Wednesday, 30 April 2014


With the aim to address gender inequality, increase access to quality education and, retention for girls and other vulnerable children in 12 Universal Primary Education (UPE) schools of Dokolo District. Youth Social Work Association (YSA) with support from Independent Development Fund (IDF) embarked on mobilizing and sensitising different stakeholders in Dokolo to stimulate interest for girl child education. This initiative empowered individuals and communities to take on government institutions such as school management committees, police and other duty bearers to create a favourable study environment for the girl child and other vulnerable groups to access quality education.
Key activities carried out were community dialogues with concerned duty bearers radio talk shows, conducting child rights club sessions and the distribution of re-usable sanitary pads. These challenged the different players and actors in the education sector to actively take part in creating a favourable study environment for girls and other vulnerable children. Several achievements have been realised from the above interventions as will be seen below; YSA attributes them to the use of the Human Rights Based Approach and the involvement of various stakeholders. 

The distribution of 2,121 re-usable sanitary pads greatly improved the attendance of the 2,121 girls who benefited from the exercise. It reduced cases of absenteeism, drop outs and other related challenges. Previously menstruating girls would averagely miss 1-3 days of school per month, which translates into a loss of 8 to 24 school days per year. There are averagely 220 learning days in a year therefore, missing 24 days a year translates into 11% of the time a girl pupil will miss learning due to menstrual periods. The girls are grateful for the support extended to them; “our stay and safety in school during the menstrual periods has become better compared to the past days where one had to either absent herself or escape whenever they experienced their cycle” revealed a group of girls in Dokolo district. 

Reduced teacher absenteeism and late coming. This was made possible through the erection of 40 semi-permanent houses for the 40 teachers that had been trekking long distances to and from their schools. With the erection of 40 houses, the number of teachers residing within the school premises increased from 92 to 142 teachers. This has in turn contributed to improved performance in these schools as reflected in the 2012 and 2013 PLE results where Kwera and Adwoki primary schools got their first grades since the schools came into existence.
Through involvement of various stakeholders like the Dokolo district department, 11 children with disability were identified and supported with hearing aids. Other critically vulnerable children with disability have also been referred to study at the disability study centre at Angwechi-bangi in Dokolo Town Council.
Another successful intervention that has helped in realizing the project results was training school management committees (SMC) on their roles and responbilities; this was aimed at addressing their inadequate performance. Reports from the training indicate that their capacities to perform have been enhanced, for example the SMC of Adwila Modern Primary school was able to convince parents to contribute money to buy school land also adapt a resolution to compulsorily provide mid day meals for all pupils as a measure to reduce pupil absenteeism/escape from school and increase concentration in class. 
Lastly, is the development of a collective spirit of responsiveness and participation by the stakeholders. This has contributed to improved monitoring, administration and management within the schools.