May 18, 2024

Nabirye Gets Washrooms, Lunch For Buzaaya PS Girls

(This article was first published in the New Vision on May 18, 2022)

By George Bita

For the 25 years, Harriet Nabirye has taught at Buzaaya Church of Uganda Primary School. She has lobbied for washrooms and counselled girls to stay in school. She says since the school is located in a rural area, she sought donor support for the children to have lunch at school, to avoid falling prey to lustful men offering them food.

“As a teacher who has been here for a long time, I found that need to write a proposal that brought the International Development Institute (IDI) on board. This was over seven years ago,” she says.

Daniel Mutambuze, the headteacher, says Nabirye was instrumental in getting donor support to construct washrooms at the school and provide lunch for children.

He says, previously, many girls would fall prey to bodaboda riders who asked for sex in exchange for providing them with lunch.

“Ever since we embarked on feeding them in 2016, the girls’ population has shot up to 720 out of the school’s 1,205 learners,” he says.

Counselling Classes

Nabirye says she includes a one-hour counselling session on her timetable to talk to girls.

“The counselling sessions are held every Thursday, in groups. I also have one-on-one sessions with some pupils who need extra attention,” she says.

She adds that these sessions have proven effective, as the population of girls has increased.

Mutambuze says IDI also provided free reusable sanitary pads that are given to girls in Primary Six and Primary Seven

The washroom for girls at Buzaaya Primary School in Kamuli.

Covid-19 Interventions

Pidson Bagenda, the Parents and Teachers Association chairperson, says during the COVID-19-induced lockdown on schools, Nabirye would engage learners from home. “She would pick up the home reading materials from the sub-county headquarters and deliver them to her pupils at home,” Bagenda says.

“Together with a team of lower primary teachers, she would also visit homes routinely to check if whether the children had done the work,” Bagenda says. He says the PTA would give Nabirye transport and allowances to enable Nabirye get to her learners. He adds that Nabirye, who was on the school’s COVID-19 taskforce, would call parents to check on the children’s welfare during the lockdown.

Sarah Namutamba, a resident of Mawoito village, says the teachers would also sensitise community about the standard operating procedures. Nabirye would go the extra mile to make home visits and supply the free facemasks that were provided by the district for teachers and learners.

Bathrooms Built

Mutambuze says the modern washrooms, built five years ago with funding from IDI, prove a safe space for girls to freshen up while at school.

“In the past, during their monthly periods, girls would seek permission to go home, which is no longer the case,” he assures.

Nabirye says the bathrooms have rain water-harvesting tanks that ensure the users have an uninterrupted supply of water.

Co-Curricular Contribution

Nabirye says children have a period for indulging in co-curricular activities after 4:30pm, every school day.

“They are allowed to develop their talents in music, dance, drama and sports. Our presence in different competitions at the district proves our might,” she says.

Joseph Musoke, the Kamuli district education officer, says the Buzaaya Primary School team is regular at local government-organised contests in Kamuli town.

“The trophies they carry home show they come with a high degree of preparedness. This is in line with the education department’s resolve to balance sports with class work,” Musoke says.

Community Correlation

Adonia Kateremo, the Magogo LC1 chairperson, says the school borehole is shared with the community, which is a sign of good neighbourliness.

“Residents also organise soccer matches, wrestling and wedding receptions at the school playground,” Kateremo says.

Mutambuze adds that the school employs residents, which helps to improve household incomes in the village.

“Bodaboda riders, stationed opposite our school entrance, also gain from ferrying pupils and teachers,” he says.

Golden Tips

  • Put God first
  • Treat tomorrow as another day
  • Hard work always pays
  • Patience pay

Fact File

  • 1985: Obtained a Primary Leaving Examination certificate from Muguluka Primary School in Jinja district
  • 1989: Got an O’level certificate from Pilkington College, Muguluka
  • 1996: Graduated at Kamuli Primary Teachers’ College with a Grade III certificate
  • 1996: Taught at Buwanume Primary School in Kamuli district.
  • 1997 to date: Teaches at Buzaaya Church of Uganda Primary School

Others Speak

Margaret Handehe, teacher: Nabirye helps new staff to settle down easily. She is good at teamwork.

Nathan Mugweri, neighbour: I am happy we share a water source with the school. It supplies us with safe water.

Fatuma Nakiranda, pupil: Teacher Nabirye advises us to avoid bad groups that may lead us to make wrong decisions

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