A PROJECT in Uganda to encourage girls to go back to school has
been backed by £1 million of funding by the Department for
International Development (DfID).
About 83 per cent of girls in Uganda leave school before
secondary age, going out to work or getting married instead; and 13
per cent of girls do not even go to primary school.
Official figures show that 15 per cent of girls are illiterate,
but the international children's charity Viva says that figures for
functional literacy are much lower. Andrew Dubock, from the
charity, says: "Our research shows that only five per cent of girls
were numerically literate, and 36 per cent could read a simple
Viva is running a two-year project to reintegrate girls into
upper primary and lower secondary school, in partnership with the
Christian charity Crane, which operates in Uganda.
The project will reach out to about 4000 girls in and around the
Ugandan capital, Kampala, by encouraging them to return for one or
two terms to 20 learning centres, which will offer a less formal
education through a wide range of subjects. "Graduating" from the
centre will help them to go back into mainstream school.
Four in ten girls are living below the poverty line in Uganda,
and parents often prioritise the education of the girls'
Martha, a girl attending one of the centres, said: "I came to
this centre to acquire the practical skills taught here, and also
learn English. I completed Primary Seven, hoping to continue with
my education, but became pregnant. The father of my child offers no
support. It is my mother and I that work through agriculture to
"After leaving, I plan to use what I have learned here as a
stepping stone to what I want to become. I plan to pass on this
knowledge skills to my siblings and other people so they can be
like me. My dream is to be a teacher."