Jude attended an IEP Positive Peace workshop in 2016. He then went on to build peace in his community by stimulating learning and school attendance.

Promoting education with the Ugandan Literacy Project

Rotaract is a Rotary International youth program which focuses on the development of young adults as leaders in their communities and workplaces. The Rotaract Club of Nateete Kampala continuously carries out community projects while focusing on promoting basic literacy and education.

In July 2016, the club decided to look for a community in which our efforts would be more impactful and progressive over a period of five years. We decided to focus on improving Kakuba Primary school in Busedde Sub County, Jinja District.

The Kakuba Literacy Project

From 30th September to 2nd October 2016, I had the opportunity to be one of the club’s representatives at the Rotaract Peace Workshop.

It was organised by Rotary Clubs of Kampala Ssese Islands (Uganda) and La Jolla Golden Triangle (Ca, USA), District 5150, District 5340, The Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), The International Peace and Security Institute (IPSI). Rotaractors were trained about the eight Pillars of Peace.

Rotaract Nateete put this into action through an initiative ‘Kulaakulana’ which addresses the pillars through Kakuba Literacy project.

Before this workshop, I felt that building Positive Peace in a community could only be done by the government and its bodies. However, my attitude about building peace changed after each session that I attended.

To be honest, I had not quite understood how to apply the eight pillars of Positive Peace to deliver a community service project.

In the early stages of the Kakuba Literacy project, we used four of the eight pillars of Positive Peace:

1. Equitable distribution of resources by providing scholastic materials such as text books,

2. Good relations with neighbours by creating an opportunity for surrounding families to actively participate in the project,

3. Acceptance of the rights of others by educating adolescent girls about menstrual hygiene,

4. Building a high level of human capital by creating interactive empowerment sessions with community members while paying some youths to paint classrooms.

The workshop process

On 25th March 2017, I was one of the club’s representatives at the second Pillars of Peace workshop. We gave feedback about what we had learnt from the previous work shop and how we applied the peace pillars into projects.

Throughout the sessions, building peace became more relevant to me. It opened my mind about how each individual has a role to play in this process. All the pillars started making sense and I used them to improve the Kakuba Literacy project.

I understood how youths can transform a whole community. By improving a focal area using the limited available resources, the positive effect spills over to impact surrounding areas. This ripple effect transforms the entire community eventually.

Kakuba is one of the primary schools in Busedde Sub County. It relies on meagre funding from the government and parents in the community. After the first phase of the project, the school became a model in the region due to improved performance of the candidate class.

The school staff testified that the help provided by the club greatly boosted their work. They had increased availability of scholastic materials such as text books, teacher guides and improved attendance of adolescent girls due to improved menstrual hygiene.

Phase 2 of the literacy project: expansion

Using ideas I got from the second workshop, I planned better for phase 2 of the project which was implemented in April 2018. I thought about how to utilise the remaining four pillars.

I also thought about how to involve new and relevant partners to make the Kakuba Literacy project more impactful yet affordable. It was time to expand the project.

The project committee got the teachers, local community leaders and parents more involved by asking them to take accountability of donated items such as text books and to monitor the progress of the pupils’ performance so as to tackle the issue of a well-functioning government.

Among the partners is a radio station (Busoga FM) which uses the local language of the target community.

This helped us in disseminating information to relevant stake holders. In addition, it created a stronger feeling of involvement and belonging amongst community members. By doing this, we addressed the free flow of information.

After completing the construction of two classrooms, we could address more pillars of peace. We purchased construction materials from the local businesses to increase the local income levels and economy, thereby promoting equitable distribution of resources. 

Further, we are promoting a sound business environment by improving the income levels of households whose members are involved in construction trade and work.

Construction helped promote high level of human capital by providing more learning space. That way, we could accommodate more interested pupils from the community to learn new skills. Education is an important key in empowering a new cohort.

We introduced a medical camp to promote the acceptance of the rights of others. Community members were provided access to quality medical care for free.

Low levels of corruption

We addressed low levels of corruption by labeling the donated items. We also tasked parents, teachers and local community leaders to be accountable for donated scholastic materials.

One of the club members visits the project site on almost a bi-weekly basis to monitor the state of the site. This also ensures the resources can be allocated strategically.

Good relations with neighbours

We promoted good relations with neighbours by introducing an extra cup of porridge at no cost for every pupil as well as planting fruit trees.

The introduction of extra porridge yielded immediate results. There were far less cases of pupils escaping from school to trespass into the neighbours’ gardens in search of something to eat due to hunger.

The addition of the porridge program lead to a reduction of hunger, which improved learning outcomes, leading to increased levels of human capital.

As the fruit trees mature, we will see even more success in this project as more fruit becomes available.

Closing thoughts

The success of the Kakuba Literacy project majorly depends on the sacrifice of like-minded youths. Rotarians and partners have accepted to offer their professional services at a subsidised fee, but mostly free of charge.

There is so much that our limited resources can do for so many people in the world.

Kakuba Literacy project creates many opportunities for the community. Here are some examples:

  • Adolescent girls can embrace their femininity
  • Pupils can stay longer and happier in school
  • Teachers deliver better education
  • Parents and children can dress in a more dignified way
  • Finally, it allows an entire community to have more educated and healthy members