The 2nd MMU International Scientific Research Conference kicks off

Shaping the future of Higher Education through Research and Innovations for Community Transformation is the theme for the 2nd International Scientific Conference being held at Mountains of the Moon University (MMU) that started April 8th 2024 running to April 12th 2024. The conference was organized as a twin activity that is witnessing the closure of a long time University partnership dubbed “Closing event of VLIR UOS Institutional University Cooperation (IUC) Partner Programme.”

A closure of VLIR UOS is an opener to new partnerships that will be launched on April 10th 2024 dubbed Structural Institutional Partnership (SIP) UGent and other new projects and facilities (Biotech lab structure, BRIDGE Network). VLIR UOS IUC will climax with recognition and award ceremony.

The 2nd Scientific Research Conference Chief Guest was the Minister of Education and Sports Hon. Janet K. Museveni who was represented by the Commissioner for University Education Timothy Ssejjoba. The keynote address was officiated by Prof. Anthony Egeru. Other Delegates to the conference included: The Hon. Consul of Uganda to Belgium Johan Van Hecke; the Vice Rector (Ghent University) and Vice-President (VLIR UOS Bureau) Prof. Mieke Van Herreweghe; the President of HoGent Prof. Koen Goathals; the Rector of HOWEST who also represented Thomas More Prof. Mieke Demeyere.

H.E. Hugues Chantry, Ambassador of Belgium in Uganda addresses the guests

The Vice Chancellor of MMU Prof. Pius C. Achanga updated the meeting on the events that have taken place at the University as:

  1. The University was running smoothly and Management remained committed to maintaining a strong drive towards academic excellence.
  • He reported that, Professor John M. Kasenene, the Deputy Vice Chancellor Academic Affairs, led a Team of Staff to participate at the 14th Annual Higher Education Exhibition of the National Council for Higher Education, being hosted in Mbale City from 20th – 22nd March 2024. Additionally, Associate Professor Edmond Kagambe, the Deputy Vice Chancellor Finance and Administration, travelled to Belgium to attend the European Education and Culture Executive Agency event, on the Intra-Africa Project Coordinators’ meeting.
  • The Dean of the Faculty of Business and Management Studies, Dr. John Rwakihembo lost a son on 2nd March 2024, having swallowed a coin. The University fraternity supported the family during the difficult time, including attendance at the burial. We lost our third-year Nursing student, Tom Tumwesigye. He perished in a motor accident, along the Kyenjojo-Kampala highway on 5th March 2024, and another student (survived with serious injuries from the same accident. I did visit him in hospital and I have since learnt that he is out of danger. Another Staff, Mr. Matembe Moris, who is Assistant Lecturer in the Faculty of Education, got involved in a serious motor accident on 16th January 2024. He was admitted and operated at Nakasero Hospital and now recovering at home. I also had the opportunity of calling on him to console and assure him of the MMU support. I request us to pray for the souls of the departed, and the quick and full recovery of the injured.
  • The swearing of Oaths of Office and Confidentiality was conducted for 12 newly recruited Staff, on 6th March 2024. 
  • Management invited the four (4) staff elected as representatives on the University Council for this meeting, as evidenced by the swearing of Oaths of office just concluded. They include: –
Prof. Anthony Egeru delivers his keynote address
  1. Dr. Jessica Kabasiita
  2. Mr. Peter Baranga
  3. Dr. Mugenyi Kintu Justice
  4. Mr. Clovis Kabaseke

He looked forward to their respective contributions towards the work of this vibrant and pro-active University Council.

