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“Anybody can become a refugee”

IIEP-UNESCO and Education Development Trust are working together to provide research-informed policy recommendations for better management of teachers working with refugee children. This research covers four countries i.e; Ethiopia, Jordan, Kenya, Uganda and includes case study reports and policy briefs for each of them. In the need to best understanding the quality of teachers in the refugee setting a documentary film “We Teach Here” was produced to document their day to day lives….

We Teach Here is a film series that focuses on the lives of teachers working in refugee settings in Ethiopia, Kenya, and now Uganda. Some of these teachers are refugees themselves. Others are national teachers who are working with refugee learners. All are members of communities affected by crisis and displacement. We Teach Here removes our attachment to place to instead focus on people – it’s about teachers who keep teaching, no matter what, no matter where. These are their stories: the lives they lead and the challenges and opportunities they encounter along the way.

Produced by Education Development Trust and IIEP-UNESCO, the films are part of the multi-country research project on teacher management in refugee settings. Recently, with our research partners in Uganda –  Eight Tech Company – and Makmende Media, teachers from the Nakivale Refugee Settlement in western Uganda were interviewed for the upcoming third film in the series. We caught up with Betty Namagembe and Drake Patrick Mirembe, from EIght Tech, who played a key role in both the research and the film.  

IIEP: What were the criteria for selecting the three teachers to be featured in the film that emerged from the research? 

Betty Namagembe: This included identifying teachers that fit three main categories: Firstly, a national teacher who lives far away from the settlement and struggles with the logistics of getting to work; secondly, a national teacher that engineered innovative ways to keep teaching students during the COVID-19 pandemic; and then the third category was refugee teachers who provided solutions to language and cultural barriers through interpretation in class. 

IIEP: What do you hope that people will take away from watching this film?

Drake Patrick Mirembe: Right from conceptualization, we are trying to highlight to the world the conditions that teachers in these refugee settings go through on a daily basis, and how they attempt to use creative and genius ways to continue supporting learners during COVID-19. I hope that people see the challenges, but equally the opportunities this has created to provide educational services and hope to the refugees in this part of the world. 

It is really humbling to see the sacrifices teachers are making. Most of the time, when we tell stories, these stories are sometimes under-told or undersold.

It is my sincere desire that this film will activate interest among different stakeholders, right from the state and non-state actors, and development partners, to start reflecting on how we can make quality education available, especially in refugee settings in different parts of the world.”

This is important because anybody can become a refugee. For example, each time I sit down and turn on my PC in my office, I reflect on the lives of people in Ukraine. It is really humbling because this was a thriving democratic society, fleeing their homes, because of a war that they did not choose.

We teach here …. Trailer

Betty Namagembe: When this film is out, I hope that the world will see what it means to teach in refugee settlements and the unique teaching practices of these teachers. For example, you find out that teachers have to learn different languages to be able to teach. So, they learn these unique practices coupled with the arduous life they go through, and yet, they are still motivated to continue teaching. In a nutshell, I hope the world sees what they go through, their unique teaching practices, and the constant motivation that they have even with the difficult conditions surrounding them. 

IIEP: Why do we need to hear more about teachers’ voices, especially in a context like this? Why is film an important dissemination tool?

Drake Patrick Mirembe: Teachers telling their stories will bring authenticity to the issues we are investigating, and that authenticity may appeal to the moral values of the different stakeholders we hope will hear this story since the ultimate goal is to raise the spotlight on interventions in disaster management and motivation in refugee settings. I believe that the fundamental element is that they will carry the message more authentically than you and I can.

IIEP: Based on your experience filming this movie, what would your advice be for governments or institutions working on education issues in refugee settings?

Betty Namagembe: For key stakeholders like the government, development partners, and NGOs, it’s good to take advantage of research like this because it brings out what is happening on the ground in the schools so they can use the findings and the recommendations that come out of this research to implement policies and to bring interventions. 

