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Barriers to Women Entrepreneur’s Participation in Public Procurement in Uganda

Author: Prof. Benon Basheka

Journal: Administratio Publica, Vol 26 No 1 

An increase in Women and Women Owned Businesses has been registered in both developed and developing countries. But regardless, women remain with challenges and difficulty in accessing opportunities to participate in public procurement.

Prof. Benon Basheka in his recent article published in Administratio Publica addresses opportunities, barriers and strategies to Women Entrepreneur’s Participation in Public Procurement in Uganda.

In his study, Prof. Basheka addresses three key issues: opportunities for women and their enterprises, the barriers to their participation and policy and management action strategies needed to address this dilemma.

The analysis of the survey responses in terms of the status of women’s participation in PP bidding in Uganda showed that the majority (38%) of respondents had never participated in PP bidding, 31% had done so just a few times, 14% regularly participated, while 8% participated very often.

A number of barriers to women participating in Uganda were also reported in the literature including women capacity, information accessibility, financing and Policy-Regulatory Frameworks.

In the study, respondents were asked their views on how they felt about each of the factors and 92% of respondents said women lacked training, 83% agreed that women lacked information on tendering opportunities, 79% agreed that women’s enterprises lacked capacity in preparing competitive bids, 70% agreed that most women’s businesses are too small yet most government contracts were too big and 64% of the respondents agreed that most women entrepreneurs lacked entrepreneurial skills.

The major reasons for failure of women enterprises to participate in some government tenders in Uganda were recorded to include; Lack of capacity, suspicion that selection process favours insiders, difficulty competing with large firms, education level, lack of adequate knowledge, bidder collusion, tendering is too complicated, low mobilisation power of resources for the down-payment, lower experience levels in some of the areas tendered, low self-esteem among others.

Read Full Article at: LINK

UTAMU Skilling Students to Work on Software Projects

UTAMU is skilling first year undergraduate computing students to be exceptional software developers.

UTAMU first year computing students in the community engagement training.

“We are exposing the students to complex computing projects so that they can come up with software solutions,” says Albert Emuwron, the instructor of the community engagement training.

The community engagement training which started beginning of May will run for three months until end of July 2018. 

He further explains that by the end of the training in July, these students will have developed solutions to society problems that were assigned to each one of them.

“We identified clients who brought in case scenarios that need software solutions. Then we split the students in teams and gave each team a problem to solve. At the end of this training, we expect them to have generated a solution and will present their product to their respective clients and university management,” says Emurwon.

This is part of the initiative of equipping UTAMU students with innovative skills that will make them marketable in the employment world.

The community engagement training is being attended by first year computing students is to help them attain professional experience before joining the job market.

Every year, UTAMU gets students placement in various community projects and organizations where they train. The UTAMU mode of teaching requires students to spend four months every year working on community projects and in organizations.

What is the intent of community engagement at UTAMU?

This week, the community engagement training kicked off at UTAMU and will run until end of July 2018.

A UTAMU instructor conducting the community engagement training.

This training being attended by first year computing students is to help them attain professional experience before joining the job market.

Every year, UTAMU gets students placement in various community projects and organizations where they train. The UTAMU mode of teaching requires students to spend four months every year working on community projects and in organizations. The News team caught up with Mr. Eugene Miheso Swinnerstone, a lecturer at UTAMU as he explained the aim and benefits of this community engagement training.

What is the intent of community engagement at UTAMU? 

The Intent of the Community engagement is to work more closely with local community partners to promote to uphold the theoretical bits that the trainees have acquired during their time of study at the University. This affinity between the theoretical and practical perspectives, are the ones that are meant to distinguish a graduate and a graduate trainee in the explosive competitive job market in this new era. 

The University taking mantle to formalise this into a curriculum-based aspect, adds value to all the interested trainees. Though, for now this is being encouraged for computing students, the Vision is to have students with interdisciplinary collaboration thrive. So, therefore, I will want to encourage even some candidates from the School of Business and Management to be part of this training because at the end of the day, not only will a programmer make a product great, but the input of all people involved in it. The more panel beat a product is from different professions, the better it matters. 

Why start with computing students? 

