Fundraising Goals for 2018

So a successful year was had by TUSP in 2017, but there remains a huge amount of work and effort for the upcoming year and beyond.

Having established a solid infrastructure at the school, it has become apparent that the education standards at Bumakenya are significantly lower than what is an already low average. We knew this would not be an overnight fix, but a core aim of ours is this year is to put foundations in place for raising these levels significantly. To do so will require a huge amount of additional training for the teachers, who need guidance, motivation and empowerment to be able to inspire a thirst for education in the pupils.

We also want to create a supportive and creative learning environment that is conducive to improved emotional wellbeing of the children. Grace is currently involved with having the pupils paint the inside of the classrooms in designs and ideas chosen by them, and will be working to ensure their basic needs are catered for.

Key non-educational processes also need to be established, e.g the management of government funds, to ensure a smooth running of the school and to create engagement and trust with the community. We welcomed a new headteacher in Feb 2018 and will continue to work on these throughout this year and beyond.

Finally, given the growing popularity of the school in the community, we will be looking to construct a final two classrooms at the school. This is dependent on the purchasing of the necessary land by the community, the idea being that shared ownership and responsibility will lead to greater sense of collaboration and partnership.

Here's a breakdown of key aims and budgets for 2018:

2 x additional classrooms - £7,000

The growing population at the school means that despite the construction of 4 classrooms,
and the installation of classroom dividers to create more space, we are low on room! Based
on the previous constructions, we anticipate this to cost £7000 for a pair of classrooms.

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Additional training and educational aid - £1,200

A recent survey commissioned by TUSP and carried out by local government, has highlighted
many areas the school needs to improve. This is not shocking to us – the school was in bad
shape and to help turn it around will not be overnight, but it has really helped to highlight
the level of work required and articulate how we can go about doing so. A primary focus for
this year will be to provide more support to members of staff so as to improve their quality
of teaching, motivation and wellbeing.

classroom-2.jpg

 

School Lunch Programme - £1,300
The lunch programme is going strong but continues to require funding. This provides a meal
of maize-based porridge, supplemented with ground nuts and milk for additional nutrition.
We will also be introducing a basic lunch for teachers.

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Medical Aid - £1,000

This year we will continue with the biannual medical screening of the local community of
people with albinism. This involves bringing approx. 40 people to Bumbo Health Centre to
provide testing for skin cancer and eye testing, provision of protective clothing, and creams
and ointments for skin.
We will also continue to support a fortnightly rehabilitation clinic at the school, which brings
a physio and assistant to offer treatment for the physically disabled in the community.


Microfinance loans to 20 additional women - £1,400
With the Microfinance project proving very successful in its first year, we want to continue
to expand our support by offering more opportunities to more businesswomen in the
community. At the same time, a key factor in the success to date has been quality control,
i.e making sure that there are sound business plans behind the requests for these loans. We
will therefore look to add 2 new groups of 10 women to the programme, to coincide with
the further loans issued to the current groups.

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Staff Expenses - £1,800

Whilst supporting the Staff Expenses may not be the ‘sexiest’ project to support, this is the
heartbeat of the organisation. To date, TUSP volunteers have paid 100% of their expenses.
However, we do also need a small team of Ugandan employees, who coordinate and assist
with our full scope of projects to make sure they’re running efficiently and any problems can
be resolved.

Sean’s Stipend - £3,000

It would be my dream to dedicate myself full time to TUSP, but this would require being
able to take a stipend to continuously live in-country, as opposed to spending periods in
London to support personal expenses when in Uganda. I’ve included a stipend for myself in
the target amount, which equates to £100/week (from March onwards). This is on a
restricted fund basis, which means that I would only use donations for this purpose if it is
strictly indicated as such by the donor.

Challenges, not problems (!)

Hello old friend, hello old friends,

Here I am, now 7 weeks into my trip, and being out here I’m always met with the same strange sensation; that the days are so filled that past events feel like ages ago, whilst at the same time I can’t believe I’ve been here for this long already. So I thought I’d restart my blog to fill you lovely people on what’s been going on over here.

I write this from an overcast and wet Mbale, 230km east of Kampala, where the dry season has become a distant memory in the space of a week.

These first weeks have thus far been full of challenges of varying shapes and sizes, but strangely these difficulties have given me more resolve to do what I can to get a functional and sustainable primary school in place.

One of our core aims this year is to improve the education levels at the school. It is all well and good providing the buildings and educational materials, but it is worth nothing if the teachers are not imparting a proper education on to their pupils. To that end, we carried out a thorough review of the educational and non-educational processes, as well as performance reviews of each teacher, at the back end of last year.

This was carried out by a local government official, the Coordinator Centre Tutor. A man named Mungoma John, he did a fantastic job of observing what he saw, both good and bad, and formulating a report complete with recommendation that lays a great framework for how to go about our mission.

Moving forward, we will be using this assessment as a baseline for monitoring the academic achievement at the school, something concrete on which we can measure the impact our work and your donations are having.

