This past week, Kalamazoo College welcomed two colleagues of Anthropology Sociology Professor Dr. Kiran Cunningham from a public policy and advocacy outreach think-tank in Uganda.
The organization, Advocates Coalition for Development and Environment (ACODE), recently established a partnership with Dr. Cunningham’s Qualitative Research Methods course through a change in her course curriculum. Students now engage in a project-based learning project in which they conduct qualitative analytical coding of ACODE’s research data. Not only do the students’ findings have the potential to be influence the think-tank’s own research processes, they have the potential to be brought to Uganda’s government as evidence of ACODE’s work.
On Tuesday and Thursday, Dr. Arthur Bainomugisha and Ms. Lillian Muyomba-Tamale visited K to interact in-person with the Qualitative Research Methods course. Dr. Bainomugisha currently serves as ACODE’s Executive Director while Ms. Muyomba-Tamale acts as the Manager for the Local Government Councils Scorecard Initiative, one of the organization’s many programs.
“First of all, our decision to come here was also to make sure that we craft a strong relationship between ACODE and Kalamazoo College,” Ms. Muyomba-Tamale shared. “It’s amazing to see how much is coming from [the Qualitative Research Methods students] and how much we can quickly work on these scripts to make them publishable papers.”
During their stay, both ACODE staff members also participated in last week’s Global Alliance Institute on Civic Engagement Conference, hosted at K.
Commenting on the conference, Ms. Muyomba-Tamale shared, “After our presentation we realized that we actually have a very unique model… that actually excited very many other people because… it’s not only about getting university students [to engage] in their communities, but it can also be civic engagement through research.”
She continued, “If you look at what we’re doing at ACODE, not all 20 students can be able to get on a plane and come to Uganda. But then… as you dig deep into this data, you’re actually in Uganda when you mention Hoima, Kabarole, the different districts in Uganda.”Hannah Muscara ‘19 recently landed a short-term internship with ACODE for the upcoming winter break, when she and Dr. Cunningham will spend two and a half weeks doing research at the project’s headquarters in Kampala, Uganda.
Ms. Muyomba-Tamale shared that “Hannah will actually be working on two projects: the Local Government Council Scorecard, which I happen to supervise, to be the manager of, and the other Center for Budget and Economic Governance, which [is a] big luxury project at ACODE… When she comes down to ACODE, she’s going to be able to take this data to the next level.”
“With this evolving partnership, it may be that every year we could have an intern from Kalamazoo College coming down to ACODE, spend actually a little more time,” concluded Dr. Arthur Bainomugisha. “We’re in for a long haul with the relationship to prove for mutual benefit for both institutions.”