On Thursday July 25th 2019, RAN lab had an opportunity to host a convening with representatives from Universities and the local Government from the central region in  Uganda. The main objective of the meeting was to develop a strategy where local governments and other stakeholders would leverage local universities to enhance in-country regional local Government capacity for development programming as well as presenting university perspectives that would feed into development of a research agenda and an engagement strategy across Uganda’s regions. 

The discussion centered on how local universities can strategically position themselves to contribute to the development agenda of their regions.

This similar meeting was held in Mbale on July 18th 2019 and brought together university leaders, local government representatives from the Eastern Region.

These convenings are a culmination of an earlier engagement on April 3, 2019, where RAN, with support from USAID’s Long-Term Assistance and Services for Research (LASER), Partner University-Led Solutions Engine (PULSE) initiative, organized a one-day forum, that brought together a number of local universities from the different regions in Uganda.  

This initiative is tapping into the fact that the USAID/Uganda Mission has established a strategy and platform to engage the districts clustered around the specific regions. This platform aims to leverage technical, community, political experiences for better planning and tackling of regional priorities as a team. District local governments have organized themselves into region Steering Committees, which meet regularly to discuss cross-regional plans, facilitated by USAID Uganda and the local regional universities, to discuss their regional development agendas. USAID has rolled out this strategy in 3 of the 6 regions and these are Northern Uganda, South-western Uganda and Karamoja. The other regions that are yet to be on boarded include Western, Eastern and Central Uganda. 

The regional stakeholder meetings in the Eastern and central region provided a platform to delve deeper  into understanding partnerships and linkages between the regional Universities and relevant stakeholders including local government to advance the development agenda. 

During the meeting a strategy was discussed at length on how to engage researchers across the region to enhance collaboration and knowledge sharing among the Universities, improve public policy, civil society investment decision making across Uganda’s regions. It also provided an opportunity to disseminate and discuss the LASER PULSE research, gender and engagement strategy. Among the recommendations was to develop a regional research database for engaging researchers in development work that can be accessed by development partners, local governments among the many potential beneficiaries of this network