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The College of Computing and Information Sciences (CoCIS) in partnership with Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), International Computer Driving License (ICDL), and Federation of Small & Medium Enterprises (FSME) launched a pilot digital literacy and skilling campaign for SME’s within the Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area held at Makerere University on 5th June 2018.

Some of the key Guests of Honor and speakers at the launch were Mr. Nyombi Tembo (Director, Rural Development Fund), Eng. Godfrey Mutabazi (Executive Director, UCC), Ms. Barbara Nalubega (Head of Dept., CoCIS), Assoc. Prof. G. Maiga (Dean, School of Computing and IT), Mr. Michael Niyitegeka (Country Manager, ICDL, Uganda), and Mr. Phillip Ssekimpi Kakembo (Chairperson Uganda Tailor’s Association).

The objective of launching the five weeks Digital Literacy skills training was to help entrepreneurs with small/medium businesses embrace ICT and make themselves competitive with their counterparts all over the world.

A 2015 study by the Federation of Small and Medium Enterprises (FSME) indicated that only 9% of the 300 businesses interviewed in Uganda have their contacts listed online, 6% advertise online and 22% admitted to having basic computer knowledge.

At least 14% confirmed having benefited from their online engagement, while 73% admitted that digital illiteracy was hindering them from running their businesses effectively hence the need to embrace digital operations for future growth.

According to Eng. Godfrey Mutabazi, the digital skills will foster entrepreneurship, innovation and boost competitiveness of the Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises and is targeting 1000 entrepreneurs in Kampala, Mukono, Entebbe and Wakiso regions.

Digital Citizen is a curriculum specifically developed by ICDL to cater for those with no experience whatsoever of computers. This curriculum introduced the participants to basic concepts of using a computer, using the internet, creating and accessing emails, using social media, and creating files and folders.

The project was coordinated by the FSME an established umbrella body for Small and Medium Enterprises in Uganda, training facilitated by the Centre for Innovations and Professional Skills Development (CiPSD) at the College while funding was provided by UCC under the Rural Development Fund.

 

 

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 The College of Computing and Information Sciences through its Centre for Innovations and Professional Skills Development conducted a free three-day Digital skills training for members of the Federation for Small & Medium Enterprises (FSME). The objective of the training that occurred between the 25th and 27th June 2018 was twofold; 

1.       Equip business entrepreneurs with the necessary ICT skills that will enable them to compete in to today’s digital economy.

2.       The Centre to implement its Corporate Social Responsibility by reaching out to the community and providing digital literacy skills.

The training which is one of the curriculums within the Cisco Networking Academy is a self-paced course designed for beginners who have no computer knowledge. The course therefore gives one the opportunity to learn about computer basics, Internet navigation, the use of emails, embrace social media tools. The training attracted approximately 190 participants, 61% of which were females ranging from diverse background i.e. tailors and hairdressers.

The training was facilitated by Mr. Robert Tuhaise (Deputy HOD, CiPSD) and Mr. Chares Halonda-Funa (Ag. Communications & Business Development Officer) with support from CiPSD administrative staff and interns. It was deemed a success since all participants got the opportunity to demystify ICT by actually getting to use a computer, create email accounts, access their Cisco Get Connected profiles, provide course feedback etc.

The biggest challenge faced during the training was the with participants more comfortable interacting in the local language than English and so used an interpreter to ease delivery of the training.  Other than that, the smiles on their faces at the end of the training said it all with a majority pledging to return for additional trainings in the future.

The training ended with the participants being handed and walking away proudly with certificates from the Academy. The certificates were proof that they were actually digitally skilled and ready to take on the digital world. Due to the success and large turnout of participants for this training the Academy has embarked on providing similar opportunities to others in the near future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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GET CONNECTED

Written by Wednesday, 17 January 2018 12:27 Published in News Details comment

The College of Computing and IS through its Centre for Innovations and Professional Skills Department (CiPSD) conducted a one-week ICT skills training workshop from the 11th – 15th Dec 2017. The training was part of the College’s community outreach initiative to give back to the Makerere University community. The overall main objective of the training was to impart ICT skills to the youth of Uganda and empower them to realize the potential of ICT in unlocking their career paths for the future. The training was facilitated through by a Cisco grant that was awarded to the Cisco Networking Academy within CiPSD

The training targeted Primary 7, Senior 4 and 6 vacists and other interested youth. A total of 80 participants registered and participated in the training. During the orientation session, Mr. Robert Tuhaise (Legal Main Contact, Cisco Networking Academy) welcomed the participants and encouraged them to take this time and fully utilize this opportunity to understand what role ICT has to play in their future.

