Annual International Cultural Boma opens at Makerere university

Annual International Cultural Boma opens at Makerere university
Some of the participants at Annual International Cultural Boma at Makerere university
Some of the participants at Annual International Cultural Boma at Makerere university

The annual international cultural ‘Boma’ has opened at the College of Veterinary Medicine Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB) with over 300 participants from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Somalia, Germany, Canada, Italy and United States of America.

The 3-day event is a component of the Summer School program organized by CoVAB and her partners. It takes place every June with students from American and regional universities including Makerere University converging at CoVAB for an exciting program designed to equip them with knowledge and skills in animal production, disease surveillance and public health.

The course also exposes the participants to experiential learning with field trips to Eastern and Western Uganda to learn about wildlife and eco-system health management while getting an insight into Ugandan culture and systems.

This year, the 19 participants of the Summer School program are from United States of America, Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya, and Ethiopia involved in veterinary medicine, public health, laboratory diagnosis and related fields.

Students undertaking the Masters of Infectious Diseases Management program at CoVAB are also among the Summer School participants.

Speaking at the opening of the ‘Boma’ held under the theme“Enhancing North-South Collaborative opportunities for training, Research and Outreach for Development, Prof. David Owiny, Dean School of Biosecurity, Biotechnical and Laboratory Sciences (CoVAB) said that the idea of a summer school started 8 years ago with the first one attracting 3 students compared to this year’s 19 participaticipants.

The Summer school runs for 3 weeks and usually concludes with an International Cultural ‘Boma’ and a scientific conference.

“The word ‘Boma’ is an African word meaning the transfer of knowledge from elders to the young ones and it happens in a relaxed environment by a fireplace when the moon is bright”, explained Prof. Owiny.

True to its definition, this year’s ‘Boma’ is characterised by several enriching and exciting presentations from accomplished academicians, practitioners, researchers in various fields ranging from gender, business, communication, disease surveillance and investigations, among others.

All the partnering Universities had an opportunity to present on possible areas of collaborations in their respective universities.

These included; University of Saskatchewan, University of Missouri, Michigan State University, Mississippi State University, Iowa State University, Washington State and Columbus State University as well as the regional Universities of Nairobi, Rwanda, Sokoine University of Agriculture and Mekelle University.

Prof. John David Kabasa, Principal CoVAB gave an enlightening presentation on opportunities for international collaborations within Africa and Makerere University with particular emphasis on CoVAB.

The participating universities are members of the Africa-United States Integrated Diseases Management (AFRUS-IDM) supported by Higher Education for Development.

The AFRUS – IDM network is a strong collaboration of partner Higher Education (HE) institutions both in US and Africa that has been established to advance HED-led Development in Africa.

This network has been built over 4 years of programming and hard work that has borne a successful proposal for planning and now for Higher Education for Development in East and Central Africa funded through USAID. Prof. Owiny thanked the funders and leading partner of the ‘Boma’; USAID-HED and Mississippi State University respectively for making it possible for the ‘Boma’ to take place at CoVAB.

The Summer School will conclude with a 2 day scientific conference aimed at providing an opportunity for dissemination of research outputs in integrated diseases management.

Also present at the ‘Boma’ are local partners such us Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industries and Fisheries, Ministry of Health, National Livestock Research Institute, National Agricultural Research Organization, District Local Government officials and the Uganda National Council for Higher Education.

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