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Rachele Rehabilitation Centre: final repotr

Rachele Rehabilitation Centre: final repotr

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Published by: Marc Ellison on Mar 15, 2012
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Monitoring

As the number of returnees received at the centre went down and larger areas in northern
Uganda became accessible, more focus, staff and resources were put in the second pillar of
the project: community follow-up, reintegration and long-term socio-economic recovery
through skills training, income generating activities and education. Though most children had
been visited at least once in the course of the project, a more comprehensive evaluation was
carried out between September and December 2006. A total of 1032 children were visited
during this final round and checked on health, social status, economic situation and
psychological condition (see list in annex 3).

An interview guide was designed with the help of a Masters’ student Psychology of the
Catholic University of Louvain. Radio announcements were made to mobilise the children to
be at home (see form below). For those who were at school, their families were interviewed
and the information was later cross-checked with the children. The survey covered the
districts of Lira, Apac, Oyam, Pader, Soroti, Katakwi and Amuria Districts. The results were
analysed and graded in good (less than 2 symptoms), fair (2 to 3 symptoms) and poor (more
than 3 symptoms).

Psychologically, three quarter of the children were doing fine, one fifth could be categorized
as fair while 6% still had serious psychological problem. The most common complaints were
nightmares, fear of anything in particular of re-abduction, and being vigilant all the time.

Psychological status of children visited

Fair
20%

Good
74%

Poor
6%

Socially most children felt accepted. A majority (90%) said they were going to school, were
playing with their friends, felt accepted by their peers and were treated well by the
community. Only 1% was found in a bad situation, while 9% were fair. However, quite a
number said they were called names, such as Kony rebel, child of tong tong (hacker),
Vincent Otti or wife of Kony. Some complained that even their parents called them rebels.

Social status of children visited

Fair
9%

Good
90%

Poor
1%

Health-wise, three quarters had less than two complaints and were categorised as good, while
4% had serious health problems. The majority of the children complained of frequent or
occasional chest pain as a result of carrying heavy loads. Others still feel pain from the
wounds sustained in captivity or have bomb splinters still embedded in their bodies.
Common health problems, though not always related to the bush, are headache, malaria,
cough, eye problems and diarrhea.

Health status of children visited

Fair
19%

Good
77%

Poor
4%

Economically, the returnee children scored the lowest: 31% was categorised as good, 34%
fair and 35% poor. More than 75% of all those surveyed said they were surviving on one
meal a day and over 95% said they did not have cattle, goats, chicken or bicycles, which are
wealth indicators in the region. The majority said they were living on handouts from World
Food Programme.

These observations were made everywhere the children were visited and are connected with
the massive displacement and destruction of property and livelihoods as a result of the war.
The formerly abducted children have been particularly affected as their homes were attacked,
looted and often burned down by the rebels, relatives were beaten up or killed and survivors
fled to IDP camps.

Economic status of children visited

Fair
34%

Good
31%

Poor
35%

During the community follow-up visits, there was close cooperation with the Community
Volunteer Counsellors, trained by Unicef and Save the Children, who carry out recreational
activities and additional counselling in the IDP camps. The CVCs would mobilise formerly
abducted children in the camp, brief the team on problems with specific children and help in
recommending solutions, which could sometimes be referring the child back to the centre.

Case study: Christine
Christine (then 14) tried to run away when the LRA attacked
her home on October 28, 2003. Unfortunately, the rebels caught
up with her and abducted her and her brother. They made her
lie down, beat her seriously and stepped on her with gumboots.
Then, they covered her with dry grass of the root of a hut and set
her ablaze. She pretended she was dead. In excruciating pain,
she then walked to a nearby homestead where she found an old
woman who had also been tortured and burned by the LRA. A
relative later found her and took her to Lira Hospital. As the
hospital had no facilities to treat her, the nurse of Rachele
Centre took her to Kampala International Hospital, where she
stayed for five weeks. When Christine arrived in the centre on
December 6, 2003, she was weak, fearful, suffered lack of
concentration and low self-esteem. It took her several months to
recover, both physically and psychologically. She was eventually reunited with her family on
May 5, 2004. As Christine was not interested in going back to school, she was given assorted
goods as an income-generating activity. When visited on October 11, 2006, the girl appeared
well integrated in the community and able to make a living for herself with the profit of her
little shop. The value of her stock was estimated at sh410,000. Psychologically, however, she is
still fearful and sensitive to loud noises. She also feels guilty over the abduction of her brother.

