance
  • Three research teams win seed grants 
  • Mak VC calls on researchers to take universities to communities

About 40 reserachers from different countries in Sub Saharan Africa converged at the Metropole Hotel in Kampala Uganda for a two weeks training on Gender-responsive cereal grains breeding.

The training was jointly organized by Makerere University and Cornell University of the United States of America under the project titled, “Gender Responsive Researchers Equipped for Agricultural Transformation (GREAT).

The course attracted participants from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Ghana, Burundi, Niger, Nigeria and Rwanda among others.

The training was officially closed by Makerere University’s Vice Chancellor represented by his Deputy in charge of Finance and Administration (DVC F&A), Prof. William Bazeyo on 19th January, 2018.

Prof. Bazeyo handed over certificates of attendance to the participants. Three teams also won research grants worth $1000 USD each.

The function was also graced by the Executive Secretary ASARECA Dr. Cyprian Ebong and the Principal, Makerere University College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences represented by his Deputy Assoc. Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga.

Assoc. Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga (3rd) giving her remarks

GREAT is  five year  collaboration  between Cornell University  Ithaca, Newyork and  Makerere University  in Kampala Uganda that started in 2016.

It is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation funded through  international programs in the College of  Agriculture and Life Sciences aimed at  equipping agricultural  researchers with skills, tools and theory to address gender issues  in their research.

The project is spear headed by Adjunct Prof. Hale Tufan (UK) as the Principal Investigator and Makerere University’s Assoc. Prof. Margaret Mangheni as  Co-project leader.

Other implementing partners include the School of Women and Gender Studies (SWGS) Makerere University, the African Women in Agricultural Research and Development (AWARD), the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern Africa (ASARECA) which is in charge of strengthening National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS) towards gender-responsive research, and the Agricultural Learning and Impacts Network (ALINe) based in UK which is in charge of Monitoring, Learning and Evaluation of the project

Project leaders Adjuct Pro. Hale Tifan and Assoc. Prof. Margaret Mangheni

Speaking during the closing ceremony, Prof. William Bazeyo thanked all the participants for coming to Uganda and Makerere in particular.

“I am excited that the whole world is here. For you to accept to come to Makerere is something we cannot take for granted” Prof. Bazeyo said

Bazeeyo hailed the project leaders for the partnership saying Makerere’s strength is in partnership because the university cannot do anything without partnership.

The Professor commended ASARECA for improving the wellbeing of Africa and beyond.

He thanked course instructors for sharing the knowledge with the participants noting that Makerere has people who are not selfish in terms of sharing knowledge.

The DVC F&A reminded participants that when Makerere embraced gender mainstreaming, it was heavily criticised but he was happy to note  that every university  was coming up to see what Makerere is doing.

“We have all the materials and tools we can share. The leaders of other organisations like RUFORUM, Parliament and NARO have all embraced gender mainstreaming.

For the first time, today during the graduation there were more females than males as a result of gender mainstreaming that was adopted by Makerere University”, Said Prof. Bazeyo.

Prof. William  Bazeyo (standing) giving his remarks

Bazeyo told participants that in the next strategic plan Makerere University management wants to take the university to the community as a strategic move so that it moves with the community in whatever it does.

“We want to do teaching in communities before we bring it to the policy makers. Let us look at ourselves as part of the community.

Secondly, at what point does our university feed in the community. Should we have students first in the community?

Communities should accept students and we train them from there and stop looking for internship”, He explained.

Prof. Bazeyo observed that things have changed and hence the need to do everything differently to uplift lives of people.

“Whatever you do, bear in mind what is expected to happen. We have a new leadership which believes that we can do everything as long as we work together.

If we can launch as many Centres of Excellencies in our universities, then our people will stop suffering trying to look for jobs. We have lost so many lives but we can prevent this by creating jobs.

Some of the trainees

He advised trainees to remember to work and write proposals in teams if they are to attract funding adding that none of the development partners wants to fund one single institution.

The DVC F&A pledged to continue working with ASARECA and Cornell University to build capacities of young universities that are coming up. He said there is no need for completion but creating services and change in society.

