2014 – The Makonzi Teacher Accommodation Project
The Clarify Foundation was set up in 2011 to support local charities and to raise funds for the building and renovation of teacher accommodation in the Mityana district of Uganda, Africa.
In 2013 Clarify employees held Football Tournaments, Quiz Nights and contributed all the profits from the Tuck Shop amongst other activities to support the fundraising effort for 2014. However, the main challenge set was for employees to run, swim, cycle or row a total of 3,962 miles – the distance from the UK to Uganda – to raise funds for this year’s building project, accommodation for three teachers in rural Makonzi.
The project for 2014 is to build accommodation at the Church of Uganda Primary School in Makonzi. The rooms will house the teachers who are posted to work at the school by the State, often the teachers are accompanied by their young children and are far from their home and the rest of their families.
The teacher’s accommodation has a significant impact on school and community life. Housing a teacher in the school grounds is extremely important – not only is someone always on-site for the children, who can walk up to two hours on an empty stomach to reach the school, but it also has a massive knock on effect in multiple areas:
o The security at the school is vastly improved as having a permanent resident on site reduces theft from both the school and its grounds
o Animals, such as pigs can be kept and crops can be grown in the school grounds. This is primarily maize flour which is used to feed the school children – often their only meal of the day – this in turn improves their concentration levels in lessons. The teachers also cultivate crops in the gardens and raise animals and in doing so, they are able to educate the children by passing on their knowledge of husbandry
o The teacher’s well-being, morale and security is also vastly improved
The school accommodation costs £10,000 to build and takes approximately 7 months to complete. The whole project involves the local community too, who pledge to support to the fundraising effort and often work on the project.
The Makonzi teacher accommodation project started in April and is on schedule for completion at the end of October, despite work being hampered by the heavy rains characteristic of April and May. The foundations have been excavated, concreted and the walls built, with the roof on schedule for August.
Local building materials have been sourced where possible such as sand, bricks, timber and eucalyptus poles, which fuels the local economy. For certain materials such as lake sand and aggregates which can’t be supplied locally, the community has contributed to the delivery of these materials as well as providing water for construction. This has the advantage of providing an income for the local workforce as well as teaching and developing essential building skills.
The finishing of the roof, building the veranda and inserting door and window frames are all due for completion by August along with plastering the external and internal walls. The floor, windowpanes and gutters are scheduled for September with the project on course to be completed and handed over by October.
Teachers will give up their time to finish the rooms, working alongside the build-team and a small number of Clarify employees to paint the rooms. This year’s project will also include a shower cubical for the teachers to wash in private and it is hoped other funds, both local and from the UK, will contribute to a water tank to help with daily water supply and improve sanitation with long drop toilets. A budget for solar panels is also anticipated so that in bad weather classrooms can be lit and the older children are able to stay for longer to help their homework and revision.
The Clarify Foundation has committed to a five year project to build, refurbish and upgrade accommodation for teachers and to date it has been very successful; although owned and maintained by the school, the accommodation is well-cared for by residential teachers. As a result of the accommodation the school features at the heart of the community; security is improved and quality teaching and childcare are promoted. In each of the schools where the Clarify Foundation has worked, exam results have improved and popularity with parents has grown.
Clarify’s CEO, Claire Edmunds, who set up the Clarify Foundation comments, “We are extremely proud of the contribution we are making to building and renovating dangerously uninhabitable teachers accommodation as it is directly improving people’s lives and the community they live in. As a charity we are equally proud that every penny we raise directly funds the build projects.”
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