Drake Patrick Mirembe: Fundamentally, we’ve observed that sometimes our policies, ranging from development to implementation, lack the contextual reality to inform. My feeling is that this study and the film itself would help policy-makers at various levels of intervention to contextualize their impact. For example, there’s limited intervention focusing on ICT integration in refugee settings, and yet we know for sure that ICT is a critical enabler in the global knowledge-based digital economy. Therefore, this digital divide the refugees are experiencing is lowering their opportunities for progress in life and the attainment of their full potential. We hope these kinds of observations will inform not only policy development but also program implementation and design among different stakeholders.

IIEP: What is your message to the world on this World Refugee Day?

Drake Patrick Mirembe: My message to the rest of the world— and I’m speaking with a context-sensitive knowledge of where the world is, is that I observe that the pillars that define peaceful coexistence in the global multilateral system are being eroded. And this creates a threat that any one of us could be a refugee. My call to the decision-makers and leaders at different levels is to develop and implement policies that provide equal opportunities for these refugees to attain their full potential in life because most of them found themselves in a situation they had no say in creating, nor do they have the power to change.

Betty Namagembe: My message to the different stakeholders, especially the education partners in the settlement, is to appreciate the kind of work they’re doing, but also to work together to come up with a good and welcoming environment for the refugees. Also, teachers that work in the settlements need to be appreciated more because they end up being like the parents of these students when they [the children] come from the traumatizing situations they have gone through. Therefore, stakeholders, including governments and development partners, should stand with these teachers to better facilitate them so that they may continually support the students.

These children, whatever they become in the future, impact their worlds wherever they are, not only in the countries they are in but also the countries where they come from.

The full article and more details can be accessed from http://www.iiep.unesco.org/en/anybody-can-become-refugee-14222

Stay tuned for the release of the full film this September. We Teach Here is made possible with the support of Dubai Cares and the Inter-agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE), through their Evidence for Education in Emergencies (E-Cubed) Research Fund. 

Qualitative Research On Promising Policies For Teacher Management In Refugee Contexts In Uganda

Teachers are the key to success in any education system. In refugee settings, the role of teachers is particularly significant, as they can provide crucial continuity and socio-emotional support. They are sometimes the only educational resource available to students. Yet little is known about who are the teachers working in refugee-hosting communities. How are they recruited, trained and supported? [1] IIEP-UNESCO and Education Development Trust are working together to provide research-informed policy recommendations for better management of teachers working with refugee children. This research covers four countries i.e; Ethiopia, Jordan, Kenya, Uganda and includes case study reports and policy briefs for each of them

Eight Tech Consults was engaged by IIEP-UNESCO to carry out the research in Uganda. This research will provide the Government of Uganda and key partners with evidence-informed policy guidance on how to nurture and sustain a thriving teacher workforce in refugee settings. The case study will identify promising policies and implementation strategies for the management of teachers in primary schools in refugee settings in Uganda, as well as potential areas for further policy development through comparative analysis across the country. This study is in line with the Sustainable Development Goal 4 “to ensure that teachers are empowered, effectively recruited, well-trained, professionally qualified, motivated and supported within well-resourced, efficient and effectively governed systems.”

The research methodology is based on a mixed-methods approach to research, including:

  • Surveys and focus groups of teachers working with refugees,
  • Semi-structured interviews with UN representatives, government officials, and members of the education community at regional, local or school levels,
  • Analysis of existing data and regulatory policies and documents.

The objectives of the research include;

  1. To identify current international, regional, and national policies that guide the Ugandan Ministry of Education (MoE) and partners in the management of teachers in refugee settings
  2. To build an understanding of who is teaching refugees at the primary-level in different settings and how they are managed in practice
  3. To support filmmakers engaged by IIEP-UNESCO with identifying suitable teachers to participate in a documentary about teachers in refugee settings and help with filming logistics and follow-up with schools and teachers as necessary
  4. To identify potential areas for further policy development to support effective teacher management in refugee settings.

The research was carried out in two phases (I &II); Phase I activities included a) Review of key documents, b) Interviews with stakeholders at the central level, C) Interviews and focus groups at the district and school level, d) Analysis of qualitative data and report writing,

Upon the successful completion of phase 1, a number of gaps were identified that required to be addressed thus the need for phase 2 which involved the engagement of more stakeholders that were key in the research which included the sub-county chiefs, the Center Coordinating Tutors, The School Inspectors, Primary schools in the Refugee Host communities, Private schools in the settlement and Teaching assistants in schools who are basically Refugees.