To the trainees, the Deputy Vice Chancellor expressed hope that they had learnt pitching for money. He advised them on the need to go out and take innovations to the communities.

The Executive Secretary ASARECA described the GREAT project as great in the sense that it brings  the whole world and  Africa to respond to gender issues.

He said ASARECA as  an organisation of partners was gaining traction given  the number of participation in the GREATcourse.

“This is one of the efforts ASARECA is doing to enhance partnership. Seven countries in East and South Africa, in addition to 10 countries used to form the partnership. Rwanda, Burundi and Madagascar  have recently  joined including D.R Congo .

This is a big initiative to look at agricultural inclusive growth.” He said.

Dr. Ebong  noted that gender capacity building  is paramount as a platform going to feed into a big  program of Eastern and Southern Africa.

“ I am very happy to see that  in this platform the whole of Africa is represented. This links into the continental agenda on technological transformation of Africa.”

Dr. Cyprian Ebong, Prof. William Bazeyo, Assoc. Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga and Dr. Richard Miiro during the closing ceremony

Dr. Ebong described Makerere University as a cradle of development because a number of products are from there.

“We are very proud and thankful to honour Makerere University as a great higher education institution despite her challenges.

Within ASARECA there is a component of education which we are going to feed in RUFORUM to became Centres of Excellence in Education.

We thank the partners from the rest of Africa and Makerere University for steering  progress. We are with you together”, He remarked.

Some of the course facilitators

Representing the Principal College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), Assoc. Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga  welcomed participants to Makerere University and to the college in particular.

Nabanoga  said the CAES was  appreciative of the importance of gender in all activities and is the only  leading higher education centre in agricultural training.

The Principal congratulated participants upon completing the course describing the trainers as great and trainees as advocates of GREAT training.

“I hope you shared experiences on how to intergrate social cultural aspects in research. You have been trained and already, you are researchers. You have to share with communities as you go back to your respective countries”, Nabanoga said.

She asked trainees to remember that lives are hinged on agriculture and in their capacities to act as key contributors to agriculture and the economy.

The Principal thanked Cornell University for identifying Makerere University as a partner in this particular response .

She appluded ASARECA and NARO for the continuing support with research concepts and ideas. By coming in, she said Makerere University was expanding her research network.

Nabanoga thanked Makerere University for giving the college and the team space to participate deligently.

She also thanked Assoc. Prof. Margret Mangheni for her effort to integrate gender aspects in research training at the University.

Speaking on behalf of the trainees, Anne Gichangi Wanjogu from Kenya, commended the effort of partners and trainers for unpacking gender responsive research.

“ We came as kindergarten but  we are leaving as graduates. We appreciate the GREAT mind trainers, we are really much better than we came from our countries”, Gichangi stated.

A section of the participants

Gichangi also thanked facilitators from different countries for working as one family.

She also expressed appreciation to the management of Metropole Hotel for the warm hospitality.

About GREAT Courses

GREAT courses are held over five years starting in 2016, on a variety of agricultural themes starting with roots, tubers and bananas (2017-2018) and  cereal grains (2017-2018). The upcoming course for (2018-2019) will be on legume breeding.

The GREAT approach is centred on training courses that are tailored to specific disciplines and value chains, offering gender training linked to practice in agricultural research drawn from attendees’ own ongoing projects.

Though these courses, GREAT equips research teams with tools and skills to act, and move beyond gender sensitisation. Researchers attend GREAT courses in project teams from research institutions across Sub Saharan Africa.

GREAT uses three-part blended model, consisting of two trainings held in Kampala Uganda with field work, e-mentoring and e –learning in between.

In week one, GREAT course, participants learn applied gender theory and develop their own mixed methods, research plans at Makerere University.

Some of the participants

This is followed by Field research, a practice of collecting sex disaggregated data from ongoing projects supported by e-learning and e-mentoring.

During week two, participants learn how to analyze and write up data collected from mixed methods research, and GREAT works with participants in strategies for effective communications, institutional transformation and building a community of practice.

At the close of Week 2, participant teams competefor seed grant funding to further data collection and publish case studies.  Fellows from each courseare also selected to receive further training and take on training roles with future GREAT courses.

Report compiled by;

Jane Anyango

Communication Officer, CAES


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