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UGA07a - Marumba Christian School, Rukungiri: Partnership Reports

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Report Date: December 20, 2023

Update from BHW Uganda Partnership Facilitator

Key people: Justus & Reuben

This is an edited version of a very comprehensive report that I received from Justus. I have also had a couple of WhatsApp discussions with him since then too. 

Justus’ words follow:

Greetings to you all from the plains of Rukungiri. 

It is another remarkable time to think about as we get closer to the end of 2023. As we continue to navigate through post Covid-19 economic hardships and political unrest in different parts of the world, both of them have continued to impact communities negatively. Notwithstanding we still have a reason to smile because we are alive.

The impact of Covid is still affecting us both economically and health wise. People's income has been hit hard and there is an outcry in our communities. 


Recent Events

Marumba Christian School (UGA07a)

Marumba Christian School has remained strong in the community regardless of having other setbacks just like other schools because we are all going through a recovery period where schools spent almost two years in total lockdown during Covid time. 

Currently, we have an enrolment of 250 pupils with a staff of 16 teachers and 6 non-teaching staff. Our staff have continued to be resilient in areas of academic performance and the school is more stable now than before. We have more pupils in both kindergarten and lower primary, and this gives us hope for the future especially an increase of the numbers of children.

For the first time in 11 years of the school's operation, the school has set up a school garden where a banana plantation with some vegetables have been planted on our new land. We hope that by early next year we shall be getting greens and other food stuff from our own garden. (I understand from my discussions that they are planning to teach Foundation for Farming principles in primary school as well as the secondary school where they are now doing this.) 

Activities we have undertaken:
1) We constructed a temporary structure to accommodate our kindergarten

2) We levelled the ground at the new land. (This is land that has been acquired immediately behind the school and which I understand has been purchased so there is title security there)

3) We planted banana plantation and greens.

4) Maintained primary 7 and we hope to perform well. (I have since heard that they have done exceptionally well)

5) Recently, we took over Rukungiri Central Secondary School and under this new project a lot has been done. At the time we took over the school, there were a lot of challenges - indiscipline, poor academic performance, negligence of duties by teachers, poor teachers’ welfare, poor payment of accounts and so on. Since then, we have dealt with everything in detail. A lot has changed, and the school is more stable and organised. Students used to steal food within the community but right now there is a good testimony in the community.

We have introduced new innovations especially hands-on skills and vocational studies to enable students to be able to define their future careers after high school. We have introduced Foundations for Farming and also a study tool for those who want to do agriculture and entrepreneurship. 

We are also doing things like debating and creative writing and looking at developing them further.


Leadership Development

In addition to the schools, we are also engaged in leadership development and I would like to introduce you to some of the emerging new leaders.

Tukwasiibwe Derrick: Derrick leads annual youth conferences at Emmanuel Mission-Uganda. He is 30 years of age. He completed high school in 2012 and in 2013 he attended the gap year course at GLO Zambia which was a short course for young people. From there he enrolled into a diploma in Global Sports Ministry. He organises sports camps for children under 16 years and he is successful in that ministry. He also runs a small football academy of children between 6 years and 10 years. He is a great person with passion for everything he put his hands on. 

Tushabe James: James is 34 years of age and married to Agnes with one girl child who is 2 years old. Currently, he is the administrator at Rukungiri Central Secondary School. He studied bricklaying and concrete at an advanced level at Kyamakanda Technical Institute. He has been in charge of construction at Marumba Christian School. At the moment he is studying a bachelor's degree of Theology at Alpha and Omega Seminary in Jinja. He is a promising emerging leader with great potential.

Twinomujuni Edward: Edward is one of the young people we are blessed with whose love for God is pulling other young to love Him too. He is 22 years of age and finished high school recently. He is also studying for a Bachelor of Theology at Alpha and Omega Seminary, and he is helping at Rukungiri Central Secondary School in chapel or Scripture Union.

Byaruhanga Victor: Victor is 22 years of age and completed form six in 2019. He is studying for a Bachelor of Christian ministry with Australian Christian College of studies (ACCS). Victor is very talented in running businesses and I have appointed him to manage the maize milling business. After his course with ACCS, he will do a Bachelor of Entrepreneurship in addition to his course on ministry.

Ayebare Obedience:  She is 23 years of age, and studies fashion and design at YMCA Jinja branch. She is in her first year. She is the current national treasurer of Christian Focus Uganda. it is the body which brings together all Christian leaders from various universities and other tertiary institutions in Uganda. She is among many young people we have raised.