Based on this background, Phase II was carried out in Three Settlements i.e.  Kiryandongo Refugee Settlement, Nakivale Refugee Settlement and Rwamwanja Refugee Settlement in Kiryandongo, Insingiro and Kamwenge districts respectively. A total of 15 schools were sampled (5) from each settlement.

The Eight tech team with the teachers from the different schools in Kiryandongo Refugee settlement.

Eight Tech Team of Researchers conducted physical interviews at each of the five schools in the three settlements targeting four categories of stakeholders in each school i.e. the Head Teachers, the Teachers (Both National and Refugee Teachers), the School Management Committee(SMC) and the Parent-Teacher Association(PTA).

Discussion with the teachers in different schools Left: Nakivaale Refugee Settlement
Right: Rwamwanja Refugee Settlement

Some of the key highlights identified from the research include;

  1. Majority of the teachers in the Primary schools have a grade three teaching certificate
  2. Most teachers are aware of the existence of the teacher policy but not quite knowledgeable of the content therein
  3. Some of the teachers in the settlement have considered going for upgrading
  4. All teaching assistants found in the refugee schools interviewed are refugees recruited to help in the challenge of language.
  5. There is a major challenge of accommodation for teachers and limited accessibility of clean water in the settlements.
  6. Private schools in the settlement do not have center numbers
  7. Existence of More policies that guide in the management of teachers in refugee settings were identified, these include; The Education Response Plan, The Education Service Commission Regulation, 2012 among others
  8. Increase in the number of students after the lockdown and this was highly observed in Rwamwanja Refugee Settlement being that new refugees are coming in from Congo
  9. Schools indicated that some of the Teachers participated in home learning and this was highly sponsored by the NGO/Education partners in the settlement i.e. Finn Church Aid, Windle International, Save the children among others
  10.  Clarification on the roles of the different stakeholders in schools ie PTA, SMC among others

Furthermore, details (research findings, discussions, recommendations and conclusions) will be included in the country report that will be published by the UNESCO-IIEP team upon completion of the exercise.

But as we prepare for this report you can as well make your contribution on teacher management in refugee settings, reach out to us on info@8technologies.net.


[1] http://www.iiep.unesco.org/en/teacher-management-refugee-settings

Handover of the Civil Service College Uganda Multimedia Studio

Civil Service College Uganda (CSCU) – Jinja was est. on 1st July 2010 under the Min. of Public Service. The College is responsible for in-service training, strengthening public policy research, providing advisory services and supporting innovations for improved service delivery.

Despite the efforts made in the past to deliver on its mandate using on-site and off-site training approaches, the College still has limited reach across the public service. For the past two years, the College on average trains 2500 Public Officers compared to the current carrying capacity of the college of approximately 7500 officers per year from a total stock of 320,000 public officers.

Arising out of the above challenges, In November 2019, the Ministry of Public Service through Civil Service College Uganda established an E-Learning Management System (LMS) to effectively deliver its mandate. (https://e.cscu.go.ug/).  

CSCU E-Learning platform

In March 2021, The Ministry of Public Service (MoPS) engaged Eight Tech Consults to establish a multimedia studio to fully operationalize the LMS, develop audio/video content, facilitate documentation, provide a repository for training materials and resource centre for the college.

This assignment involved the following tasks;

  1. Supply all studio equipment and related components to the college.
  2. Installation of a functional multimedia studio for online streaming, development of audio/video content to support effective learning.
  3. Production of comprehensive and easy to use technical documentation such as guidelines and user manual for multimedia.
  4. Provision of training to the Technical staff on studio management and operation

On 14th March 2022, Eight Tech Consults team was led by the COO. Ssekitto Baker handed over the established multimedia studio through a handover ceremony that was graced by a virtual presence of a number of stakeholders from UNDP, MoPs, FUE among others.