A big part of this improvement will be in additional teacher training, and as such we are in contact with exemplary local schools and other educationally minded organisations out here to provide this. Our teachers have recently taken part in two workshops hosted by Arlington Academy of Hope, a high achieving private school in the nearby Bududa. We have also formed relationships with the African Educational Trust, an organisation whose work includes providing libraries, teacher trainings and community engagement programs in Northern and Eastern Uganda.

A huge hindrance to any teacher development we undertake is a lack of motivation of the teachers, brought on by chronic non-payment of salaries. Currently, 2 of our 8 teachers have not been paid since June 2017, with others being owed many months’ worth of arrears. This forces teachers to take on other odd jobs to support themselves, rendering them exhausted and demotivated when it comes to the classroom. We are trying to lobby the District, but both here and in a handful of other newly formed districts, the horrendous mismanagement of the process is having a severe impact and there is little that can be done to hurry up the process. Further to this non-payment, this transition process of the new district has left us with 3 teachers who have been transferred at the end of last term and not yet replaced, putting further strain on the already overstretched teaching staff. O, the sweet joys of local government!

We are also confronted with the issue of misallocation of the Universal Primary Education budget, a once-termly fund issued by the Government for providing scholastic materials, co-curricular activities etc. In previous years, this was seen as a golden egg for anyone on the School Management Committee, and it is something we are trying to change in a measured and diplomatic way.  As a key stakeholder in the school, this can be achieved by having a District-endorsed say in the process, from a voice in budget meetings to regular independent auditing of the outgoings. One of our volunteers, Kinga, has helped put together a watertight process which should mean that the money goes exactly where it should. Watch this space for updates!

Gladly, I’m happy to report that our other projects are going well. We continue to maintain a 100% loan repayment rate on the TUSP Micro Finance project, with a new group of 10 women, and further loans to the existing 20 women, coming up in April. We look forward to welcoming back one of ‘The Dreamteam’, Evelina, to help evaluate the business plans of the new applicants and oversee the smooth operation of the loan issuance.

With the help of Seeds, both our Men’s and Women’s village savings programmes are running well.

We have taken on both a new football and a new netball coach at the school, who attends every Wednesday to provide structured coaching to an otherwise chaotic Games afternoon. This will help us prepare for the grudge match against our rivals from the nearby Bukokho Primary School – last year saw our netball team get demolished, only for the football team to recover some school pride with an historic win on penalties.

The school cow is also pregnant and due to give birth any time in the next 1-3 months, depending on who you speak to (!).

We now have a team of 3 local TUSP employees, helping monitor the efficient running of our programmes and problem solving any issues that arise.

And most importantly, for the next few weeks at least, I am able to rely on the support of Kinga and Grace, two longer term volunteers whose expertise in their respective fields of finance and child wellbeing and emotional support, has been invaluable. More than volunteers, they are good friends, and I’ll be sad to see them go.

Right, I must be off – a wet’n’wild Matatu (local minibus taxi) journey back to the village awaits, but I will check in with updates when I have them.

Love to all back at home, or wherever you may be, and thank you for your continued support!

Sean xx

TUSP FUNDRAISER

The Uganda School Project
African-themed carnival Fundraiser!

Support the TUSP work in Uganda and enjoy an amazing evening packed full of African culture.

To celebrate the charity’s achievements in 2016, and to raise awareness and donations for 2017's endeavours, The Uganda School Project will be hosting an African-themed carnival Fundraiser!

In 2016, The Uganda School Project began supporting Bumakenya Primary School in the beautiful Manafwa region, in Eastern Uganda. This year we will expand our work to establish a sign language unit at the school, a micro finance program and a mobile cataract surgery unit in order to help to develop the economic, health an social structures in the area.

The fundraiser will be held on the 4th of March between 5pm and 11pm at Mother London in Shoreditch. The evening will be filled with African culture and food, as well as with talks from some inspirational speakers. The Uganda School Project team will discuss the achievements of 2016 and outline the important plans for 2017.

There will be mouth-watering Ugandan snacks out for you to help yourself to, along with some delicious punch on arrival. For those who wish there will be a cash bar serving beers, wine and G&T’s, all for an extremely affordable £3.

We can promise some fantastic Ghanaian drumming and the unmissable live afrobeats music from Kokoroko’s 7-piece band. The evening will be closed off by some African tunes from our resident DJs. All of this for only a £20 ticket. This money goes directly to The Uganda School Project.

www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/tusp

Founder Harry Bucknell says: “This year we wanted to throw an event that isn’t just a compulsory invite for the friends and family of the charity, but an interesting and engaging evening, full of African influence. We want people to see the direct impact the money raised has had on the areas, and the exciting projects we have lined up for 2017. These include a mobile cataract surgery, where the operating theatre is a converted double-decker London bus, as well as classroom construction and the introduction of micro-finance initiatives – which in our opinion is the best way to help the community to help themselves out of poverty”.

Location: 10 Redchurch Street
E2 7DD
London
https://www.facebook.com/events/181372875672217/