By Joseph Mazige
Twenty one primary schools in the Karamoja region whose construction and rehabilitation was funded by the Irish government have been commissioned by the First Lady and Minister for Karamoja Ms Janet Museveni and the Irish Ambassador Dónal Cronin at a function at Nakapiripirit Primary School.
Under the Karamoja Primary Education Project (KPEP), the Irish Aid provided €12.7 million to fund the construction and rehabilitation of the schools. KPEP supports access and retention of pupils in primary schools through improvement of infrastructure in three schools in each of the 7 districts, benefitting 17,000 pupils in the Karamoja sub-region each year.
The infrastructure included teacher’s housing, dormitories, classrooms, kitchens, solar panels and sanitation facilities. Rain-harvesting and tree planting, as a form of environmental conservation, is also included in the programme, while support also includes the provision of furniture and instructional materials.
Speaking at the commissioning, Ambassador, Cronin pledged her country’s commitment towards the development of Karamoja.
“My message today is that Ireland will continue to stand with you and the leaders and people in this region in the development of Karamoja. We have come a long way but there is still work to be done. We are committed to partnering with you in addressing these challenges and in building on the multitude of opportunities that exist here, as your partner, ally, and friend,” Amb Cronin said.
The Ambassador paid particular tribute to the Minister for Karamoja Janet Museveni and the Minister of Education Jessica Alupo and other stakeholders for their leadership and strong cooperation.
“This is your school,” the Ambassador told the teachers and pupils, adding: “I hope that this, and all the other schools across Karamoja which have been rehabilitated as part of this programme will be at the heart of your communities, providing quality education in a safe environment, and equipping the next generation of Karamajong for what I hope will be a bright and prosperous future.”