The ceremony was initiated by the Commissioner Mrs. Savia Mugwanya who gave a brief background of the project and detailed the purpose of the studio, she further encouraged all members to work together to ensure it is being put to its use,

Left: Commissioner in the studio, Right: The PS Mrs. Catherine B. Musingwiire during her presentation

The ceremony was also graced with a presentation from the MoPS Permanent Secretary,  Mrs. Catherine B. Musingwiire on mindset change given the changing world and technological advancements she further appreciated the team for the efforts put in to achieve this milestone and approved the handover of the studio items and reports to the Commissioner.

Left: Commissioner Mrs. Savia Mugwanya and CPA. Baker Ssekitto in studio during the live broadcast. Right: The Technical team in the control room

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Marcci Farmers Design Thinking Workshop

Background;

MaRCCI originated through an initiative by RUFORUM (Regional Universities Forum for Agricultural Capacity Development) in 2008 to establish regional hubs to provide high quality training in plant breeding as a response to the needs identified through wide stakeholder consultation. Establishment of MaRCCI received major support from the Government of Uganda and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).  Visit the website: – https://rcci.mak.ac.ug/

Project Design Thinking;

Makerere University Regional Center for Crop Improvement (Marcci) in partnership with Eight Technologies Consults Ltd (8Tech) is developing a technology that will help to improve productivity of farm crops in Uganda with support from Research Innovation Fund(RIF). Therefore the teams conducted a design thinking workshop on 11th November 2021. The workshop was focusing on understanding the farmer needs, the production protocol and the business processes. The selected crops for the study are sorghum and cowpeas. The objectives of the discussion were centered on:-

  1. Understanding the requirements of the digital Agribusiness ecosystem.
  2. Designing the digital system to be used by farmers (Mobile App & Web system).
  3. Establishing the digital platform business processes and model.  

The research design discussion session in progress

To improve the high quality of the different seed varieties requires that farmers follow a production protocol throughout the value chain. The production guide is a set of instructions of what a farmer is expected to do while dealing with a particular crop. Right from pre-production, production and post production.


The CEO 8Tech Prof Jude Lubega, CTO 8Tech Dr. Drake P. Miremebe, Director MaRCCI Dr. Richard Edema and Research Leader, Legume Breeder Dr. Isaac Dramadri. Reviewing some of the different cowpeas varieties

Seed storage helps to preserve seed for a long period of time yet maintaining the quality, the seeds can be planted after 10 years of storage and still grow as expected.

8Tech as a development partner knows that to improve crop productivity will require to understand the different activities along the value chain, seed testing is one of them, hence the team at 8tech, with lead from the Director Marcci, CEO 8Tech and CTO 8Tech having a tour at the BIO Tec Lab.

Seed Tracking and Tracing system training and Validation.

The Eight Tech Team led by Dr.Drake Mirembe the Chief Technology Officer executed the training and validation at Kawanda Agriculture Research Institute today.This was done in partnership with Integrated Seed Sector Development Uganda (ISSD) and Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fishery (MAAIF).

The seed tracking and tracing system is designed in a way that seeds can be tracked (following the seed production sequence from the breeder’s fields through to certified/quality declared (QDS) seed; up to sales) and traced (following a seed sale backward sequence from certified/quality declared (QDS) seed back to Breeders’ seed production lots and fields). All this in order have a clear accountability of its quality. The National Seed Strategy (MAAIF 2016) emphasizes the development of an Integrated Seed Sector Management Information System (ISSMIS) which deems it necessary to have a digital tool in place to do this.

The team that attended was equipped with skills on how they can maneuver around the two major components that is to say the Mobile app and the Dashboard. Right from a seed farmer registering his seed , to when it goes through the verification of the quality of the seed before handing it to the farmer and flagging it as ready to be planted and sold for the merchants.

Dr Drake Mirembe during his presentation.

For any further information or inquires kindly reach out to info@8technologies.net or visit our website www.8technologies.net.

Launch of the Viazi Vitamu System.

The ICOPSEA consortium together with Eight Tech Consults Ltd developed an ICT platform comprising of the Viazi Vitamu System, web portal and mobile application for sweet potato growers in the East African region. It was mainly setup to help the farmers with monitoring production, inspection and marketing of quality planting materials.

