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News & Updates


Expert reinforces benefits of partnerships at APC lecture

By Kefa Senoga
Partnerships. Synergies. Everyone who attended the most recent Africa Policy Center’s (APC) public lecture likely left thinking about these two key words. The lecture, held in the International Christian Medical Institute (ICMI) hall of the Uganda Christian University (UCU) main campus (Mukono), featured Dr. Anthony Mveyanga, development economist and policy advisor.

(Dr. Mveyange also is featured in a June 2022 UCU podcast.)

Making a case for partnerships, Mveyange said they help to maximize impact to influence future policy changes.  Like marriage, partnerships should be based on mutuality and coherence of interest, Mveyange, a renowned African scholar, argued during his presentation before senior UCU academic and administrative staff.

From (right to left) Prof. Elizabeth Balyejusa Kizito, Dr. Anthony Mveyange, Prof Aaron Mushengyezi, Dr. Emilly Maractho and the executive assistant at PASGR at UCU main campus.
From (right to left) Prof. Elizabeth Balyejusa Kizito, Dr. Anthony Mveyange, Prof Aaron Mushengyezi, Dr. Emilly Maractho and the executive assistant at PASGR at UCU main campus.

Mveyange called for “multi-disciplinary and interdisciplinary research synergy,” arguing that it will be difficult to get funding for a research project that has no evidence of collaboration “because of the perception that we cannot address public policy from one angle.”

To drive his point home, Mveyange offered lessons from the experience of collaborations that his employer has been engaged in in the recent past. 

Mveyange, who has key competencies in strategic leadership, partnerships and collaborations, is the Executive Director of the Partnership for African Social and Governance Research (PASGR), an independent, nonpartisan pan-African non-profit organization in Nairobi, Kenya. that works to enhance research excellence in governance and public policy. 

“As PASGR, we are partners with different universities across the continent and this is because we realized that for us to achieve our mission and vision, we cannot deliver on our own,” Mveyange said during his presentation that he made in mid-June.

Director of the African Policy Center, Dr. Emilly Comfort Maractho, talks to Dr. Anthony Mveyange about the relevance of research.

He cited two significant African initiatives – the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and COVAX – which require different countries to work together and share data. 

Despite Mveyange’s postulation, he is fully aware that there are some researchers who undermine others, and would, therefore, not embrace partnerships. He says such behaviour is toxic, and cannot offer a favourable environment for partnerships to blossom.

Members of the academia at UCU attending the public lecture by Dr. Anthony Mveyange.
Members of the academia at UCU attending the public lecture by Dr. Anthony Mveyange.

At the public lecture, Mveyange also challenged the audience to ensure that their research influences public policy and aims at solving challenges within the communities where it is being conducted. 

“If you are doing research by creating knowledge, there are other issues beyond generating that knowledge,” he stated. “How do you translate that research and knowledge into meaningful tangible outputs that can actually speak to the challenges that the people of the continent are facing?”

Director of the African Policy Center, Dr. Emilly Comfort Maractho, elaborated on the question, noting, “We recognize that a lot of research happens within the university, but little gets translated into policy or is known by the people outside of the academia…the APC seeks to bridge that gap between research and policy.” 

She also explained that partnerships evolve by engaging stakeholders. 

Maractho commended PASGR for their work in capacity building, noting that she is one of the people who have benefited from the organisation, ever since she joined in 2012 as a researcher trainee in the professional development unit.

Assoc. Prof. Elizabeth Balyejusa Kizito, the Director of Research, Partnerships and Innovation at UCU, thanked the team from PASGR for visiting the university and sharing their insights on the value of partnerships. 

“As a university, we are excited about this opportunity because we know that partnerships are key,” Kizito said, re-echoing a saying: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” 

The APC was officially launched by UCU in 2016 as a think tank that creates a platform for developing indigenous capacity for ideas generation and policy formulation, analysis and research agenda setting from an African Christian perspective. 

