In 2001, a group of visionary women and men proposed the idea of institutionalizing gender in Makerere University’s functions. That led to the birth of the Gender Mainstreaming Programme, under the Department of the Academic Registrar, where it was nurtured to maturity.

Almost a decade later, Makerere University hailed the growth from the Gender Mainstreaming Division to the Gender Mainstreaming Directorate. This fulfilled Makerere University Strategic Plan’s (2008/9 – 2018/19) commitment to “reposition herself to consolidate the gains made and promote gender equality to a higher level in Makerere University and beyond”.

Indeed, for the Gender Mainstreaming Directorate (GMD), 2010 will always be remembered as a year of milestones that propelled the struggle for gender justice to greater heights in Makerere and beyond. Why?

A spirited two-year advocacy campaign and interesting journey, surmounting obstacles, resistance and backlash to gender advancement, that culminated into the triumphant transformation from Division to Directorate. This has given it a higher status to mainstream gender as a cross-cutting theme in Makerere University’s functions and beyond. I take this opportunity to sincerely thank those men and women who believed in us. We celebrate the success together!

The Makerere University Female Scholarship Initiative (FSI) that had been supported by Carnegie Corporation of New York came to an end and the Makerere University Female Scholarship Foundation (FSF) was launched. Out of 691 females from disadvantaged backgrounds who were supported to study at Makerere University, 639 have so far graduated. This initiative that met a genuine need could not be brought to a halt. The FSF is our ray of hope for the continuity of a worthy cause to make the best and greatest investment that guarantees returns at personal, society and national levels.

The Gender Mainstreaming Directorate has been recognized as a pace setter in mainstreaming gender in institutions in the region. Through the support of the Government of Sweden, GMD is working with the universities of Gulu, Busitema, Kyambogo and Mbarara, to mainstream gender in their universities.
GMD is privileged to be part of he African Universities Gender Resource Network (AUGERN) and shares experiences and offers technical support to mainstream gender in the Universities of Obafemi Awolowolo and Jos (Nigeria); Winneba (Ghana) and Dar-es-Salaam (Tanzania). The five universities compiled their experiences in a book titled: Gender Mainstreaming in Higher Education: The African Experience.

GMD initiated a partnership between Makerere University and ten universities in Spain and a memorandum of understanding has been signed. In this issue of The Focus Magazine, GMD endeavors to share experiences in the promotion of gender equality and women’s empowerment. We will appreciate your ideas on how we can serve better, as we build for the future.

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