For a while, the population of students at Samling Nama High School was going through the roof. Congestion was the order of the day. A senior three classroom with a capacity of 50 students would squeeze double the population into the room. There was not enough space to comfortably sit and study in class. Streaming the class was not an option either as the school lacked the necessary infrastructure.
“The senior three-class could not be streamed. We had a very big challenge of congestion. Over 120 students were housed in one classroom,” Emma Muwanvu, the headteacher Samling Nama high school said.
The school designed to provide refuge to underprivileged children was filled to capacity, denying other children the opportunity to benefit from affordable yet quality education. However, in 2018, Samling Nama high school turned the tide following an intervention by MTN Foundation in partnership with the school proprietor, Promoting Equality in African Schools (PEAS); a non-government organization that provides quality and affordable education in rural areas across different African countries.
Samling Nama High School is one of the establishments set up by PEAS to extend education to children in the Mpigi district. MTN Foundation partnered with PEAS to improve and upgrade the school’s infrastructure to ensure children comfortably receive a quality education.
MTN Foundation under the initiative constructed three-classroom blocks and furnished them with classroom furniture including student desks, teachers’ desks, chairs, blackboards, and soft boards. In addition, sanitary facilities were also constructed and solar lighting materials such as panels, bulbs, and batteries were installed.
With improved sanitary conditions, security, infrastructure, and student to teacher ratios, the number of students enrolled has increased and the congestion is a thing of the past.
“After the block was constructed, we were able to stream our senior three class and now we have smaller classes of 60. The number of students has also increased because, in 2018, we had about 370 learners. But in 2019, having created more space, that number increased to 450 learners,” Muwanvu explains illustrating the school’s ability to extend quality education to more children in the area.
MTN Foundation under this initiative was handled in two phases and saw schools across eight districts including Amuria, Kabarole, Katakwi, Ibanda, Lamwo, Mayuge, Mpigi, and Wakiso renovated and had improved sanitary conditions, security, infrastructure, and improved student to teacher ratios.
The Headteacher, Apeulai PEAS High School appreciated the Foundation and said, “The lighting at the school has greatly improved the security situation. Previously, we had intruders coming into the school without our knowledge. Students could also go in and out of the school without us knowing. Now with the security lights, they have created a lot of visibility in the surrounding of the school.”
Bryan Mbasa, the senior manager of MTN Foundation explained the plight of the schools which were characterized by overcrowding of classrooms with class sizes having as many as 90 to 100 students. “1800 classroom spaces were created in the ten schools, allowing students who would not have had a chance to enjoy secondary school to enroll. It is because the spaces increased the capacity of PEAS schools and enhanced their ability to absorb more students,” he noted.
Mbasa further added that “As MTN we are delighted to have encouraged the growth of our community through education. It is also very timely as it comes at a time when the world is plagued by Covid-19 which is prone to transmission in crowded areas.”
MTN Foundation a corporate social responsibility (CSR) arm of MTN Uganda and is passionate about social issues and education is one of them investing billions of Uganda Shillings in education projects alone across Uganda. They have also supported the Health Initiative ensuring that they provide equipment like mosquito nets, blankets, beds, to mention a few to hospitals & health centers across the country.
MTN Foundation’s aim is to always make the lives of people brighter by giving back to communities and helping people. Mr. Wim noted that at least 20% of the foundation funds go towards helping the communities across the country.