It is with great sadness that the ASC community has learned of the passing of Dr. Moses Kizza Musaazi, on Tuesday, September 18th, 2018. Dr. Musaazi was a dear friend and an inspiring colleague, and we wish to extend our condolences to his family, friends and colleagues at Makerere University in Uganda and at other institutions worldwide. ASC’s STEM-Africa committee plans to honor and celebrate Dr. Musaazi’s life, achievements, and legacy though a memorial event that will be held at a later date.
Dr. Musaazi’s work has brought tremendous benefit to society, focused especially on addressing challenges facing women and girls. He was an internationally recognized innovative engineer and serial inventor, whose wide-ranging focus on developing appropriate technologies and sustainably-sourced products included efficient cookstoves, rainwater harvesting tanks, interlocking construction bricks, and hospital grade incinerators that also produce clean water and electricity. He is most renowned for his highly successful development of very affordable sanitary towels - Makapads - which are produced by women in a cottage industry model that has lifted many out of poverty. For this effort, Dr. Musaazi won an award from the Siemens Foundation.
Dr. Moses Musaazi was an engineering professor at Makerere University, where he was first hired as a tutorial fellow in 1975. He received his PhD from London’s Imperial College in 1985 and continued teaching at Makerere University until reaching the statutory retirement age of 60 in 2011. Even in retirement, he nurtured upcoming scholars and researchers, and remained a goodwill ambassador of Makerere University.
Dr. Musaazi has been a long-term key partner to many faculty at the University of Michigan (U-M) in Ann Arbor, including faculty in the Medical and Nursing Schools, and the Colleges of Engineering and Literature, Science, and the Arts. Many of the faculty who have had the pleasure to work with Dr. Musaazi are associated with the STEM-Africa group administered through U-M’s African Studies Center (ASC). His engagement with the ASC dates back to the first STEM-Africa conference, held in Ann Arbor in 2010, where Dr. Musaazi spoke on some of his inventions. Over the years, he has collaborated with various U-M faculty working in Uganda, and visited the Ann Arbor campus on a number of occasions, including as a visiting scholar and most recently as a speaker on the STEM-Africa panel at ASC’s 10th anniversary symposium.
Dr. Musaazi’s also fostered partnerships between his colleagues at Makerere University and U-M faculty. He encouraged his colleague Emmanuel Miyingo to apply to the U-M African Presidential Scholars (UMAPS) program. Emmanuel’s experience as a 2015-16 UMAPS scholar were in turn instrumental in him being accepted into the PhD program at the University of Kassel, Germany. Dr. Musaazi, Emmanuel Miyingo, and U-M professor Roy Clarke (Miyingo’s UMAPS mentor) had most recently been working together on a STEM-Africa funded project aimed at scaling solar power solutions for off-grid communities in Uganda.
His friends and colleagues in the ASC community and U-M at large will greatly miss Dr. Musaazi and remember him as a brilliant inventor and wonderful person who dedicated his life to helping others. The world is a poorer place without him. May he rest in peace and may his legacy of innovation and improving people’s lives continue.