RAE_Empowering Marginalized Communties

Why is education the focus of this Strategy?

Education has long been recognized as a basic right which is premised on the understanding that it permits the successive transmission of beneficial culture i.e. technical skills, customs, beliefs, values, laws and knowledge across generations (Ssekamwa, 1997). Indeed, putting education at the center of development has great potential to transform societies. Access to quality education promotes empowerment and thus, is a gateway that spurs social cohesion and prosperity by improving human capital and the opportunity for individuals to improve their livelihoods and lead a full and beneficial life. Unfortunately, these benefits are seldom enjoyed by remote rural societies resulting in their continued marginalization and unrelenting poverty. The average pupil-teacher primary school ratio of 42.7 in Uganda (The Global Economy.com) shows that the ratio is poor for effective learning throughout the country.  This is significantly worse in rural areas. These disturbing metrics are also commonplace in neighbouring countries especially those recovering from civil wars. The focus of RAE is to reverse these patterns, building on its three pioneer initiatives, a) Increasing access to education for the gild child and marginalized communities, b) increasing access to improved agricultural technologies, and c) Skilling the Youth through School Garden Learning Labs.

Inclusion & Empowerment: Increasing Access to Education for Marginalised Rural Communities- the Case of Opungure Primary School in rural Eastern Uganda

Education is the greatest Enabler in life for improving livelihoods of the people. Accordingly, the Missionaries established Schools to promote education in various parts of Uganda, and in other parts of Africa. In 1956 the Church of Uganda decided to build a local church (grass thatched) in Opungure, a marginalized rural area in Eastern Uganda. They decided to use the Church and the two mango trees as the pilot school classrooms for Primary One kids, This is where Professor Adipala started his education in 1959. Subsequently the Church built a 2 mud wattle grass thatched classroom block. This remained the Status quo until the early 1980s when Professor Adipala and his late wife Theopista Nagujja decided to expand the building into a four classroom block (still grass thatched) to enable more kids join the School. In 1982, Adipala and his wife decided to construct a 9-class room block and six Teachers two-bedroom houses that they handed over to the Community. That is what constitutes Opungure Primary School today with about 1,500 primary School children and 13 Teachers. The Government of Uganda has since taken over the management of the School. To promote girl education and retention of the girl child in School, Prof Adipala in 2019 constructed a Girls Dormitory for Primary Seven Girls so as to retain them in school, improve the likelihood of their passing exams and joining secondary School education. All these efforts by Professor Adipala and his family are geared at promoting inclusion-not to leave rural communities behind- by increasing access to education for kids in remote rural areas. The School continues to attract students even though the classroom facilities have become limited due to the high population needing education.

Opungure Primary School

Pupils of Opungure Primary School attending lesson in a crowded classroom


KakurePrimaryKakure Primary School, one of the Primary Schools being supported by Research and Education Agency, was founded in 1939 by the Roman Catholic Church and is located in Agule Village, Opungure Parish, Kakure Sub County, Kalaki County in Kalaki District of Eastern Uganda. It is 33 km west of Soroti City, along Katine – Ochero main road. The School is government aided and its Education Management Information System (EMIS) number with Uganda ministry of education and sports is 010544. It is a mixed day School, but the parents and the school administration have initiated a mini-boarding as a measure of increasing contact hours of learners with teachers for purposes of improving academic performance. The school prioritizes and supports girl child education. The school sources of funds are; Universal Primary Education capitation grant, parents’ contribution, Donations from development agencies and well-wishers such as Research and Education (RAE: see www.rae.co.ug ). .
The Sub County of Kakure where the school is located has three (3) parishes and eighteen (18) villages. According to the Uganda Population and Housing Census report of 2014, the Sub County has a population projection in 2024 of 9,200 males and 9,300 females giving a total of 18,500 people Whereas Kalaki District population in 2024 is projected to be 80,800 males and 80,200 females giving a total of 161,000 people. Uganda’s population in 2024 has a population projection of 23,139,600 males and 23,791,300 females totaling to 46,930,900 people. The Sub County has six government primary schools and two secondary schools; One government Seed Secondary School and Adipala High School which is private. The Sub County is served with only one Health Center II, i.e., Kakure Health Center II. The community of Kakure Sub County practices subsistence farming for its livelihood; approximately 90 % of the population depends on subsistence farming by growing crops and rearing a few domestic animals. Small proportion of the population is engaged in small scale businesses and fishing farming activities. The School is located in a population, that experienced a series of insurgencies and other life challenging situations that ranged from cattle rustling by armed warriors in around 1986 to 1988, The Uganda people’s Army (UPA) rebellion that broke off in late 1980s and lasted up to around 1994, the infiltration of The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in 2003 and frequent droughts. With all the trauma inflicted on the community by these challenges, little in terms of community rehabilitation and support is done. The HIV/AIDS scourge and COVID-19 pandemic effects escalate the situation. Hailstorm also blew off the roof of the entire eight-classroom block, which fortunately was put back with support of RAE. The school major challenges are inadequate physical infrastructure, equipment including computers and inadequate staffing in relation to high and increasing enrollment of learners. Currently the School has a population of 1,500 learners, out of whom 95 are special needs and 11 teachers with some students studying under trees. For more information about the school, contact kakureps@gmail.com.


Pupils of Kakure Primary School sitting for Exam under the tree

Enhancing retention of the girl child in School

In Uganda there is a very high drop out in the education pipeline being as high as 70% at Primary School level. Girls are especially affected with on average about 80% drop out at primary School level, the foundation for education advancement and livelihood opportunities. One of the main causes for drop out is that once girls reach their menstrual period, they shy away from going to School. As such interventions are needed to provide girls with menstrual pads, to make them comfortable going and staying in School during their menstrual periods. As such RAE works to mobilise support to provide sanitary pads to girls. This is done through mobilising crowd funding to support provision of sanitary pads to girls. RAE is also seeking for partnerships to establish cottage industry for manufacturing sanitary pads in rural communities. Please contact e.adipala@rae.co.ug 

Picture: Rose Ayoko, a Community Member, handing over sanitary pads for girls at Opungure Primary School in Eastern Uganda.