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Higher Education Resource Services, East Africa (HERS-EA)

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Higher Education Resource Services East Africa Naomi W. Lumutenga and Prof. Margaret L. Khaitsa, Co-founders and the HERS-EA logo Image of Uganda on a mpa at right

Preface: HERS-EA (https://www.hersea.org/) is an educational non-profit organization incorporated in 2014 in Uganda and hosted at Makerere University Gender Mainstreaming Directorate. An affiliate of HERS Denver, Colorado, USA. HERS-EA advances women in East Africa (Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda) and Ethiopia using similar strategies to those of HERS. The goal of the HERS-EA is to raise the proportion of women in leadership and management positions especially in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in East Africa to at least 50%.

Why does HERS-EA focus on women in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs)?

HERS-EA’s core leadership development focuses on women in HEIs because these institutions have known impact as sources of high-level national and international leaders and ability to generate new knowledge and change. The women in HEIs have been identified for their individual and collective agency and influence on other women, at all levels of society. Believing that what is not known is unlikely to be addressed, HERS-EA focuses on research-led interventions where women in HEIs are trained to research and publish women-specific issues such as menstruation management, poverty, domestic violence, and persistent shortage of women in STEM. Such publications benefit both sides by enhancing promotional opportunities for female researchers and strengthening advocacy with data.

Advancing the HERS-EA goal

Through her flagship Academies, HERS-EA has trained over 150 women from over 20 HEIs in 9 countries, in leadership and management. The program is focused on managing and leading change, human resource development and institutional effectiveness. The Academy prepares every participant to strengthen and expand her leadership skills by working closely with HERS-EA resource persons and staff. The Academy welcomes applicants who are aspiring leaders, mid-career, and senior leaders and those wishing to branch out of academia. The curriculum covers Institutional Awareness, Personal Development, and provides great Networking opportunities. All participants have a chance to shape the Academy, while progressing their unique personal career plans and professional development needs. Sessions are blended (in-person and virtual) and they are delivered in a variety of modalities including presentations, break-out groups, and discussions.

HERS-EA has also created and enabled institution-to-institution and researcher-to-researcher collaborations and partnerships; for example, Troy University started a Study Abroad partnership with Kyambogo University, immediately after the 2017 Academy. HERS-EA has three active country offices (Ethiopia, Uganda, and Tanzania); they hope to tap into the current momentum and open one in Kenya soon. As an outcome of feedback from alumni, we will be laying on short courses, to include Women’s Wellbeing, Male Allyship, Transitioning from academia to NGO/Public & Private Sector, Scientific and Grant writing, editing, Invisible & visible disabilities, and many others. Keep checking our website and social media platforms.

HERS-EA collaborations with NGOs to transform grassroots communities:

In addition to HEIs (mainly from East Africa and USA), HERS-EA has established collaborations with government, developmental agencies such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and NGOs whose goals are synergist to those of HERS-EA. Such NGOs include the Forum for African Women in Education (FAWE), MAWAZO Institute, and Africa Village Support. With support from USDA-Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), HERS-EA has collaborated with HEIs (Mississippi State University, University of Tennessee, Sokoine University of Agriculture) to implement economic empowerment projects that have transformed over 170 households at grassroots level in Uganda and Tanzania and generated several publications.

 
Celebrating International Women’s Day

HERS-EA is privileged to:

  1. Be part of the ScientifyRESEARCH webinar – Empowering Women in Research – scheduled for Tuesday, March 7 2023. 15:00 Central European Time as advertised here. Registration is limited to the first 100 registrants.
  2. Join Makerere University to celebrate International Women’s Day, to illustrate how universities can work with NGOs to advance this year’s (CSW67) priority theme: ‘Innovation and technological change, and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls”. This joint presentation with Makerere University in partnership with University of Wisconsin Madison, will take place at a parallel event, hosted by the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) on Monday, March 13th 11.00 a.m.-1.00 p.m. Eastern Time (registration details to follow).

Post CSW67 – HERS-EA intends to incorporate lessons learnt from the global engagement at the CSW67 to develop use of technology in research and data analysis and improve research-driven interventions in STEM and other disciplines in conjunction with partner universities and NGOs. Starting with women who head educational institutions, HERS-EA will work with HEIs and NGOs to provide digital and technology skills to close the gap in competitiveness for STEM opportunities. With regards to grassroots women, HERS-EA established one of the causes of persistent poverty as exploitation by middlemen; training in use of mobile phones and strategic digitalisation of access to markets will enable existing (and new) groups of grassroots women to leapfrog middlemen and bypass bureaucratic banking institutions.

 
Coming Soon from HERS-EA!

HERS-EA edited volume ‘Reimagining Women Leadership: HERS-East Africa’, edited by Naomi Lumutenga and Margaret Khaitsa. As believers in collaboration, HERS-EA Team has put together a team of experts to contribute to a book, titled Reimagining Women Leadership: HERS-East Africa, expected to be on the shelves by the end of this year, look out for it!

Call to Action: Registration via www.hersea.org is now open for the HERS-EA Sixth Academy (scheduled for July 3rd– 7th 2023), Male Allies and Advocates webinar (free of charge, scheduled for Friday March 17th 2023), Women’s Wellbeing Retreat (scheduled for May 12th – 14th 2023) and many others. More Information about HERS-EA is available at: https://www.hersea.org

 

Acknowledgments

We, at scientifyRESEARCH thank Naomi Lumutenga and Prof. Margaret Khaitsa for collaborating with scientifyRESEARCH to prepare this blog and for our collaborative webinar to celebrate International Women’s Day.

About the guest authors

Naomi Lumutenga, Executive Director & Co-Founder, Higher Education Resource Services-East Africa (HERS-EA) is a Ugandan-born Educationalist, PhD scholar and author, with a specialism in Community education, curriculum development and delivery. HERS-EA (https://www.hersea.org/ ) is an affiliate of HERS based in Denver, USA. Prior to Co-founding HERS-EA Naomi worked in several sectors of Education in the UK, for 25 years; she taught Development Economics and she established international study partnerships between UK and China, USA & South Africa. While teaching, she was actively involved in campaigning- at national and international forums, for Social Justice, Equal Rights for women (especially in Developing Countries), Fair Trade & Debt Relief for the most highly indebted countries (HICs) and advocacy for gender equality at the UN Committee of Status of Women. In 2016/17 she was the technical editor to a consultancy reviewing the Government White Paper for the Ministry of Education in Uganda. Naomi is based at Canterbury Christ Church University in UK and conducting doctoral research in Experiences of Overseas Trained Teachers in UK.

Dr. Margaret Khaitsa is a Professor of Veterinary Epidemiology at the College of Veterinary Medicine, Mississippi State University, and Co-Founder and Board Chair, Higher Education Resource Services-East Africa (HERS-EA). Khaitsa has conducted research in infectious disease epidemiology and food safety and mentored several graduate students and young career scientists in the US and abroad as a Carnegie African Diaspora Program and U.S Faculty Scholar Fulbright Fellow. She has participated in various Capacity Building efforts in higher education in the US and internationally particularly in East & Central Africa. She is a Co-Founder and the Board Chair, HERS-East Africa. Since May 2021, Khaitsa serves as a member of the One Health High Level Expert Panel (OHHLEP) advising the quadripartite (World Health Organization-WHO, World Organization for Animal Health-WOAH, Food & Agricultural Organization-FAO, and United Nations Environmental Program-UNEP) on One Health matters.

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