Changing Communities: Building in Liss part 6

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Uganda celebration event at Liss Junior School

Uganda Celebration Event

Many thanks to all the pupils and parents who attended our Uganda Celebration. We were joined by Mr. Davies and Mrs. Masika, the headteachers of Hambledon Primary School and Rihamu Junior School respectively. We were also visited by Olga Rey from the British Council who was incredibly impressed by the work displayed from the four schools. She described the partnership as ‘prolific’.

Work on display at the event included examples of the learning from all three of the units that Yr 3 and Yr 6 have been working on in conjunction with Kafuro. Additionally, there were samples of work from the  wider Yr 6 curriculum where their topic this term has been Uganda. These included African—style bags and travel guides to Uganda written by the children.

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More from Mr Thembo’s trip to the UK

After two very busy but enjoyable weeks, Mr Stephen Thembo—the headteacher of Kafuro Primary School—has returned to Uganda.

Mr Thembo taught in all four year groups at the Junior School and also in Year 2 at the infant school. He had specific jobs to carry out with Year 3 and Year 6 as this was a condition of British Council funding which allowed for the reciprocal visit. Families will remember that Miss Duncan visited Uganda last summer and  began teaching the topics at Kafuro.

Mr Thembo with Year 4 & Larch

Mr Thembo gave presentations to the children about Queen  Elizabeth  National Park in Uganda. The children were given the opportunity to question him about the similarities and  differences between Queen Elizabeth Country Park and Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Mr Thembo also accompanied children from Larch class to their weekly horse riding session.

Sanitation work with Year 6

Mr Thembo brought the results of the Kafuro water survey which we were able to compare to that of Liss children in Year 6. The last time we carried out a water survey like this was five years ago when Liss pupils (on average) used 17 times more water in a day than their peers in Kafuro. Our survey this time showed that Liss children used three times as much water as Kafuro pupils. However, the criteria that we used were not exactly the same as five years ago, so it is difficult to make too much of a comparison. What was noticeable from the results was that the amount of water used for laundry was a major difference between the two sets of pupils. Kafuro pupils used more water for drinking, which is not surprising given the fact that they come from a warmer climate. They also used more water for handwashing dishes, but this is slightly misleading as many Liss pupils have dishwashers at home.

Liss pupils realized that there are still many ways in which they can save  water, while Ugandan pupils in both Kafuro and Rihamu have taken it upon themselves to carry out weekly clean ups of their local environment and  to promote good sanitation.

Changing Communities work with Year 3

In Year 3, children have been learning about Changing Communities in  Kafuro. In return, Kafuro have been working on the changing community in Liss. During lessons here at Liss Junior School, Ash and Oak class began by creating maps of their own community with elements they would add to      improve it, then used maps and evidence of land use to infer the types of jobs people of Kafuro may have, and debated what the land within Queen Elizabeth National Park should be used for, posing as rangers or farmers. The work produced during these lessons were of a high standard and pupils worked with clear focus and enthusiasm. 

With the help of Mr Thembo during his visit, they completed their work by drawing maps of the community in Kafuro to compared it to their own. Whilst creating these maps in groups, they were asked to imagine what they could add to this to improve the area which they did thoughtfully and carefully. The children now have a clear understanding of their twinned school, an appreciation of their own environment and are eager to learn more as their time at Liss Junior School progresses.

World Book Day

Mr Thembo visited Year 2 and Year 5 on World Book Day. Like many other countries, Uganda has a tradition of oral storytelling and Mr Thembo shared some common folk tales from his country, one of which was the three blind men and the elephant.

 If you would like to read more Ugandan folk tales they can be found at this address:

Wants & Needs work with Year 6

Liss pupils in Rowan & Maple classes compiled the results of their wants and needs cards work. The same exercise also took place at Kafuro.

Liss (10 groups)                                                             

Want or Need Incidence
Medical care 10
Clean water 10
Nutritious food 10
Decent shelter 6
Clean air 6
Protection from abuse and neglect 3
Education 3
Protection from Discrimination 1
Freedom to practise beliefs 1

Kafuro (4 groups)

Want or Need Incidence
Land 2
Clean water 3
Nutritious food 5
Decent shelter 3
Clothing 3
Money 1

Analysing the results

Although there was commonality between the two schools, there were also a number of differences for the children in each country.

In Uganda, particularly where there are rural communities, having land to grow crops on is highly important. When your family’s livelihood is dependent upon harvesting and selling those crops, then everything else pales into insignificance. Likewise, for many parents education isn’t seen as so important as they can earn a living off the land. Children are often pulled out of school at planting and harvest time to help their parents in the fields.

If you live in rural Uganda, you are used to clean air so why would you need it?

A particular difference was the value British children place on medical care, perhaps a result of having the NHS free at the point of entry. For Ugandans, hospitals are few and far between – the nearest to Kafuro is 35 miles away. You have to pay to see a doctor and a hospital stay is even more expensive. For many Ugandans, therefore, medical care is not an option.

