Provision of teachers’ accommodation is commonplace in rural schools in Uganda. There are a variety of reasons for this, not least of them being to make the post more appealing. Working in a rural primary school, as opposed to an urban location, is generally not a qualified teacher’s first or obvious choice.
At the end of 2014 we hit upon a good compromise which meant we could provide some accommodation at significantly lower cost than anticipated.
By extending an existing building we have been able to complete our first phase of teacher’s rooms, to house four staff members. By building off the back of the school office, built in 2009, the cost compared to an entirely new structure is about halved. Also in the process the newly rendered office building has its lifespan significantly extended.
The foliage laid over the newly rendered steps is to allow the mix to cure evenly, while avoiding the risk of it being dried out too rapidly by the sun.
Employment in a rural location presents many issues, alongside the availability of quality housing are considerations such as poor services and amenities: electricity, water, health care, and public transport may be inadequate, if available at all. In addition, aspects such as difficult terrain and poor road networks do not make a teaching post at a rural school the most appealing. Providing a solution to one of the major issues, housing, is vital to attract and retain quality teaching staff.
We have been very aware of the need for teacher’s accommodation at Kisimula for a while now, but have not been in a position to consider going ahead with the project. The ongoing development of a school site, even a small rural school, is a complicated affair. While we’ve been hoping to begin our first permanent classroom block, the initial investment required has seen that work deferred. However, while new classrooms will be a great blessing, we do at least have functioning temporary (timber) classroom buildings; whereas we were completely lacking teachers’ accommodation.
The resulting new building is, as you’d imagine, much more substantial and is finished to a high quality which will guarantee its longevity. This new development does not completely remedy the need for available housing, but it is a great start. Allocation of the new housing is governed by our Ugandan board, considering a variety of criteria such as current housing circumstance, distance traveled to work, family situation, etc.
This first phase of teacher’s accommodation will have an immediate impact for both teachers and students and we can’t thank you all enough for your generous support that has made this possible.