Speaking to Uganda Partners upon assuming office as Director of APC in 2021, Maractho said she hopes to see the center grow into one where public policy actors “will look to for alternative policy positions.” 

To support Uganda Christian University programs, students, activities and services, go to www.ugandapartners.org and click on the “donate” button, or contact UCU Partners Executive Director, Mark Bartels, at m.t.bartels@ugandapartners.org.

The APC Guest Lecture on June 14, 2022

Uganda Christian University,
P.O. Box 4,
Mukono – Uganda.
June 6, 2022.

Management, staff and graduate students.
Warm greetings from the Africa Policy Centre.
The Africa Policy Centre (APC), Uganda Christian University (UCU) invites you to an APC Guest
Lecture that will be held under the theme, ‘New directions in partnerships for public policy in
Africa’, on June 14, 2022. The APC is a Think Tank at UCU which aims at advancing research
and evidenced based policies in Africa.
The APC Guest Lecture will be hosted in a hybrid format at UCU main campus, Mukono. The
venue is ICMI building and the target audience for the Guest Lecture are UCU management,
staff, and graduate students. This is a UCU community event. We warmly welcome you.
We look forward to your active participation in the event.
Thank you and God bless you.
Emilly Comfort Maractho, Ph.D.
Director, APC – UCU.

Dr. Emilly Maractho publishes and launches health research report

By Jimmy SiyasaClick to download Research Report

The Uganda Christian University (UCU), David Mugawe has launched a health research report by Dr. Emilly Maractho, the Director of Africa Policy Centre. The report, which was launched on February 232022, is the result of a collaborative health research between UCU and US-based Lehigh University. Dr. Maractho is one of five scholars, four from Lehigh, who prepared the report. They include: Judith Lasker, Sirry Alang and Kelly Austin.

At the launch, Mugawe, noted that the study, entitled “Enhancing the value of Short term volunteer missions in health from host country perspectives: The Case of Uganda,” is timely and brings relevant empirical data that is of utility to national stakeholders in the health sector. “This report, as a case study of Uganda, is going to be a point of reference and source of empirical data that will inform and influence policymakers and other relevant stakeholders that are looking for such data to advocate for change, investment, etc.”

David Mugawe receives a copy of Dr. Emilly’s research. Photo: Andrew Bugemebe.

Mugawe also welcomed more like research partnerships with other universities, acclaiming Lehigh’s collaboration with UCU. He further emphasized UCU’s robust commitment to the research agenda, encouraging other UCU scholars to publish their works, while counting on full university support. “This is exciting, for us to see products that are homegrown, and we are glad for the partnership [with Lehigh university],” Mugawe said.

“Within top management, we do have research as a key agenda and this has been seen in our [significant] budgeting for 2022. As a University, we’ve supported research initiatives by some of our professors, who [early this year] formed teams and competed for a grant that the University did award.”

During her presentation to both an online and physical audience that had gathered at the UCU Principals’ Hall, Dr. Maractho noted that her research study, which kicked off in 2018, was inspired by the overall health needs of Uganda, which relate to Short Term Medical Missions (STMMs).

Within the context of the research study, STMMs refer to the various medical teams that come to an area to offer medical assistance within the host communities for a given period of time, then later return to their countries of origin.

According to the study, by 2018, Uganda was having a rapid population growth, especially within the rural areas, a trend which made them more susceptible to STMMs, and therefore, there was an overwhelming need to assess, “ the perspectives of host communities on STMMs, their practice from host country perspectives, the extent to which sending organization aligns with host communities in order to understand their need and, final, the regulatory and policy environment within which they operate in host communities,” Dr. Maractho said.

She also noted that by 2018, STMMs involved about 1.6 million volunteers and were estimated at US$ 2-3 billion annually. The majority of the STMMs came from the USA (46%), followed by Europe (36%), then Asia (13%), among other origins.

Data for the study was collected from 10 districts which included: Gulu, Nebbi, Arua, Lira, Mbale, Kasese, Mbarara, Bududa, Kampala and Mukono

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