Education is fundamental to the Quicken Trust’s work in transforming the lives of the people of Kabubbu in Uganda. The community, once devastated by poverty and disease, is hungry to learn – adults as well as children. The Adult Education programme is now giving hundreds of people a second chance.
A survey by the Quicken Trust in 2004 found only 28% of adults had attended school – and only 11% completed a primary education. Quicken knows it can’t replace entirely what was missed but many are being helped to become literate and take more responsibility in their lives. Children who can’t attend school because they don’t have a partner and their parents can’t afford the fees, go to Saturday lessons.
Many adults attend classes every week. Most lessons are based in the Community Library, which opened in 2003 with support from BA. Basic skills such as reading, writing, English and arithmetic are the most popular. Adults can also learn more vocational skills such as agriculture and carpentry. (Agriculture; Building Projects). Age is no barrier: Remegio, who’s in his 70s, joined the adult literacy class in 2011. An annual awards ceremony recognises outstanding achievers.
Kabubbu Community Library’s work – led by Rita — has won international recognition. It was one of the winners of Stanbic Bank‘s “Inspiration Lives in Africa” campaign which celebrated community-transforming projects in five African states. Programmes currently running include IT and sewing classes and from time to time a Functional Adult Literacy programme.
(Watch: Former Head of Adult Education, Augustine Napagi)
Stories of Transformation
Learning basic skills such as reading and numeracy has had a huge impact on the esteem of villagers who once saw themselves as ‘The Forgotten People’. “I learned how to read a school report,” says Martha Atenyi, who attended classes. “Now I understand how my children perform in school.”
Another ‘pupil’, Mary Nakiggwe adds; “I did not know how to read or write before I joined the library literacy classes. Now I read every day.” “I have learnt many things through the library, including reading, farming and healthy living.”
Many have learnt skills which mean they can get better jobs. Representatives of the UK-based Community Learning Resource have visited to help adult literacy training. Visitors from the UK have also taught:
In 2010 30 people attended a 6-week training course on how to grow fruit trees supported by Graze. They learnt about types of trees; the nutritional value of fruits; planting, irrigation, pest control. On completing the course, each was given 12 fruit trees. The result was a better diet for their family; an opportunity to generate an income and better use of the land around their homes. Since then more than 250 local ‘farmers’ have been trained in a special maize-growing technique, ‘Farming God’s Way’, financially funded by Graze. This enables farmers to grow 10 times the crop they used to get from the same area of land.(Agriculture)
Managing – the Future
Kabubbu’s people have been under-educated. Learning management and leadership skills has always been key to more self-sustaining life in Kabubbu. At present, it is still necessary to employ managers from outside. Quicken trains local people with potential so villagers will take leadership and business roles in their community. Part of that programme is Street Business School, specifically for women.
Using purely what they already have – possibly only a single fruit or vegetable – women are taught to create a profitable business. They are lifting themselves and their families out of poverty through their own hard work and dedication to their learning across a six months course. Success of the first 34 trained women has ensured others want to join the scheme. The growing confidence and resilience of Kabubbu’s women is an important step towards self-determination for families.