Case study: Paul
It is almost a miracle that Paul is alive.
Abducted from his home in Katakwi in June
2003, at the age of 11, he was tied and forced
to walk long distances. He witnessed several
captives being killed for trying to escape or
walking too slowly. Paul had to participate
three times in killing another child, by
beating them to death with a stick. He
received a basic military training in one of the
rebels’ hide-outs in Gulu. He was taught how
to parade and assemble and dismantle a gun.
Then he was sent into the battlefield to
confront the UPDF. He suffered severe
hunger and thirst. At one point, in February
2004, he was so malnourished and weak that
he could no longer walk. The rebels abandoned him. He was found by UPDF soldiers and
brought to Rachele Centre. By the time Paul arrived, his survival chances were considered slim.
He had to be put on a drip and monitored day and night. Later, he had to be given special
feeding to regain strength. It took four weeks before he was able to walk. He was reunited with
his family on March 29, 2004. During the community follow-up in November 2006, Paul said he
was physically healthy and felt accepted by the community. He is schooling in Madera Boys
Primary School, where he is considered an outstanding student: well behaved, disciplined and
performing well. He plays with his pals and feels accepted by his friends. He only complains of
lack of sleep, being on guard all the time and sensitive to loud noises.

Income generating Activities

The majority of children were abducted from rural areas. Their families lived on subsistence
farming and were poor. After their return from captivity, most children were reunited in IDP
camps, where conditions are deplorable. Families cannot afford a meal twice a day or meet
basis needs in terms of soap, clothes, school requirements and medical care.

Many returnees were unable or unwilling to go back to school for various reasons. Some had
spent many years in captivity and they found themselves too old to go back to primary
school. Others discovered their parents had died and they had to take over as household
heads. Others returned with children born in captivity and had to find a source of income to
look after them. Rachele Centre, therefore, provided goods for income-generating-activities
(IGA) to help them earn a living and look after their children or other family members.

Selection criteria for the IGA programme were:

there was no clear source of income in the family

they were not assisted by any other organisation

they were living in an IDP camp

they were orphans

they were not in the sponsorship programme

they lived in a child headed family

Based on the first community follow-up round, a total of 1,363 returnees were identified for
IGA in Lira, Apac and Pader. In addition, a total of 158 children who finished vocational
training courses under the sponsorship programme received tools for tailoring, carpentry,
construction and mechanics to help them set up a small business. (see total list annex 4).

As it would have been discriminatory to admit only children from Rachele Centre into the
IGA programme, returnees from other centres were also included provided they had valid
amnesty cards and letters from centres. Thus, of the total of 1521 beneficiaries, only one
third, or 475, passed through Rachele Centre while two thirds or 1,046 passed through other
centres.

Beneficiaries IGA according to centre

Rachele Centre

31%

Other centres

69%

Restaurant items given as IGA

Items given for IGA included:
• Assorted goods to start up a small shop: 1 bag of salt, 1 bag of sugar, 1 jerry can of
cooking oil, 1 jerry can of paraffin and 1 box of washing soap.
• Charcoal: 5 bags per child/family
• Silver fish: 2 bags per child/family
• Bicycle: 1 bicycle per child/family
• Bicycle + bag of posho
• Sewing machine
• Toolbox for auto mechanics
• Carpentry kit
• Building tools
• Assorted goods to start a small restaurant: 5 kg of posho, 5 kg of beans, 5 kg of sugar,
1 set of plastic plates, 1 set of plastic dishes, 2 metallic trays, 1 set of plastic cups, 2
serving spoons, 2 washing dishes, 2 buckets for keeping water, 2 tables, 2 benches
and 5 litres of cooking oil
• Baking kit: 1 carton of baking floor, 15 packets of baking powder, 5 kg of sugar, 1
baking pan, 2 baking ladles, 1 rolling board, 1 rolling pin,10 litres of cooking oil, 2
trays and 2 buckets

Three training workshops in Business Management, each lasting two weeks, were held at
Rachele Rehabilitation Centre. A total of 946 IGA beneficiaries from the districts of Lira,
Apac and Pader attended the training. The first business management training took place
from April 24 to May 7, 2006, with a total of 350 participants from Apac. The second
workshop was organised from August 21 to September 3, 2006 for 336 returnees from Pader
district. The third training took place from December 11-22, 2006 with a total of 262
participants from Lira district.

