- September 12, 2022
- Posted by: Mariam Kasemiire
- Category: Uncategorized
Creating equal opportunities for men and women as well as boys and girls has long been an important priority for Norwegian development assistance. The 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) constitute the guiding frame for Norwegian development support. As such, the Norwegian Programme for Capacity Building in Higher Education and Research for Development (NORHED) has special focus on SDG 4 (Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all), SDG 5 (Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls), and SDG 17 (Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize Global Partnerships for sustainable development). The Norwegian development policy mandates all Norwegian-supported institutions to integrate gender and equality as cross cutting issues in NORHED-funded Programmes.
Workshop on mainstreaming gender in NORHED II projects
On 30th August 2022, beneficiaries of the NORHED II projects in Eastern Africa convened at Laico Lake Victoria Hotel, Entebbe to discuss and brainstorm on ways of mainstreaming gender in NORHED II Projects. Held under the theme: “Gender Mainstreaming: Beyond Binaries”, the three-day workshop was attended by participants from Makerere University; Makerere University Business School (MUBS); Uganda Matyrs University; Technical University of Kenya (Nairobi); University of Juba (South Sudan); University of Dar es Salaam (Tanzania); University of Rwanda; Haramaya University, Dilla University, Hawassa University, and Bahir Dar University (Ethiopia); and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). The workshop was organized by Makerere University and NTNU in collaboration with partner institutions. It was coordinated by Prof. Frank Mugagga, Head, Department of Geography, Geo-informatics and Climatic Sciences at the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES), Makerere University, also coordinator, Capacity Building for Socially Just and Sustainable Energy Transitions (SET) project, as well as Charlotte Anne Nakakaawa-Jjunju from NTNU. The opening ceremony was presided over by Ms. Mary Mabweijano, Senior Programme Officer at the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Kampala. It was graced by the Director, Research and Graduate Training at Makerere University, represented by the Deputy Director, Prof. Robert Wamala, and Ms. Ingvild Heggstad from NTNU International Office, also Senior Adviser and coordinator for NORHED II.
Remarks by the Senior Programme Officer, Royal Norwegian Embassy, Kampala
Highlighting the importance of mainstreaming gender in NORHED projects as part of the Norwegian Development Policy, Ms Mary Mabweijano-Senior Programme Officer at the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Kampala re-emphasized the need to incorporate gender perspectives in curriculum, teaching, research, and governance. She called for increased participation of female students at post graduate level ‘where gender imbalance is most significant’. “Special measures have been integrated to facilitate female participation in study programmes and research through scholarships, publication grants, mentorship programmes and leadership training. The expectation is that good results will be achieved by the end of the project cycles not only in research but also in areas of career advancement to senior leadership positions,” she explained, calling on the project beneficiaries to be ambassadors of gender mainstreaming.
Mainstreaming Gender in Higher Education and Research – Progress thus far
During the workshop, officials from Makerere University, Bahir DAR University (Ethiopia) and the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania briefed participants on progress made in mainstreaming gender in higher education and research at their respective institutions.
Presenting the policy framework for mainstreaming gender at Makerere University, Dr Euzobia Baine Mugisha, Director, Gender Mainstreaming acknowledged the support of the Norwegian Government towards the establishment of the Department of Women and Gender Studies and the Gender Mainstreaming Directorate (GMD) at Makerere. The mandate of the GMD is to mainstream gender in the University functions of teaching and learning; research and innovations; knowledge transfer partnerships and networking and support services. In her presentation, Dr Euzobia noted that although significant progress had been made, and several policies put in place to mainstream gender in all programmes, there was still significant imbalance with fewer women progressing to higher academic ranks and taking on leadership positions. Out of 98 professors at Makerere University, only 16 are women. At Managerial level, there are only 6 women in the University Council out of 18 members, 13 in the University Senate out of 76 and only 5 out of 17 members in Central Management. “Research is also still gender blind. As a University, we must be intentional about improving staff and students’ welfare and incorporating gender in all activities. Placing gender officers at each of the Colleges would enhance processes of mainstreaming gender in university programmes,” she noted, calling for a harmonized legal and policy framework to support gender mainstreaming activities at all levels. She also called for capacity building for all staff to fully appreciate and adopt the gender mainstreaming approach to teaching and learning as well as research and innovations.
Highlighting the progress in gender mainstreaming in Ethiopia, Dr. Meskerem Lechissa, Assistant Professor, Curriculum and Instruction at Bahir Dar University noted that although notable achievements had been registered in leadership with about 40% female ministers, Ethiopia still ranks among the bottom 35 countries in index for offering equal access to education to both boys and girls. “44% women are illiterate, compared to 59% men and only 26% of secondary school age females are enrolled in school,” she noted, explaining that a number of measures have been put in place to promote gender equality. These include affirmative action – lowering entry points for girls and putting in place a research budget for women and girls, expansion of universities to underserved Regions, National Code of Conduct for eliminating sexual harassment (Zero tolerance), establishment of Gender Offices in all higher education institutions, gender audit of infrastructures (gender sensitivity and security), economic support for disadvantaged girls, and contractual agreements signed by academic staff to employ gender responsive pedagogy.
Brainstorming on strategies for mainstreaming gender in NORHED II Projects
In the course of the workshop, participants discussed and shared strategies and activities for ensuring that gender issues are incorporated in the NORHED II Project activities. The NORHED II supported projects include EnergyNET led by Dr Karidewa Nyeinga from the College of Natural Sciences, Makerere University; Water Essence Africa led by Dr Ronald Semyalo (CoNAS, Mak); SET; Energy Economics and Governance; MERIT, JUST Transitions and CSA led by Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga from the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Makerere University; Adaptive Environmental Monitoring Networks for East Africa (AdeMNEA) led by Dr Agnes Rwashana Semwanga from Makerere University; Co-creating Knowledge for Local Adaptation to Climate Change in LDCs (COLOCAL); Capacity Building in Renewable Energy Research and Education in Ethiopia (ReREd) led by Dr Habtamu Temesgen Hawassa University; Capacity Building for Research-Based Teacher Education (CABUTE); Transformative Education and Lifelong Learning for Sustainable Growth (TELLS); and Gender and Digitalization (GENDIG) coordinated by the School of Women and Gender Studies Makerere University.
As part of the measures to improve gender mainstreaming in NORHED II projects, participants called for intensified gender trainings for gender focal persons and increased involvement of men in gender issues. They also emphasized the need to be more intentional about gender considerations in all project activities.
Delivering a keynote on gender mainstreaming in education and research, Prof. Gorettie Nabanoga, Principal, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Makerere University, also gender focal person -NORHED II Projects, re-echoed the importance of diversity and Inclusivity in ensuring equity in all aspects of Education.
In the course of the workshop, Dr Julianne Sansa –Otim, coordinator of the AdeMNEA project presented her research on persuasive technologies intended to boost psychological well-being among career women, whereas Dr. Angelina Bazugba from the University of Juba shared views on mainstreaming gender in pedagogy.
On behalf of the Director, Research and Graduate Training, Makerere University, the Deputy Director, Dr Robert Wamala emphasized the importance of mainstreaming gender on all activities at the University. “Gender considerations are crucial as we celebrate 100 years of excellent service and move towards becoming a research-led university. We should therefore dig deep into issues of gender in our pursuit to transform our countries,” he noted.
Details about NORHED II Projects: https://news.mak.ac.ug/2021/09/mak-listed-in-19-of-60-projects-to-be-funded-under-norhed-ii/