Uganda, Africa

UGA02b - Pangani School Development, Kween: Partnership Reports



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Report Date: July 22, 2014

Report from BHW Field Director Following Visit in July

 

We met James and Gorret in Mbale and headed out to Pangani. We called into Gorret’s school on the way. The road was pretty bad though not as wet as the previous trip a year before. The travel time from Mbale to Pangani and back was around two hours each way. 

We had about three hours at Pangani, most of it listening to speeches! The school is going ahead and making an impact in the community. The chairman of the school board is not a believer but is a nice guy with a real interest to see the area develop. It poured with rain as we were about to leave, they were pleased to get the downpour as it’s a semi-arid area. 

 

Recent Events

The Area

grateful for educationPeople are starting to return to the area after many years of people leaving. The school is one of the reasons they are coming back. The people are, after many years, becoming a more stable community. The raiding by the Karamajong tribal people wanting cattle is settling down. 

School

The school is doing well compared to the other schools in the district, both government and private. The results are good and the number of children has grown from 150 to over 300. Many are leaving the other schools to come. There are now 13 teachers and in talking to them, they are thankful for the opportunity to teach, the kudos that comes with being a teacher and the training. 

great teachersThe school teachers are well organized and even though they do not have one registered teacher yet, they are doing really well because they love what they are doing. The children are doing well in the regular tests, out performing the other schools. They see this as a direct result of our involvement.

The teachers are committed and organized. They are doing good lesson plans and individual assessments of the pupils. 

One of the issues is the availability of enough teaching materials and text books for the students and the teachers. This will improve over time, but the books each student requires each time will always be an issue. 

The funding from BHW has gone into three major areas:
1) Teacher’s salaries. The salaries range from UGX100,000 (US$40) per month to UGX150,000 (US$60) per month. As mentioned, none are trained teachers yet. Some are being trained and having their training costs met as well. This compares with UGX60,000 at another school I visited recently and James, who gets much more as a government principal but who has not been paid for two months! 
2) Purchasing utensils for the meals and farming. This includes plates (500), cups (500), saucepans (10), plastic drums (2), hoes (10) and slashers (20).
3) Furniture for the school and office. This includes a cupboard (1), blackboards, tables (10) and chairs (10). 

Farming

keen guysThe school has a lot of land and the plan is to develop gardens. Two of the teachers went to Busia last month for training with John Vlaming in Foundations for Farming. They are still really excited and have started. I think it would be good to do a seminar up here with them and the community at some stage. They have planted both beans and maize even though it’s towards the end of the season.

I saw their efforts and they are very encouraged. They planted an area with mulch and an area the traditional way. Virtually all the seeds with mulch came through and not one has emerged in the traditional area. As said previously, this is a semi-arid area and farming will always be a struggle. They have problems with wandering stock, goats and cows, and insects are an issue as well. They are getting the students to help them and teach them. 

 

Partnership's Influence within the Community

happy kidsThe partnership between the church (initiators) and the community is quite unique and a testimony to the caliber of the church planter in the area. Even Moslems are involved, the head teacher is a Moslem. It was interesting to see a group of kids outside laying out a large canvas so they could pray. 

The parents are getting right behind the school and are doing very well. They are providing the funds for the buildings and the food for the daily meals. The education people are amazed that they are so helpful and supportive. 

There have been regular inspections from the office of the District Education Officer, health personnel and the Resident District Commissioner. They have been positive and supportive of the initiative the church has taken. 

 

Current Issues and Challenges

There are a couple of issues. There is no well and pump nearby (1 km) and it’s going to become an issue with the health of people at some time. The problem is that it’s a semi-arid area and water is a long way down.

The other issue is the lack of permanent infrastructure. The parents are contributing to the building of the semi permanent buildings, but the education people will begin to make an issue out of it at some stage.

 

Prayer and Praise Points

1) The great acceptance by the community of the Christian people in the area  
2) The number coming to faith
3) The great start by the school - we need to pray it will continue this way 

 

Comments

This is a good start to the partnership. There are going to be issues in the future as the school grows but the community will have to deal with those. I think the budget should remain the same for the next two years and then it should be reviewed. 

James goes up there two or three times a month with the blessing of the education people. His influence is vital for the integrity of the school and the broader engagement of the community. 

 

changed community