Computing students are the first to be considered by the nature of complexity of their subjects and finding the right bearing between the practical bit and the theoretical bit. So the intent is to have them have a practical hands on approach and by the time they are going out to do community outreach at the end of second year, they practically have a clue how on; what work environment looks like,  ethics to be applied in a workplace and acclimatization of metrics. 

But I would like to reiterate that this program is open to any other candidate from any other school. The first cohort of this engagement saw through one student from the Business School and that’s commendable. 

What is the importance of this training? 

This training has a lot of merits and this includes:

  • Giving the students/ trainees the opportunity to own and align their opinions. This might sound a bit of a juggle but empowering a person to own up to what they are doing especially at a Trainee Level is a key characteristic of producing the right material for the community to embrace in.
  • More perspectives are sought and this will definitely increase the tactfulness and improve the thought process of the trainees. Even better, they will be having Chess Classes every Friday and this should even enhance this even better.
  • Network: Your Network is Your Networth. This Trainees will be having Wednesday sessions where they will meet industry persons from different backgrounds and the intention is they can learn a couple of things from them and more so network and that’s the start of a whole new level of engagement right there.
  • Ownership and General Jolly: The intent of this program is to make serious stuff fun. At the end of this program, the trainee should be able to feel satisfied with the product they created and being part of the program, of course NO LAZINESS is entertained; everybody is got to hold their end of the bargain. The house rules are very clear and the trainees know what will happen in case they construe them. 

What should students expect from this community engagement? 

There are five major interest Areas but other are implied, this include:

  • Technical Training in Agile Software Development using a number of tools
  • Client engagement and communication skills
  • Entrepreneurial skills
  • Leadership skills
  • Teamwork skills

At the end of the Training, the anticipation is that in their respective groups we will have some products the trainees can showcase not only to the training team but the faculty and University at large.

 

 

Why Don’t Female Students Sign Up For Computing Courses?

Across the world, there is a gender gap in the participation of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects. This has led to the low representation of women in science-related occupations.

A number of reasons holding women back have been discovered as structural and cultural barriers,  the education system, lack of women mentors in STEM careers, to mention but a few.

Statistics compiled by UNESCO reveal that, globally, women make up less than 30% of the people working in STEM careers.

In a study carried out by the International Journal of Gender, Science, and Technology in 2011, two-thirds of women who were interviewed revealed that “society discouraged them by claiming that computer science is a ‘hard’ and ‘difficult’ subject”. 10% of the men who were interviewed said the same. The study also revealed that the gender gap in science education is because of lack of scholarships and female mentors in STEM subjects.

Therefore, the education system in Africa needs massive improvement when it comes to teaching maths and science so that they become attractive to children.

The UTAMU News team has interviewed a number of people in the computing field on their views towards the above topic:

 

Isaac Mukonyezi,

Lecturer, SCE

A cultural perception that computing courses are difficult to study because of the Mathematics, Physics involved is one of the reasons girls opt out. Therefore, girls need to be encouraged right from primary level to study sciences.

 

Mary Komunte,

Lecturer, SCE

Many girls fear the computer programming language. But, the Government of Uganda is already working changing the poor perception. Today children start learning ICT right from primary level. Others, believe computing courses are more demanding and yet they do not have time to concentrate.

 

Simon Kamya,

Graphic Designer Instructor

Naturally, girls or women are born to do simply things but the boys are adventurous, innovative which is why they are more interested in computing courses. To change this mindset, there is need to promote success stories of women who have made it big in the computing or technology industry.

 

Elvis Muyanja,

Web Administrator

There is a perception that Computing is technical and most women have a niche for theoretical courses. They prefer courses which require one to read and memorize things than the hands-on ones.

 

Claire Babirye

Lecturer UTAMU

In our societies, girls from an early stage of learning are perceived to be inferior and as a result, majority don’t bear the aggressive or confidence character. So because of that, most shy away from computing courses (since they are paraded to be hard and complex). Therefore career guidance has to be remodeled to drive females to do STEM subjects.

 

Irene Nanduttu

Lecturer IUIU

What makes women lag behind is the stigma and fear that they would not be able to make it that field. This is something that has to be worked upon together. Girls should get role models they look up to and work towards being  like them or even better.

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