Our First School
As its first project, Global Playground built a school in the village of Buwasa in the Wakiso district, part of the greater Kampala region of Uganda. Global Playground is working closely with Building Tomorrow, an organization with local personnel who are able to monitor implementation of the project.
Building Tomorrow Fellow, Ruth Kobusinge, works at the BT Academy alongside a group of local leaders called “community ambassadors.” These ambassadors encourage local Buwasa families whose children have dropped out of school because of economic or social pressure to re-enroll at the Academy. Ruth also works with Global Playground Fellows around the world to incorporate multiculturalism into the Buwasa classrooms.
In September 2007, ground broke on Global Playground’s first project in Buwasa. The BT Academy of Buwasa was built using over 30,000 bricks that were purchased from community members and 125 community volunteers. Many of these volunteers and vendors went on to send their children to this school. Since its opening in May 2008, thousands of students have been educated at this school at no cost to their families. The school can accommodate 325 students.
The BT Academy of Buwasa is one of several Building Tomorrow schools in the Wakiso district. Students come to school from 6 local villages (Buwasa, Budaali, Kyanuna, Kituula, Kyampisi, and Busunju). The main source of income for students and their families comes from food crops like maize, beans, cassava, and potatoes.
The State of Education
The world’s school-age population is increasing most rapidly in Africa, and yet these developing nations are least able to provide for the educational needs of their people. School-age children in sub-Saharan Africa have lower rates of attendance than children in almost every other region of the world.
On average, children only attend 3.5 years of school, six years less than in developed countries. Moreover, in over half of the countries in sub-Saharan Africa, more than 10% of students repeat at least one grade of primary school. Unfortunately, the spread of HIV/AIDS and poor government funding for education further complicate the matter.
Rural areas of Uganda, including Wakiso, also have limited access to education. Less than 50% of children under 18 years old are within a reasonable distance to attend a local school; and with only a few roads and electrical lines, the infrastructure is lacking for the Ugandan government to open enough schools to meet the need. Currently, drop out and repetition rates are still high at 12%, especially due to the continued prevalence of HIV/AIDS. For the past seven years, the Ugandan government has implemented the Universal Post Primary Education and Training in order to increase attendance and quality of secondary education since few students attend secondary school or any further higher education.1
- 1. The Republic of Uganda Ministry of Education and Sports. (2013).
Uganda fun facts!
During his visit to the lush mountains west of Lake Victoria in the early 20th century, Winston Churchill proclaimed that Uganda was “by far, the pearl of Africa.” And to this day, ecotourism to the beautiful national parks make it one of the most sought-after destinations in sub-Saharan Africa.
Uganda is an East African nation of 28 million people with a rich and vibrant culture. After decades of violence and civil war, the new government is committed to improving the lives of its people.
Signs of the rebound are already apparent; the new-found popularity of Uganda’s ecotourism, successful exports of coffee and rice, and thoughtful attention from both local and international humanitarian efforts hold great promise for its future.2
2. “21 Interesting Facts About Uganda You’ve Never Heard Before.” BuzzKenya. (2013).
Did You Know?
Almost 50% of Ugandans are under the age of 14, making Uganda the world’s youngest country.
Pan fried grasshoppers are a delicacy in Uganda!