Our research flags issues in Uganda

Dr Margarate Nanfuka

What you need to know:

  • Makerere University’s 73rd week-long graduation ceremony ended last Friday with students from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and College of Engineering, Design Art and Technology. There were at least 28 PhD graduates that day, writes Damali Mukhaye

Makerere University’s 73rd week-long graduation ceremony ended last Friday with students from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and College of Engineering, Design Art and Technology. There were at least 28 PhD graduates that day, writes Damali Mukhaye

Dr Margarate Nanfuka (PhD in Linguistics)

She examined the challenges of cross-cultural translations, using Animal Farm by George Orwell as a case study. It’s important to consider the cultural context and nuances when translating texts to ensure that the meaning and message are accurately conveyed in the target language. The findings suggest that translators were generally able to transfer the message of conflict from the source text to the target languages, but encountered challenges related to grammar, style, and semantic differences. The use of frameworks like the Appraisal Framework can be helpful in identifying and addressing these challenges. 

Dr Jacqueline Namukasa (PhD in History)

She used the Constructivism theory of international relations to analyse the Uganda-Kenya dispute over Migingo Island from 1926-2009. 

She used archival sources, colonial maps, official reports and oral interviews to conclude that the conflict over Migingo is primarily about fish resources, as well as each country’s desire to protect its sovereign rights over the island. 

The study suggests that wealth surrounds Migingo in the form of fish, a resource that is coveted by both countries. 

The study also emphasises that the persistent notions of territorial-sovereignty are a significant factor in the tensions between Uganda and Kenya. 

To resolve the dispute, negotiation should be considered instead of relying on inconsistent colonial maps.

Dr Nicholas Mugabi’s (PhD in Sociology)

His research explores the use of mobile agricultural extension services to improve household agricultural livelihood in south-central Uganda. 

The study finds that Village Enterprise Agents, acting as lay extension workers, utilised the Kulima mobile platform to disseminate information on agronomic practices, climate change mitigation, market, and financial services. 

The study identifies the key drivers of utilising mobile platforms to be expected economic benefits, social influence, perceived ease of use, and usefulness. 

However, the proliferation of uncoordinated platforms and technology malfunctioning posed a challenge to the effectiveness of mobile extension services. 

The research concludes that to improve mobile extension services, initiatives should be strengthened, and agricultural information should be translated into indigenous languages.

Dr Proscovia Nansikombi (PhD in History)

She historicised and examined the roles and mandate of the Uganda Joint Christian Council (UJCC) in the monitoring of national elections in Uganda between 1994 and 2016. 

The study unearthed the challenges and achievements of UJCC during the course of executing its mandate of monitoring national elections in Uganda. 

The study established that after monitoring national elections since 1994, UJCC has been presenting a number of recommendations to various national election stakeholders. 

The study revealed that some of the UJCC recommendations have been implemented by the Electoral Commission and the government of Uganda, the official stakeholders.

Dr Lyda Nakalawa’s (PhD in Psychology)

Her research analysed the life stories of seven young people who were beneficiaries of various youth empowerment programmes in Uganda. 

The research found that youth hold both negative mindsets characterised by helplessness and positive mindsets characterised by resilience and creativity. 

The study highlights the need to engage youth effectively to recognise and overcome negative voices that hinder personal and national development. 

By doing so, youth can become more resilient and creative, which can contribute to their personal growth and the development of their communities.

Dr Innocent Kamya (PhD in Sociology)

He examined the relationship between domestic water scarcity and children’s’ wellbeing in Rakai District. Using a mixed-methods research design, the study established that children perceived wellbeing in terms of access to basic needs including safe water, good health, hygiene and physical appearance. Water scarcity exposed children to diseases, heavy workload, physical pains, unhappiness, compromised body hygiene, and constrained children relations with other people. 

Dr Helen Kezie-Nwoha (PhD in Women and Gender Studies)

She examined how women’s needs were incorporated in post-conflict health reconstruction in Puranga Sub-county, Pader District, northern Uganda. The study revealed that the approach to health reconstruction focused on infrastructure development, which downplayed the need to ensure women’s needs are given consideration in planning and executing health reconstruction. Healthcare services lacked adequate health facilities, health workforce, supplies, and equipment. Health planning fits within the broader district planning, involves communities, and pays attention to the maternal health needs of women. However, there was no focus to ensure that facilities built provided for women’s maternal health needs and closer to communities. There were not enough mental health specialists to support the mental health well-being of war survivors.

