By Doreen Bazio.

According to 2023 Uganda Refugee Response Plan and annual statistics released by United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), generally, the teacher – pupil ratio in Adjumani stands at 1:65 for host communities and 1:73 for refugees while the primary classroom to pupil stands at 1:97 compared to the national standard of 1:53 mainly because classrooms and teachers are inadequate. This is notwithstanding, that only 78% of children have enrolled for Primary Education.

At Rende Primary School, Development Response to Displacement Impact Project (DRDIP), has made a significant contribution towards the construction of two blocks, which accommodate three classrooms and an office. The construction package also includes a 5-stance VIP drainable latrine, classroom and office furniture, and they installed a stainless 5,000-litre rain water harvesting tank on each block in July 2022 by Sockey’s Reliable Power (U) Ltd.


According to Andama Tom, the Head Teacher, at the school, and also the Chairperson, Project Management Committee, enrollment of pupils increased from 586 to 715 with 57 among them refugees. Andama reveals that before the construction of 2 blocks with 3 classrooms, they had only 4 proper classrooms for the entire Primary section. This meant that some of the lower classes like Primary 1, 2 and 3 were housed in bamboo makeshifts and others sat down.  

“Before the construction, we had only 4 permanent classrooms and had temporarily improvised 3 more using bamboo sticks where we have a lot of challenges. The rain can disturb sometimes”. Andama reveals.

Etaru Maurine, in P.6, while sharing her experience said that the new classroom block has helped to shield them from heavy rains and flooding.

“Our Previous Classrooms used to leak, and make our books wet. Classrooms were not enough to accommodate all of some so the school management had to give priority to some classes.” Maurine notes.

Her classmate, Acidri Pius, in P.6, now recommends that the old classrooms be repaired to become store rooms. The school also lacks staff quarters for its 15 teachers.

Andama also reveals that installation of the rain harvesting tank has also provided an alternative source for access to clean water which is also resourceful when the borehole breaks down.

“Previously, we had our borehole which we could even use together with the community. We would have challenges of repairing whenever it broke down because they community would depend on us to do so” Andama explains.

Andama also observes that the installation of solar system is not only a source of security lights at night but gives pupils in the surrounding areas an opportunity to revise at night which improves learning and performance.

“Even secondary students from the nearby community also come to read using the security light provided by the solar. When they come, we give them access because we have extra lessons for P.7 pupils.” Andama says.

Akuku Phillip Kaya, the Principal Education Officer, acknowledges that the district has many unfunded priorities which has been worsened by the refugees’ burden due to limited resources. He adds that the education department has always called upon partners to support but notes the unique contribution of DRDIP which uses a community led approach to recommend and initiate projects in refugee hosting areas.

According to a news article ran by the Daily Monitor on February 28th 2023, up to 1 million pupils had dropped out of school before Primary Leaving Exams of 2022 that are usually sat at the beginning of November each year.