Makerere to support Liberian University flag-off Gender Studies

Makerere University School of Women and Gender Studies, famous for being one of the best on the African Continent, has pledged to support Grand Bassa Community College in Liberia to get their Gender Studies courses rolling. The School will be sending teaching staff to help Grand Bassa Community College start courses in Women and Gender Studies.

Established in 2008, Grand Bassa recently established a Gender Studies Unit but rolling-out the courses has since proved a challenge to the Liberian University, the reason it is seeking Makerere’s help.

Established in 1991 as a Department of Women Studies, Makerere School of Women and Gender Studies has evolved into the multidisciplinary unit that is today known for graduating more PhDs and Masters students than any other institution in the world.

The offer to assist Grand Bassa Community College was made during a video-conferencing dialogue between the two institutions held on Wednesday, 30th October, 2013 at the United States embassies in Monrovia, Liberia and Kampala.

The dialogue was moderated by Dr Robin Chandler, a visiting scholar of African Studies at North-eastern University in the United States.

The Dean of the School of Women and Gender Studies, Dr Consolata Kabonesa, said the school would equally put her research and wealth of information at the disposal of Grand Bassa Community College.

“We know how challenging it can be to start courses in Gender Studies and for us to become what we are today, it took a lot of hard work, research and collaboration with other institutions. Since we got this knowledge from the world, we want to share it with you,” she said.

Under the arrangement to help the Liberian University, Dr Kabonesa suggested that Makerere staff would travel to Grand Bassa to teach specific modules, give exams and mark the scripts before returning to Uganda.

This, Dr Kabonesa said is one of the ways Makerere would share her experience of nurturing Gender Studies from humble beginnings to a unit  that not only commands distinction in the global world but motivates and offers guidelines in gender studies .

“Our Doctorate students can also go and teach at Grand Bassa until you develop full capacity to run the courses on your own,” she added.

Dr Levi Zangai, the President of the Grand Bassa Community College accepted the offer of dons from Makerere but said the two institutions should work together to mobilise the resources required to make the collaboration successful.

The resources would cover costs of travel, accommodation, upkeep, research, and allowances among others.

Zangai disclosed that despite having developed a curriculum, the execution of Gender Studies Courses had proved a daunting task for Grand Bassa Community College.

He noted that Liberia needed Gender Studies to sustain the status-quo created during the civil war that saw women become bread winners as men were either killed or on the front-line.

Other scholars who participated in the dialogue included Dr Deborah Kasente, Dr Sarah Ssali, Ammon Ashaba and Ruth Nsibirano, all of Makerere School of Women and Gender Studies. The other was Dr Thelma Awori from the Embassy of Liberia. They all shared their experiences of gender studies.

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