HERS-EA (Higher Education Resource Services-East Africa)
HERS-EA once established will be a ‘sister’ organisation that will be modelled after HERS (Higher Education Resource Services) in USA (http://hersnet.org/).
I. HERS (Higher Education Resource Services) overview:
HERS is an educational non-profit organization based in the US providing leadership and management development for women in higher education administration (http://www.hersnet.org/) through HERS Institutes. HERS Institutes provide an intensive 12-day curriculum that prepares women faculty and administrators for institutional leadership roles. The Institutes focus on knowledge, skills and perspectives for achieving institutional priorities and maximizing institutional resources. HERS Institute participants work with HERS Faculty and HERS Alumnae to develop the professional development plans and networks needed for advancing as leaders in higher education administration. HERS Institutes are now offered at three locations and in two residential formats. The two Summer Institutes—held at Bryn Mawr College the last two weeks of June and at the University of Denver the last week of July and the first week of August—take advantage of the concentrated period of time during the summer for immersion in lectures, readings, group work and individual assignments. The HERS Wellesley Institute, at Wellesley College, takes place in four three-day seminars held across the academic year, two in the fall and two in the winter. This 12-day curriculum builds on HERS activities and assignments spaced over several months of working together. Each of the three Institutes—HERS Bryn Mawr, HERS Denver and HERS Wellesley—deliberately seeks a diverse group of approximately 70 women leaders to share and learn from their multiple perspectives under the guidance of women faculty from higher education, national organizations, government and foundations. The participants are sponsored by a range of institutional types from different regions of the country. HERS Institute participants generally hold mid- to senior-level positions and bring expertise from many academic disciplines and organizational specialties. They also represent a range of ethnic and national groups, ages and years of experience in higher education and other related fields.
II. Background to HERS-EA:
The chairperson of HERS-EA Planning Committee, (Margaret Khaitsa) had an opportunity to attend HERS (Higher Education Resource Services) Summer Institute held at the University of Denver in 2011. The need to attend HERS institute resulted from a multi-institutional Higher Education for Development (HED)/ USAID funded project based in over 12 higher education institutions (HEIs) in the US and in East Africa that Margaret was acting as Partnership Director (http://afrusidm.org/). During the institute, as part of her career plan, Margaret proposed starting a sister organization “HERS-East Africa” here after referred to as “HERS-EA”. Part of her motivation was the fact that HED/USAID project already involved several HEIs and also supported gender mainstreaming. Therefore, a possibility of seeking funding from USAID in the future for HERS-EA existed. This plan was discussed between Margaret, Judith White-President and Executive Director of HERS and Sabie Surtee - Executive Director of HERS-SA who also attended HERS-Denver Institute in 2011 and was supportive of the idea. While in Denver in 2011, Judith White also introduced Pius Kamau, President of Africa America Higher Education Partnerships (AAHEP) to Margaret. Several discussions and conference calls were held between Margaret, Pius Kamau, Judith White and Sarbie since then, all focused on how to make HERS-EA happen. Also, Judith and Sabie shared with Margaret information on the 26 HERS-SA alumni from East Africa (Uganda-15, Tanzania-10 and Kenya-1). Subsequently, Margaret contacted the 26 HERS-SA alumni from East Africa and invited them for a meeting in Kampala, Uganda and Dar-Es Salam Tanzania.
On October 14, 2012, three out of the 10 HERS alums from Tanzania met with Pius Kamau who happened to have travelled to Dar-Es Salam and discussed the possibility of starting HERS-EA. Also, on October 15, 2012, Margaret Khaitsa (Chair, HERS-EA Planning Committee), Naomi Lumutenga (Co-Chair, HERS-EA Planning Committee), and Pius Kamau (President AAHEP and HERS-EA ally) met with three HERS-SA alumni from Uganda and ten other prominent women in Higher Education in Uganda and Kenya (one attendee) to discuss the possibility of starting HERS-EA. The overwhelming support and enthusiasm exhibited at the October 14, 2012 and October 15, 2012 HERS-EA planning meetings in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania and Kampala, Uganda, respectively, spoke volumes about the commitment that the East African ladies who attended the meetings had towards the HERS-EA initiative. The minutes and attendance list of those meetings are attached to this proposal in the appendix. In summary, the attendees overwhelmingly endorsed the HERS-EA concept and also indicated that in the past, there had been two unsuccessful attempts to start HERS-EA by HERS-SA alums. The Dean, Makerere University School of Women and Gender Studies offered to house HERS-EA in the interim and also pledged to provide the support needed to successfully set up HERS-EA.
