The mid hours of the day Monday January 16, 2016 saw part of the RAN team at Uganda Parliament’s North Wing deeply in discussion with Hon. Rebecca Kadaga for innovation support. The RAN delegation was led by Prof. William Bazeyo, Dean Makerere University School of Public Health, RAN Chief of Party and Lab Diector. Prof. Bazeyo was flanked by Dr. Roy William Mayega, RAN Deputy Chief of Party, Hon. Vincent Woboya, Member of Parliament Budadiri County East Sironko District and a member of the Eastern Africa Resilience Innovation Lab (EA RILab) Innovations Advisory Board, Dr. Dorothy Okello, Director Innovation, Nathan Tumuhamye, Director Eastern Africa Resilience Innovation Lab (EA RILab), Deborah Naatujuna, Engagement Manager, Harriet Adong, Communications Manager and Prof. J.K Byaruhanga, the Principal Investigator on the Solar Irrigation Pump Project. “Hon. Kadaga, we came along with one of the lead innovators on one the projects under incubation in the EA RILab, Prof. Byaruhanga so that all questions raised in regards to this innovative project, he can technically respond to the same real time” noted Dr Okello. Prof. Bazeyo noted that Makerere University School of Public Health had successfully managed to sustain the Ebola outbreak within and outside Uganda and thus launching innovative solutions in Africa’s markets and beyond was yet another success story all will document under the School of Public Health with support from the Parliament and Government at large.
During this engagement, the RAN team shared with the Speaker of Parliament details about RAN’s www.ranlab.og genesis, development and growth. It was also an opportunity to highlight a few of the innovative projects under incubation at RAN including; the Improved Push and Pull Technology, Solar Dryer, RootIO-Community Radio, Maize Thresher with a winnowing component and EpiTent among others. The focus of this discussion was to share with the Speaker of Parliament several of the Agricultural related innovative projects with a transformative effect currently being supported by RAN.
Hon. Kadaga warmly welcomed the RAN Team to parliament noting that she too supports innovation so that we do not continuously rely on the external markets yet we too can creatively contribute to addressing the most pressing community challenges. “If we do not support Innovation, we will remain customers to the outside world, yet we too can innovate” shared Hon. Kadaga. She added that all Parliamentary committees needed to be engaged for innovation so that also all funds allocated to support innovation in the country are appropriately allocated. That in addition to this, her office would write to the Chairperson Office of Science and Technology to keenly follow-up on RAN activities and ensure that in the next planning cycle, RAN too is taken care of. The Parliament of Uganda is also open to joining in further publicizing the innovations under incubation at RAN and to this effect, Hon. Kadaga noted that “I want you the RAN Team to come back very soon and hold an exhibition here at Parliament. This exhibition will inform so many about what potential we have within the country and thus the need for us to further explore it”. She added that “You cannot believe how brilliant Makerere University students and faculty are”. That she once was invited to Makerere University College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology but the brains she saw and interacted with at CEDAT, were of very brilliant young, creative and energetic individuals. “Let us all embrace innovation for development” Hon. Kadaga argued the meeting participants.
With key follow-up items from Hon. Kadaga’s submission during the meeting, the RAN team immediately engaged the Speakers PPS and Public Relations Office to ascertain a possibility to have the exhibition during the scheduled Parliamentary Week, February 5th to 10th 2017 at the Parliamentary premises. These offices will revert to the RAN team and planning will commence immediately. The exhibition will be followed by several other meetings with respective Parliamentary committees to ensure that RAN activities too are taken care of moving forward. The RAN team is looking forward to leveraging further support for innovation from Parliament and all its allies.