The Department of Development Studies has remodelled the former Faculty of Arts computer lab into a resource centre. With support from the Irish government, the room has been furnished with new computers, a printer, projector, TV, DVD player and Local Area network (LAN). It has a sitting capacity of 30 people and will be open to all staff of Development Studies and graduate students of CHUSS. It was officially commissioned today, Tuesday, 17th March, 2015 in presence of representatives from the Irish Government who included Dr Suzanne Linnane, the Director, Water is Life Project (WiL), Arleen Jolan, the project Administrator and Mack Canningham, a member of the project. The WiL project is a collaboration between Makerere University Department of Development Studies, Medical Missionaries of Mary, and Irish Higher Education Institutions that include NUI Maynooth, Dublin City University, Trinity College Dublin, the Royal College of Surgeons, University College Dublin and Queen’s University Belfast. The major goal of the project is to support the Government of Ireland’s development agenda to build research capacity in Ireland and Africa and to conduct research that supports sustainable water resource management as a catalyst for sustainable economic and social development in rural Uganda. The project is funded directly through the Irish Aid/HEA Programme of Strategic Co-operation which promotes innovative research in support of Irish Aid’s mission and develops the capacity of higher education sector on issues affecting the developing world.
The opening ceremony was also witnessed by the Principal of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Prof. Edward K. Kirumira, the Dean, School of Liberal and Performing Arts, Assoc. Prof. Patrick Mangeni, the Head of the Department of Development Studies, Assoc. Prof. Godfrey Asiimwe as well as staff and students from the Department. With the limited learning space in the College, the facility is a great relief to the Department, according to the Head, Assoc. Prof. Asiimwe.
Speaking at the function, the Principal expressed gratitude to the Irish Government for the financial and material support towards the Department of Development Studies. He also appreciated Assoc. Prof. Asiimwe for his efforts in improving the learning environment in the Department. He urged staff and students to guard and effectively utilise the facility.
Relationship between the Department of Development Studies and Irish government
The relationship between the Department of Development Studies and Ireland dates back to 2007 when the Irish nuns (Medical Missionaries of Mary) who were living in Makondo village in Masaka District identified lack of safe water as one the biggest health hazards in the area and lobbied their Government to support the construction of safe water sources. The Irish Government through its Foreign Affairs Ministry and Irish Aid brought on board six Irish Universities to collaborate with Makerere University through the Department of Development Studies to establish a lasting solution to the water challenge in Makondo.
The Irish Government supported 8 PhD students from different Units at Makerere University, Kyambogo University and Malawi to conduct research aimed at improving safe water coverage in the area. The research focused on appropriate water technology, water and gender as well as water and Health aspects. The students were co-supervised by staff from Irish Universities and Makerere University. Research topics included; “Sourcing and Distribution of sustainable ground water Supplies for Rural Water Supply”, “Sustainable Pump Technologies”, “Solar Disinfection of Harvested Rainwater”, “Health Impact of Solar Disinfection using a School-based Trial Protocol”, “Adaption of Water Management to Climate Change”, and “The Social Impact of Gendering Water Resource Management”.
With the support from the Irish Government and the research conducted by the PhD students, safe water supply in Makondo village has greatly improved, thanks to the Medical Missionaries of Mary, the voice of the voiceless Makondo community.
The Irish Government also facilitated the Department to Develop an MA programme that is awaiting Senate approval.