The education of the world’s children is high on the global agenda. In the context of education for all (EFA), all children should receive free, good quality education. It actually ranks number 2 on the UN millennium development goals. Children in many developing countries lack access to a proper education. Though, the situation has improved significantly in the past decade in that whereas in 1999, 106 million children did not attend school, by 2013 this number has fallen to 61 million, a lot still needs to be done to bring this figure far lower than it is.
Uganda as a country, through its UPE and USE policies, monitored and implemented by the Ministry of Education and Sports; has emphasised the fact that good education reduces child labour, child and teenage marriages, the spread of HIV, and making it easier for children to find better paid work when they leave school. We have seen this working!
However, some places in Uganda have got a disadvantaged history in addition to location, in that, unless there are special interventions that target them specifically, their inclusion in the achievement of EFA objectives appears to be a hit-or-miss phenomenon.
BACKGROUND TO THE PROJECT LOCATION Rakai District
Rakai District covers a total area of 4,989 km2, although over 1,000 km2 of this is open water, mostly part of Lake Victoria. It is located in south-western Uganda between 31°04’ and 32°00’E, and 0°01’ and 1°00’S . Its current population stands at 471,806 People.
Rakai District borders Lyantonde District to the northwest, Lwengo District to the north, Masaka District, of which it was once a part, to the northeast, Kalangala District in lake Victoria to the east, the Kagera Region in the Republic of Tanzania to the south, Isingiro District to the southwest and Kiruhura District to the northwest.
Rakai Town, the location of the district headquarters, lies approximately 65 kilometers (40 miles), by road, southwest of Masaka , overall, making it approximately 190 km south-west of Kampala. Rakai is actually the largest city in the sub-region. The district is divided into the six administrative units. These include; Kakuuto County, Kooki County, Kyotera County, Rakai Municipality – The ‘chief town’ and district headquarters, Kyotera Town Council and Kalisizo Town Council On the side of education, the district has a total of 302 primary schools with 259 government, 40 private and 3 community schools. For secondary schools, the district has over 43 schools, 19 are government, 9 private and 15 community. It also has 1 Technical Institution and 1 Teacher training college.
Kimuli Village Kimuli is a Village in Rakai district. It is located near Lwentulege trading centre. Like in other parts of the district, subsistence agriculture is the dominant economic activity in this village, employing the biggest percentage of the people. Crops grown include matooke, beans, cassava and potatoes for food while coffee is the main cash crop. Livestock raised includes cattle, goats, pigs and chicken.
About 800 children live in the village of Kimuli and more than 1000 children in the age group of 3 to 10 years live in the villages around.
With such a staggering financial base to most parents, quality education remains a dream because it comes with a big cost. Such under privileged children, with the limitations of Kimuli Primary School, which is the only UPE School in the locality, do not have any possibility to get paid- for education and hence remain illiterate.
Kimuli Model Nursery & Primary School was started in 1998 with the commitment of the members of KIMULI COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT GROUP as a seed project to provide equitable education services to the disadvantaged children of the area, geared towards up lifting their standards and forging a bright future for the children of the land, while serving as a model for other schools in the vicinity.
The school initially started in temporary structures made out of local materials like reeds and sticks with a simple roof on top; as indicated in the photo below.
Since then, the school has grown from strength to strength with the help and the
backing of the local community, in whom it has won the trust.
The once temporary structures have been improved to have more permanent;
though still wanting structures.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The HIV/AIDS scourge that has for a long time hit Rakai district may be reducing, but other effects brought about by it, still haunt the district. The number of child-headed households is higher in Rakai than in any other district in the central region. Such death of people as a result of HIV/AIDS leaves so many children as orphans with no body to take care of them and giving them support. Most of the children are left with their poor grandparents and some are left homeless. Rakai has for long been the epi-centre of the AIDS scourge which started in mid 1980s and still directly impacts approximately 12% of the population in this area. Thirty percent of the population live in poverty. There are approximately 78,000 registered orphans many of them living in one of the 969 child-headed homes (CHHs).
These orphans living in child-headed homes, alongside those with living parents but who are as good as being dead due to the abject poverty in the area, and have not been lucky enough to be taken up by the operating NGOs in the district; or getting absorbed through UPE, have ended up becoming child laborers, in order to sustain themselves, while others end up in drug abuse.
While the Government of Uganda, through UPE continues to target such children to give them a bright future, the challenge still remains the distribution of the fully government funded UPE schools, and the limitation of their, (such schools’)
facilities to accommodate the overwhelming number of orphaned and underprivileged children in the area.
As concerned citizens of the area; and above all believers in the fact that Early Childhood Development (ECD) is critical in the well being of our children, we came up with this initiative to provide elementary education for every child. It has been however sadly noted, that the task is still enormous as most children have not yet been enrolled on the programme due to resource constraints. And as already mentioned, these are either orphaned children or other less privileged children; to whom access to elementary education remains a distant dream.
We are confident, that through partnerships and collaborations with government, external funders or any other stakeholder, we can improve and expand the capacity of this existing school to enroll more orphans; to make them become responsible citizens of tomorrow.
