Agwata Education: Finding our Missing Girls

OU’s Girls’ Education Initiative Visits Girls Absent from School

 Besides working with the girls who take the extra time to attend weekly meetings and who attend school regularly, Outreach Uganda’s Girls’ Education Initiative is focusing also on encouraging girls who are not there.

Outreach Uganda Girls' Education Initiative Program

Girls’ Education Initiative Officers visiting missing girls at their home.

Earlier this month, our Girls’ Education Initiative girls began visiting homes of girls in Agwata that the school’s teachers said were no longer regularly attending school or attending infrequently. Our Education/Sponsorship Coordinator, Paska, went with the group.  In all, they visited three girls on the first Saturday of visits.  They plan on visiting other girls’ homes in the upcoming weeks. 

The purpose of their visit is to find out why the girls haven’t been in school lately and to encourage them and their parents to give priority to their education.  In one case, the girl stated that she had been sick, but was now feeling better and would be back in school.  In the other case, they found two sisters had been staying home to help their mother do gardening work.  The auntie said promised that the girls would be back in school on Monday.

Outreach Uganda Girls' Education Initiative Program

Outreach Uganda’s Education/Sponsorship Coordinator Visiting at Girls’ Homes

Besides educating the girls’ mothers at weekly women’s meetings, Paska hopes that the Saturday visits will exemplify how important it is for girls to get an education and to answer any concerns that parents or family members might have.  According to Paska who is a degreed teacher and a former school headmaster, she explains to parents “that if your child misses school for even a week or two during planting time, it will be very difficult for them to catch up with their classmates.”

Outreach Uganda’s Girls’ Education Initiative program is designed to help keep more girls in school during the important years of 4th to 7th grade. As a second step, we will then locate sponsors for qualifying girls who are good students so that they can attend secondary school.

If you would like to help in this effort to keep our Agwata children in school, please let friends and family members know about the opportunity to sponsor one of these children.

According to UNICEF statistics, in sub-Saharan Africa, girls from low-income rural households attend school less than 2 years before reaching age 16. This is unfortunate because UNICEF documents that:

  • Educated girls are likely to marry later and have fewer children
  • Educated girls are more productive at home and better paid in the workplace
  • An educated mother is twice as likely to send her children to school.
  • An educated mother is more likely to make sure her child receives needed immunizations.

Outreach Uganda is working with the Agwata community in northern Uganda to help make education easier and more affordable for both boys and girls.  In addition, to gender neutral help such as decreasing the distance to school, and providing a sustainable feeding program, Outreach Uganda is providing other features specifically designed to increase the retention rate of girls. These interventions including offering pre-school classes for younger children, and providing a weekly meeting for older girls to offer encouragement, goal setting and career guidance.



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