III. Rationale/ Justification for establishing HERS East Africa:
HERS-USA has prepared over 4,500 women academics and administrators for positions of senior leadership in institutions all over the world. In 2003, a sister organization HER-SA (http://www.hers-sa.org.za/) was founded in South Africa to cater for the need in leadership and management development for women in higher education administration in Africa. HERS-SA is now a self-sustaining Chapter, with reciprocal ongoing collaboration and contact with HERS-USA. HERS-SA has prepared over 1,000 women from South Africa and across Africa (mainly from Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda and Tanzania), for senior leadership positions in Higher Education institutions across Africa and beyond. Whilst HER-SA has been a natural option for women across Africa it is no longer in position to finance training for those outside South Africa. Meanwhile, Africa’s institutions of higher learning continue to grow at an exponential rate. Africa has the fastest-growing rates of higher education enrollment in the world and Africa’s universities have the potential to become the continent’s primary development tool. However, Africa’s institutions of higher learning face a severe staffing crisis that threatens social and economic progress with a growing demand for professors (Carnegie Corporation). According to Inter-university Council for East Africa (IUCEA) the East African Legislative body that oversees Higher Education Institutions in East Africa, the demand for higher education in East Africa has been growing tremendously since the last decade and the number of public and private university institutions has also been increasing exponentially. For example, the number of IUCEA member university institutions grew from 33 in 2000 to 87 in 2011 (http://www.iucea.org/).
HERS provides a leadership and management development curriculum specific for women in higher education administration. HERS- EA would help women in East Africa grow and advance in their careers in a traditionally rigid environment. HERS has a unique curriculum that is specific to women’s needs and concerns and would help women grow their careers. To use quotes from HERS-SA alums from Uganda at the October 15, 2012 meeting in Kampala Uganda “The HERS training is not only curriculum based; it includes experiential learning; it looks at the huddles women have to overcome; HERS has a niche in that its curriculum is tailor made for women who have to navigate their way through a traditionally rigid leadership career”.
There is a high interest among women in Higher education in East Africa to launch this initiative based on the attendance at the preliminary meetings held October 14, 2012 and October 15, 2012 (See attendance list attached). Additionally, HERS-SA has already trained 26 Alumni in East Africa most of whom are in top management and leadership positions. For instance, two of these alums hold the positions of Vice Chancellor (Busitema University) and Deputy Vice Chancellor (Makerere University) of public universities in Uganda. Some hold positions of College Deans or Principals. These alums will play a significant role in supporting HERS-EA. Moreover, South Africa no longer has funding for trainees who are not from South Africa. The Director, HERS-SA has pledged her support to nurture this initiative.
Why Higher Education?
‘No other environment can match the energy of a place like Higher Education, where leaders in their fields create ideas and transmit them to the best young minds in the world.’ Condoleezza Rice. According to The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD, (Sept 2012) Round Table review on the impact of Higher Education across six continents, the most progressive regions have embraced and collaborated with expertise from diverse fields in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). HERS-EA is mindful of the acute shortage of women in HEIs in EA and sets out to intentionally support and prepare women leaders to steer HEIs in East Africa so that they (HEIs) can create developmental ideas needed for 21st Century development. HEIs need to be dynamic in their utilization of the available resources to create the maximum possible effect on their threshold communities. ‘Women cannot only further their own cause and those of all minorities, but also help to shape the educational system of the 21st Century’. Amy Lezberg (R.I.P.). The women of EA have the ability and drive to play their part, through leadership at HEIs and HERS-EA pledges to be the vehicle for this cause.