JUSTIFICATION FOR THE PROJECT
The magnitude and complexity of the problem of lack of access to basic education in Kimuli and the villages around cannot be ignored. It is an urgent need which; if not attended to; will culminate into a crisis for us and our posterity.
For example, a study in the same District some time back selected 20 pupils in the upper grades of three primary schools – 10 girls and 10 boys, 10 orphans and 10 not, randomly selected within these parameters. Half of the homes were headed by guardians,
three…had fathers still alive, and the other seven were headed by widows…the AIDS epidemic was having a serious impact on the pupils. Most pupils indicated that they had to work on the farms in order to raise money for fees and to grow
food to eat. Such children can never be able to complete their education, without such special programmes like this ours.
Such is the situation in Kimuli Parish and the villages beyond. The biggest percentage of the already mentioned 800 children living in the area, and the 1000 living in the surrounding areas are orphans. Others are children from families where parents put little emphasis to educating their children. Some of these have been taken care of by the only UPE School in the area, but it does not have the capacity to take them all. Kimuli Model Nursery & Primary School in this case becomes the next available alternative; with its resources becoming insufficient every passing day.
The conclusion therefore, is that our facilities can no longer accommodate the ever increasing pupil numbers. And as our job and obligation, the Executive committee of KIMULI COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT GROUP came up with this proposal in order to design and to provide an insight for architects, other top level decision makers as well as funders so as to counteract this problem before it gets out of hand
The project is to be divided into two major phases;
This will involve improving on the existing two structures; one of which has been for a long time in use but pending shuttering/ flooring , and the other which has just been roofed pending; shuttering, flooring, Plastering, and other internal finishes.
The same phase will also involve construction of an additional 5 classroom block which will also house the multipurpose hall, the staffroom, a store and 2 other offices.
Phase II of the project is more of a programme, because it is getting the school continue its operations, with a renewed commitment. This will involve hiring more staff, acquiring the missing necessary scholastic and other general requirements, as well ensuring a professional management of the school to the satisfaction of all the project stake holders
PROJECT GOALS & OBJECTIVES
1. To improve and expand the existing school to house more pupils so as to increase on the number of the sponsored under privileged children, with better facilities.
2. To effectively use the continual funding for making sure that the school can Survive in proceeding with its goal.
3. To change the face of the school and redefine its purpose to the entire community of Kimuli and the surrounding areas.
PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION AND MANAGEMENT PLAN
The steps taken so far on the project include the following:
As an organization, we have done the following in preparation for the implementation of the Project.
i) Assessing the need for the improvement and expansion of the existing school through holding consultative community meetings with the concerned village- based stakeholders.
ii) Continued use of the funds solicited from the group members as well as fees collections to put in place the existing structures to start as the first tangible step towards achieving our bigger dream.
iii) We have mobilized finances for the development of this proposal as another tangible step to the visualization of the project.
The project will be implemented by KIMULI COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT GROUP (KCDG). Appearing below is the Organization’s Executive committee.
KIMULI COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT GROUP (KCDG) is a registered Community Based, Non-Partisan organization working to improve the lives of the marginalized. It was started in 1998 but registered a year later; (Reg. No. 831) by the Rakai District Administration; with major emphasis on creating accessibility to Primary Education, Agriculture &Fishing, Carpentry &Agro trade as well as Savings & Credit Scheme.
KCDG is blessed to own the land on which the school is located. One of the Group’s executive members; Mr. Ellie Jjuuko, offered the land for this noble cause. This land is dully surveyed and demarcated with a land title.
To transform the lives of marginalized people especially the ones who have lost their dear ones and have no one to take care of them; and also to empower the people of Kimuli through practical development skills.
A Community in which the local peoples’ economic aspirations and rights are fully recognized and nurtured to ensure equitable and sustainable human development; for a better tomorrow.
God fearing: We execute our duties in respectful fear of our God and fundamentally do only what is acceptable under our Christian principles
Equality for all: God made all people equal; our organization is committed to a
development process that promotes equality and basic access to equal
Rights and dignity for all: KCDG believes in and strives to uphold the rights and
dignity of all people especially in the rural communities where we operate from.
Hard work and Team work: We put all our heart and soul into whatever we do
—giving it 100%! We also believe in supporting one another in the execution of
Institutional partnership in development: KCDG welcomes and respects ongoing
International initiatives and national policies to take care and give support to
vulnerable children and disadvantaged people; fight poverty, ignorance as well as
imparting survival skills. Our activities are ever in collaboration with other
Integrity and Accountability: We are ever honest, transparent and do abide by
very strong moral principles. We in addition, willingly accept our responsibility
and willingly execute it with commitment.
EXPECTED PROJECT IMPACT
i) The project will increase on the pupil enrolment thereby creating a greater opportunity for the underprivileged children of the community; since the increased number of pupils who can pay some little fees can cater for more orphans.
ii) Better facilities will definitely attract better teachers which will in turn improve on the general school performance; both at the local and the national level. This will enable the Kimuli community children to compete favourably.
iii) The same facilities will be used by the community for community functions like immunization, cultural functions, Voting and any other public gathering.
iv) The increased number of pupils will enlarge the local market for the villagers for their fruits, sugarcanes etc v) The construction project itself will create employment for the villagers like casual labourers.