The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Uganda and Makerere University have announced a five-component partnership aimed at promoting research, innovation, resilience, grassroots development and gender mainstreaming.
The agreement was signed at the Senate Building, Makerere University on September 20, 2022. Vice chancellor Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe signed on behalf of the university and UNDP Uganda Resident Representative Elsie Attafuah on behalf of the UN agency.
University Chancellor Prof Ezra Suruma, Prof Ephraim Kamuntu of President’s Office and UNDP Uganda deputy resident Representative Sheila Ngatia were chief witnesses. Officials explained that the components will have their respective structures of implementation.
The components are: Innovation; Implementation of Parish Development Model (Grassroots Development); Resilience; Gender Equality Seal for Public Institutions; and Youth for Business Entrepreneurship.
Attafuah said the investment for the five initiatives for the year 2022 alone is Shs 3.8 billion, with the bulk of it (Shs 3.1bn) going to establishment of a model Innovation hub at Makerere (Shs 1.95bn) and the Policy lab to articulate the national roadmap for implementation of the Parish Development Model (Shs 1.14bn).
“We must disrupt certain things and transform Africa. We need to create a development revolution.... We must be able to cause a revolution and cause structural changes by learning to do things differently,” she urged.
Under initiative one, ‘Fostering Innovation Ecosystems in Uganda’s Public Universities’, the partnership will establish the Makerere University Innovation Pod/Hub to provide university students with Makerspaces, a Design Lab, a Collaborative Working Space and a Technology Transfer Office.
The Innovation Pod/Hub at Makerere will be interdisciplinary, bringing together students, academia and others from all fields of study to work on solving specific challenges.
An official statement said the pod/hub aims to transform African public universities into spaces for experimentation, innovation and accelerated learning instilled with market-ready knowledge systems and technology infrastructure that matches the demands of the current and fast-evolving digital economy.
Under initiative two, ‘Implementation of the Parish Development Model’, the partnership will conduct a rapid Policy Lab to articulate the National Roadmap for the Implementation of Uganda’s Parish Development Model. The Policy lab will assist PDM implementation with sound evidence, analysis and targeting of beneficiaries.
This will involve profiling markets, enterprises and community infrastructure and facilities; stakeholder mapping; data analysis and designing of innovative interventions; stakeholder consultations and participatory programming of intervention; and designing the National Roadmap for Implementation of the PDM, among others.
The third component, ‘Youth4Business Innovation and Entrepreneurship Facility’, the two parties will co-organise a three-day Makerere Youth Innovation Expo as part of Mak@100 celebrations and establish the Innovation Expo as a regular event. The expo will enable youth, both students and alumni, to network and connect with venture capitalists and investors.
The fourth one is ‘Strengthening Emergency Response to Covid-19 in Uganda: Boosting National Resilience to Multi-hazard Induced Disaster Risks and Pandemics’, and will involve launching a Research Agenda and Think Tank on Resilience.
An official statement said under this initiative, the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), the UNDP and Makerere University are implementing the Strengthening Emergency Response and Recovery to Covid-19 Uganda (SERRU) Project, with funding from Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation.
Lastly, the ‘Gender Equality Seal for Public Institutions’ will promote accountability for gender equality at Makerere University through introduction, rollout and implementation of the Gender Equality Seal for Public Institutions into Makerere’s culture, organs, structures, policies and programmes.