Personal Stories

Kusubira Salvation and Kemigisha Loice

These two children were brought to Marumba Christian School from distant places at the beginning of this year and they come from very poor and needy families. They were studying at very poor schools, and if they had remained there, their future was going to be at stake because there was little hope for them to perform well academically. In most families here education is number one priority, however, a lot of families are failing to take their children to average performing schools due to financial constraints. The quality of education is determined by the kind of school your child attends. The gap between the haves and the have nots is widening each day. Education is the only pathway and hope for the sons and daughters of poor parents to survive. These two children have greatly improved in their academic performance, and I hope that they will get better grades in the forthcoming national exams. 

There are another set of three girls at Rukungiri Central Secondary School - Serina, Vanice and Mercy

I met these three young girls through my wife Grace who picked them up from one of the local churches in Mbarara. She brought them home because they had no food and nowhere to stay. Their parents had separated, and the father had married another woman who chased them from home. Grace and I wanted to do something about their need, so we brought them to Rukungiri Central Secondary School. I believe that their hope is being restored. They are direct beneficiaries of these schools.

Another direct beneficiary is a woman by the name of Diana who works at the milling factory. Her four children go to Marumba Christian School and the money she earns from her job pays for school fees. One of her daughters, Precious, is among 12 students at Marumba School who are going to sit for national exams. So, the mill is providing work and income generation, and the school an education for this family.


Partnership's Influence within the Community

Marumba Christian School has remained a key player in the education sector in Marumba community and Rukungiri municipality. The school has assisted many children to attain primary education with little investment and because of our good academic performance they are able to join average secondary schools on half bursaries. Our first students who sat for national exams in 2018 are now doing their form 4 national exams this year. We are praying for them to do well at that level. This week, some local leaders supplied a few things to our finalist students to use in their national exams. This shows us that the local leaders support Marumba School.

Because of the impact of Marumba Christian School, when we made a decision to move into secondary education, the community and leaders at all levels, both at the education department and local councils, approved our decision.

We went to Rukungiri Secondary School when it had failed completely in everything. The school used to have an enrolment of 980 students (2002- 2008) but by the time we got there, it had 65 students only. In the middle of last term, we expelled 25 students because of indiscipline cases.  However, as I speak right now, the number is growing, and we have more than 100 students currently and there is stability and a settled environment for the students and their teachers.


Plans for the Future

Completion of Marumba Christian School registration with government.

Construction of more classrooms and teachers houses on the newly purchased land.

Increasing the school enrolment at Marumba Christian School and Rukungiri Central Secondary School.

Strengthen Rukungiri Central Secondary School - we have plans to purchase this secondary school.

We have plans to send more pastors to theological trainings like Jinja and Zambia if possible. We plan to have more pastors (15 in the next five years).

I have plans to expand the cow project from 40 cows maybe to 60 cows.

I am looking forward to buying our own maize milling factory.


Current Issues and Challenges

One of the current issues we have as a school is that parents have been unable to raise school fees for their children, and it is affecting the school greatly.

We are having issues making teacher's payments on time and it is not good. Normally we would be meeting these costs using income from the maize milling business and milk business but there is little income from these two ventures at the moment. Milk prices have gone down and fake animal drugs have flooded the market. We are having to be resourceful in spraying to manage animal ticks and are using a tomato spray at present! 

Teacher's accommodation has become a very big challenge.

Bills have increased such as electricity, water and other costs.

Since the Russia-Ukraine war started, the fuel price has been very high which has affected prices on other commodities.

We have a challenge on water shortages because we do not have enough water storage. Piped water comes three times in a week and sometimes we buy extra but it's becoming a challenge.

We have not finished our registration to get a Uganda National Examination Board (UNEB) centre number. We are still doing our national exams under another school. Our plan is to get our own centre, it would help us a lot. 


Prayer and Praise Points

Praise points

1) Praise God that He has continued to sustain us through Covid challenges.
2) Marumba School is getting back to normal operational systems.
3) Praise God that the school has maintained its staff, both teaching and non-teaching, through these tough times.
4) We praise God that we have been able to buy new land which is big and there is a banana plantation and some vegetables for the children.
5) We praise God for having acquired a secondary school. Though we rent it, it i under our management and we hope that it will help us advance the kingdom of God.

Prayer points

1) Pray for our students who are going to sit for national exams and do better.
2) Pray for stability of teachers and other staff workers at school.
3) Pray for teachers' salaries to be able to be paid because the parents have not been able to raise even the small school fees we charge. All our incomes are shrinking due to economic hardships we are facing now.
4) Pray for the building plans we have to construct new and more decent classrooms for the boarding section at our newly purchased land.
5) Pray for a large enrolment for both schools.
6) Pray for some funds to finish the temporary structures, especially to fix doors and windows and also painting the structures to stop termites from destroying the wooden materials.