The Partner Programme with Mountains of the Moon University (MMU) essentially targets capacity building and institutional strengthening in areas that are relevant to MMU as well as the community it serves. The programme that was launched in 2013 has already influenced changes at MMU and a notable success was the acquisition of a University Charter before the end of Phase 1. This is remarkable because it was one of the objectives that the programme set out to realise within 12 years of collaboration, and yet it happened half way this period. This was attributed to investments made in human resource capacity building, establishment of science laboratories, library upgrade, improvement in ICT infrastructure and enhanced community engagement. Going forward, the programme builds upon prior success by way of consolidation, deepening and further valorising the outputs of its projects.
Therefore, in its second phase of implementation, the programme aims at strengthening the academic capacity of MMU by developing the culture of integration of research with teaching and community engagement. It is anticipated that this transformation will better position MMU as an effective agent of change and a partner with farmer communities and other stakeholders to promote adoption sustainable agricultural practices, hence ultimately influencing the standard of living of people in Rwenzori Region. There are still two core projects that contribute the overall objectives of the Partner Programme. The first project is titled “Action research and community engagement” and specifically targets strengthening MMU’s ability to develop and deliver innovative solutions in dairy nutrition, dairy-water management, aquaculture-water management and soil fertility management so as to promote sustainable agriculture in the Rwenzori region. Concurrently, the project also aims at empowering farmers in the Rwenzori region to be able to successfully improve their farming practices linked to dairy nutrition, dairy as well as aquaculture water management and soil fertility management aspects for increased productivity and income. The second project titled “Transversal Institutional Strengthening”, is strategically linked with the first one and both complement each other in unique ways. It specifically aims at building competencies of university staff to become more efficient and effective in performing institutional roles of teaching, research and community engagement to promote adoption of sustainable agricultural practices.
After acquiring a Charter status, MMU is expected to continue maintaining and exceeding the requirements and standards of academic excellence set by the National Council for Higher Education in Uganda. It must ensure it provides education at university standards; provide facilities for, and encourage, study and research; encourage the advancement and development of knowledge, and its application to government, industry, commerce and the community. Therefore, the programme specifically targets and makes a significant contribution to all these aspects as further elaborated in both projects. There is a particular emphasis on improvement of teaching as well as curricula offered by reinforcing the linkages with current research so as to address prevailing needs of different stakeholders. In addition, the programme seeks to advance the outreach function of MMU by establishing mechanisms in which research outputs can be translated and disseminated in ways apprehensible to target beneficiaries for development change. Finally, the programme acts as a benchmark or gateway for MMU to develop a culture of continuously seeking external partnerships as a way of boosting its resource base to support core institutional functions of teaching, research and outreach. Therefore, the programme plays a key role to the expected effective and efficient implementation of the University Charter.