Tuesday, April 6, 2010
10% Donors' Clubs
Though the Government of Uganda hi-jacked my Good Governance School Clubs (GOGOC), initially planned for 100 secondary schools in Wakiso district, and baptized the idea “Patriotic School Clubs, I am not short of ideas, I have yet come up with an innovation in the name of ‘10% Donors’ Clubs’; in line with the biblical principle of 10%.
The book of Numbers Chapter 18 vs 26-32 it is spoken to the Levites to give a tenth of the Israelites tithes to the Lord as an offering.. the best and holiest part given...the first fruits. God asks for our money because He knows that money is one of man’s most significant stumbling blocks. Greed and fear force us to hold tightly to our money. Many people worship money and will do whatever it takes to get it and keep it. When we are able to freely and joyfully give our money to God, we achieve a freedom like no other. Our obedience in financial stewardship reveals a maturity of character that God treasures. When we honor Him with our financial obedience, He blesses us. “And all nations shall call you blessed: for ye shall be a delightsome land, saith the LORD of hosts.” (Malachi 3:12) (For understanding, read Malachi 3-10-18).
We are all aware of the high drop out rates in schools due to the cost and if students can form 105 Donors’ Clubs at class level in each boarding secondary school for a start, chances of bailing out many needy children is possible.
Raising financial resources by vulnerable children to meet the cost of education in Uganda is the major reason for non attendance at school. The Common Country Assessment of Uganda, UN, 2004 says that only 24% of boys and 21% of girls in the 2003 Universal Primary Education (UPE) completed Primary Seven (P7). While Education is nominally free of charge, the 2004 National Service Delivery Survey, Uganda Bureau of Statistics, 2004 found that payments were often requested. There are associated costs, such as Transport, Uniforms, Exercise books, Geometry sets, capacity to do homework (no fuel); 63% of those dropping out of school cited cost as the main reason. One in four children from urban households can count on receiving secondary education while one in ten from households living in rural areas is likely to have access to same level of education. Orphan hood is a major barrier preventing school attendance; and those due to HIV/AIDS who are under 18 years are over 900,000, and, with a population growth rate of 3.4% per annum, the situation worsens with time. Yet, according to the Uganda Demographic and Health Survey (UDHS) 2006, Uganda has a young population with the majority 52% below 15 years. Loss of parents results in lack of proper care hence limiting access to education. It is important getting a solution to the would-be uneducated children as they add to the army of the uneducated whose prospects to development are under exploited. Secondly, the non-school going children are constantly looking for support in for of bursaries yet many cannot access them leaving them frustrated. There is evidence that many vulnerable children when availed education opportunities are positive development agents as deprivation induces them to deliver to society. Leaving them uneducated induces them to criminals.
Why the 10% Donors’ Clubs?
Not long ago, parents turned up for a Visitation at St. Mary’s Secondary School Kitende. Unfortunately, on the way back, one parent died in a motor accident on Jinja Highway . This is one of the many cases where students lose parents and they are unable to continue with studies. In other instances, some bright children are admitted to secondary schools but due to lack of fees, these ones either go to very poor schools if they don’t drop out of school completely. The 10% Donors’ Clubs is therefore an initiative to bail out students with such problems not forgetting the many whose parents are being claimed by HIV/AIDS. It is also an initiative to encourage the students at an early age to have a practical feeling for the deprived. It also focuses on helping bright vulnerable children to get education given that the chances that (the helped) have a big potential of making sound contribution to the development of the country.
Deciding on the beneficiary
Members at class level may agree on helping a chosen student; it could be a classmate or a known child out there or; the school administration could make a proposal say among admitted students of one or a number of such students with fees problems. Because the exercise should be done every term, chances of supporting an identified beneficiary through secondary school are great. If this exercise takes off in all boarding secondary schools in Uganda ; the total number of beneficiary students may not be few.