Uganda Vision Resource Centre:
Too much rainfall destroys Ikamiro Primary School Classrooms inKamwenge District Uganda. Assistance needed to enable schooling goes on as 3rd Term schools open on 23rd September 2013.
Reconstruction of the school facilities needed after heavy rainfall destroys 4 classrooms of Ikamiro Primary School in Kamwenge District in Uganda
Kamwenge District Uganda, Thursday, 22nd 2013
1. Location of Kamwenge District:
Kamwenge district can be accessed from Kampala, the capital city of Uganda either through Mbarara town via Ibanda or through Mubende – Fort Portal road via Fort Portal. This is a distance of about 400km. It is boarded by Kasese district in the West, Kabarole in the North West and Ibanda in the South.
2. Climatic patterns:
The area is endowed with rich natural equatorial rain forest vegetation especially Kibale and Kitaka forests and rich natural grasslands and scattered bushes in the relatively drier areas. The Eastern escarpment of the great Western rift valley as it descends into the Lake George in Western Uganda also lies in Kamwenge district area.
The area receives fairly well distributed bimodal annual rainfall averaging 1200mm throughout the year for most parts. The incidence of the rains is greatest in the North Eastern and Southern parts of the district that is in areas of Kahunge, Kamwenge, Kambabiro, Ntara, Nyabbani, Kanara, Kicheche, Buhanda and the great part of Mahyoro sub counties.
3. Altitude and temperatures: Because of its tropical location and the relatively low altitude ranging from 1,300 – 3800m above sea level, Kamwenge District has temperatures ranging between 200 – 25 0C in most parts. This climatic condition is quite favorable for crops, pastures and water availability for livestock in the area. Kamwenge as is located in the Rwenzori region, is a few kilometers from Mt. Rwenzori.
4. Social economic characteristics of Kamwenge people. Majority of the people in the area engage in cultivation of food crops such as maize, beans, bananas, finger millet, ground nuts, cassava, sweet potatoes and Irish potatoes. As a result, the majority people in Kamwenge are living below poverty line and as such cannot afford to put up better school facilities for their children nor can they afford the high costs needed by the good schools in different parts of the country.
5. Education Facilities in Kamwenge District
Kamwenge district has got the following categories of education centers;
Tertiary institutions 2
Government aided Secondary schools 10
Private Secondary schools 16
UPE Primary schools 147
Private Primary schools 35
Nursery schools and day care centers 120
6. Brief description of the emergency
Kamwenge District is one of the parts of Uganda that receive high annual rainfall. It is always characterized by heavy hailstorms and heavy winds. This year between March and July Kamwenge received relatively dry and hot weather which ended up into heavy rains with heavy winds this month of August. This area of Kamwenge has sandy soils that easily collapse under such heavy rains. This has left infrastructures destroyed especially schools. It is estimated that during this month of August many other schools could have been destroyed as the month has had too much rainfall. It becomes worse even when schools that originally had insufficient facilities like Ikamiro now loose the few structures they had. In most Kamwenge schools children learn from outside under the trees in the compound, but it becomes more risky and challenging during such heavy rains.
As rains are expected to continue up to October 2013, it is anticipated that more schools are going to be affected. As these rural schools are in the hands of poor parents with very low incomes, they cannot handle this emergency. This has resulted into a dire humanitarian disaster that requires a humanitarian response.
Two temporary (mud and wattle) classroom blocks each holding two classrooms (p2-p4) were left collapsing after the heavy rains of Wednesday evening. Thank God it happened after school hours and children were already home so, no lives were affected. These 4 classrooms were constructed by parents, a process that lasted about 2 years. This emergency is more than what the parents can handle in a short period. On average each classroom at Ikamiro Primary school accommodates 30 pupils which mean that 120 pupils have been left without classrooms.
Usually where there is no classrooms, classes are conducted from outside in the compound and under tree shades. When it rains there will be no teaching and learning conducted. This is likely to result into low teaching and learning achievements. This is what we are likely to see in Ikamiro Primary School when 3rd term opens.
The most urgent needs in this school are stronger permanent classrooms. Temporary classrooms (tarpaulin shelters) can be put in place as plans for permanent structures are being planned. The schools will open for 3rd term on 23rd September 2013.
8. Needed Response
The current situation at Ikamiro Primary School needs to be handled in two phases addressing both immediate and long term needs of the school.
i) Emergency response Phase: As schools open again for 3rd term by 23rd September this year, pupils of Ikamiro need to have a temporary but secure shelter where teaching and learning processes can go on. This requires the school to get 4 emergency classrooms made of tarpaulin and wood where the 4 classes can operate from for the rest of the term. Each tarpaulin classroom is estimated at 1,500,000 Uganda shillings (US $600), adding up to 6,000,000 Uganda shillings (US $2400) for the 4 classrooms. This would help the schooling (teaching and learning) to go on through 3rdterm and 1st term of 2014. Meanwhile a more reliable and permanent structure would be thought about.
ii) Reconstruction Phase: At this stage, more reliable permanent classrooms would be constructed to accommodate the current and future increasing population of Ikamiro Primary School. This work would also start immediately when funds are available. The cost of a classroom is estimated at 25,000,000 Uganda shillings (US &10,000), adding up to 100,000,000 Uganda shillings (US &40,000) for the 4 classrooms.
Ikamiro Primary School pupils, staff, parents and the entire community in Kamwenge would be glad to anyone, individuals and companies who would be lender a helping hand in handling this emergency. Uganda Vision Resource Centre, a grassroots organization based in Kamwenge is spearheading this fundraising function to help in putting this school back to order.
For more information about Ikamiro Primary School and to know where to put your contribution, contact The Director Uganda Vision Resource Centre on Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.