‘To transform a campus, bring women leaders.’ Jacquelyn M. ‘Transformational leadership feels right to women because it is not asking anything they haven’t done.’ Jacquelyn M
The creativity of women, especially where resources are limited is instinctive and it can be staggering. In February 2013, a young Ugandan female secondary school student invented a ‘rudimentary’ deworming pill, using pumpkin seeds as the base ingredient and she attributes this idea to the fact that her (illiterate) grandmother used to give her and her siblings pumpkin seeds to chew to be rid of worms. In December 2012 a group of young Kenyan females (Akirachix) launched a pack of IT projects aimed at improving local food productivity and improving earnings through fast communication with different markets to compare prices and to cut out ‘middlemen’. As former UN Secretary General Kofi Anan pointed out ‘When women thrive, all of society benefits and succeeding generations are given a better start in life.’ These two examples illustrate the fact that women academics bring a unique and dynamic way of thinking that supports persistent issues of starvation, poverty and malnutrition. The world of academia and research is male dominated, so are many problems to which women can offer solutions because they bear the responsibility of carrying and raising children and feeding their families, in this part of the world.
‘Businesses have learned that it’s expensive not to protect women. Now universities need to learn that if they ignore women, they are going to lose plenty.’ Eileen Wagner
We plan to use a phased in approach in establishing HERS-EA with a timeline of about three years. During that time we shall seek funding to complete the following activities with the timeline indicated:
1. Set up HERS-EA secretariat/office at Makerere University. This will be completed as soon as HERS Board approves HERS-EA concept proposal. At the October 15, 2012 meeting at Sheraton hotel, Kampala Uganda Dr. Consolata Kabonesa, Dean, Makerere School of Women and Gender Studies (SWGS) offered to house HERS-EA office until such a time when HERS-EA is well established. The School (SWGS) hoped to provide basic institutional support, a modest office space for the HERS-EA Coordinating personnell personnel to use. Also Prof. Mary Okwakol, Vice Chancelor, Busitema University offered to explore the possibility of HERS-EA being housed by the Inter-university Council for East Africa (IUCEA) whose head office is located in Kampala, Uganda. The IUCEA is the legislative body that oversees the East African Higher education institutions and Prof. Okwakol is a Board member of IUCEA.
2. Hire a HERS-EA Program/Operations Manager for at least 3 years (2013-2015). As soon as HERS Board approves the HERS-EA proposal and when funding is obtained, then a modest salary will be paid to an individual to coordinate HERS-EA activities; otherwise volunteers will be used until funding is obtained. A modest annual salary of $30,000 has been requested through a grant (invited) to be submitted to Carnegie Corporation of New York to hire a HERS-EA Program/Operations Manager to help coordinate the activities of HERS-EA. Additional funding has been requested for a part time Office Assistant. Note: Individuals have been volunteering at HERS-EA secretariat during this planning phase since October 15, 2012. The roles and responsibilities of the HERS-EA program manager have been defined & are available in a separate document. After 2015 it is envisaged that HERS-EA will be an autonomous organisation led by a full time Executive Director.
3. Train more women from East Africa who will serve in the HERS-EA leadership role at the HERS institutes in the US (summer 2013-2015). The HERS Board requires that in order to set us HERS-EA apart a partnership with a sister organization, at least one member of the leadership of that organization should have trained at HERS institutes in the USA. Individuals who will be serving at the HERS-East Africa secretariat at Makerere University in Uganda have already been identified to participate in the HERS institutes in the USA. The action plan plan to train provides for training of at least ten more women from East Africa at HERS institutes in US in 2014 (five) and 2015 (five). The 10 women (at least two each from the rest of five East African member countries-Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan) will serve on HERS-EA Planning Committee.
4. Hold a Planning Meeting for HERS-EA alumni in Uganda (spring, 2014). This meeting will bring together the 26 HERS alumni from East Africa (Uganda-15, Tanzania-10 and Kenya-1) who trained from HERS-SA to discuss the process of instituting HERS-EA. An expected outcome of this meeting is selection/nomination of a committee of 9 individuals from East Africa (Uganda-2, Kenya-2, Tanzania-2, Rwanda-1, Burundi-1 and South Sudan-1) who will serve on the HERS-EA Board. It is anticipated that the HERS-EA Planning Committee members, the Executive Director of HERS-SA and several Board members of HERS-USA will also attend this meeting; HERS-SA and HERS-USA have offered to provide support and guidance to the HERS-EA Planning Committee.
