After being selected as the best candidate in December 2006, a donor from Switzerland was found for Paul. Paul will start senior 2 (second year in high school) at Kichwamba High School in 2007, where he will join our existing scholarship student Paul.
In Kanungu we are currently supporting two kindergartens with infrastructure, pedagogical support and equipment. So far one building has been completed for 106 children, and a second building started. Davina’s Kindergarten in Oslo has given support for buildings, books, equipment, and instruments. The children in Norway have also given toys, clothes, pencils, books and papers to be sent to Kanungu. In the future we hope to gather enough funding to complete the second building and support the teachers training.
Through intensive work by the teachers and students at the Oslo Montessori School and the donations of some private donors, the school has been able to improve its conditions considerably. Students now have uniforms, new books, music instruments, clean water, and a tree-planting project to secure future income. A shipment from Oslo will soon provide stationary, sweaters, rain-coats and footballs. We would like to be able to continue the support mainly with helping them to improve the classroom floors, the latrines, the teacher’s office, providing them with football shirts, and helping them to continue the tree-planting project. We have also started a sponsorship programme to give talented students the possibility to attend High School, and we are currently looking for a new support family.
After an intensive visit by Marius Koestler in September, a shallow well was dug in order to assure the safe intake of water. The plastic liners of the well were sponsored by Crestanks, a local company, in order to test their ability in practice. The well, with a depth of 4 metres, was completed with the collaboration of the community. In addition to this, a chemical research project was carried out in order to improve the quality of the water. The water in the Kazinga channel has many features that make it difficult to obtain clear, clean water with a good taste. The project was a great success, and we are already seeing the positive impacts of the improved water quality. In addition to this, the long-awaited water extension to the school was completed. Pipes were laid from the tank site to a new tap-station at the school 250 meters away, and pupils and teachers now profit from clean water every day. The biggest task we see for the water project is supporting the water committee with the administration of the system, something that is very important to achieve sustainability.
In addition to supporting the school directly, we have encouraged the school management to use the possibilities they have in Uganda. We urge them to pressure the local government and UWA in order to get the support they deserve. The teachers are also eager to create a proper income source for the school. The tree-planting project was welcomed by UWA (see above). Another great concern of the teachers is the drop-outs. They have many ideas of how to make education more attractive. The first priority was the uniforms. Uniforms make the school visible in the community and the children are proud of being part of the school. After several campaigns at the Oslo Montessori School, the entire Primary School is now dressed in uniforms. The next priority was school material and books. The Montessori school has also collected a great amount of those, and we were happy to hand over 45 books after an additional generous donation by Gri Eid Moland.
In Uganda, schools also emphasize other activities like games, sports and music. This is extremely important to motivate the children to stay at school. During the visit of Marius and Lucrezia in March, the donation of footballs made the whole grade of P6 and half of P5 come back to school. These students had dropped out last year. According to the latest reports, they are still in school studying. Beside the school choir, the teachers have a great wish to teach music. In March the Montessori School donated money to buy music instruments. We look forward to the first concert! The teachers dream of taking the students to a music festival, and we hope to be able to support this soon.
During their visit in March 2006, Marius Koestler and Lucrezia Koestler saw that most of the technical equipment is still in good shape and has been well looked after. At the same time there was a problem of algae in the tanks because of too much sunlight. Also, because the water level in the Kazinga channel has sunk, the water inlet is no longer adequate. The water contains too much sand which destroys the pump. A second important issue is the community; even if the people in Katunguru are eager to help, they do not know how to properly organize themselves. During their visit, Marius and Lucrezia called for a community meeting and a water committee was elected. Their responsibilities are to reach out to the community about the importance of using filtered water, and to collect the contributions. They also have the authority to take decisions and responsibility to solve problems. The water committee is now working well and reports regularly to Oslo. Health has improved considerably in Katunguru since the clean water arrived, especially among the children.
The main problem at the moment is the water in-take in the channel. We decided that the most appropriate solution would be to dig a shallow well (up to 8m deep) close to the channel. With a visit by Lucrezia in July and a second visit by Marius in September 2006, this will hopefully be completed within a few months.