Josephine Nabayinda

Josephine Nabayinda

Brown School: Social Work (PhD)

Scholar Highlight

McDonnell Scholars Author 7 Papers in High-Impact Peer Reviewed Journals

Four McDonnell Scholars, affiliated with the International Center for Child Health and Development (ICHAD) at the Brown School, published seven articles in high-impact peer-reviewed journals. Josephine NabayindaJennifer Nattabi, and Flavia Namuwonge, Social Work PhD students, and Dr. Samuel Kizito, currently enrolled in the Public Health Sciences PhD program, recently published their research in top-tier public health peer review journals including AIDS and Behavior, Journal of International AIDS Society, and PLoS One. These McDonnell Scholars are all graduates of McDonnell Academy partner institution Makerere University.

Their articles reported findings from National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded studies housed at ICHAD, including Suubi+Adherence, and Kyaterekera Projects. These multi-year randomized trials seek to address poverty and improve public health outcomes for children, youth, and families in communities heavily affected by poverty and HIV/AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa through economic empowerment interventions and behavioral health promotion. The articles highlighted how poverty-related factors influence behaviors such as treatment adherence and condom use among vulnerable populations. Findings indicated that economic strengthening interventions improve outcomes such as academic achievement in these populations.

Scholars worked closely with McDonnell Academy Ambassador to Makerere University, Dr. Fred Ssewamala, and Brown School faculty members, including Ozge Sensoy Bahar, Proscovia Nabunya, Mary McKay, and other ICHAD faculty affiliates.

  1. Kizito S, Namuwonge F, Brathwaite R, Neilands TB, Nabunya P, Sensoy Bahar O, Damulira C, Mwebembezi A, Mellins C, McKay MM, Ssewamala FM. Monitoring Adherence to Antiretroviral Therapy among Adolescents in Southern Uganda: Comparing Wisepill to Self-Report in predicting viral suppression. Journal of International AIDS Society. 2022 Sept 02.
  2. Kizito S, Nabayinda J, Kiyingi J, Neilands TB, Namuwonge F, Namatovu P, Nabunya P, Sensoy Bahar O, Ssentumbwe VMagorokosho N, Ssewamala FM. The Impact of an Economic Strengthening Intervention on Academic Achievement Among Adolescents Living with HIV: Findings from the Suubi+Adherence Cluster Randomized Clinical Trial in Uganda (2012-2018). AIDS and Behavior. 2022 Sep 01.
  3. Nabayinda JKizito S, Witte S, Nabunya P, Kiyingi J, Namuwonge F, Nsubuga ESensoy Bahar O, Jennings Mayo-Wilson L, Yang LS, Nattabi J, Magorokosho N, Ssewamala FM. Factors associated with consistent condom use among female sex workers. Lessons from Kyaterekera study in Southern Uganda. AIDS and Behavior. 2022 Sep 16.
  4. Kiyingi JNabunya P, Sensoy Bahar O, Jennings Mayo-Wilson L, Tozan Y, Nabayinda J, Namuwonge F, Nsubuga E, Kizito S, Nattabi J, Nakabuye F, Kagayi J, Mwebembezi A, Witte SS, Ssewamala FM. (in-press). Prevalence and Predictors of HIV and Sexually Transmitted Infections among Vulnerable Women Engaged in Sex Work: Findings from the Kyaterekera Project in Southern Uganda. Plos One. 
  5. Kiyingi J, Nabunya P, Kizito S, Nabayinda J, Nsubuga ESensoy Bahar O, Jennings Mayo-Wilson L, Tozan Y, Namuwonge F, Nattabi J, Magorokosho N, Witte SS, Ssewamala FM. Self-reported adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART) among women engaged in commercial sex work in Southern Uganda. AIDS and Behavior. 2022 Sept 06.
  6. Byansi W, Namatovu P, Sensoy Bahar O, Kiyingi J, Nabayinda J, Mwebembezi A, Kivumbi A, Damulira C, Nattabi J, Namuwonge F, McKay MM, Hoagwood K, Ssewamala FM Family-level correlates of disruptive behavior challenges among children in Southwestern Uganda. Children and Youth Services Review. 2022 Sep 1;
  7. Nabunya P, Byansi W, Muwanga J, Sensoy Bahar O, Namuwonge F, Ssentumbwe V, Ssewamala FM. Family Factors and Gender Norms as Protective Factors against Sexual Risk-taking Behaviors among Adolescent Girls in Southern Uganda. Global Social Welfare. 2022 Aug 11.

Scholar Highlight

Understanding, Empathy and Neutrality Buffer Cultural Conflicts

Is education a buffer for cultural conflicts? I believe that, rather than education, it is understanding, empathy and neutrality that can buffer cultural conflicts.

What came first? Education or culture? Before the onset of formal education, people had values that guided their daily interactions with others.  These values bind people together and makes it possible to associate with people from different cultural backgrounds. Furthermore, culture shapes people’s perceptions of the world they live in and the way communities address the challenges of their societies (Yazd, 2020). Hence, solving cultural conflicts has nothing to do with people’s education, as culture plays an important role of creating a unique way of managing human conflict.

We can only manage our biases when we seek to understand our differences, which education cannot teach.

While other people think that education shapes the way people interact and manage conflicts, I believe it is a matter of understanding, practicing empathy, and being neutral in relating to people from different cultural backgrounds. In fact, in most of the societies, educational patterns are guided from the cultural patterns. According to Yazd (2020), a society that has no cultural values has no definite educational organization. Hence, culture has a strong influence on the education system. Therefore, education has little or nothing to do with cultural conflict, as people’s values are stronger than their educational skills.

For instance, in my own experience, most educated people are fond of being more individualistic, even when they come from collective communities. They tend to put their feelings first and expect other people to understand and fit within their values. Therefore, it doesn’t matter how much education a person has acquired; it only takes an understanding person willing to let go of their biases and stereotypes to fit in and work with others. Education will only help strengthen one’s ability to absorb cultural shocks rather than instilling the skills to deal with cultural biases.

On the contrary, education seems to be the foundation and, at times, the transformation of culture. It is a tool used to transmit social values and ideas to future generations. Does this mean that education can buffer conflicts? Research has highlighted the role of education to address cultural tolerance (Ansari, 2012; Chatard and Selimegovic, 2007). In all arguments made, education helps people develop a sense of tolerance and encourages them to be interculturally sensitive. There is also a belief that education makes people feel more comfortable and safe with these differences later in life. In addition, it is believed that education helps to address the old superstitious beliefs and values that would hinder progress by creating enlightening ideas (Ansari, 2012).

Even though education helps in transmitting social values, I must say, it isn’t strong enough to help individuals manage cultural conflicts. Education imparts formal skills which are barely used in addressing informal challenges in societies. Some problems don’t require educational skills but instead the application of cultural values. Therefore, we can only manage our biases when we seek to understand our differences, which education cannot teach.


  1. Ansari, D. (2012). Culture and education: new frontiers in brain plasticity. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 16(2), 93–95.DOI: 10.1016/j.tics.2011.11.016
  2. Chatard, A., & Selimbegovic, L. (2007). The Impact of Higher Education on Egalitarian Attitudes and Values: Contextual and Cultural Determinants. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 1(1), 541–556.doi:10.1111/j.1751-9004.2007.00024.x
  3. Traquandi, L. (2016). The three classic schools for intercultural management: Geert Hofstede Cultural Dimensions.
  4. Yazd, L. Najma (2020). Culture and Education: The inseparable Siamese twins.