Link Community Development

Improving the quality of education in Africa

Tullow Oil - Link School Improvement Project (TOLSIP)

Buliisa SPAM

The project worked to improve the quality of education in Hoima and Buliisa Districts. The core of the intervention used the School Performance Review (SPR) process to inform school management and governance training and the support and training of teachers, in order to improve school functionality and performance. A lower primary literacy element was introduced into the programme in the last year.



Funder: Tullow Oil

Total Funding: Ugx 746 million

Date: 2009 - 2015

The Challenge

The project has generally focused on the schools nearest the oil bearing areas which are along the shores of Lake Albert. These are areas which have traditionally been marginalised and prior to TOLSIP the schools in these communities had received very little external attention. 

Another challenge revolves around the economic life of the fishing and nomadic herding communities in this project area. Not only do families move with their cattle or around Lake Albert after the diminishing fish stocks, taking their children in and out of school, but also many families expect the older children – beyond P3 – to play a full economic role and see no value in education once the child can earn a living fishing or herding. The girls are often left looking after younger siblings, as their mothers seek an income away from home. In addition, girls are treated as ‘resources’ in Alur, Bahema and Lugungu communities to be married off as soon as possible.

As a result learning outcomes are very poor and few children complete primary school.

Project Aims

TOLSIP has been running for over five years in schools in Hoima and Buliisa Districts with the support of Tullow Oil. The first phase (2009 – 11) involved 8 schools; the second phase (2012 – 13) 56 schools and the last phase (2014) 8 schools. All three phases focused on the two oil bearing districts of Buliisa and Hoima, where Tullow Oil has assets.

The third phase of the project aimed at improving the performance of 8 targeted schools. The core of the intervention used the School Performance Review (SPR) process to inform school management and governance training and the support and training of teachers, in order to improve school functionality and performance. The hypothesis that drove the TOLSIP intervention is that early grade teachers who work in schools which have short term intensive classroom support provided along with school management support will see a more rapid increase in literacy levels of their learners compared to those teachers who have no such school-based support. 

Project Activities

  1. School Performance Review (SPR) and School Performance Appraisal Meetings (SPAMs) conducted and School Improvement Plans (SIPs) developed for each project school.
  2. Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) for sampled learners in P1 and P3 from 5 out of the 16 project schools (the 5 Runyoro speaking schools).
  3. Intensive teacher development inputs for 32 P1 and P3 literacy teachers in all project schools.  
  4. School Management Committee (SMC)/ Parent Teacher Association (PTA) training.
  5. The school Senior Management Team training for 32 Headteachers and Deputy Headteachers.
  6. District capacity building for 2 Inspectors of Schools from Hoima and Buliisa District Education Departments.
  7. Monthly multi-purpose school based support visits.
  8. School Health and HIV Awareness Training for school stakeholders.

Headline Achievements

The EGRA results showed a significant improvement in the early learners’ literacy competence in the 5 targeted project schools.

In project schools, particularly in Hoima, appropriate classroom displays and sitting in groups are now common practices even in classrooms outside of the project activity.

32 Parent-Teacher Association and School Management Committee members have enhanced knowledge of how to deliver their mandated roles and responsibilities. Project schools have demonstrated an improvement in school governance, school community relationships, curriculum delivery, management and supervision.

Capacity building for the District Education Office included refresher training on SPR data collection using the revised SPR data collection tool and Data Management to operationalise the Decentralised Education Management Information System (DEMIS).

Each of the 16 targeted schools received a monthly school-based support visit during the reporting period. Classroom based support was targeted at early grade teachers. The significant improvement in EGRA results demonstrates that classroom based support is a critical requirement for schools to increase the literacy levels of their learners.

Through the training on School Health and HIV/AIDs awareness, targeted school-level stakeholders refreshed their basic knowledge and skills on the provision of a healthy and hygienic school environment alongside emotional support for all HIV/AIDs infected and affected pupils, teachers and local community members.

NGOsource equivalency determination on file Registered with Fundraising Regulator OSCR Scottish Charity Registrar