Dr Agatha Tumwine (PhD in language studies)

Her study analyses the translation process of folktales from Runyankore-Rukiga into French, with a focus on documenting the losses and gains involved in the translation process between two culturally distant languages. 

The study identifies that losses in translation may be linguistic, cultural, or literary in nature and that translators need to use appropriate translation methods and techniques to produce texts that are readable and acceptable in the target language. 

The study also highlights that gains in the translation are realised mostly through the creativity of the translator, who enriches the target text by bringing in aspects that were not present in the source text.

Dr Clare Kaijabwango (PhD in Development Studies)

She examined the value for money that non-governmental organisations aid-funded projects bring to the development sector in Uganda. 

The aid projects were found to be ineffective, uneconomical, inefficient and superficially relevant. 

An average of 78 percent of all project expenditure was on non-beneficiary costs. 

The minimal positive effects in the beneficiary households did not match targets committed to by non-governmental organisations at project inception. 

When appraised against different poverty indicators, the majority of project supported households were found to still be poor two years after project completion.

Dr Tom Ogwang (PhD Political Science)

He conducted a study on the effects of development interventions and post-conflict reconstruction in northern Uganda, specifically in the districts of Gulu and Pader. 

Despite the region receiving substantial support from the government and non-state actors, including development interventions and investments, the region remains characterised by large inequalities in income, education, health, and participation across gender, geography, and lifestyle. 

The study highlights that these efforts do not consider the region’s heterogeneity, and a one-size-fits-all approach has been adopted, resulting in a lack of impact. 

Additionally, the study found that peace building and reconciliation efforts were underfunded compared to other strategic objectives.

Dr Doreen Kyosimire (PhD in Architecture)

She explored discourse on gender, architecture and women’s agency in low-cost housing. 

The study employed an inter-disciplinary research design with methods drawn from historical and architectural approaches. 

The study demonstrates that self-help housing is an effort made by household members concerning the planning, financing and construction of their housing context in which widowhood and prostitution have gained new meanings such as land lordship.

Dr Enos Kitimbo (PhD Social Work)

He examined the role of social entrepreneurship in empowering youth socio-economically. 

He emphasised the importance of understanding the youth’s perception of the government’s investment in livelihood interventions. 

His research shows that social entrepreneurship interventions have the potential to empower youth if certain conditions are met. Successful youth empowerment groups are characterised by prior organisation and commitment towards income-generating activities. 

However, youth face various barriers such as politics, structural, and institutional obstacles limiting government-oriented youth livelihood interventions. 

He suggests that funding alone is not enough to bring about social change. 

Rather, youth require a supportive environment.

Dr Flex Twinomucunguzi (PhD in Civil and Environmental Engineering)

He investigated socio-technical factors influencing the distribution of trace organic contaminants (TrOCs) and the associated environmental risks in peri-urban shallow groundwater in Uganda. 

The study analysed the spatial and temporal variations of antibiotics, pesticides and hydrocarbons in shallow groundwater underlying Bwaise and Wobulenzi and the socio-institutional drivers of contamination. 

Total antibiotics measured up to 3,700 ng/L, depicting significant statistical association with physicochemical and microbial parameters associated with on-site sanitation (E. coli, nitrates, chlorides and sodium). 

Antibiotic residues presented a high risk for antibiotic resistance selection at 65 percent of the sampled sources in Bwaise.

Dr Stella Achen (PhD in Sociology)

She explored the socio-cultural perspectives on sexual and reproductive health (SRH) of pastoral adolescent girls in Moroto District.

She found that socio-cultural issues affect the sexual and reproductive health of pastoral adolescent girls and access to SRH services. 

The study also established that the socio-cultural practices of bride capture and forced marriages lead to child and early marriages which result in poor SRH of adolescent girls. 

She argues that promoting SRH of pastoral adolescent girls requires an understanding of the socio-cultural issues that impact SRH and access to SRH services.