Service Learning, MUARIK

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Welcome To Service Learning Platform

A collaborative Project has been initiated developing Open Educational Resources(OERs) on best practices in service learning at Makerere University Agricultural research Institute, Kabanyolo (MUARIK),Uganda, East Africa


Makerere University Agricultural Research Institute Kabanyolo (MUARIK) started in 1953. It has got (3) sections i.e. animal section, crop section and mechanization with the mandates of Training, Research and Outreach. In the past these were basically done with help or financial support largely from the Government through the Ministry of Education and sports (MOES). However, the support has been dwindling due to competing demands ….. the institute conceived to come up with a new system that can at least bring a fundamental change known as service learning.
Here service means learning while rendering services, delivering message, handling small pieces of work etc.

And learning meant acquiring skills, knowledge, sharing views or ideas, looking at different attitudes etc. So if all these are combined then service learning can be a new challenge which seems to be good in that can bring a revolutional change in the system of MUARIK or form traditional angle of Views, cultural, local to a model change of attitudes towards work and future development.

Service Learning at MUARIK

MUARIK under the new Director is undergoing change. Part of the change includes introduction of service learning.

  • Clearing land for planting is service.
  • Organizing students in groups to undertake an activity or a set of activities effectively and efficiently is learning.
  • When students plan and implement an activity and document their results, and present findings to MUARIK management … that is service-learning.
  • When students undertaking an activity face a challenge (e.g. fighting of safari ants) and document that sub-activity that constitutes a case study under service learning.
  • Journalling, group discussions, and other reflective activities helped students gain a broader understanding

of how to fight safari ants in the field. They shared ideas and opinions often isolated and discover interesting, but often overlooked, in their new-found student colleagues.

Best Practices in Service Learning

What is Service Learning?

Service-learning is a process of learning while at the same time providing a service geared towards community development. What It involves is gaining knowledge, skills and understanding as one gets involved in the performance of a given task or service. It involves one knowing why he is performing a given task or services, how its done and the importance of doing it that way.

Learning Objectives

One should learn why they perform a given task or service other than performing it just to finish it.

One should get knowledge which helps him to develop better skills in the performance of a task.


Improved livelihoods


To strengthen the capacity of learners to serve the nation and offer a fairly priced high quality, agricultural in puts on a sustainable commercial basis in the quality, quantity time and place desired by the farmers.

Aims and objectives of service learning

  • To provide professional support and networking among agriculturalists/farmers, encourage and support the business development of individual member’s and promote the exchange of ideas and skills in order to improve service to farmer.
  • To establish and enforce a code of fair business conduct for learners and keep member in form of the legal code regulating the farm.
  • To actively contribute to the modernization of Ugandan’s agriculture participants in projects aimed at bringing development to the agricultural sectors.
  • To allow technicians involved in full participation of the day to day management of the work.
  • To modulate the system to be a business like management and productive other than being unproductive and nonprofitable.
  • To enable the future generation acquire skills, knowledge and experience through service learning for self reliance, sustenance and mobilization.
  • To assist the institution utilize the limited resources available to satisfy the rising needs in it.
  • To enable the implementation and all the programmed activities to be more effective in the institutional management.
  • To enable the technicians build more confidentiality in managing of bigger institutional/farm.


  • Utilizing existing knowledge and technology
  • Developing new technology suitable for local conditions
  • Developing and tapping the potential of local population
  • Enhancing knowledge, attitude and practice
  • Sharing ideas and creation of knowledge in the region and beyond
  • Building a bridge between institutions that develop technology and communities using it.


  • Managerial skills like deployment of workers supervision/monitoring recording and evaluating at the end of every activities.
  • Broader knowledge on solving specific problem like safari ants.
  • Creativity and innovativeness of doing work i.e. Bio-gas formation, briquettes, integrated farming which saves land, less laborious etc.
  • Attitudes towards work before service learning people were like forcing them to work but right now are like doing it willingly.
  • Working as a team, family, sharing work and ideas as well as sharing leadership. Practical doing things e.g. harvesting of maize, field operations e.g. Bush clearing soil conservation etc.


  • The great challenge of attitude towards service learning
  • Understanding the concepts of service learning
  • Solutions to the above
  • Continuous sharing of idea


  • Orientation of the workers/technicians
  • Field operation e.g. bush clearing
  • Harvesting of the produce
  • General operation
  • Fish farming
  • Nursery bed preparation and management
  • General assembly
  • Hay making
  • Blood sampling for test under animal section
  • Agricultural show at Jinja
  • Feed mixing
  • Reporting
  • Soil testing and sampling
  • Pasture management
  • Dairy management
  • Evaluating

Why Service Learning

  • Service-learning is a process of learning while at the same time providing a service geared towards community development.
  • Gaining knowledge and ideas about a service or task creates interest in that task or service hence better or increased performance.

Components of Service Learning=