The Mutanda Eco Community Centre Education Programme
The Mutanda Eco Communtiy Centre Education programme has been set up by the Mutanda Eco Community Centre (M.E.C.C). We aim to teach the children in the surrounding schools conservation, sports and help develop their schools for the future. The pupils will learn the theory of conservation in the classroom and will be able to apply this in the field, in the compounds of their schools and at Lake Mutanda.
We incorporate into the teaching of conservation the problems they face now and how best to deal with them and also how to conserve and develop in a sustainable way for the future. To show them what has been achieved in the local area through conservation and sustainable development such as the Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and how this is helping the locals and future generations, and how it fits in to the global world of conservation and sustainable development. All three schools in our education programme have a ‘wildlife club’ and this is very positive, encouraging and a big hit with the pupils and teachers alike.
The programme also includes sports that is beneficial at every level, from recreation, exercise, team building and in the case of swimming, is a very important safety issue.
Parent participation is extremely important for the children, teachers and schools.
It is interesting to realise and understand that pupils, teachers and parents all have the same problems worldwide. These problems are lack of resources such as not enough teachers, large classes, truancy, old school buildings and lack of funds. In a third world country the problems may be the same as in the first world countries but much greater to overcome.
Its good to remember that a lot of our pupils have to do their household chores at home before they even think about going to school such as fetching clean water and caring for the family livestock and also when they get home from school. Other problems that arise for the pupils is that when they face doing their homework they find it difficult as by the time they have finished there daily jobs it is more than likely to be dark by this time and without electricity as many of the families do not have or families cannot afford candles or oil for their lamps, the pupils find it almost impossible to finish their homework.
Not only that, the pupils have long distances to walk to school, usually in their bare feet with no food inside them as they cannot afford to eat breakfast or lunch which in turn has an effect on the pupils learning capacity with concentration levels and energy very low. Also a lot of families cannot afford to provide uniform for their children, this can make some children feel different to their classmates wearing uniform, and can have an effect on how they fit in at school and how well they perform.
Many of the schools have pupils that are in our sponsorship programme.
The three schools in our education programme at present are Mutolere Primary School, Chihe Primary School and St. Gertrudes Secondary School for girls’. We are extending the programme to all schools in the surrounding areas.