 

The one-week training session was customized around a Cisco Networking Academy programme called Get Connected. The Academy firmly believes in basic technology skills as essential for anyone who wants to participate and compete in today’s digital economy. Get Connected therefore introduced the participants to basic computer and Internet navigation skills. Some of these ICT skills included;

·         Identify different types of computer systems, components, printers, and other devices.
·         Understand Microsoft Windows and how to work with files and folders.
·         Understand computer networking, how to browse and search the Internet, and how to use email.
·         Create accounts for Gmail, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube.
·         Identify common problems and implement simple solutions for hardware, software, and networks.

  The facilitator’s during this training were all recognized Academy instructors namely; Mr. Robert Tuhaise (CCNP Instructor), Mr. Charles Halonda-Funa (ITE Instructor), Mr. Stuart Ssebulime (CCNA Instructor) and Ms. Barbara Nalubega (CCNA Instructor). The training sessions were 100% hands on and conducted from 8:30 am – 1:00 pm. The response and interest shown by the participants during the training was so positive that some of the training sessions would end at 2:00 pm.

 

At the end of the training participants were issued with Certificates of Completion but not before getting a few words of advice from Prof. Tonny Oyana (Principal, CoCIS). But before giving his remarks and advice, he randomly selected some of the participants to briefly introduce themselves and mention something that makes them happy. One of the participants, Mangusho Joram was happy to have received the opportunity to get ICT skills training while others promised to return for more training.

In his closing remarks Prof. Tonny Oyana encouraged the participants to embrace the ICT skills they had received, build on their self-confidence and communication skills and lastly earn to thrive in today’s world.

 

 

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AirQo Monitor – a low cost air pollution monitoring technology.  Researchers at the College of Computing and Information Sciences have developed low-cost air monitoring devices to measure air quality.  Researchers have innovatively deployed a network of air quality monitors on boda-bodas and street lights and buildings in selected areas of Kampala city to produce a detailed and near real-time map of air pollution map.

The research team is led by Department of Computer Science Associate Professor Engineer Bainomugisha in partnership with Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA), and University of Sheffield. Each AirQo monitor remotely sends air quality data for mapping and analytics. The air quality data includes levels of Particulate Matter (PM) particles of sizes 1, 10 & 2.5 micrometers, which are considered a key indicator of air quality. These particles are small enough to enter the lungs and cause major health problems. To put it in context, the diameter of a single human hair is about 30 times larger than PM 2.5 particle. The AirQo can be customized to measure other major health damaging pollutants including Sulphur Dioxide, Nitrogen Dioxide and Carbon Monoxide.

 The WHO considers air pollution a major health and environmental risk, yet there is no regular air pollution monitoring or research into its spatial distribution in Kampala and other major cities in Uganda. This leaves citizens in the dark about their exposure.  The researchers believe that there is an urgent unmet need to identify the sources and quantify the scale of air pollution, its spatial and temporal distribution and causes. This is vital if we are to motivate the changes required to reduce or better manage the air pollution problem.

The AirQo innovation is a major improvement over the traditional air pollution monitors and deployment models. Air quality monitoring equipment has traditionally been prohibitively expensive and complex. Setting up a single air quality monitoring station currently costs over 150 thousand dollars. The AirQo innovation uniquely combines a cost-effective low-cost air monitors and use of mobile objects such as boda-bodas for collecting air quality data. Boda-bodas in Kampala are re-known to reach almost everywhere thus providing more fine-grained spatial data than you can ever collect with traditional monitoring equipment.

So far, the team has collected over one million records of data about air quality in Kampala.   The team believes that system’s low cost will ensure a long-term sustainable deployment, with data provided to the population through mobile phones, websites and social media. “Our innovation allows citizens make informed decisions. Citizens can where to use the information to decide where live and the school to send children to,” said Associate Professor Engineer Bainomugisha. “Policy makers will be equipped with scientific evidence on the magnitude, scale and sources of air pollution so as to better manage, regulate and contain the problem” More project information available at www.airqo.net

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GetIN app Launched

Written by Thursday, 16 November 2017 08:26 Published in News Details comment

Getin app screenshot
The GetIN app is an online platform for health care providers to strengthen the linkage between health care providers and young pregnant women. The idea was developed during the UNFPA Hack for Youth Global challenge that took place at the Sheraton Hotel, Kampala in July 2015.
The team has six members namely; Penninah Tomusange (Programme Analyst, UNFPA), Gift Mbabazi (BA Industrial Phycology), Kirabo Hope (BA Industrial Phycology), Businge Joshua (BCSC Graduate 2016), Abdu Sekalala (Technical Developer), and Donald Rukanga Waruhanga  (BCSC).

