As a senior woman teacher at Angai Primary School and a stakeholder in the ACFODE project, I am a witness to the benefits of this project. Angai Primary School participated in the mentoring camp for primary pupil leaders and teachers, which was organisedby ACFODE in June 2015, in Lira district. The four pupils who were selected from my school were so excited to participate in the camp. For most of them, it was their first time to travel outside Dokolo district, and when they arrived at the hotel where we were residing, they couldn’t imagine the luxury they had been exposed to. Some of them were seeing, for the first time, a TV, plenty of running water and the rest of the hotel facilities that they described as simply amazing.
After the mentoring camp, we implemented our plan of action by forming accountability groups. Each of the four pupils who attended the camp formed an accountability group that comprises 15 pupils from different classes. With my support and the support of the senior male teacher, the groups meet every Wednesday after class. They discuss issues concerning their rights as children and the abuses they experience – such as forced and early marriages, sexual abuse, among others.
As a result, the pupils have been encouraged to report the challenges affecting them both at school and at home. They know where to report and who to report to. Since the groups are also a platform where the pupils open up and encourage each other, this has improved their school attendance and performance.
During the mentoring camp, teachers were taught how to become role models to their students. Accordingly, after the camp I encouraged my fellow teachers to develop learning techniques meant to improve our pupils’ performance. I am glad to report that they are in place now. Examples include charts and practical sessions where real objects are used. This has helped to simplify and improve learning for my pupils, mostly in Primary Four and Seven.
I have also lobbied for a guidance-and-counselling room where I meet girls who have challenges and need help. When buying school items, I lobbied for a budget for ‘girl welfare’. This money is used to buy soap and basins to help girls during their menstruation, to prevent dropout. I have also begun pad-making sessions with the girls, during which I teach them to make homemade sanitary pads using affordable materials. Gladly, the school administration allocated Friday afternoons forthese sessions.
All these initiatives have greatly uplifted AngaiPrimary School and we have ACFODE to thank.