Makerere University Professor visits Iowa State University

November 7, 2017

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ Global Programs along with Gail Nonnecke are hosting Professor Donald Kugonza from Makerere University in Uganda. Donald is visiting Iowa State University as an affiliation of the Iowa State University and Makerere University Service Learning, School Garden Program.  The bi-national program includes Iowa State and Makerere University students and faculty, who work with Iowa State University-Uganda Program staff in the Kamuli District of Uganda for six weeks each summer. Uganda is one of the countries located in East Africa.

Donald currently lives in Kampala, the capital of Uganda, where he is a professor in Animal Science and Agriculture at Makerere University, specializing in animal breeding and beekeeping. Donald received his bachelor’s in Agriculture, master’s of Animal Science and a PhD specializing in animal breeding and genetics from Makerere University. Most recently, Donald received his MBA through online courses at Amity Business School in India, so that he would better understand the organizational politics and professional ethics while participating on several boards and committees in Uganda.

During his visit to Iowa, Donald attended the World Food Prize in Des Moines, Iowa where he was able to attend many lectures and symposiums throughout the week. The theme of the World Food Prize Borlaug Dialogue International Symposium this year was on poverty and the discussion on “The Road out of Poverty”. Donald found this theme to hit home as this is a very real issue in Uganda and one of the main initiatives of the ISU- Uganda Program in the Kamuli District. Donald also was able to talk with students he knew from the district that have participated in the service learning program over the past years and was able to see some of those students receive awards at the event. Donald also had the opportunity to talk with students from Drake University at the Heartland Global Health Consortium  on the topic of “Healthy Water, Healthy World: Water Sustainability for Global Health” which is also a main initiative in the Kamuli District. During the consortium, Donald was able to describe the boreholes that were created in the district that produce safe drinking water and also promote proper hygiene and sanitation practices to help families maintain healthier and more productive lives. 

While on campus, Donald has had the opportunity to work with Gail on further developing the service learning in Uganda as well as bringing a real world experience to several of the Global Resource Systems and Honors Program classes, where he talked about water quality, food and nutrition, gender issues, and sustainable development principles. While working with Gail, Donald feels that he has learned many things including some new teaching skills that he plans to use when he returns to his classroom in Uganda. Donald said, “By watching Gail, I have learned how to engage more with students in the classroom and have received a better understanding of the importance to having students work in groups.” Donald also had the opportunity to co-present the “Uganda School Garden Service Learning Program: 12 Years of Bi-national Service and Learning” Seminar and Poster Session which was held on Monday, October 23rd.

Donald will return to Uganda on Monday, October 30th to continue teaching his classes and also to attend the college-wide seminar about the 2017 service learning program by Makerere University students.  He and his colleagues will start the interview process to select the Uganda students who are interested in participating in the 2018 service learning program. There are typically 40 applicants for the service learning, but with the expected completion of the new training center, Donald expects close to 100 applicants with only about 16 students selected. Donald has enjoyed his second visit to Iowa State University, first time in 2013 when he received an invitation from the Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods to work with the Animal Science Department and conducted farm and industry visits. He sincerely appreciates all of the faculty and staff who have helped make his visit exceptional, including, Gail Nonnecke, Dorothy Masinde, Max Rothschild, Curtis Youngs, Dick Schultz, Tom Brumm, Julie Blanchong, Kevin Duerfeldt, Catherine Swoboda, John T. MacDonald and many others.