By Ivan Ssassou Obura
A local NGO, Environmental Women in Action for Development (EWAD) through it’s project, Work No Child’s Business (WNCB) being implemented in Busia, has donated ICT tools and materials to three governmnent rural schools to support E-learning in the district.
With support from supported by Hivos and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of Netherlands, the donated items are aimed at assisting in the delivery of learning materials directly from teacher to the learner hence boasting children’s performance.
E-Learning is a learning system based on formalised teaching, but with the help of electronic resources.
While teaching can be based in or out of the classrooms, the use of computers and the Internet forms the major component of E-learning.
The beneficiary schools are Amonikakinei Primary school in Buteba Sub-county whose total enrollment by the end of 2022 was 1,027 children, Busitema Primary school in Busitema Sub-county with 613 children and Tiira Primary School in Tiira Town Council with 1,400 children. The total cost for this particular activity of E-learning in these three initial schools covers the purchase, wiring and installation of Solar system, and training teachers who will also be trainers is over USh50m.
This is among other projects being implemented under the WNCB in Busia while partners, Save the Children, Nascent-RDO and UNATU are working in Karamoja Districts of Moroto and Nakapiripirit.
The equipment includes, 3 latest model laptops, 3 smart TVs, 3 high tech Solar power systems, 4 Mobile phones, together with all internet required accessories.
While handing over the equipment to the beneficiary school management teams, EWAD executive Director/WNCB Coordinator in Busia, Margaret Tuhumwire explained that the equipment will go a long way in the promotion of E-learning in Busia District.
She explained that E-learning will ease teacher’s access to tools and information to make the pupils to understand the subjects better, and to have leverage with the rich schools that have all the materials required for learning.
“With E Learning , these rural schools will be able to have a comparative advantage with privileged schools, perform better, and be well prepared for secondary education. Pupils in these three beneficiary schools were totally locked out of the learning process during COVID 19 lockdown because their schools, teachers and parents did not have ICT gadgets to facilitate the E-learning. While other children in the urban schools were studying these ones were unfortunately not and it grossly affected them,” says Tuhumwire.
She adds that the ICT equipment is also aimed at attracting the children away from child labor zones, into schools as a better strategy towards progressive elimination of child labor.
“Due to large deposits of Gold, and booming trade characterized with smuggling at the border post, coupled with poverty, many children are still involved in child labor, a vice that EWAD through its WNCB project is working towards elimination,” she added.
The handover of the equipment has been witnessed by Busia district senior officials including the RDC Mr. Michael Kibwika, the District Education Officer (DEO) Mr. Gabriel Makanga, and the District Secretary for Education Ms. Beatrice Ajambo, and Busia district Deputy District Chief Administrative Officer (DEO), Mr. Anthony Egesa who expressed appreciation for the donation of the assorted equipment.
Speaking at the handover ceremony held at Tiira primary school, the Deputy CAO Anthony Egesa applauded EWAD and its partners for the E-Learning equipment and for the excellent work that has seen increased enrollment of children in schools and for the hundreds of children that have benefitted from Vocational training skills at the Centres established by EWAD.
“We can never find good friends like EWAD. This equipment is going to transform the way our children learn and perceive education because the world has gone digital and this is the beginning. Thank you very much EWAD,” Egesa said adding that,
“Like you may know Madam Margaret the ED of EWAD, by the time some of our teachers graduated in their training schools, computer education was still a mystery and many of them have not had an opportunity to gain those ICT skills. I therefore want to thank you greatly for being able to have a component of training our teachers,”
Meanwhile, Busia RDC Michael Kibwika pledged government commitment to provide an enabling environment for Good NGOs like EWAD to operate and pledged to offer political support towards the elimination of child labor.
“As government, we want all our children to enjoy their childhood and experience in schools, that’s why we allow EWAD to directly work with you in communities to improve your lives”
Dr. Kibwika however urged parents and local leaders to join the fight against the vice of Child Labor.
“Child labor is very dangerous to children, but unfortunately it’s you the parents who are perpetrating it. I want to urge you to own up and stop this. Take responsibility, report cases of child labor to the leaders and to Police. This way we will actualize the Creation Child Labor Free Zones being advocated by WNCB/EWAD, because it starts with you now’” he warned.
EWAD is working with Government Leadership to strengthen the Child Protection Systems to enforce relevant laws and implement relevant policies to access social services.