The aim of the training was to equip the returnees with knowledge and skills to start up,
manage and market a small enterprise. One lecture focused on the value and importance of
work. Others focused on how to do a market study, draw up a basic business plan, keep
records of stock and sales, manage, re-invest and expand the business. Yet, other lectures
were about basic accountancy, opening a bank account, developing a culture or saving and
assess indicators of success.

In order to diversify the income-generating activities and spread the risks, the beneficiaries
were trained on farming (nutritional food, commercially viable crops and pest control),
poultry keeping, including brooding and disease treatment of chickens, turkeys and ducks,
baking bread and bee-keeping to produce honey. A day of art and handicraft (clay work,
mats, candle holders, baskets, winnower and decoration) was added for those talented enough
to make a living out of art.

Besides, there were lectures on children’s rights and responsibilities, social coping skills,
adolescent reproductive health, family planning, HIV/AIDS, prevention of mother to child
transmission, and promotion of safe infant feeding. Girls were taught how to say no to sugar
daddies and free gifts from men, while boys were advised to resist peer pressure to have early
sex, avoid alcohol and early marriages.

A last component of the course was how to set up a cooperative: the election, duties and
responsibilities of each member of the community group, such as the chairman, the vice-
chairman, the secretary, the treasurer and the other members. At the end of the course, the
participants received a certificate (details business management course – annex 5).

Participants are taught how to bake bread At the end the participants received a certificate

Implementation of the IGA programme took place at the IDP camp or the village where the
child was reunited. The hand-over of the items was accompanied by a basic training on
business management and, in the case of the delivery of baking materials, a two days baking
course. Below is the break-down of IGA per item given:

Income-generating-activities per item given

665

212

158155

128

6959

19161611

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In the second half of 2006, the social workers of Rachele Centre carried out an assessment of
the IGA programme. A total of 985 beneficiaries – or 65% of the total number – were visited,
their stock was valued and their cash counted. Those who had made a profit were graded as
‘good’, break-even was graded as ‘fair’, while those who had made a loss were graded as
‘poor’ (see list IGA beneficiaries monitored – annex 6).

Over-all 24% had made a loss. The main reasons cited were theft, destruction of their goods
due to fire (particularly in Acholibur IDP camp) and sickness of a relative which forced them
to sell off the goods to cater for the hospital bill. Over half of all beneficiaries had made a
profit, some in a spectacular way, while 22% had neither made a profit nor a loss.

Performance income-generating-activities

GOOD (profit)
54%

POOR (loss)
24%

FAIR (break-
even)
22%

Case study: Kenneth
Kenneth received assorted goods as an
income-generating activity. He got 50 kg
of sugar, 50 kg of salt, 20 liters of
paraffin, 20 liters of cooking oil and 1 box
of washing soap, amounting to sh180,000.
He sold the goods with a profit and got
sh300,000. As he found the market
saturated with too many of the same
goods, he decided to switch to medicines.
When visited in August 2006, his stock
comprised of Panadol, Dicrofanac, cough
syrups, vitamins, Flufed and Paracetamol
was valued at sh795,000. Besides,
Kenneth had been able to raise the dowry
and married the girl he loved. He is also
supporting his younger brother at school
.

Tonny received one beehive, he now has 30 Florence multiplied the goods she was given

Case study: Patrick
Patrick was abducted in August 2002, at the age of 17. His father was killed at the time
of his abduction. He escaped in May 2004 and was reunited with his family in
Acholibur IDP camp in July 2004. Being the eldest boy in the family, Patrick could not
go back to school because he had to look after his sister, brothers and mother. He got
three bags of silverfish as an income-generating-activity, amounting to sh180,000. He
sold them with a profit and made sh320,000, which he re-invested in his shop. Things
were going well until his mother became sick. She was admitted in Kitgum Hospital.
But because of poor medical services at the government hospital, he transferred her to
St. Joseph Hospital, a missionary hospital. He had to spend both his basic capital and
the profit he had made on meeting his mother’s medical bill. That is how his business
collapsed.

