Uganda’s Project Shelter Wakadogo School, which supports vulnerable and hard-to-reach children, has been named one of the top 10 schools in the world by the World’s Best School awards in the Overcoming Adversity category.
The category recognizes that adversity will come in many forms for schools, including conflict, climate-related disaster, poverty or a pandemic. It assesses how the school builds character, both individually and as a community, to support the greatest resilience of all students.
Wakadogo was founded in 2009 in the aftermath of two decades of civil war and violence by the Lord’s Resistance Army in northern Uganda, which displaced more than a million people. The school, which is located at Pece Acoyo in Gulu district, has grown from two classrooms to over 450 students and currently has one of the highest student retention rates in the country.
At the onset of COVID-19, Uganda, like many other countries around the world, faced government-imposed lockdowns, which hampered the functioning of major sectors, including education. With less than 9% of the rural population having internet access, many schools could not continue with other learning models.
But the Project Shelter Wakadogo team was determined to continue providing education for its students. They developed a home-schooling program and distributed learning kits and government study modules to students to support face-to-face, teacher-led learning. By the end of the lockdown, they had delivered more than 36,000 door-to-door lessons.
The decision to launch this program was crucial, especially for girls, as school closures across Uganda forced children into the labor market, an increase in teenage pregnancies and gender-based violence. .
This results in the need to prepare and plan for blended learning. If they win the award, Project Shelter Wakadogo will use the funds to set up an online learning platform to facilitate blended and remedial learning, in case schools have to close again and share its approach and its technology with area schools.
“It is a great honor for Wakadogo to be among the top nominees for the Best School in the World awards,” said school principal Odong Charles Kigundi.
“Our greatest desire is to see more children receive a quality education. This award will allow us to provide more scholarships to marginalized and disadvantaged children in the community. It will also help set up an online learning platform to facilitate blended and catch-up learning if schools close again, which we will share with area schools to reach more children,” he said. -he declares.
In addition to providing a safe and child-friendly environment for students, Wakadogo School offers school meals, medical care, sports and music programs, and quality education for vulnerable children.
“Our current annual operating cost is approximately US$125,000, which will only increase as more students enroll in the school. “As a fully funded school donations and contributions from the community, we are always looking for partners to support our various programs and allow us to continue to provide a safe and quality learning environment for our little ones,” concludes Kigundi.
The World’s Best School Award is a project of T4 Education, a global organization committed to providing engaging tools, initiatives and events for teachers to improve education.