5. Hold a follow-up meeting (HERS-EA Planning Committee) to develop the HERS-EA curriculum (summer, 2014). This meeting will be attended by the HERS-EA Planning Committee members, 9 HERS-EA Board members, the Executive Director of HERS-SA and two HERS –USA Board members. The HERS-EA Planning Committee will work with HERS Board to address all points highlighted in the guidelines for setting up a HERS sister organization. The key outcome will be an agreed curriculum for HERS-EA Institute, to be approved by HERS-US by 31st Dec 2014
6. Conduct HERS-East Africa Institutes (summer 2015 and, 2016). The first HERS-East Africa Institute is planned for summer 2015 in Kampala, Uganda. An additional HERS-East Africa Institute is planned for summer 2016. The HERS-EA alumni trained at HERS institutes in US (2013-15) and previous 26 HERS-EA alumni trained at HERS-SA will comprise a critical core group of HERS-EA core faculty that will facilitate the inaugural HERS-EA institutes supported by the Executive Director of HERS-SA and Executive Director and Board Members of HERS-USA. The HERS-EA coordinating staff will provide the staffing needed to run these initial institutes. Also, the SWGS and the Africa Institute for Strategic Resource Services for Development (AFRISA) at the College of Veterinary Medicine, Animal Resources and Biosecurity (CoVAB), Makerere University have offered to provide HERS-EA with the support needed to successfully set up HERS-EA. Additionally, HERS-USA has agreed to work with any other units at Makerere University to support HERS-EA. Should we mention Mak Institute of Public Health, given the strong possibility of accessing funding through them?
Accomplished/To be Accomplished
Short-term (1-3 years, 2011 -2014)
August 2011-September 2012
October 15, 2012
October 15, 2012
September – December 2012
December 2012/January 2013
(Contingent upon availability of funding)
Initial ideas to establish the concept of HERS-EA developed
Conference call meetings of HERS-EA Planning Committee held
HERS-EA planning meeting of HERS-EA alumni and other women in Higher Education in East Africa was held at Sheraton Hotel, Kampala, Uganda (Minutes of Meeting available)
HERS-EA host institution - Makerere University was identified.
Identify local and international partners and formalise partnerships
Develop a data base of HERS alumni in East Africa
Develop a data base of funding organisations and write grants
Develop a website for HERS-EA
Submit HERS-EA concept proposal to HERS Board for initial approval (was approved February 2013)
Train HERS-EA leadership (Planning committee, Board members and Administrators) at HERS-Institutes in USA (One member was trained at HERS-institute Denver, USA). Postponed to August 2014; subsequent timelines will also be adjusted by 1 year
Hold a HERS-EA Planning Conference with HERS-EA alumni in East Africa
Institute a Board of Directors and their Terms of Reference
Develop a HERS-EA curriculum
Run the first HERS-EA Institute
Short-term (1-3 years, 2011 -2014)
Have an established office with own staff
Register HERS-EA as a NGO
headquartered in Kampala
Establish links (MoU) with EA universities – Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan and also EA Ministries of Education and of Gender and other NGOs.
Review progress of the first HERS-EA alumni
Establish effective methods of publicizing HERS-EA.
Establish list of HERS-EA Institute facilitators/Resource persons
Maintain annual HERS-EA Institutes.
Establish a data base of international universities that can host some of the HERS-EA alumni/ resource persons for shadowing.
Continue writing grants and seeking partnerships especially with East African governments and regional economic communities (RECs)
Long-term (7-10 years) 2018-2020
- Identify and train new leaders for HERS-EA (Create a ‘shadow leadership team’)
- Increase female Deans and Heads of Departments in HEIs in East Africa to 50%
- Review the HERS-EA curriculum and management and adjust as appropriate.
- Celebrate 5 years of HERS-EA Institutes
- Continue writing grants and seeking partnerships especially with East African governments and RECS
Timeline of Implementing HERS-EA with Expected Outcomes:
Medium-term (4-6 years) 2015-2017