When analysing the performance per item given, the bicycle and bag of posho was the most
successful with 84% making a profit, followed by bicycle (70% profit) and assorted goods
(63%). Restaurant performed the poorest, 64% registered a loss. The reason given was that
most could not afford the money for rent of a stall. Second worst was charcoal because of
over-saturation of the market. The baking kit also performed below average. The reason
given was that they could not afford the transport to go and buy flour in the town.

Most successful actvities (fair and good)

90%

89%

84%

83%

73%

70%

53%

50%

36%

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When breaking up the findings per location, there are huge differences from district to
district. Apac had the highest success rate with 78% of all IGA beneficiaries making a profit,
followed by Lira (51%) and Pader (44%). This reflects the reality of the war-situation and the
purchasing power of the people. Whereas the majority of the population had returned to their
villages in Apac and about half in Lira, where they can get some income from agriculture, the
majority of the people in Pader were still living in IDP camps, where most have no source of
income.

IGA performance Apac

good

78%

fair

5%

poor

17%

IGA performance Lira

good
51%

fair
27%

poor
22%

IGA performance Pader

good

44%

fair

28%

poor

28%

Sponsorship programme

Education and skills training is one of the most effective ways to foster rehabilitation and
reintegration of former child soldiers: the children return to a structured and disciplined
environment, they socialise with peers and are able regain self-esteem and self-confidence.
Moreover, they are given a perspective in life and an alternative to the army.

The sponsorship programme is the contribution of Sponsoring Children Uganda to the
project. It is financed with the revenues of the book ‘Aboke Girls’, lectures given by the
author and private donations from sponsors, mainly in Belgium, Holland and Italy. It started
in the year 2000 with 25 students. By 2006, a cumulative total of 3,187 children from Gulu,
Lira, Kitgum, Apac, Pader and Teso were enrolled in the programme, including 400 children
born in captivity (see list annex 7).

The selection criteria for the beneficiaries of the sponsorship programme are:
• Children who took long in captivity (six months and above)
• Children who got wounded and disabled in captivity
• Child mothers
• Children born in captivity.
• Children who were abducted for two months and above and are orphans

Before 2004, the school fees were paid through three partner organisations, World Vision,
GUSCO and Concerned Parents’ Association (CPA). However, there was inadequate
monitoring of students’ presence in the schools. Some students only collected the money
from the partner organisation but never went to school.

Another problem was that the students were scattered in over 200 schools in Gulu district,
and over 60 schools in Lira and Apac districts. Some were located in insecure areas in the
country-side. This made monitoring and payment of school fees both difficult and dangerous.

In 2004, the sponsorship programme was therefore restructured. Cash payment to students
was stopped and school fees were paid directly to the schools by cheque or bank transfer. In
addition, a scholastic package was given to each student (see below). Before payment, the
education officer of Sponsoring Children Uganda visited all the schools and checked if the
students were at school.

The number of schools was reduced in order to ensure better monitoring. A total of 76
schools were selected in the districts of Lira, Apac, Gulu, Pader, Kitgum, Soroti and
Katakwi. Criteria used were:
• Schools with good academic record, performance and discipline
• Schools that were easily accessible and with adequate facilities in terms of structures
and recreational grounds
• Schools with adequate security to minimise the risk of re-abduction
• Schools that fell within the organisation’s budget limitations

