Most of the conversation in the public tends to portray a picture that when we talk about gender, gender equality and gender mainstreaming, it is about women and girls.

Ms. Nyakalesi Margaret Tumushabe, Ms. Pauline Kyarisiima, Ms. Susan Mbabazi and Mr. Eric Tumwesigye meeting staff of CoCIS.

Officials from Makerere University Gender Mainstreaming Directorate observed that,  there is a kind of a divide that exists between men and women that need to breach by creating men’s spaces to specifically build what they termed as male allies.

Strategies proposed involve college identification of male champions who passionately love gender equality and conversations around gender to organize, male-only dialogues  and  discuss men and boys issues and,  to prepare male students by grooming them as ideal men through the different male talks.

The Gender Mainstreaming Directorate (GMD) is currently carrying out college tours to solicit support to create mens’ spaces as a forum for involving men and boys to speak for gender equality and also deal with issues that affect men and boys in the university.

A team from the Gender Mainstreaming  unit  led by Director represented by  Ms. Susan Mbabazi was on 23rd May 2023 holding a consultative meeting with staff and management of the College of Computing and Information Sciences on the university  Gender Mainstreaming initiatives  to solicit support to advance the initiatives.

The team also tabled a proposal for the creation of  Day-Care centres for nursing mothers and fathers both centrally and at college levels.

Mr Eric Tumwesigye speaking CoCIS staff

The Senior Gender Officer in the Directorate  Mr. Eric Tumwesigye said the male allies for gender equality are men that have been identified and trained to enhance conversations for gender equality. In any space in the university where issues of gender equality are discussed, these men will be the mouthpieces that are going to speak for gender.

“But also, we need mens’ spaces to discuss men’s issues. One of the things we have neglected is the fact that men have issues as  men, and the issues that come from the way they  have been nurtured and brought up”, He said

Tumwesigye contends that society is struggling with drugs and many other crimes because of the traditions believed in and the way men and boys are brought up. Men he says, need to sit as men, understand their issues and how they can be resolved.

“Boys are dropping out of colleges and schools because of the way they have been brought up. They are in betting,  chewing tuition  to take care of their girlfriends and want to keep this high life profiles they cannot sustain. The gender-based violence between the boyfriends and the girlfriends, the sexual harassment issues are because of the way men are brought up”, Tumwesigye explained

Tumwesigye emphasised the need for men to come out and appreciate that the tradition is a privilege to them, and  that, in most cases, disadvantages women and girls and,  sometimes that kind of entitlement leads men in bad spots very difficult to recover.

Creation of Day-Care centres at Makerere University

The gender officer asserts that it is now a global conversation beyond  Makerere and that it is not enough to discuss issues of increasing women faculty and women in leadership positions. The questions of domestic care have a lot to do with women’s ability to succeed in other areas.

The Gender Mainstreaming Directorate wants to see that women and girls with babies who join the university as staff and students do not withdraw from being productive because they have to take care of the baby at home.

Mr. Tumwesigye said,  the directorate has had conversations with Norwegians and colleagues from the School of Public Health and would like the centre and colleges  to identify administrative units turned into Day-Care centres where staff and students can bring their babies, and take care of them.

“We want to discuss and get the standard of what it would take so that we help our colleagues  who have babies to be able to come with them in these facilities  with someone to take care of them. So when you bring your baby, you have registered your baby and you know that when you come back you will find them here.  But in case someone wants to come with a maid, we don’t encourage it in public service”, Tumwesigye added

Tumwesigye said the plan is to have adult caretakers trained and have basic structures such as a room, beddings and play centres within these day-care centres.

The Day-Care centres for Mothers and  Nursing fathers

Most people are mistaken that babies are for mothers.  Makerere’s daycare centres will also take care of nursing men.

“We have men who have babies, maybe their mothers are on study leaves, their mothers are gone, their motherS went for other things, maybe even have the mother in the house, but she is occupied and it is the father taking care of the baby.

So instead of  the father driving back and forth to check on this baby,  he will just come from  home with your baby, place them in the daycare centre and in the evening go home with  the  baby.” Tumwesigye said adding that students will also be catered for.

” Students should also have space  in the  day-care centres at colleges. We should encourage them because if they  don’t bring these  babies, it is going to affect how they concentrate in the library and  in the lecture room because they have a babies to run after”, Tumwesigye argues.

Some of the CoCIS staff attending the meeting.

The Directorate calls upon all colleges to identify and allocate spaces to Day -Care centres and also integrate budgets for these  centres within their annual plans. These budgets he said, can also stem from the Gender Mainstreaming Directorate but decentralised in the colleges.

Speaking on behalf of the Director, Gender Mainstreaming Directorate, Ms. Susan Mbabazi, said the team was in the college to consult about how the directorate can implement the gender mainstreaming programs of the University together.

“We are  implementing  the Gender Policy, and regulations against sexual harassment. We need the support of each one of the stakeholders of this university.  We are moving around colleges to talk to the college management, but also the college membership about what we are doing and about the support that we shall need from them,” Mbabazi said.

At the moment, Mbambazi explained that the directorate was collecting data on the situation analysis of gender mainstreaming initiatives in the university and seeking the support of the colleges to update the statistics.

Statistics sought  include; the gender representation of  men and women  as staff  in leadership and academic  positions, university committees and as students.

Ms. Mbabazi commended the  College of Computing and Information Sciences for promoting gender in research and, in terms of gender representation of staff and the many upcoming women.

“We are so excited that the level of associate professor is 50-50% male and women. We have been informed that the general representation of women and students is good and we want to see how to get this model and share experiences, especially with  other colleges where we think that the numbers of women are still fewer. ” Mbabazi commended.

Dr. Peter Nabende, Nyakalesi Margaret and Susan Mbabazi interacted after the meeting.

The Ag. Principal College of Computing and Information Sciences Dr. Peter Nabende called upon all staff to support the university initiatives by reporting gender-related cases  pledging management support to the  Gender Mainstreaming unit.

Dr. Nabende welcomed the move to create day-care centres to serve students, male and female staff as a means of protecting the innocent babies and mothers who enrol to the university.

” It gives them an opportunity to be comfortable , concentrate and it will enable them to work effectively and to complete their studies. We are fortunate to have these daycare centres for both staff and students, given the fact that all come from different backgrounds and have different experiences of life”. Dr. Nabende said.

The Principal pledged the college management  readiness to support the directorate even in areas of technical expertise such as developing Apps to map the gender mainstreaming initiatives in the university.


Jane Anyango

Principal Communication Officer, CoCIS