Kibuye Project overview

AASU’s first community project is focusing on the village of Kibuye in North Eastern Kamuli, on the shores of the Victoria Nile. Kibuye has an estimated population of 60,000 people and is spread over 27 by 35km. The majority of the population is highly dependent on subsistence farming and barter trade within village in order to survive.

Before the project began, Kibuye was dependent upon one borehole for safe drinking water. Due to long lines when collecting water many have been choosing to fetch water from the river, which has caused illness through water born diseases. The village also only has one school, consisting of two classrooms accommodating roughly 600 children. The children that can’t walk the distance to the school simply don’t attend. The majority of children do not attend school, either due to distance or family circumstance, consequentially 80% of Ugandans over the age of 15 are illiterate.

So far within the Kibuye project AASU has been able to buy four acres of land at the East end of the village on which we have built a bore hole and are currently building classrooms for the Arise and Shine Nursery and Primary School which is due to open for the start of the school year in February 2011.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Arise and Shine Nursery and Primary School Kibuye

Arise and Shine Nursery and Primary School
AASU is currently raising funds for, and building the first classrooms of, the ‘Arise and Shine Nursery and Primary School’, Kibuye which is due to open in time for the start of the Ugandan term in February 2011.

The education system in Uganda is slightly different to many of those in other countries. In order to attend school, students must pass entry exams and provide school fees each term. Classes are based on an assessment of the student’s ability as opposed to their age and are therefore often a mix of ages working at the same ability. If students cannot provide school fees they cannot attend school, even if they have already made it halfway through the school year – they must repeat again the next year or whenever they return to school. If students do not pass the end of year exams they must also repeat the year (and pay school fees again). Instead of repeating school years and paying more school fees many children turn to finding work in unskilled labour in order to generate an income. Those that cannot afford school fees simply do not attend school.

A better chance at education

Within Kibuye, the nearest school to AASU is approx. an hour’s walk. It currently has around 600 students and only two classrooms, meaning the majority of lessons take place under mango trees outside. Given the villages economic dependence on bartering and subsistence farming, incomes are low. The average family, many of which are single parent, has at least 8 children to, theoretically, provide school fees for. Those that cannot travel the distance to the school, or afford its fees, currently do not receive any education.

AASU is currently building a primary and nursery school in Kibuye to assist with educating the villages’ children. Currently temporary classrooms are being built, in order to open in time for the start of term in February 2011. The temporary classrooms are sturdy structures big enough to accommodate 50 children per class, whilst funds are being raised in order for the permanent classrooms to be built. Initial plans are for 8 classrooms of 50 students each, totalling approx 400 students, with future plans of smaller classes. Eventually students’ ages should range from 4 – 12, on the basis that students attend school from 4 and pass exams in order to progress through the grades. Given that AASU aims to provide high quality teaching, for a minimal school fee (see below) it is hoped that the ‘usual’ causes for students not progressing are avoided. However, initially children outside these ages will be able to attend the school in order to catch up on their education.

The current situation in Kibuye is that the majority of children out of education are girls. It is often the case that girls are viewed as being of a lower status than boys and more useful either being either sold into marriage or used in order to provide an income for the family – often to send their siblings to school. AASU is addressing the issue of girls education, immediately by having affordable school fees but also more gradually through community education sessions regarding the rights and women and girls.

As Sharon (AASU’s founder) is a village girl herself, she is a great example of the opportunities an education can bring to both boys and girls. AASU has been holding meetings throughout Kibuye and will continue to do so, addressing the importance of education for both boys and girls. We currently anticipate a 2:1 ratio of boys to girls enrolling in February 2011. Whilst this is an encouraging start, it is hoped the numbers of girls enrolled will continue to rise and this imbalance will be addressed as the school becomes more established and the community awareness is raised through the educational sessions.

Staff and Salaries

AASU is initially recruiting qualified volunteer teachers from within Uganda and overseas in order to provide high quality teaching to its students with the hope of eventually being able to pay full time Ugandan teachers (If you are interested in volunteering, please contact us at After conducting extensive research in the Kibuye, assessing affordable school fees AASU will be charging 30,000 UGX per child per term (around £8.56 / $13.29). This will include meals at breakfast and lunch, school fees and uniform. This amount should be affordable by every parent however for those that are still unable to pay these nominal fees, AASU is recruiting and training staff to work in the school and on its other projects in the area in order to provide them with an income.

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