The 5th annual College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology (CEDAT) open day and fashion show took place on Friday October 21st, 2016 to Saturday October 22nd 2016 at Makerere University. This event provides an opportunity for students and staff to exhibit and showcase all the innovative projects they are working on. In the same vein, it is an opportunity for the stakeholders to see the first-hand potential available for technological transformation of Uganda. This year, the open day activities were guided by the theme: “Addressing Unemployment among the Youth through Technological Innovation and Advancement”. Uganda’s First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports, Hon. Janet Kataaha Museveni graced the occasion as Chief Guest.
The event was kick started by opening remarks from the Dean, School of Built Environment- Dr. Henry Alinaitwe represented by the Ag. Principal, Eng. Dr. Assoc. Prof. Barnabas Nawangwe who is also Makerere University’s Deputy Vice Chancellor in-charge of Finance and Administration. Dr. Alinaitwe had travelled to represent CEDAT on a special mission directed towards leveraging a collaboration with universities in Russia. In his speech, Assoc. Prof. Nawangwe cordially welcomed the Hon. Minister and Chief Guest to Makerere University and in particular to CEDAT. He also thanked the students, faculty and the Makerere fraternity for organizing the Open Day aimed at disseminating all the research and innovations being conducted and groomed in the college. He also informed the gathering that through the two days exhibition, the students would share the knowledge and skills they have acquired as well as their plans to contribute to the technological transformation in this country and beyond. He paid tribute to the Government of Uganda for supporting innovations not only in CEDAT but the entire University through the Presidential Science Initiative. Makerere University’s Vice Chancellor Prof. John Dumba-Ssentamu later also officially welcomed and recognized the presence of the Hon. Janet Kataaha Museveni noting that, “CEDAT among other colleges has significantly contributed to the rise in the University ranking as well as the efforts aimed at promoting Makerere University as a higher institution of learning” therefore, there is need to further encourage students and faculty to innovate for the technological transformation of the country, Africa and the globe as a whole. It was then his pleasure to welcome Hon. Kataaha to speak to the Open Day participants.
The Chief Guest begun by appreciating the CEDAT Open Day organizers for the work well done. “I am impressed by the quality of innovations and research exhibited by students here” she added. She additionally encouraged everybody to take off time to physically witness and engage with the student’s innovations and projects that were being showcased. “The young generation of scientists has a role to play in the technological transformation of Uganda, the students in CEDAT constitute the generation of change makers in Uganda and the Government of Uganda shall continue to offer full support to the field of research and innovations” remarked Hon. Kataaha. Immediately after her speech, Hon. Kataaha toured over 25 exhibition stalls at the Open Day. The students were happy and motivated witnessing the Hon Minister touring the stalls in company of their Vice Chancellor. “Can you imagine? When I was explaining to the Hon. Minister our innovation, the Vice Chancellor listened keenly and followed each process. I am convinced that he has understood the innovation processes involved. I am happy to be associated with this exhibition, what a rich opportunity “remarked one of the excited student exhibitor. Hon. Kataaha left after touring all the exhibition stalls giving an opportunity for the rest of the Open Day participants to deeply engage and or interview the exhibitors on how their innovations actually work. This engagement was done throughout the 2 days.
The ResilientAfrica Network (RAN) team also actively joined in the open day activities to showcase some of the projects showcased at the CEDAT included; the Low Cost Solar Irrigation pump, an Improved Sewing Machine, iLabs Project that develops remote Laboratories on the iLabs Platform to supplement the conventional Laboratories, the presidential initiative project, ARMS project, MAKA pads, industrial parks project, netlabs Uganda project among others. Some of these are under incubation in RAN’s Eastern Africa Resilience Innovation Lab.
In the RAN stall too, participants were engaged on other existing opportunities for students, faculty and the community including the Big Ideas challenge. All were encouraged to submit pre-proposals of their innovations and informed that RAN was very excited to support them in writing winning proposals to leverage additional support even for scale of the innovative solutions under development.