Uganda, Africa

UGA02b - Pangani School Development, Kween: Partnership Reports

Other Reports Available:

Print friendly version

Back to Partnership

Report Date: November 28, 2022

Report from BHW Uganda Partnership Facilitator Following Visit

This is the last report that will be submitted about this school as unfortunately it no longer exists. 

We travelled with James and Gorret to Kween on Tuesday 25 October. James and Gorret are really awesome people and we have enjoyed spending time with them both at Buhoya where they live and then the day with them in Kween. 


Recent Events


was operatingJames and Gorret told us a very sad story about the lack of support that was given by the local parents to the school. What happened, as is previously reported, is that the school had to shift from its former site and the school on the old site had subsequently limped along and had finally closed. In my earlier report I indicated that there were approximately 200 students who started in the new school once the lockdown eased. Before that, and over the lockdown period, James had explored doing "Home Based Learning” utilising the teachers to visit small clusters of children and continue their education in some form. We are not sure how this worked out and there isn’t really much evidence to show for it. 

still standingWe were taken to the site of the school and apart from the ablution block, which shows evidence of recent vandalism and theft, and the stand for the water tank (the tank having been stolen) there was almost no evidence that the school had been there. I have included photos of it before and after the storm damage which wrecked it. Our understanding is that thieves had stolen the support poles for the classrooms and then when a strong wind came through, the whole structure blew down and many of the iron sheets were stolen. The remaining ones are with the pastor of the small church on the new site.

While all this has been happening, the old school, which sits on the earlier church site, has now reopened with support from an international NGO known as Food for the Hungry. 

what wasFrankly, I do struggle to have a full understanding of what happened here but have huge confidence in James and Gorret’s integrity in this process.

James still retains a house at Kween and there is someone occupying the house, with rice being harvested in the area. James showed us the new school site, which occupies about four acres, and also the church which has a few hundred members. But there is no school there now and we understand that many of the students have to walk the four or five kilometres to the nearest school down the road. I understand that many do not go to the old school. 

afterWater Pump

We were taken to the pump site as well. Sadly, the pump is broken and requires some part to make it work but it would appear that no one in the community wants to take responsibility for it. It is therefore sitting idle, and people are having to fetch water from an old well site over a kilometre away.  


Ideas for the Future

James wondered whether there could be a partnership project to grow trees on the new church site. It would certainly lend itself to this, and we have previously had an allowance of $500 in the budget for tree planting in Kween. As previously reported, because this is a semi-arid area very few of the people who received trees were actually able to get them to thrive. I therefore do find it difficult to see that it is appropriate to support a tree planting project here, particularly when it is so far away from where James and Gorret live. The only saving grace is that Gorret’s brother occupies their house in Kween and is actively doing agriculture. We were not able to meet him but met a nephew who was living with him in the same house.


afterCurrent Issues and Concerns

Initially there were some red flags as there was almost no evidence that a school had ever been there on the new site. Nothing. It was just flat land, and they were not even piles of dirt where there might have been remnants of a mud brick structure. However, James has provided photographs which tell the story better. And the school only had exposed walls and no mud plaster so there is a possible explanation for this. 

While we were there, there were a number of conversations with some of the local residents. Clearly, they were disappointed about the loss of the school, and had a great respect for what James had been doing.   



I find it very difficult to adequately summarize my observations here and a possible way forward but here they are:

destruction1) We can give thanks for the fact that the school has had a reasonably satisfactory 10-year history until the land disputes reared their ugly head in about 2017 or 2018

2) Schools do assist a local community to develop and there is evidence of development and change in this community and the nearby trading centres, albeit not much. The road is being upgraded though, which will clearly help. 

3) I would love BHW to support a tree planting project on the church site as it ideally lends itself to that, but I have reservations given that James and Gorret live so far away from the site. They travel there regularly but I am wondering whether that will drop now that there is no school. I have questions about how it will be managed and supervised. James was wanting support to put a barbed wire boundary around the site. A four-strand barbed wire fence will run for approximately 1.5 kilometres and cost a reasonable amount of money. They would then plant a hedge inside of it, and then the trees within. This would keep animals out. They are also looking to relocate someone to live on the site. This is needed to protect the church building too. Again, I'm not sure how this would work.

4) In the proposed budget for CFC Ministries (UGA02) I have left the $500 for tree planting. I would like James to give us a specific proposal, but I am wondering whether we should say that it should be nearer to Buhoya.

5) After the closure of Kween School James has another possibility for a school near a place called Bulimba which is only about 8 kilometres from Busia and near the intersection of the roads between Tororo and Busitema. There is a church there that he overseas and there is a definite need for a school, which he would want to start as a nursery school. I did indicate however that with the failure of Kween, this might be a bridge too far at present but have asked him to put a proposal through.