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UMI, RED CROSS MOVE TO DEEPEN COOPERATION AS NKATA, KWESIGA SIGN OFF MEMO OF UNDERSTANDING

By Mulengera Reporters

On Friday, Uganda Red Cross Society (URCS) Secretary General Robert Kwesiga led a delegation of URCS officials to the headquarters of Uganda Management Institute (UMI) along Jinja Road where a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed, unveiled, explained and popularized among key stakeholders.

This was an additional step in efforts being undertaken to formalize and consolidate collaboration and relationship which has been ongoing for the last 6 years between the two public institutions. On the other hand was the Director General Dr. James Nkata who spoke and signed the MoU on behalf of UMI for which he serves as CEO.

Under the MoU, the two organizations will work together on a number of mutually beneficial areas including undertaking research proposal-writing and capacity building programs for their respective staff, clients and other stakeholders in all study and research activities relating to health emergencies and disaster response services targeting communities where the most vulnerable persons live or work.

Whereas UMI, established under an Act of Parliament in 1969, is charged with spearheading public administration and management training in this country, URCS (established in 1964, five years earlier) is mandated with the coordination of humanitarian responses in Uganda. It executes its mandate through the 51 branches it has across the country where UMI equally serves citizens through its study centers or campuses situated in key major upcountry towns like Mbarara, Mbale and others. They are both public institutions established through an Act of Parliament.

The MoU, that was proclaimed on Friday by both Kwesiga and Nkata, representing the respective institutions, indicates that the two will leverage on each other’s strengths, resources, public good will and investments to pursue “broadly-scooped collaboration” focused on capacity building and knowledge transfer/exchanges. This must benefit their respective staff, clients and the general public or other stakeholders.

The MoU, which Dr. Nkata says is only being enacted to formalize what has been an ongoing relationship, is placed against an understanding that URCS has some practical experiences in areas UMI would like to research into to enable the GoU begin to undertake evidence-based policy making and formulation in areas like health emergencies and disaster response.

The same MoU also obliges UMI to put in place short courses and other training programs aimed at making URCS staffers more efficient and responsive to contemporary challenges in their respective areas of operation or work. In return, the URCS is obliged to open up as much as possible to enable UMI students/participants or trainees and staff to leverage on its 51 branches network and wide reach across the country while conducting internship and hand-on training.

Yet that isn’t all. The two organizations can have their staff work together to respond to calls for funding proposal adverts that keep coming from research-funding agencies like USAID. This is supposed to increase the competitiveness of such proposals and thereby culminating into a win-win situation. One of the anticipated outcomes will be the activating of a Uganda Red Cross Youth Link by UMI while leveraging on the URCS’s Kampala Branch.

Under the MoU, UMI staff and trainees will become more visible and involved in URCS’s outreach activities and emergency health interventions like blood donation drives. The UMI students involved in such activities and other placement initiatives at the 51 Red Cross branches will be expected to deepen experiential learning. The UMI students and staff will also benefit a lot from occupational health-related experiences and expertise which Red Cross has in plenty.

The Red Cross officials will also be engaged to serve as facilitators, resource persons and discussants at the policy dialogues which UMI hosts on a monthly basis. This will be applicable whenever the topics to be dialogued upon relate to areas like health emergencies and disaster response where Red Cross has specialized knowledge and experiences to share. Where UMI students and staff get any training-related services from URCS, the same will be heavily subsidized and discounted and vice-versa under the MoU terms.

URCS staff will also be enabled to have some of their research findings published in the highly coveted and prestigious academic journals which UMI policy researchers and scholars publish from time to time. There is simply much more contained in the MoU whose implementation both Nkata and Kwesiga hoped will lead to mutually beneficial outcomes that can prompt other similarly-placed public institutions to consider doing the same. (For comments on this story, call, text or whatsapp us on 0705579994, 0779411734, 0200900416 or email us at mulengeranews@gmail.com).

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