District School

1 Apac

Lore Core PTC

2 Gulu

Alliance High School

3 Gulu

Awere Senior Secondary School Gulu

4 Gulu

Bishop Angelo Negri College

5 Gulu

Flora Day Care and Nursery School

6 Gulu

Gateway Nursery School

7 Gulu

Gulu Central High School

8 Gulu

Gulu College

9 Gulu

Gulu Core Primary Teachers College

10 Gulu

Gulu High School

11 Gulu

Gulu Parents Comprehensive College

12 Gulu

Gulu Police Primary School

13 Gulu

Gulu Prison P.7 School

14 Gulu

Gulu Public Primary School

15 Gulu

Gulu Senior Secondary School

16 Gulu

Highland Primary School

17 Gulu

Holy Rosary Nursery School

18 Gulu

Holy Rosary Primary School

19 Gulu

Kasubi Central Primary School

20 Gulu

Keyo Secondary School Gulu

21 Gulu

Koch Goma Secondary School

22 Gulu

Lacor Seminary

23 Gulu

Lwani Memorial College, Atiak

24 Gulu

Mary Immaculate Primary School

25 Gulu

Negri Primary School

26 Gulu

Pece Primary School

27 Gulu

Sacred Heart Secondary School

28 Gulu

Sir Samuel Baker School Gulu

29 Gulu

St. Joseph's College Layibi

30 Gulu

St.Joseph's Technical School

31 Gulu

Unifat Primary and Nursery School

32 Gulu

Unity Vocational Training School

33 Gulu

Universal Standard College

34 Jinja

Lord's Meade Comprehensive College Jinja

35 Kampala Bishop Kihangire SS
36 Kampala Namiryango SSS Kampala (Lillian Adokorach)
37 Kampala Seroma Christian High School
38 Kampala St. Kizito Bugolobi SS
39 Kitgum

Kitgum Comprehensive College

40 Lira

Aduku Secondary School

41 Lira

Adwari Secondary School

42 Lira

Adwoki Technical School

43 Lira

Amuca SDA Secondary School

44 Lira

Apala Secondary School

45 Lira

Ave Maria Vocational Training Centre

46 Lira

Bright Light College

47 Lira

Comboni College

48 Lira

Dr.Obote College

49 Lira

Fountain Boarding Primary school

50 Lira

Human Technical Development School

51 Lira

Lango College

52 Lira

Lira Integrated School

53 Lira

Lira Parents School

54 Lira

Nancy Primary School of Deaf (Apio Proscy)

55 Lira

Okwang Secondary School

56 Lira

Rachele Comprehensive Secondary School

57 Lira

Railways Primary School

58 Lira

St Mary's Primary School

59 Lira

St. Francis Primary School

60 Lira

St. Katherine Girls SS

61 Lira

St. Kizito Nursery School

62 Lira

St. Mary's College Aboke

63 Lira

Uganda College of Commerce

64 Lira

Uganda Technical College

65 Mbale

Hamdan Girls SS Mbale

66 Pader

Oret Technical School

67 Pader

Pajule College

68 Pader

Rackoko ABC School

69 Pader

St. Charles Lwanga´s College, Kalongo

70 Soroti

Teso College

71 Teso

Halcyon High School

72 Teso

Katakwi Primary School

73 Teso

Madera Boys Boarding Primary School

74 Teso

Soroti Demonstration Boarding School

75 Teso

St Mary's Girls' SSS Madera

76 Teso

Uganda Martyrs' Vocational Institute Aminit

Teachers from the above schools were given skills on how to handle traumatised children, in
particular formerly abducted children. Three workshops for a total of 250 teachers were
organised on: ‘Enhancing school-based psychosocial support and care for war affected
children’. The school masters were invited for the opening session, in which the sponsorship
programme was explained in detail. The two-day workshops were organised on August 24-
25, 2004 at Lira Hotel (for the teachers of Lira and Apac), on August 26-27, 2004 at Acholi
Inn (for the teachers of Gulu) and on August 18-19, 2006 in Lira Hotel for the teachers of
Rachele Comprehensive Secondary School.

Apart from school fees, boarding fees and examination fees, the organisation provides each
term a scholastic package to the children in the sponsorship programme, consisting of:

One dozen of 96 pages exercise books

Five pens and two pencils

Three rolls of toilet paper

Mathematical set and ruler (first term only)

School bag (first term only)

Two school uniforms (first term only)

Distribution of school packages in Lira Teachers from Lira visit Rachele Centre as part of the training

Because of the overwhelming needs in the IDP camps in Pader district, the organisation
provided a scholastic package to an additional 456 formerly abducted children in Rackoko,
Puranga, Patongo, Pajule, Lapul, Lukole, Lapul, Pader Town, Lira Palwo, Kalongo and
Adilang IDP camps. The package consisted of a school bag, 12 exercise books, 5 pens, 3
pencils and a T-shirt (see list beneficiaries school package - annex 8).