  • On behalf of Management, he extended deep appreciation to who took the time to attend the 15th Graduation Ceremony and the installation of the Chancellor, Professor Edward B. Rugumayo on 23rd February 2024.
  • Following the Procurement and Disposal Audit under the Financial Year (FY) 2022/23, by the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets (PPDA), the University was invited to appear before the said Authority on 21st February 2024, at Mbarara City. The MMU Team led by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor in charge of Finance and Administration attended the exit meeting, which rated the University’s performance as Satisfactory, albeit some areas of improvement.
  • The University did receive the audited reports on the Staff payroll and the financial statement of the FY 2022/23, which offered unqualified Audit Opinion on Vote 313 – MMU. Details of the audit findings will be presented as substantive agenda item, during this meeting.
  1.  Informed the meeting that, the University Secretary and the staff in Finance and Planning, attended the entry meeting for the audit of MMU in the FY 2023/24, on 5th March 2024, at the Office of the Auditor General (OAG). Management will be ready to host the officials of the OAG whenever they turn up for the exercise, sometime this year.
  • The Vice Chancellor, Professor Pius Coxwell Achanga was granted the ‘Vocational Service Award, by theRotary Club of Kabarole,for what the Awarding body referred to as, ‘his outstanding service and contribution to the community through his work at MMU’. Management believes such recognitions is useful for the elevation of the MMU brand and profile.
  • Management organized a preliminary Alumni General Meeting on 16th March 2024, at MMU Lake Saaka Campus. As Management, we believe the meeting was vital to coordinate and engage our alumni in meaningful discussions, share updates, and contribute to the continued growth and success of our alma mater. A detailed report on this matter is contained in the submission of the Committee of Students Welfare, Discipline, Gender, to Council.
  • To brought to the attention of the meeting that, the Human Resource Manual of MMU, Section 13, 13.7, on Authorization to Travel abroad, guides that, the Vice–Chancellor shall obtain permission to travel from the Chairperson of the University Council. The Vice-Chancellor shall authorize official and specific travel of the Deputy Vice-Chancellors, members of Top University Management, Deans, and Directors. The Deputy Vice-Chancellor in charge of Finance and Administration shall authorize official and specific travel of other employees through their relevant supervisors and the Directorate of Human Resources. Management has benchmarked on the matter and found out that whereas there is travel ban on public servants when using the funds from the Vote, travel abroad on funds not from the Vote is being handled as follows; Mbarara University of Science and Technology and Makerere University, do follow the criteria cited in the Human Resource Manual of MMU, when travelling using non Vote funds. Conversely, the Vice-Chancellor of MMU has been writing to the Minister of Education and Sports and sometimes the Permanent Secretary to seek authorization for himself and other staff of the University to travel abroad. To note that consultations with the officials from the Ministry of Education and Sports, do not yield evidence of available guidelines on the procedure on the matter. To streamline the process, Management hereby requests Council to resolve the matter, so the Staff can adhere to the procedures for travel abroad as stipulated in our Human Resource Manual.
Beneficiaries of the Mountains of the Moon University – VLIR UOS IUC Partner Programme together with dignitaries in group photo to commemorating the success of the programme

Prof. Achanga noted that “As we gather here today, I am reminded of the significant responsibility entrusted to us as Council and Management, to steward the future of our Institution, uphold its values, and ensure its continued excellence in teaching, research, and outreach. As always, I hope the decisions we make and the discussions we engage in, during meetings, will profoundly shape the trajectory of our University and impact the lives of countless individuals within and beyond our community.”

He also discussed the strategic direction the University was taking. In his closing remarks, he expressed gratitude to everyone for their service, leadership, and unwavering support to MMU.

MMU Chancellor, Prof. Edward B. Rugumayo explained that Research lies at the heart of the University’s Mission, driving the pursuit of excellence and commitment to pushing the boundaries of knowledge. “Today, as we come together to show the fruits of our collective labour, we are reminded of the transformative power of research to shape our understanding of the world and address the complex challenges facing society.” He said

He extended his heartfelt appreciation to all researchers, scholars and students whose tireless efforts had made the conference possible. “Your passion, creativity and commitment to excellence are truly commendable and I am confident that your work will continue to inspire, inform, and influence future generations of scholars and practitioners.”  He noted.

Delegates at the conference

The MMU Chairperson University Council Dr. Eng. Ben Manyindo called for more funding to the University to support Research Activities of MMU, Publications, Innovations, Staff Training and Supervision. 

The 4-day activity is also witnessing exhibition activity both internal and external exhibitors in the following categories: Agricultural Technology and Innovation; Agri-Food Processing and Value Added products, Crop and Live Stock Management, Sustainable Farming Practices, Agricultural Research and Development; Science and Technology; Agribusiness, Financial and Insurance Services; Government and Policy; Educational Services; and Health Care Services.

The Research Conference has brought together Universities within Uganda and overseas.

Written by: Willie Brens Wambedde

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