May 18, 2024
TEACHERS MAKING A DIFFERENCE

Kayegi Roots For The Girl Child

(This article was first published in the New Vision on April 27, 2022)

By George Bita

When Conny Kayegi Nambale joined Namukooge Church of Uganda Primary School in 2016 as a teacher, she started gardening and counselling to keep girls in school.

Sam Tenywa, the Parent- Teacher Association (PTA) vice-chairperson, says the school garden has improved pupils’ welfare.

“The children eat a variety of foods, which encourages them to stay in school. No pupil can concentrate on an empty stomach,” Tenywa says.

Learners’ Lunch

Sospater Banerya, a PTA member, says Kayegi suggested the idea of parents providing lunch at school. “She is a member of the finance committee and presented the idea during a meeting in 2017. We then resolved as members that we take it up,” Banerya says.

He says the decision was that parents contribute maize grain plus a milling fee and beans.

“By then, we had barely 400 girls in school, but the number has increased to 715 out of a total population of 1,438,” he says.

Banerya argues that the starving girls easily fell into the hands of bodaboda men and chapatti sellers who would bait them with free lunch.

Kayegi says the learners’ lunch has been spiced up by food produced from the school garden she started in 2016.

“We have tomatoes, maize, carrots and greens grown every season in the garden. These are harvested and served to both teachers and learners,” she says.

Kayegi explains that the pupils tend the one-acre garden in their free time, but when they are away from school, the guard and grounds worker take over.

“We are grateful to the school administration that provides the farm inputs. Whenever we put in a requisition, it is duly honoured,” she says.

Counselling Classes

Kayegi is the senior woman teacher and often counsels and guides the girls to save them from being misled by lustful men.

Francis Manka, the headteacher, says he appointed Kayegi to that position five years ago.

“She has done a commendable job. Even during the COVID-19 lockdown, she would move to nearby children’s homes to ensure they stay safe,” Manka says.

He adds that Kayegi could walk to the nearby homes as public transport had been banned as a measure to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Gladys Mirembe, a parent, says her teenage daughter had become restless and would be spotted in the company of males.

“I called Kayegi to assist and she walked home the following day. She not only counselled her, but also gave daily exercises to my girl, which assisted in bringing her attention back to books,” Mirembe says.

Manka says Kayegi was facilitated with airtime under the COVID-19 task force to regularly contact parents of girls at far off locations.

“This enabled her hear from such learners and counsel them. The good thing we have records of every pupil,” he says.

COVID-19 Pandemic Interventions

Kayegi says as a member of the Namukooge Primary School task force team, she ensures the compound has hand-washing points and that the children and adults wear masks.

“I was also part of the group that encouraged teachers to go for COVID-19 vaccination. This was done so that schools re-open fully for all learners,” she says.

Kayegi during a counselling session

Academic Input

Kayegi says unlike most teachers who take their children elsewhere, she enrolled hers at Namukooge.

“As a teacher of Primary Six and Primary Seven, we give the children extra lessons during prep time and on weekends. This has helped them complete the syllabus much earlier and start revision,” she says

Manka affirms that remedial lessons are a brainchild of Kayegi, who attends to learners like they are her own children.

“She brought up the idea in 2018 and has made our children perform well in Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE). Little wonder that parents have entrusted us with more learners,” Manka says.

Co-Curricular Contribution

The school team boasts competing favourably with other institutions at both sub-county and district level.

Kayegi says as hostel warden, she keeps the boarders busy through co-curricular activities such as netball, football and drama.

“This not only helps them pass time productively on weekends, but also develops their talents. No wonder our best sports students are residents in the hostel,” she says.

Manka adds that the rest of the school benefit from the one-hour period for co-curricular activities every day of the week.

Paul Muwereza, the Kaliro district inspector of schools, says the Namukooge Primary School sports team is regular at the local government-organised annual competitions.

“That includes sports and music contests. It proves that the teachers are doing their work in developing the pupils’ talents,” Muwereza says.

Community Correlation

Robinah Talenga, the school management committee chairperson, says the school cook, guard and grounds workers come from the neighbouring villages.

“This is clear proof that there is a good working relationship with the community. The non-teaching staff are paid wages to boost their household incomes,” Talenga says.

Kayegi says the school’s solar system provides light to parts of the neighbouring Nakabaale village, thereby boosting the security of the area.

Henry Mukubira, the Namugongo LC3 chairperson, says the teachers contribute social service tax towards the local government, which helps in developing society.

“The school sports field is equally available for local soccer matches and social events such as weddings. Hence there is a lot for us to benefit from the school,” he says.

Mukubira adds that the community members also supply the school garden under Kayegi’s care with seedlings at a fee.

“At times she needs mulch that is supplied by locals. This all indicates a mutual working environment for all of us,” Mukubira says.

Challenges Cited

Kayegi says despite efforts to keep girls in school, some parents have a negative attitude towards educating their daughters.

Animals destroy crops in the school garden.

“Neighbours’ domestic animals keep straying into the garden and eat up our crops. This at times brings about misunderstandings with the community members,” she says.

Plans

Kayegi plans to plant more fruit trees such as oranges and lemons at the school farm to supply pupils with natural vitamin C.

“This is important in fighting off cough and flu which are common nowadays. Why buy vitamin C when we can grow our own?” she asks.

Tips

  • Never put all your eggs in one basket.
  • Work without play makes children dull.
  • God is the giver of all.
  • Teamwork pays.
  • One plus one makes a bundle.

Fact File

1992: Completed Primary Leaving Examinations at Bugunzi Pimary School in Sironko district.

1996: Completed O’level at Mbale Secondary School.

2000: Attained a Grade III teaching certifi cate from Buwalasi Primary Teachers’ College, Mbale.

2001-2009: Taught at Valley Hill Primary School in Kaliro district.

2010-2012: Joined Kanambatiko Primary School in Kaliro district

2013-2015: Taught at Nabigwali Primary School in Kaliro district.

2015: Earned a diploma in primary education from Bugema University.

2016 to date: Teacher at Namukooge Church of Uganda Primary School

What Others Say

Eria Buyinza, school guard. The school garden set up by Kayegi is a godsend. I harvest maize from the garden to roast on weekends.

Specioza Nakagolo, Primary Three pupil Madam Kayegi often warns us about sugar daddies. She insists they will make us pregnant and we drop out of school.

Gilbert Muba, Primary Three pupil. Our teacher Kayegi has made me love planting farm crops. I now have my own small garden at home

Zaituna Balirwawo, Teacher Kayegi enjoys gardening and has made children love the school garden. The pupils learn agricultural tips as they work.

Leave feedback about this

  • Quality
  • Price
  • Service

PROS

+
Add Field

CONS

+
Add Field
Choose Image
Choose Video
X