Makerere University on 29th August 2019 launched the Environment for Development Initiative (EfD-Mak) Centre, the first of its kind in the country. The ceremony held at the Senior Common Room was presided over by the Vice Chancellor as Chief Guest represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor in charge of Academic Affairs (DVC (AA) Dr. Umar Kakumba.
The function attracted representatives from the Swedish Embassy, EfD Kenya, Uganda Government Ministries and agencies, development partners, civil society organization and the Private sector. Members of university top management including the Director, Directorate of Research and Graduate Training Prof. Mukadasi Buyinza also graced the occasion.
The EfD-Mak is a new Center at Makerere University established in Hanoi, Vietnam in 2018. The center is managed by two colleges CAES and CoBAMS headed by Assoc. Prof. Edward Bbaale as Director , deputized by Prof. Johnny Mugisha.
The centre started its full operations in the financial year 2019/2020 with support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).
The University now joins a global network of environmental economics research centers to contribute to effective management of the environment in the global South through applied research, institutional development, academic training and policy interaction.
While launching the centre, Dr. Kakumba congratulated Dr. Bbaale and Prof. Johnny Mugisha and the rest of the team for the wonderful initiative and bringing the EfD centre to the Makerere University.
Aware that there are 15 EfD centres across the world supported by the Swedish government,
Dr. Kakumba lauded the generous support provided by Sida and sister agencies to universities in trying to propel and addressing environmental concerns through research and capacity building.
“We must be very active and tackle environmental issues with appropriate sobriety. We must create mechanisms of living sustainably and as a country; there is a great role to be played by the university as centre of research and innovations.
“EfD-Mak centre is a great initiative and it falls within the strategic vision and mission of Makerere University. Makerere University in its strategic mission wants to earmark providing innovative teaching, learning and research that are responsive to our national and global needs.” The DVCAA said.
He said, the ranking of Makerere University speaks volumes and the relevance of the EfD centre blends very well with the mission and vision of the university. Through the EfD-Mak centre the DVC (AA) was optimistic that it will open more frontiers for strategic partnerships towards enhancing the visibility and internationalization of the university which is a key pillar in Makerere University’s agenda.
“In our forthcoming strategic plan 2020-2030 which we shall be launching soon, it tries to mirror and affirm to the national development agenda. Makerere and Uganda are part of the global economy and therefore, this centre gives us the opportunities to getting well-coordinated with international players capable of addressing issues affecting our economy and the region”, Dr. Kakumba stated.
In his key message, the Vice Chancellor appreciated the partners and sponsors for the support and gave credence towards the initiative to bring Makerere to the wider global community.
Dr. Kakumba implored the centre leaders to propel it to a “Centre of Excellence”, build capacity in environmental economics, and inform government on the sense of direction based on evidence and to connect students beyond the gates of Makerere.
“We expect the centre to establish and nurture multidisciplinary networks in priority areas such as fisheries, Parks and Tourism and sustainable agriculture to earn support from government. We should see you mentoring, conducting research and providing policy briefs because government is not interested in bulky dissertations but coming up with critical interventions that can address critical community issues. Government want quick yielding and transformative initiatives to improve household incomes to improve their welfare”, Dr. Kakumba advised.
Dr. Kakumba assured the partners of the guaranteed support of management to the EfD centre to effectively contribute to the country and global community.
Kakumba appreciated support extended to the university from government and her agencies as well Sida for the last 15-20 years especially in building the capacity of staff now standing at 65% holding PhDs.