On the 18th March,2021 the ICOPSEA team together with the partners who included Eight Tech Consults Ltd, Bio-Innovate Africa, Senai Bio-Science Laboratories, Harvest Plus, Jomo-Kenyatta University of Agriculture and technology, Makerere University , Tari and Rab launched the Viazi Vitamu System at Imperial Royale, Kampala.

We are delighted to have been part of the launch of the Viazi Vitamu System and application which will make a sweet potato farmers life easier by enabling them buy quality vines and roots that have been grown by experts in the field, enabling them register to become certified sweet potato growers and sharing the problems they are facing amongst others.

You can access the system and download the application using the links below respectively:

https://dashboard.sweetpotatoeseastafrica.org/

https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=icopsea.sweetpotatoeseastafrica.viazi

Report Launch on the State of Digital Rights and Governance in Uganda.

Information Communication Technologies like the Internet and Social media, have proliferated all aspects of human life; from education, health, business to entertainment. Given the unique position of ICTs in the current knowledge-based society, internet has become a pivotal tool in the enjoyment of human rights.

According to the report, Uganda’s Internet usage has grown in recent years with over 10 million users providing a new digital landscape that facilitates the work of human rights defenders, activists, journalists, minority groups and citizens providing grounds for safer interactions or activism in Uganda.

Unwanted Witness together with Eight Tech Consults undertook a research to explore the current state and development of digital rights and internet governance in Uganda focusing on the state’s obligation and responsibility under International law observing the fulfilled mandates in national legislation, practice, and Underscores through a comprehensive literature review which formed a baseline for the field research.

Key Objectives and Digital rights focus included;

1. To explore the loopholes within the National Legal and Policy Framework.

2. Establish the level of awareness of internet governance and digital rights in Uganda.

3. Establish lessons from selected countries that is to say Kenya, Ghana and Estonia.

We are pleased to announce the launch of the report that took place on Friday 12th March,2021, spear headed by the Unwanted Witness Team together with the research team from Eight Tech consults Ltd in partnership with Digital Human Rights Lab, Future Challenges, Better Place Lab with support from German Cooperation and GIZ at Hotel Africana.

We undertake research in both basic and applied research services for all organisations in the areas of: Health, education, agriculture, Information and communication technology, business and so many others. You can reach out to us on +256 414-666-784 or visit our website https://8technologies.net/

Launch of the ICT4Farmers programme

Agriculture has been the backbone of Africa from our our great grand fathers generations and as the world changes we have noticed a growing change in the diversity through the use of ICT by the general population. therefore there was a need to enhance the adoption of ICTs, improve the content and digital skills for smallholder farmers in Uganda such as to mu h with the increased use of ICTs.

as the technology experts we were contracted under the collaboration of UNFFE and Eight tech to undertake the 3year program that will be focused on the use of ICT’s in agriculture, digital skilling, capacity building, farmer mobilisation among.

We are pleased to announce that the programme was officially launched this Wednesday 25th November 2020 in a function that was spear headed by the Executive Director (UCC) Eng. Irene Kaggwa Sewankambo and other delegates, together with the Eight tech and UNFFE team.

For more details about the project and launch activities please visit https://uccinfo.blog/2020/11/25/ict-for-agriculture-programme-launched-to-enhance-ict-adoption-service-delivery-content-and-digital-skills-for-smallholder-farmers/

Reasons to embrace ICT4farmers for all your agricultural needs

The UNNFE ICT4FARMERS initiative is a program whose focus is to transform small holder Agriculture into sustainable and profitable enterprise as per UNFFE 2020 vision.

The ICT4FARMERS is an initiative that every farmer and farming bodies should embrace. It has several programs that can help farmers clutch onto vitality of farming, an integrated innovative decision enhancement digital platform for agriculture. Agriculture content development, validation, certification and distribution, digital skilling of farmers and other value chain actors, awareness and ICT uptake promotion, research, advocacy and change management.

The scheme emphasizes farmer digital skilling among farmers. This is really appealing for it enables farmers acquire knowledge and ability to use digital tools and related literacy. This will elevate farmers understanding capacity to a different intensity.

