For decades, the vast majority of rural Ugandan girls have been unable to complete their education at the high school level. Most dropped out of school due to circumstances beyond their control, such as chronic poverty, inadequate academic support from illiterate parents, effects of HIV which have left them orphaned or forced them into the head-of-the-family role, and unfair customs and cultural influences which give priority to the education of boys. Without a basic education, few avenues are open to them.
Many girls are forced into early marriages for the sake of dowries and other income needed by their families to help them exist beyond subsistence level and/or to finance the education of sons. As a result, these girls must deal with an increased risk of HIV/AIDS, unwanted pregnancies, dangerous childbirths in far from ideal circumstances, and frequent marital violence. Others may end up as prostitutes or working as child labor. The loss of these girls’ potential capacities as a valuable resource to Uganda is one of the major reasons for the increased ignorance, illiteracy and increasing poverty levels in rural communities.
It is necessary to create better awareness of the value of education within the rural schools and in the communities. PCE Foundation has a goal of reaching 5,000 students and 700 parents/guardians in 50 schools (35 primary schools and 15 secondary schools) by June 2014. Education is the best path out of the grim cycle of poverty so many live in.
- To promote high academic performance in rural schools through open-day campaigns in the rural schools.
- To increase the school enrollment rate of girls by sensitizing community leaders, elders, parents, and especially the girls on the merits of education.
- To identify potential girls for the next RGCM – Uganda intake.
- To build relationships through a continuous process of dialogue and education-enhancing campaigns and workshops to create trust between and among the various stakeholders.
- To promote participation of all stakeholders in education and development initiatives.
- To develop a team of Community Development Activists (CDAs) for sustainability of this project in the long term.
- To initiate a high-quality Community Library and Information Center that will benefit the rural Primary and Secondary schools, Community Based Organizations, and researchers.