Joanitah N Nalubega is an industrial chemist and passionate technologist. Joanitah works daily with young innovators and curious technologists at Clarke International University to grow their skill and tool sets for the future of ICT for Development. She has been involved with the development of health technologies in the past two years and is currently pursuing a Master’s in Public Health to enable her work even further. Joanitah will host the maiden Africa Science Week in Uganda this year, in collaboration with local partners.
In 2017 Uganda launched four Higher Education Africa Centers of Excellence as part of the Eastern and Southern Africa Higher Education Centers of Excellence Project, an initiative of the World Bank and participating governments in order to support quality postgraduate education, foster collaborative research and innovation focusing on Agro-ecology & Livelihood Systems, Pharm-Biotechnology & Traditional Medicine, Materials, and Product Development & Nanotechnology.
Prior to this in 2016, the government of Uganda established a Ministry of Science Technology and Innovation to provide policy guidance and coordination of scientific research and support the development of scientific innovation of, an especially youthful population. This ministry would join the Ministry of ICT and National Guidance which has formerly supported the development of technological advancements in the country, most recently breaking ground on a government sponsored technology incubation centers to ease the pressure of a growing legion of innovative and inventive youth on the smaller privately owned incubation spaces in the country’s capital.
Despite great effort and resources being diverted to support science education, innovation and research in Uganda, the country is yet to reap fully from the brilliance of the scientists it produces. This is largely due to an increasingly restrictive and inhibitive policy environment. Newly enacted laws such as those that impose taxes on accessing social media and Instant Messaging platforms, the use of mobile money platforms continue to threaten development of new-age technologies in Uganda.
Though a majorly theoretical school curriculum in Uganda does little to encourage interest in scientific pursuits in children as it is difficult for them to relate their class work to their lives, programs like those of Fundibots and Nile Explorer Science Hubs remain a beacon of hope in allowing school children an experiential science education but still need a lot of support to reach majority of children.