The UNFFE ICT4FARMERS has multiple frameworks for farmer mobilization and strong networking policies, farmer profiling, input and output service provider, Agric enterprise selection, advisory call center services, market access services, alerts and opportunities, farm record management, resource sharing, extension service monitoring, micro weather services, and data analytics and visualization services. This is formidable than it looks and eminent than it sounds, the farmers will be able to network with other beneficial stakeholders along the value chain. The initiative is a connection link to several knowledge sharing and managing platforms that farmers should not miss out. Right marketing phenomena and policies will be introduced and undertaken, proper research on several aspects and areas of farming from several experts.

It’s amazing that the main aim of this initiative is to change every farmers lives by improving their farming systems. Professional advice from specialists is being given. Social media inclusion is being emphasized and UNFFE under the ICT4FARMERS initiativehttp://unffeict4farmers.org/ gives the basic and most efficient guidelines to take it in a more appropriate way. It so important for every farmer to embrace technology, have related training and awareness programs as far as farming is concerned. For every farmer who would want to make a positive transition and make farming better, use the ICT4FARMERS.

For details on project activities follow us on Face book: UNFFEICT4farmers @ict4farmers, twitter =@ict4farmers

For details and how to access our services and activities please contact us on info@8technologies.net, cc: cto@8technologies.net.

You can also follow us on facebook @EightTechConsultshttps://www.facebook.com/EightTechConsults/ and twitter @8TechConsultshttps://twitter.com/8TechConsults.

The Need for web presence for a business/organisation /individual.

WEB PRESENCE is simply defined as a position on world wide web where a person, business or an entity is represented OR a collection of websites on a particular subject that includes a beginning file called a home page.

Web presence is a very fundamental tool for every institution or sector. In this era where digitalization is growing at a sky-high rate, web presence is a very technical aspect that should never be given a blind eye. For any kind of business be it small scale, moderate sized or large scale it is very significant to have exposure to the online presence. Seemingly complex it is, but not so if it is given attention. Whoever has been in ponders about establishing an online presence, it’s now time to break through the inertia of action. It is a rhetoric experience to find organizations in the 21st century rigid to the old ways or means and perplexed about the digital world yet the digital and internet lunatics are celebrating the vigil of the traditional systems.

As a practice from us we make it a point that each and every one of our clients  has a well established web presence. That notwithstanding, some of the reasons as to why a web presence should be prioritized by every business, individuals and organizations include;

  • Capturing international markets. A website is a full time accessible platform on the universe in as much as internet is present. So when your product is digitalized on the web sites, every one across the world can access it and place orders without boarder limitations.
  • Facilitation of online based client interactions. When a firm, individuals, or organizations possess a web presence, it is easier to always interact with customers using chat rooms, online newsletters, forums, polls etc. this exhibits high level of customer care.
  • Facilitates a full time open business. What does this mean? Physical shops are closed for some hours of the day and a webpage is open 24/7. So when you choose to sell products online, even the sky isn’t strong enough to be the limit.
  • Strengthening brands for completion purposes. Creating big brands across the world should not be something to feel perplexed about. Just create a website and if your competitor doesn’t have one then you are already a goal ahead.
  • Creation of trust in the facets of clients. Customers feel comfortable dealing with a business that has a web presence. A website itself creates a perception of legitimacy of the venture. Many prospects will bother to do an online search about your frim and if they find nothing about you they may feel its illegitimate.
  • Opportunity to advertise. Creating an online company profile is not a waste of time, it adds value since the company has ability to promote and advertise the company in a professional and digital manner.
  • Linkage between all social media platforms i.e. twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, linkedIn, which creates more exposure and reach to your clientele.

The current covid era has established a great need for online presence with regards to the ability keep the business running as well as adhering to covid-19 SOPs. As Eight Tech Consults Ltd we provide web development services, integration with social media platforms, management and content authoring to aid you build your clientele at a sky-high level.

For details and how to access our services and activities please contact us on info@8technologies.net, cc: cto@8technologies.net.

You can also follow us on facebook @EightTechConsultshttps://www.facebook.com/EightTechConsults/ and twitter @8TechConsultshttps://twitter.com/8TechConsults.

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