On Tuesday January 30th 2018, Makerere University in partnership with the French Embassy to Uganda launched the Campus France Day at Makerere University’s Freedom Square amidst so much excitement towards coining yet another prospective engagement for the benefit of communities in which we live and serve. The aim of this event was to further put efforts together to promote research and innovations among other key activities of Makerere University and the French Embassy in Uganda. Uganda’s Minister for General Duties. Hon. Mary Karooro Okurut graced the occasion as Chief Guest representing Uganda’s First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports Hon. Janet Kataha Museveni. Hon Karooro Okurut as she read the speech from Hon. Kataha Museveni noted that the Campus France initiative was a good opportunity to further cement the relationship between France and Uganda. Hon Kataha through a message delivered by Hon. Karooro also hoped that the Campus France partnership would further contribute to promoting research in Makerere University but also enabling students to access scholarships to further their studies let alone being able to easily and quickly access Visas and support letters to France among others. ‘It is such initiatives which uplift institutions, encourage and support students cross learning programs, can help students and other visitors from either France or Uganda be in position to secure suitable accommodation while in the country but also bridge colonial divisions’ Hon. Karooro shared. She added that Makerere University as the lead University in Uganda and one of the top Universities in Africa and the globe, was the best location for Campus France. Se wished all a prosperous new year 2018! The French Ambassador to Uganda, Her Excellency Madam Stephanie Rivoal, the Chairperson of Makerere University Council, Dr. Charles Wana Etyem; the Director of Campus France, Béatrice Khaiat and the Cooperation Attaché for university cooperation, Clotilde Bruter among other dignitaries also joined in this engagement . Additionally, this event was also attended by other dignitaries from French Companies, Makerere University staff, students and the community at large.
Campus France Launch Day activities kicked off with a press conference in Makerere University’s Main Building Senior Common Room followed by the opening of the French corner in the Main Library. To get all involved in the day’s activities, event organizers planned and executed a raffle draw for student scholarships a midst a French Expo (Exhibition) in which French enterprises and several multidisciplinary Ugandan innovations were exhibited. Flanking the ResilientAfrica Network (RAN) exhibition stall were 9 potentially innovative solutions from Makerere University School of Public Health- RAN who were privileged to join in the Innovation Exhibition. These included; Pedal Tap innovation- a retrofit able water dispensing system to aid saving water and also control infectious diseases, Grand Nutrition Innovation, Wekebere Hand held fetal movement detection innovation, Smilex Herbal for enhanced oral health, Akello Banker, Fruiti Cycle, Water Purification System, Kaza-Solar Dryer and EpiTent for improved service delivery in hard to reach communities and habitable solutions provision. This event provided a rich networking, knowledge generation and sharing opportunity for both the Ugandan students, faculty and the community at large including several French operating companies in the country.
Insight into two of the RAN Innovations which joined at the Exhibition
The Grand Nutrition innovation is targeting to prevent and treat malnutrition among mothers and children in the “critical window of opportunity’. This team impressed the French Ambassador to Uganda as she commented ‘Finally, women innovators are here”. The fact that she found women innovating to help fellow women made her share opportunities to partner with French initiatives that are working in the same field and to critically think about hygiene and use of safe water in communities.
Akellobanker innovation facilitates access to critical services and products (Tractor hire, solar dryers, improved seed, and capital) on credit. “Thousands of pro-poor innovations are being rolled out, however the ability of the target communities to uptake them are limited by the associated acquisition cost for the farmers and traders”. Akellobanker Innovation enables these classes of people to acquire such services on credit. Increasing secure access to these services on credit enables farmers and traders to generate sustainable incomes through improving the production and productivity of their farm and nonfarm enterprises, save to respond to future shocks and build sustainable livelihoods. This will enable communities to improve the quality of lives and an opportunity to escape the cycle of poverty.
The RAN innovators had this to share, ‘it was an exciting opportunity for all of us to showcase our innovative solutions directed towards addressing diverse community challenges’. Harriet Adong, RAN Communications Manager who joined the innovators together with Dr. Julius Ssentongo had this to say, ‘It was exciting to witness these Innovators Effectively communicating and engaging guests within but more than 2 minutes long high level pitches about their innovative solutions. The RAN incubation program has indeed had great impact on our dear innovators’. While an exhibition is meant for awareness creation, some innovators benefited from opened opportunities to further collaborate with both local and French networks interested in similar innovations to scale up their innovations. Through the French Development Agency, innovators were invited to explore collaborations, partnerships and education opportunities with French networks to foster agricultural innovations. Uganda being an agricultural economy, such opportunities will directly contribute towards national development. It was a day to remember and a great milestone for the innovators!
Details about this event are also shared on https://news.mak.ac.ug/2018/02/first-ever-campus-france-antenna-opens-uganda.
Details about innovations under incubation at the RAN Innovation lab are shared on https://www.ranlab.org/ran-iec-materials and in particular https://www.ranlab.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Innovations-currently-under-incubation_June-2017.pdf.
Story initiated by; Florence Tushemerirwe, Lead Innovator on the Grand Nutrition Project
More photos are shared on: https://www.facebook.com/pg/ResilientAfricaNetwork/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1970361532991871