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Makerere students on drive to rejuvenate their reputation

By Sarah Mazirwe

Added 24th September 2019 02:03 PM

The campaign was spearheaded by the guild president, Julius Katerega and 85th guild at the Ivory Tower, dubbed Mak Connect Initiative, which saw cleaning of halls of residence, Kikumi Kikumi, Kikoni, some parts of Wandegeya and Katanga and planting of trees.

Makerere students on drive to rejuvenate their reputation

Kabagambe with students carrying garbage (Photos by Sarah Mazirwe)

The campaign was spearheaded by the guild president, Julius Katerega and 85th guild at the Ivory Tower, dubbed Mak Connect Initiative, which saw cleaning of halls of residence, Kikumi Kikumi, Kikoni, some parts of Wandegeya and Katanga and planting of trees.

KAMPALA-"At first when I saw students in their gowns moving towards this side shouting ‘Makerere Oyee', I held my phones tightly and hid this one (smartphone) in the socks, I knew it was a strike  again, I am very aware of what it is to meet Makerere striking students," Bosco Oico, a resident of Kikumi Kikumi said.

Oico said, he was rather impressed to find them cleaning up places and picking up polythene bags with no signs of people running away from them.

"When they moved nearer, I realised, each of them were carrying brooms, and others white sacks and I was a bit impressed, for the years I have stayed here, I have always seen them striking in those red gowns," Oico said.

This was on Saturday when a section of Makerere University (MAK) students launched a clean-up and greening campaign to revive the reputation of the students by the communities around Makerere.

The campaign was spearheaded by the guild president, Julius Katerega and 85th guild at the Ivory Tower, dubbed Mak Connect Initiative, which saw cleaning of halls of residence, Kikumi Kikumi, Kikoni, some parts of Wandegeya and Katanga and planting of trees.

Katerega said the drive is in a bid to change what has been perceived of them when they are in the red gowns".

Students with Dean of Students cleaning up in Katanga

"It is wrong for people to perceive us as hooligans, we are killing the stereotype that MAK students are known for only bad manners, we are the intellectuals, the most brilliant in our generation, we want people to appreciate our efforts in the development of Uganda," Kateregga said.

The students, in bid to tackle climate change, together with the Dean of Students; Cyriako Kabagambe planted trees in strategic places in Wangeyega, Kikumi kikumi, Kikoni and inside the university premises, which would be maintained by the university students.  

He also requested National Forestry Authority (NFA) to avail them with two forests in the metropolitan area for students to plant trees.

"We have asked NFA to help and identify two forests that need reforestation in Wakiso and Mukono and give it to MAK students for free and we plant their trees in October," Katerega added.

Kabagambe applauded the students for reestablishing their relationship with the locals through community service, which relationship, he says has been messy over time.

"Our students have always moved out the university in red gowns when they are in chaos and striking, it's really good to see them, planting trees and cleaning the environment and engaging the residents peacefully," Kabagambe said.

However, one of the onlookers in Wandegeya, Umar Kato said, the initiative would have been sustainably effective if it was two-way; collaborating the students and the community.

He said the students would have first engaged the locals, to make them learn from them and practice good practices of waste disposal and management.

 "They needed to have first sensitized the people around here, who dump those garbage in trenches and roads, it makes no sense because by evening, the place would be littered again, they would have educated them about proper waste disposal, how to dump and effects of littering the environment for their project to be effective," Kato noted.

In July this year, Webometrics ranking of world Universities placed MAK at the 16th position, which was largely attributed to strikes.

 

 

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