OLPC Mbarara University of Science and Technology Uganda

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OLPCorps_Mbarara Universitity of Science and Technology/ Millennium Villages Project_Uganda

1. Project Title & Shipment Detail
Name of Project: Ruhiira Millennium Villages Girls’ Empowerment Through ICT for Education Shipping Address:
Mbarara University of Science and Technology
Faculty of Development Studies
P.O. Box 1410
Mbarara
Number of Laptops You Request: 100 laptops

2. Team Participants
Mbarara University of Science and Technology Key team members:
Tushabe Faith- Graduate student
Twinamatsiko Specioza- Undergraduate
Busingye Medius-Undergraduate
Kukunda Enid-Undergraduate
Twinamatsiko Medard- Undergraduate
Millennium Villages Project Team:
Education Coordinator: Lawrence Ssenkubuge
Education Facilitators: Peninah Tumusiime
Francis Tiberondwa
ICT Facilitator: Elly Nankunda
Earth Institute support team: Katie Murphy, Matt Berg
3. Objectives
• To empower girls and foster a culture of academic excellence among girls in Primary School, grades 5-7.
• To provide a forum for girls to openly exchange ideas, concerns, and information related to sexuality and gender.
• To improve girls’ performance levels in literacy and numeracy through the use of educational software and games.

4. Plan of Action and Timeline
This project will be lead by students in the faculty of development studies at Mbarara University of Science and Technology in close coordination with the Education Team at the Millennium Villages Project, with a field office in Mbarara, to plan for the training and deployment of 100 laptops to 10 primary schools (10 laptops per school). Initial training will be provided to 20 teachers and 50 girls, coming from 10 primary schools within the cluster. After training, 10 laptops will be deployed to each of the 10 primary schools to initiate the girls club activities.

The Millennium Villages Project will provide support for this initiative by helping to transport the laptops to the sites, assisting in the organization of the training activities, arranging the housing for the students during training, and providing an adequate energy system to support the laptops.

Primary activities include:
• May-June: exploratory visits to Ruhiira MVP (introduce initiative, meet teachers and parents, etc.)
• June 11-17: training in Kigali
• June 22-26: receive materials and prepare for trainings in coordination with MVP staff
• June 29- July 10: Training Session 1: Omwicwamba lead by MUST students (housing provided by MVP at Ruhiira office)
• July 13-24: Training Session 2: Kabuyanda lead by MUST students (housing provided by MVP)
• July 27- August 21: Implementation of “girls empowerment club” activities
• September: Monitoring and Evaluation (MVP staff)
• November-December: Sharing of evaluation results and planning for additional educational programs with the XO laptops (MVP staff)

Proposed schedule of trainings (each 2 weeks):
3 days general ICT basics, XO software
2 days- improving literacy with XO
2 days- improving math and numeracy with the XO
3 days of communication software and applications

Training recipients:
2 teachers from each school
5 girls from each school (grades 5-7)

5. Need
The Millennium Villages in the Ruhiira cluster are spread over several hundred square kilometers of southwestern Uganda and are home to approximately 20,000 children ages 6-12. While initiatives such as Universal Primary Education and the school feeding program have significantly increased primary school enrolment, overcrowded classrooms, inadequate school facilities, insufficient numbers of trained teachers and lack of teaching and learning resources, obstruct progress toward the establishment of a system of quality education. Although quality education is recognized as a key intervention to ensure sustainable development, and improve health and economic growth, a large proportion of students do not complete primary school. Girls, in particular, are at-risk of dropping out of school as they reach puberty and tend to leave school before grade 7. Girls that do remain in school, generally have lower performance in comparison with the boys. In a community where early marriages for girls is common practice and education for girls is viewed as less important after puberty, the formation of a academically and socially oriented support group for girls will be a critical intervention.

Currently, there are no initiatives that specifically target girls’ empowerment in the primary schools and they have no opportunity to come together as a group to tell their stories, ask questions about sexuality and gender, and support each other during the difficult transition period of puberty. The XO initiative will include the launch of a girls club to foster enthusiasm for learning, and to provide girls with the opportunity to openly discuss issues of gender and sexuality. Using the “chat” activity, the program will also provide an avenue for girls getting online support and mentors in order to boost their morale through partnerships with role models.

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