Link Community Development

Improving the quality of education in Africa

Schools for IDP Resettlement in Katakwi (SIRK)

Katakwi School Garden

& Supporting Resettlement through Education (SRE)

The overall objective of SIRK and SRE was to contribute to the resettlement of an estimated 49,500 Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in Katakwi District in Eastern Uganda. The focus was on 3 sub-counties (Ongongoja, Ngariam and Magoro) and 27 primary schools

 

Funder: Comic Relief, Baring Foundation & Ellerman Foundation

Total Funding: £712,863

Date: 2010 - 2015

The Challenge

Remote rural areas of the Katakwi District had been most affected by conflict caused by the Lord’s Resistance Army and incursions by Karamoja warriors. In 2010 Internally Displaced People (IDPs) were beginning to return to their farms and small rural villages. However, the camps were still very much in evidence and contained many families and individuals who were reluctant to return to their ancestral lands. Many had been IDPs for a number of years and so were struggling to break the dependence on hand-outs and take the route of re-establishing their farms in areas that had been left uncultivated for many years. Individual families feared returning to their homes without assurance that they would be protected and that the government was committed to supporting them.  At the same time the children were often traumatised and had experienced only limited access to schooling  in the IDP camps. Many of these children had become acclimatised to camp life with its gambling and alcohol consumption.

Project Aims

The aim of SIRK/SRE was to assist communities to resettle by improving the quality and relevance of education provided and promoting schools as a focus of community activity. This was in response to the project’s Theory of Change (ToC) which stated that independent farming communities could deal better with the stress and trauma, and act as a counter to the poverty and increasing dependency of living in IDP camps. The ToC argues that for successful resettlement, communities need to have a functional school which assists the community resettle and provides them with appropriate skills and the infrastructure to sustain resettlement. The ToC further asserts that access to quality education will support resettlement if schools:

  • Provide a place of care and safety that helps to heal the trauma of conflict
  • Are recognized as promoting opportunity for children and prosperity for the community
  • Become centres of community activities promoting social cohesion.

To this end the SIRK/SRE Project’s Key Objectives were to:

  1. Improve quality of education in 27 schools targeting an estimated 24,804 learners (12,371 boys and 12,433 girls) over the life of the projects   
  2. Improve community participation and support for education to ensure school children are learning
  3. Improve the capacity of Katakwi District Local Government (KDLG) to manage and provide technical support to schools.

Project activities

The methodology to improve community engagement and assist former IDPs to reintegrate into their ancestral lands was consciously experimental and innovative. It focused on developing and supporting appropriate farming skills in the community through demonstration gardens in the schools. These were used as a motivator for communities to create community groups around farming activities and simultaneously support the school, and would also serve as a basis for improving learner nutrition and sustaining learner retention in school.

Alongside the agricultural and community mobilisation activities the projects also implemented Link’s standard package of school support and development activities, with a focus on learner centred teaching methods and the creation of child-friendly school environments. This included training and support of the various school stakeholders as well as district education staff, support supervision of teachers and the development of participatory planning and accountability.

Headline Achievements

When the two projects started Katakwi town was still a centre for refugees with a large IDP settlement opposite the district council offices. There are few traces of this settlement now; over the years these rural people have headed back to their villages to rebuild their lives following the dual impact of the attacks by the Lord’s Resistance Army and Karamoja warriors.

39,447 pupils are attending schools which deliver a better quality of education. School Performance Review (SPR) data showed that there has been a greater than 10% improvement in the number of schools rated as ‘Good’ or ‘Very Good’ over the project life. There was an increase of 6% in literacy competence levels and 3% in numeracy competence levels.

In 2014 79% of the 27 project schools were providing an effective teaching and learning environment compared to 23% in 2010. This was evidenced by increasing use of instructional materials, appropriate classroom displays and better organisation of classrooms by 361 teachers.

Nearly 80% of project schools have functional management systems and processes compared to 12% in 2010. 68 Headteachers and Deputy Head teachers received leadership and management training.

In 2014, 58% of schools demonstrated stakeholders’ awareness and taking action on issues of access and equity compared to only 12% in 2010. Schools have functional documented systems of monitoring daily learner attendance, tracking unapproved learner absenteeism and drop-outs. There were also deliberate actions to support learners with special needs.

71% of schools were considered to have functional school governing bodies in 2014 compared to 50% in 2010. 620 School Management Committee members were more informed of their roles and responsibilities through capacity building initiatives.

No schools had negative relations with their local communities in 2014 compared to 42% in 2010. The school gardening and community demonstration gardens components contributed to improved levels of nutrition and livelihood opportunities in the targeted schools and for neighbouring community members. 690 community members benefitted from improved farming practices and livelihood opportunities.

There is improved capacity of Katakwi District Local Government to monitor and support schools in resettlement areas. Through the provision of a project motor vehicle and other project support, the Education Department has been able to provide support and supervision not only to the 27 project schools, but all other 48 non-project schools that fall under its jurisdiction.

A former learner from Aketa Primary School who failed PLE in 2012 took over a small piece of family land and grew eggplant, onions, cabbage, tomatoes and rice using techniques learned from the SIRK/SRE projects in his school. By selling the produce in the local markets in just two years he has been able to buy 9 cows, sell them to buy 3 acres of his own land, pay bride-price and get married and is building up a second herd of cattle. He is training three local men in the same techniques.