Project Worker Lily Mortimer gives an overview of the plans afoot at Kakiika Technical School for Summer 2014! This is an adaptation of content originally published on Lily’s personal blog, pinkshoesinuganda.blogspot.com
Our main priority for the summer is the library. Before we arrived, the school had fewer than thirty relevant textbooks, shared between 260 students and staff. The textbooks used by technical schools are much less readily available, and are significantly more expensive than those on the main secondary school curriculum, making it much harder for schools to provide an adequate number. We have purchased the thirteen curriculum textbooks available locally, and will be sourcing as many others as we can from Kampala or even further beyond.
Not only are we looking to better equip the library, we are looking to use the space more effectively. Currently, the library also functions as the staffroom, as so is unavailable after class hours. Our headmaster has very kindly agreed to move the staffroom elsewhere in the school, so we will be getting our DIY SOS faces on to refurbish and redecorate. We have started to open the library during evening study sessions, and our new student librarians are doing a fantastic job of running these.
Although the library is our greatest overall project, our successful careers day perhaps qualifies as Team Kakiika’s biggest victory thus far. Post-secondary opportunities is an area of particular focus for EPAfrica, and is of special concern in technical schools, which are often seen as schools for the lazy ones, or the poor ones, or the failures. So, to a worrying number of pupils, it makes more sense to finish school, get a job and start earning peanuts than spend time and money pushing themselves to further study, enterprises, or even university. Careers Day wasn’t just an efficient choice, but a thoroughly worthwhile one.
Our panel of speakers introduced themselves before breaking off into smaller workshops to discuss women in work (see photo!), further education, and how to finance study, and returned for a seminar on entrepreneurship and the chance for students to pose their own questions. We were, on the whole, absolutely delighted with the speakers’ contributions, and have already had great feedback from students and lots of requests for photocopies of the careers materials in the library.
This does not exhaust our activities either: after the school holidays, we are also planning to install some concrete handwashing stations to give students proper facilities and a constant water supply to keep themselves clean – particularly when it’s the dry season and you spend every day up to your elbows in concrete.
Anyway, this ‘brief overview’ seems to have grown arms and legs of its own, so it’s probably time to stop. It just remains to say that I’m still having a wonderful time, and am really excited to finish the job over the next few weeks!