Training community health workers

With mentors from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), UNFPA staff, and Assoc. Prof. Engineer Bainomugisha (HoD, Computer Science) for his mentorship, research, and understanding of the problem scope they commenced work in November 2015. They visited Kanungu to carry out a pretest of the prototype they had developed and also get feedback from the intended users (i.e. midwives and Village Health worker's).
Two years down the road and the team launched their Getin app on Thursday, 2nd November 2017 after training Community Health Workers and Midwives and giving them phones to "map" expectant young


Article published in the New Vision newspaper

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Research Methodology Workshop

Written by Thursday, 09 November 2017 07:52 Published in News Details comment

The Research Methodology workshop took place on the 8th Nov 2017 at the College of Computing and IS and hosted by the School of Computing and Informatics Technology (SCIT).
The objective of the workshop was to provide an opportunity for Ph.D. research students to interact with the keynote speaker Prof. Henk G. Sol, provide an insight into research strategies, and an opportunity to present their research papers. In attendance for the workshop were Prof. Tonny Oyana (Principal, CoCIS), Assoc. Prof. G. Maiga (Dean, SCIT), Dr. Paul Ssemaluulu and Ph.D. research students.

In officially declaring the workshop open the Principal emphasized on the fact that the objective of pursuing a Ph.D. degree was to add the vast body of knowledge and not specifically to get rich. He encouraged the participants to not focusing on only teaching but endeavor to focus on research and writing as many papers as possible. Assoc. Prof. the moderator for the workshop then called upon Prof. Henk Sol to deliver his presentation on Navigating in the Sea of Information: Ennovations for Delivering Shared Value. His presentation focused on enhancing decisions that matter as a major challenge in our ambient society, where we have to navigate in the sea of information to deliver shared value. Agile, analytic, big, intelligent, smart, sustainable data describe the potential for decision enhancement.

Prof. Henk G. Sol presenting

He also spoke about delivering shared value calls for: conversations to collectively identify locally relevant problems, governance to make political and administrative decisions about tackling such problems and engaged innovations to develop localized solutions. Prof. Henk G. Sol additionally mentioned the COLLAGEN (Collective Learning and Agile Governance Environment) approach that provides a set of services for scoping, facilitation and enhancement of decision-making processes, packed into decision apps and providing guidelines for conversational inquiry. The approach he mentioned supports smart governance for policy development and engaged implementation, and delivers shared value to resolve issues that matter in society.

Professor Henk G. Sol challenged the academia to undertake research and create solutions in areas of agricultural information services, disaster preparedness, health as well as governance. He recommended that Uganda needs to focus on sustainable initiatives which also require incentives for both public and private sectors.

Hasifa Namatovu presenting her research concept

During the workshop several Ph.D research students also presented their concept and research papers namely;

  •          Enhancing Maternity and Postnatal Care Decisions Among Pregnant Women by Hasifah Kasujja
  •          Spatial-temporal and System Dynamics Model for Disease Surveillance: A Case of Nodding Syndrome by Ongaya Kizito

During the presentations and Q/A sessions participants provided positive criticism that was well received and in closing, Prof. Henk G. Sol thanked and appreciated all that transpired and was looking forward to more similar workshops in the future.

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The DI research group hosted a talk/seminar session on Thursday 2nd November (11:00 - 12:30pm). The speaker was Dr Julius Otim – the current Manager of Medical Health Services at Kampala City Central Authority (KCCA). He is a medical doctor by profession and a public health specialist and oversees all health facilities under KCCA ensuring;

  • Quality Assurance
  • Implementing Service Delivery programs and
  • Health Research plans

He has previously worked with Marie Stopes Uganda as a Quality Assurance Manager, Malaria Consortium as a Technical Team Leader and as a District Health Officer for Kumi District (Local Government). He is also a life member of the Uganda Red Cross Society, a Board Member of Makerere University Hospital and a member of the National Task Force on Non-Communicable diseases.
During his presentation Dr. Otim highlighted a number of health challenges that ICTs can contribute towards and identified possible areas of collaboration with KCCA. In attendance were Masters and Ph.D researchers from the College who interacted with him and provided feedback. Some of the feedback included;

  • Guidelines and procedures to follow in creating a partnership (MOU) between the College and KCCA.
  • How to source for funding on the discussed research projects through current partners of KCCA i.e. Infectious Disease Institute (IDI), Intra Health – Uganda Capacity Program, Joint Clinical Research Centre (JCRC) etc.
  • Setup a technical group between KCCA and SCIT that can assist in streamlining the use of ICT to address the objectives, challenges of KCCA as well as enhance their public health services.