Monitoring

The children are visited at their schools every term. They have to write to their sponsors in
Europe two times a year and communicate to them their future plans in drawings. The school
has to submit copies of the report cards to the organisation. In addition, they have to fill in a
monitoring tool, assessing each student’s attendance, behaviour and performance. The data are
then entered into a database and analysed.

Data compiled in 2005 found that 87% of the children in the sponsorship programme
attended classes regularly, 11% attended fairly, while for 2% the attendance was poor. This
went up in 2006: attendance was good for 92% of the children, fair for 7% and poor for 1%.

The improved attendance was a result of the fact that most children opted for boarding
schools, thus relieving them of the social and economic pressures at home, the problem of
daily transport and the fear of being re-abducted on the way. The improved figures are also a
result of intense sensitisation on the importance of early reporting and attending classes
regularly.

Attendance 2005

Fair
11%

Good
87%

Poor
2%

Attendance 2006

Fair
7%

Good
92%

Poor
1%

In terms of behaviour, 85% did well in 2005, 14% fairly and 1% poorly. This dropped
slightly in 2006: 82% showed good behaviour, 16% fair and 2% poor. Nevertheless, the high
figures contradict the general belief that formerly abducted children are unruly, aggressive
and difficult to handle. In fact, the children in the sponsorship programme were found so well
behaved that headmasters in 2006 asked the organisation to send more children to their
schools.

Behaviour 2005

Fair
14%

Good
85%

Poor
1%

Behaviour 2006

Fair
16%

Good
82%

Poor
2%

As to performance, 44% scored well in 2005, 44% fairly, while 12% performed poorly. These
figures were more or less the same in 2006, with 43% performing well, 45% fairly and 12%
poorly. They reflect the normal learning capacity and intelligence of children in an average
school in Uganda.

Performance 2005

Fair

44%

Good

44%

Poor

12%

Performance 2006

Fair
45%

Good
43%

Poor
12%

Case study: Joe
Joe was with his father alone at home when the rebels
attacked on New Year’s Day 2001. His father
pleaded. ‘Please, do not take my son away. He is the
only one I have’. But the rebels beat him up and tied
his hands behind his back. They marched them into
the village square. Joe stayed close to his father. “He
kept telling me not be afraid, that the rebels would
not harm us”, Joe recalled. They started marching
into the bushes. His father was in great pain. “Every
time he tried to tell me something, he was beaten. He was bleeding from his head and mouth.”
After some kilometres, the commander stopped the convoy. His father was tied against a tree.
The commander came to Joe and said: ‘You must decide who of you will live’. Joe started
crying. “He gave me a gun, pointed it at my father and told me to shoot him”, the boy said. “I
refused. I was trembling all over my body. The commander then ordered my father to be untied
and to kill me instead. At that point, I screamed and said I would kill my father. I was given the
gun, aimed it at my father and shot him.” Joe escaped in December 2002. He was enrolled into
the sponsorship programme in 2003 and went to All Saints College in Gulu. But in 2004 he
disappeared. He was traced back through relatives in early 2006. He had dropped out of school
because fellow students knew he had killed his father. He was admitted into a good school in
Kampala under a false name. He is now in S3 and performing well.

University programme

The five best performers in S6 every year are selected for the university scholarship
programme, financed with the revenues of the book of Jef Vermassen. Fifteen formerly
abducted children have benefited so far. Of those, five have already graduated. Another five
have been selected to start in August 2007. Below is the list of beneficiaries of the
sponsorship programme.

