The Government of Uganda through the Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) has pledged to support the good work being done under Higher Education Resource Services, East Africa (HERS-EA), aimed at promoting the advancement of women in leadership and management in Higher Education through training. Speaking at the closing ceremony of the Second Academy on Friday, 6th July 2018 at Grand Global Hotel, the State Minister for Higher Education-Hon. Dr. John Chrysostom Muyingo reassured the audience that HERS-EA’s efforts had not gone unnoticed and the Government would arrange to meet the leadership and deliberate on the terms of support.
“In the Ministry of Education and Sports, we have a culture of sharing, and so when I told the Minister of Education and Sports and First Lady that I was coming to preside over this closing ceremony, she was not only excited to learn about what you have been doing here but also sent her warm greetings to each and every one of you” remarked Hon. Dr. Muyingo.
Earlier, the HERS-EA Coordinator, Ms. Naomi Lumutenga had shared that HERS-EA is solely run by support from volunteers and its concept of empowering women leaders and managers in Higher Eduction has now been embraced by all East African Community Member countries. “We are now at a point where we need government buy-in, in the same way that the government of the Republic of South Africa bought into HERS-South Africa. We have support from IUCEA and we would prefer to take HERS-EA forward as a regional organisation that is aligned to the EA regional agenda” she added in address to the State Minister.
“I wish to reassure you that before your request came, the conversation had already started in the Ministry of Education and Sports” said Hon. Dr. Muyingo. “I therefore urge you to get in touch with my office so that we can discuss this matter further” he added.
The State Minister thanked the facilitators for demonstrating their love for Uganda by volunteering their time and resources to impart knowledge to their fellow ladies. He also thanked participants for dedicating time to the course and prayed that they would put all that they had learnt into practice.
“Our problem in society is the shortage of people who are equipped with good leadership and management skills. The skills that you have gained during the course of this workshop will help provide solutions to some of our problems. We need more women in leadership than in any other sector. I therefore urge you to go out and share the skills you have acquired freely” encouraged Hon. Dr. Muyingo.
He further urged his audience to read Robin Sharma’s book The Leader Who Had No Title, the take home being that leadership is not about titles or the salary at the end of the month but rather how brilliantly we work, how expertly we go about our behaviour and how unshakable our faith is in the visions of our respective institutions.
“Uganda’s national Agenda – Vision 2040 and Second National Development Plan are rooted in the Global Agenda that emphasises gender mainstreaming, if the country is to develop. Universities admissions continue to provide special dispensation to female candidates but we all recognise that there is more work to be done, to improve the experiences of female students at university campuses.
“I wish to reassure you that the additional 1.5 points affirmative action for the girl child will remain and as Government, we appreciate what you are doing here to empower women professionals and we shall support you” concluded Hon. Dr. Muyingo.
Representing the Vice Chancellor-Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe, the Acting Director, Gender Mainstreaming Directorate (GMD)-Dr. Euzobia Mugisha Baine thanked the honourable State Minister for sparing time to attend the closing ceremony; an act that demonstrated the Government’s appreciation of the role women play in leadership and management.
A 2009 alumna of HERS-South Africa, Dr. Mugisha Baine shared that as attendees then, they were encouraged to look at themselves as brands, because “you must stand for something or you will fall for anything.” She also encouraged participants to look at all their placements in life as a privilege so as to be able to consciously and meaningfully make a difference every day.
“Where I am is a mission and a conviction. I am either functioning or I am not. Therefore as a Directorate, our daily quest is to see how we can make Makerere University more inclusive for both women and men. We also emphasise gender-focussed research. We must look at what this research is for and whose it is.
“I warmly congratulate everyone who has been involved in this event and I hope that you will continue to build your team and to work together, for the betterment of your institutions, countries and our continent of Africa. I wish each one of you the best of luck in your future endeavours.” concluded Dr. Mugisha Baine.
Speaking on behalf of her fellow participants, Dr. Jane Akinyi Aduda from the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), Kenya could not hide her admiration and respect for the HERS-EA leadership and workshop facilitators.
“When we came here on the first day, we were like chicken, comfortable in our spaces; happy to move along the ground and fly short distances, only to realise that we were expected to soar like eagles” she remarked, before adding “And all week we’ve been wondering what these women eat! Every speaker and facilitator has been so full of wisdom and their sharing has been enlightening. We are definitely coming for tips on your diet as well” to which her audience responded with thundering applause and laughter.
“I can’t stop asking what we did to deserve this but all I want to say is thank you to HERS-EA, the partners, funders, facilitators and my fellow participants. It has been phenomenal!” she concluded.
Sharing some parting words of wisdom with the participants, Ms. Lumutenga said, “Congratulations and welcome to the HERS Community where ‘Empowered Women Empower Women’!”
Quoting the Biblical Parable of the Talent, Ms. Lumutenga went on to say “You all have your God-given talents which, for personal or institutional reasons may have been lying low or completely undiscovered. We hope that we have helped you to figure out how to dig into yourself, discover that/those talents. When you do; develop and use them so that they can multiply!
“So step out boldly and pull others; you might get some bruises along the way but, keep going, the scratches will heal!” encouraged Ms. Lumutenga.
The ladies were then awarded certificates of completion by the Chief Guest, who later joined HERS-EA leadership, facilitators and participants in a cake cutting ceremony to mark the successful conclusion of the Second Academy.
Article by Makerere University Public Relations Office