 

The seminar concluded with closing remarks from Dr. Rehema Baguma, who on behalf of all participants appreciated the eye opener into the challenges faced by KCCA but also not noted the potential ICT has to offer to address the issues. She also thanked Dr. Otim for taking the time out to honor the invite and looked forward to a strong positive future collaboration between the College and KCCA.

 

 

 

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The team led by Dr. Ssekakubo (Africa Development Bank), Prof. P. Muyinda (Principal, College of Education and External Studies) Dr. John Okuonzi (Kyambogo University), and Sybyl former Computer Point (Project contractors) met with College Representatives Assoc. Prof. Gilbert Maiga and Dr. Florence Kivunike (Head of ICT Support Services) to appraise the donation of 200 thin client computers, 6 servers and 4 switches to setup a new computer laboratory at the College.
The Support to Higher Education, Science and Technology (HEST) Project aims to contribute to building Uganda’s human capital skills development capacity—particularly in education, science and technology—to respond to labor market demands and spur productivity nationally. Its objective is to improve equitable access, quality and relevance of skills training and research leading to job creation and self-employment. It involves the active participation of six public universities and two degree awarding tertiary institutions in skills training, at the various levels of higher learning. The strategic outcomes of the project are access to HEST and information and communication technology (ICT) for delivery of HEST and improved quality and relevance of HEST in target public universities and degree-awarding tertiary institutions, leading to stronger links to the productive sector. The project is aligned to the country’s National Development Plan 2010/2011–2014/2015 that aims at making Uganda an industrialized economy in 2025 through the provision of higher level skills.
The team concluded the visit by getting the opportunity to tour some of the latest research project going on at the College specifically in the Artificial intelligence Lab.

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Big Ideas Challenge Info Session

Written by Thursday, 12 October 2017 06:52 Published in News Details comment

Big Ideas is an annual contest aimed at providing funding, support, and encouragement to interdisciplinary teams of students who have “big ideas.” Since its founding in 2006, Big Ideas has inspired innovative and high-impact student-led projects aimed at solving problems that matter to this generation. By encouraging novel proposals and then supporting concrete next steps, Big Ideas is helping contest winners make an impact all over the world.
The infrastructure of this contest is made possible through the generous support of the Andrew & Virginia Rudd Family Foundation.
Big Ideas also connects students with the mentorship, training, and resources needed to successfully conceptualize, deploy, and scale social innovations. It is open to undergraduate and graduate students with creative solutions that address social challenges, the contest awards up to $300,000 in prizes across 40-50 winning teams annually.
By leveraging the creativity of students and the power of competition to drive innovation, Big Ideas creates lasting, positive and impactful social change—empowering a new generation of social innovators.

For additional details :Click the link here

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Launch of the Makerere Innovations and Incubation Centre

Written by Wednesday, 11 October 2017 08:11 Published in News Details comment

The Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development (MFPED), through the Competitiveness and Investment Climate Strategy (CICS) secretariat, in partnership with Makerere University, College of Computing and Information Science (COCIS) following a stakeholders meeting in July 2016 finally launched the Makerere Innovation and Incubation Centre on 5th October 2017.
The aim of the Centre is to provide a vehicle for nurturing talent in products development using ICT/BPO, bridging the gap between the innovators/investors/consumers, and providing mentorship for creative developers interested in finding solutions to the many challenges faced in the country.
Present during the launch were the Guest of Honor Dr. Ajedra Gabriel (Finance State Minister for General Duties), Dr. Peter Ngategize (National Coordinator, Ministry of Finance), Assoc. Prof. Eria Hisali (Principal, College of Business and Management Sciences), Prof. Tonny Oyana (Principal, College of Computing and IS) and other invited guests. During his speech Assoc. Prof. Eria Hisali representing the Vice Chancellor (Makerere University) thanked government for their support specifically to the ICT sector and reiterated that the innovations developed will address challenges faced in the areas of Education, Health and Agriculture.
After several other speeches by key stakeholders the launch of the Centre officially closed with a cocktail that gave invited guests the opportunity to network and meet and greet.

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