Beneficiaries of the university programme

University students

Name

University

Course

Duration Remarks

Akallo Grace

Mukono
University

Mass Communication

3 years

Graduated, went for furter
studies to US

Ochitti Agnes

Makerere
University

Law

4 years

Graduated, went for practicum
at ICC in The Hague, got a
job with AVSI (Italian NGO)

Lolem Josephine

Makerere
University

Development Studies

3 years

Graduated, got a job at State
House

Alopo Barbara

Makerere
University

Wildlife Management

3 years

Graduated, got a job at
Entebbe Zoo

Acio Esther

Nkozi
University

Development Studies

3 years

Graduated, worked at Rachele
School, went for further
studies in Zimbabwe

Okumu Charles

Gulu
University

Public Administration

3 years

Started in Sept. 2005

Arop Julius

Gulu
University

Education

3 years

Started in Sept. 2005

Odong Kenneth Oyet

Gulu
University

Public Administration

3 years

Started in Sept. 2005

Komakech Nyeko Morris Gulu

University

Education

3 years

Started in Sept. 2005

Ongany Joel

Gulu
University

Secretarial &
Information
Management

2 years Started in Sept. 2005

Onek Patrick Sam

Gulu
University

Education

3 years

Started in Sept. 2006

Oryema Welbone Denis

Gulu
University

Computer Science

3 years

Started in Sept. 2006

Odong Wilbert

Gulu
University

Public Administration

3 years

Started in Sept. 2006

Lapyem Walter

Gulu
University

Public Administration

3 years

Started in Sept. 2006

Adyero Monica

Gulu
University

Development Studies

3 years

Started in Sept. 2006

Arach Janet

Gulu
University

3 years

To start in August 2007

Okwera Joe

Gulu
University

3 years

To start in August 2007

Achora Proscovia

Gulu
University

3 years

To start in August 2007

Bongomin David

Gulu
University

3 years

To start in August 2007

Komakech Robert

Gulu
University

3 years

To start in August 2007

Case study: Patrick
Patrick was abducted in Gulu in 1995. When
the rebels came, he got hold of his 13-year-old
brother, Joseph, and tried to escape. But other
rebels on the lookout grabbed them. They were
tied up and ordered to march. His brother tried
to run away but he was captured. A rebel
commander called Okuti was ordered to carry
out his execution. “Okuti called me. He gave me
an axe and ordered me to kill my brother”, said
Patrick. “I couldn’t move. I just stared at my
little brother lying in front of me, his hands tied
behind his back. He was begging God for
mercy.” The rebels urged him to hurry up. “If I refused, they would kill both of us”, Patrick
continued. “They pointed the bayonets at the end of their guns at me and wanted to pierce me.
Tears rolled down my face when I killed my little brother. I hit him three times on the back of
his head with an axe.” At that moment, Patrick just wanted to die. “I stood still, hoping that the
rebels would kill me. But then, as if somebody else took control of my body, I walked aside
when the rebels told me to do so.” Patrick was taken into the sponsorship programme in 2002.
He struggled to get through secondary school. He failed S6 in Gulu College and had to repeat
the year in Koch Goma.
But eventually he succeeded. He passed with two principal passes for
A’levels in 2005 and qualified for the university sponsorship. Patrick is now studying
Bachelor’s in Education at Gulu University.

Problems encountered

One major challenge faced in previous years was the high drop-out rate. Reasons for children
dropping out varied. Some girls became pregnant and were sent away from school. Some
children became orphans and were forced to stay at home to look after brothers and sisters.
Others simply migrated to other parts of Uganda and did not inform the organisation of their
whereabouts. Yet, others faced social problems at home (lack of food, electricity, space to
study) and security problems on the way to school (risk of being re-abducted or killed).

Stigmatisation by peers at school was another reason for some to stop schooling. Poverty as
well played a role. Boys were force by their parents to sell charcoal, ride boda boda (bicycle
taxi) or look after cattle to supplement the family’s income, while girls were encouraged to
marry early because the family could not feed them and wanted the dowry.

Lastly, lack of motivation made some lose interest in studying. Many schools in the war-
affected areas were displaced. They lacked basic requirements such as chairs and text books,
and the teachers were themselves displaced and struggling to survive. Most students in Pajule
Technical School, for example, lost interest because the teachers and the headmaster
preferred to stay in the relative comfort of the towns of Lira and Kitgum than in the
sprawling IDP camp of Pajule.

The decision to channel all students to a limited number of good boarding schools, and the
teachers’ training workshops on how to support war-affected children, helped a lot in
providing additional counselling and considerably lowered the drop-out rate. In 2005, only
58 students dropped out, or 3.5 percent of the total.

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