Saturday, August 13, 2005

Kanyawara School, and Kiko Too?

Entebbe, Uganda
Saturday, August 13, 2005

Elizabeth Ross's husband, Professor Richard Wrangham, is director of the Kibale Forest Chimpanzee Research Station, where we stayed while working at Kasiisi School. Elizabeth and Richard first came to Kibale in the late 1980s. By the mid 90s they knew they wanted to help the children of the Station's workers to become better educated.

The nearest school to the Station was and is Kanyawara, a very small community found on only the most detailed maps. The school at that time consisted of one tree under which classes were held for a few students. As events turned out, Kasiisi School, about 5 km further away than Kanyawara from the Field Station going towards Fort Portal, became first in line for construction of buildings. But Kanyawara has never left Elizabeth's and Richard's hearts, and it too has prospered in the 8 or 9 nine years of progress in schools near the Station. The photo shows the wonderful mural at the end of Kanyawara's first building, and the original tree under which classes used to be held.

Kanyawara School is about half the size of Kasiisi School in numbers of students and teachers. Conditions are essentially the same as in Kasiisi in nearly all respects, except for two significant areas: the Kanyawara buildings are not as complete or solid as the Kasiisi ones, and there are now two staff housing units associated with Kanyawara but none with Kasiisi. The staff housing is a major step forward for Kanyawara, bringing higher staff satisfaction and motivation, and attracting the interest of stronger teachers. Good housing is difficult to find in these rural areas. The newest staff building is shown in the photo. This building will house 6 teachers.

Kasiisi and Kanyawara have always been partnered on the Uganda side of Weston's association with Uganda, though Kanyawara has received less attention. With our visit to Uganda, we hope to bring Kanyawara more into the limelight, as this school surely deserves.

Because of Elizabeth's successes at Kasiisi and Kanywara, other local communities have shown great interest in being "adopted" too for their children's educations. Current candidate schools are Kiko, which is a few miles north of Kasiisi and the site of large tea plantations (photo), and Kigarama, which is a small market town just up the road from Kasiisi.


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