A major area of Abingdon Vesper's activity in Uganda has been working with schools to improve their facilities and extend the provision of education throughout the local communities.
With grant support from the Rotary Foundation and working in partnership with local Rotary clubs, particularly the Rotary Club of Mubende, we have been able to successfully complete several projects over the last ten years.
The girls from Didcot High School were shocked to hear about conditions at Kyamukoona School where the children had to sit on the ground for the lessons. Not only did this make teaching difficult, but there were also health problems for the children.
This prompted Didcot girls to fund raise for the school and together with Vesper they managed to raise the money to buy new desks and seats for all the children at the school.
More recently Vesper has paid for a new water tank at the school to replace the original damaged tank so that once more the children have a ready supply of fresh water for drinking and washing.
With the Rotary Club of Mubende we have just completed a project at Mugungulu School with a matching grant from the Rotary Foundation. This paid for:
Not only has this work helped improve conditions and performance at the school, it has improved environmental conditions and health in the area and is to starting to lead to greater sustainability in the local farming community as the skills taught to the children are passed on more widely.
We are about to replicate this at Keyo school, Gulu, in the north of Uganda in the area which suffered so much until recently under the civil war. This is a further matching grant project in partnership with RC Mengo and with support from Didcot Girls School.
Our plan is now to build on what we have learned from these projects and we have applied to the Rotary Foundation for funding under their 3H grant initiative to repeat this work at 10 more schools in the Mubende area. The focus is not on short term aid but on sustainable development. Our aim is to involve several Rotary clubs from different countries, all working together to deliver an effective solution that achieves improved health and education and more sustainable communities.
One of the ten schools is Rwabagabo and working with Kulika, we recently launched a project to develop the school garden to drawn on the lessons learned at Mugungulu. Work will shortly start on developing the school site to improve the gardening skills of the children and increase the food produced on site.
This work has been made possible by the efforts of the organisers of the Eaton Charity gig who held a fund raising concert in the Oxfordshire village of Eaton in September 2008 to support the school.
In 2005 Vesper funded a new latrine block for one of the largest high schools in Mubende town. The school is about to build a new kitchen/dining room facility and Vesper has supported this by funding a fuel efficient wood burning stove for the kitchen.