The Work No Child’s Business (WNCB) Project that is being implemented by the Environmental Women in Action for Development (EWAD) in Busia, supported by Hivos with funding assistance from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of Netherlands, has donated Information and Communication Technology (ICT) equipment and materials to three Government Rural Schools to support Electronic Learning (E-Learning) in Busia District. 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. E- learning tools will mainly assist the delivery of learning materials directly from teacher to learner. 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, Umeme Hydro Electric power and training teachers who will also be trainers is over USh 50,000,000. This activity is among others which are part of the big WNCB programme being carried out 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.
Pupils from three primary schools; Tiira primary school in Tiira town council, Busitema primary school and Amonikakine primary school all in Busia district will directly benefit from this ICT equipment aimed at introducing and promoting computer literacy in schools. While handing over the equipment to the beneficiary school management teams on 25 January 2023, 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 is largely carried out using computers and the internet. The advantages include making it easy for teachers to access 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. It is anticipated that, with improved learning, the rural schools will be able to have a comparative advantage with privileged schools, perform better, and be well prepared for secondary education. EWAD communications team have already trained five teachers who have been drawn from the three schools mentioned above, which makes them ready to begin as the schools open on 07 February 2023.
“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 Margaret. Save for a few that were helped by WNCB in home learning She adds that the ICT equipment is also aimed at attracting the children away from child labor zones, they be retained in 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, Dr. Michael Kibwika, the District Education Officer, Mr. Gabriel Makanga, the District Secretary for Education Ms. Beatrice Ajambo, and the Deputy District Chief Administrative Officer, 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 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,” Anthony said. “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” he added.
In his remarks, Busia District RDC Michael Kibwika said that government will continue 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 all parents and local leaders to do all humanly possible to end the vice of Child Labor. “Child labor is very dangerous to your 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 strong hold in promotion of human rights is attributed to effective use the Areas-Based Approach to create awareness on child rights and alternative livelihoods aimed at empowerment of children, communities and families to prevent and effectively address child labour issues. They engage the community leaders/ community influencers to lobby and advocate for effective legislation/policies on child labour, promote access to universal basic education and to create social protection to eliminate child labour from their communities.
EWAD is working with Government Leadership to strengthen the Child Protection Systems to enforce relevant laws and implement relevant policies to access social services. She has successfully engaged companies and Businesses to create the notion of Child Rights and Business Principles (CRBP) sharing knowledge and lobbying for commitment and technical capacity to respect and promote Children’s Rights. All this structured we structured experiences that include effective awareness creation, skilling, lobby and advocacy at community, government and private sector level are very critical in promoting human rights and fighting child labour both in the formal and informal sector in Uganda.