COVAB – AFRISA Passes Out Over 1900 Skilled Livestock Agribusiness Entrepreneurs, Commissions COVAB@50 Celebrations
Compiled by Jacinta Nakaye
SPEDA Model, which is under COVAB’s Africa Institute for Strategic Animal Resource Services and Development (AFRISA) passed out 1930 skilled livestock agribusiness entrepreneurs with various levels of Industrial Certification and Diplomas.
The graduation ceremony, held on 17th June 2021 at the MAK-COVAB Industrial Livestock Research, Incubation and Skilling (ILRIS) Center at Nakyesasa – Namulonge was blended with the Commissioning of COVAB Golden Jubilee Celebrations. It was officiated by Makerere University’s Chancellor, Prof. Ezra Suruma, who was represented by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe.
The First Lady Enthused by COVAB’s Innovations in Communities
Uganda’s First Lady, who also doubles as the Minister for Education and Sports, Hon. Janet Kataaha Museveni, in a speech delivered by her representative, the Vice Chancellor, commended the idea of the University in the Community through the SPEDA Programme.
As the Guest of Honor, she pledged support to COVAB’s SPEDA Programmes, which are skilling farmers at the community grassroots. The First Lady said that through her Ministry, she will continue to support and mainstream SPEDA Model into the skills development structure and ensure sustainability.
She also commended Makerere University for launching alternative approaches to building human capital to address the issues of exclusion, poverty and disease, and skilling people, who in the end contribute to the money economy, given the high unemployment rate in the country.
“The university is now passing out skilled entrepreneurs with business enterprises which is a real approach to agricultural commercialization in rural development, this is the quickest way to curb unemployment in the country, said the First Lady.”
Awardees who were from different parts of the country, comprised of 298 Diplomas, Ordinary Certificates and 34 Industrial Artisan Certificates from COVAB- AFRISA, 312 awardees from Atiak- Amuru District, Northern Uganda, 549 from Butalejja, Eastern Uganda, 97 from Mubende, Central Uganda, 319 from Sheema, Western Uganda and 80 Industrial Artisan Certificate awardees (AFRISA- SDF Partnership).
The Commissioning of COVAB Golden Jubilee Celebrations
The Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Hon. Dr. Monica Musenero, who is also one of the COVAB Alumni said that this event was an opportunity to witness hope so that she can have an informed beginning in conducting Ministry work.
She then commended the AFRISA- SPEDA Programme for addressing issues of inequality in Uganda’s education system.
“Even with the successes of our educational system, with the reforms that were brought by the NRM, there is still a high rate of school dropouts especially to the girl child. I am very pleased to see the presence of the girl child in education, having been skilled and ready to pick up their lives from where it was thought they had fallen out of education,” said Hon. Dr. Musenero.
Research in Uganda has it that half the population of women was found in one of ten colleges; in eight other colleges, men outnumbered women by a ratio of 8:2.
The Vice Chancellor also congratulated COVAB and the entire Makerere University Fraternity upon the achievement. He thanked Hon. Dr. Elioda Tumwesigye, who pioneered the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation for his support towards Makerere University’s innovative projects.
“Makerere University is proud of COVAB’s achievements. The college has trained Laboratory Technologists at the highest level, as we move to a fully fledged research University, we wish to acknowledge the crucial role played by the College in her important journey,” said Prof. Nawangwe. Adding that, “Makerere University recognizes that we must contribute to safe determination of our country economically. With this end, we must tackle issues that hamper our economic development.”
Prof. Nawangwe also commended COVAB’s research such as the Anti-Tick Vaccine Project, which is geared towards ending Uganda’s economic problems, especially in the livestock industry.
“The Anti-Tick Vaccine is one of those innovations which will solve one big problem of tick-borne diseases that have caused enormous losses to our farmers. There are many other problems on which the College is researching. The College has also been a hub of innovation for transformation of the grassroot community. The SPEDA model is probably the best innovation so far,” he said.
On thanking the President, H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and the First Lady for their support to Makerere University, and to the innovations at COVAB in particular, he further urged government to fund the SPEDA initiative so that it could meaningfully solve the problem of youth unemployment.
In his speech, the Principal of the College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (COVAB), Prof. John David Kabasa, briefed delegates on COVAB’s journey since 1971.
“In 1971, the Government of Uganda established the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, and we have been walking this journey from a Faculty to a College, which was endorsed and accredited by the National Council for Higher Education. Before 1971, it was mid-career education in Certificates and Diplomas carried out by the school at that time. During this time, many changes and transformations have taken place, which is one reason why we are being commissioned today,” affirmed Prof. Kabasa.
Given the current COVID-19 situation, the event was widely held virtually, with much restriction on physical attendance at the Commissioning and graduation grounds.
Since 1971, COVAB has transformed gradually into both a capacity building institution and an innovations hub. AFRISA-SPEDA programmes are some of those innovations run in the College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Bio-security (COVAB). They are all accredited by the National Council for Higher Education and coordinated at the Africa Institute for Strategic Animal Resource Services and Development (AFRISA).