A school feeding program in Imvepi Refugee Settlement in Odupi Sub County, Terego district has boosted learner enrolment and retention rate in the schools benefitting from the initiative.
The program implemented by Windle International Uganda is targeting the pupils of Emmanuel Primary School and Awa Primary School.
This was the finding during a visit to the project-implementing schools where the administrators revealed how the school activities have become lively.
Oliver Lomindet Olikana, the head teacher of Emmanuel Primary School says many girls that conceived have returned to school with their babies.
“The project has attracted some girls who conceived during the COVID-19 time and they have babies. We wish God blesses your hands and support us with more volunteers so that the program is sustained. We are so happy that these young mothers are determined to succeed after returning to school”, Lomindet said.
Lomindet said one of the child-mothers has been supported by her mother who takes care of the 2-year-old baby boy. She always brings the baby to the school to receive breast milk from its mother.
According to the head teacher of Awa Primary School, the feeding program has forced some learners from neighboring schools to cross to his school.
“This program of feeding is indeed very impactful and it has attracted learners from P.1 to P.3 from the neighboring schools to our school. It has also helped to reduce the dropout rate of the young learners from the school due to hunger. The posho contains carbohydrates and the mukene (silver fish) has animal protein that builds the body”, the head teacher said.
Richard Inira, Terego district Inspector of Schools applauded Windle International Uganda for being the lead partner on matters concerning education in the district.
“When food is given to these children in school they will be attracted by the food and find nowhere to go. So I want to thank donors for helping these people with all other programs apart from feeding. It is not only the refugees but all other children in the host communities benefit from the program”, Inira said.
The residents challenged the international Non-Governmental Organisation to sustain the program.
Inira, the district schools’ inspector of Terego said it will be sad if the program ends abruptly.
Windle international Uganda is implementing the feeding initiative in partnership with Convoy of Hope, an American nonprofit humanitarian and disaster relief organization, whose representatives also visited the schools.
Andrew Emmanuel Omara, the Executive Director of Windle International Uganda is impressed with the impact of the feeding initiative in the schools.
“Statistics have shown that the lack of food in schools keeps many children out of schools and even those in schools drop out along the way. But we have evidence that shows that retention has improved and enrolment has dramatically increased. Therefore, there is consistent attendance in schools”, Omara said.
This is not the first program where partners give food in Odupi sub county that is hosting the refugees. The sub county was one of the worst performing sub counties in academics in Terego. But through the food interventions, in the PLE of last year, the schools performed quite well.
At Awa Primary School with total enrolment of 1,252 pupils from P1-P7, those benefiting are 732 from P.1 to P.3.
Meanwhile, at Emmanuel Primary School from P.1 to P.3, 2,308 learners are benefitting from the program out of which only one had malnutrition.
Over the last 26 years, Windle International has made great strides in delivering education programmes for refugees in the districts of Yumbe, Koboko, Adjumani, Moyo, Obongi, Arua, Madi-Okollo, Terego all in West Nile and other parts of the Uganda.
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