Children in both countries recognised the need for food, clean water and basic shelter.

Leisure Time

For the Ugandan headteachers, not all of their time was spent in school. They visited Queen Elizabeth   Country Park, Winchester, the University of Chichester, Bournemouth and London. Mr Thembo also had a cream tea at the top of the Spinnaker Tower on his final day in the UK.

Next Steps

Mr Stanley will now be submitting a final report to the British Council. Once this has been approved, we will be free to make another bid for funding reciprocal visits between Liss and Kafuro which would hopefully take place in the spring and summer of 2021. We want to continue to grow and strengthen our partnership for many years to come.

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My initial impressions of the UK

The trip was first impressing when I was on the plane. It was my first flight ever. It took long hours on the plane. It was interesting to view many things below the clouds.among which was the Sahara Desert, the Mediterranean Sea and many other features across. Another big impression was picked from the airport which is very beautiful where Mr Adam and Heather had come to receive me and my colleague. I had some hot coffee at home after driving through a cold environment. Dinner was served and then after I rested in my bedroom.

The following morning, we had a gentle tour around Queen Elizabeth Country Park guided by Ashlea and Jan. The weather was generally cool. Everything here looks unique and generally good. Their environment especially buildings are smart. Classrooms are well arranged and manageable numbers of learners not exceeding 25 children.

People are very welcoming,and hospitable. They look good because everybody is committed to their work. Life can change in Africa if we adopt to the working style like in UK. So far, everything that I look at now looks a wonder, the exposure is looking very different ranging from the type of soil, trees, grass, and the general vegetation. Some trees have shaded off their leaves due to winter and they all look in a uniform structure.

I took some hours out to look at horse riding. Farm animals like sheep and horses look good in their fields and feel nothing about the cold weather.

I still have many more days round which I believe will expose me to many more beautiful things that I will share with you soon

Mr Thembo & Madam Shakilah in the car after being picked up from Heathrow
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A Ugandan Celebration

As our Ugandan Exchange comes to an end, we finished in style at Hambledon Primary with a celebration of our links with Rihamu Junior School.  This was an opportunity to demonstrate what both schools have learnt from each other and the difference that the partnership has made.

The celebration event showcased the learning from the units of work on Sanitation, Community Change and Wants and Needs. The topic of sanitation has a very high profile in the media and all visitors had the opportunity to wish their hands with a specially constructed ‘Tippy Tap’ in the hall!

The children discussed with our visitors (parents, Governors and members of the Parish Council) the impact of positive changes in both communities. Of special interest was how both communities are dealing with the threat of flooding.

Year 6 (Wants & Needs) could talk with passion about the importance of education in both of our countries. They were prepared to admit that that maybe this was something they’d taken for granted in the past.

The Queen Elizabeth Parks Project ran a stall selling Ugandan crafts and business was brisk all afternoon.

Visitors were also able to try their hand at African drumming and taste Ugandan food prepared by our extra special guests, Ugandan Headteachers Steven and Shakilah!

After speeches, the school presented Madam Shakilah with a cheque for £670. The money will be used to refurbish a the P1 classroom at Rihamu. The children also gifted a special teddy bear in Hambledon uniform – a special gift to our special friends.

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Connecting Classrooms and Strengthening Bonds

Madam Shakilah has enjoyed her week teaching at Hambledon; almost as much as the children have enjoyed having her in their classrooms.  The children have been so excited to welcome her into class and have thoroughly enjoyed her lessons.  These have included sessions answering the children’s many questions about Uganda as well as sharing African Stories on world book day.  The Conservation message was a key part of the children’s learning on this day and all the pupils came dressed as endangered animals and plants.

She has explored issues around sanitation with Owls class, positive changes and developments in Kasese and led an African Animals Art lesson with Robins.

Today Madam Shakilah led a fascinating discussion in Ospreys class. She brought with her the responses from the pupils at Rihamu, who considered their Wants and Needs.  The similarities and differences to their own Needs and desires prompted much thoughtful debate.

Of particular interest was the differing views about the importance of education.  Madam Shakilah described how all pupils at Rihamu consider themselves very fortunate to have a place at the school.  Not all parents can afford to send their children to get an education.  Hambledon children felt that perhaps they take their education for granted as it is free and compulsory.  The children challenged their views of the purpose of their learning and its value to their life chances.  The pupils were able to articulate their understanding clearly and are looking forward to continuing the debate at next Wednesdays celebration event.

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Hambledon Welcomes Madam Shakila

The day that the children of Hambledon Primary School have been excited about for many months has finally arrived. They gave a very warm welcome to Madam Shakila, Headtaecher visiting from Rihamu Junior School, Uganda.

Children from Year 6 (Ospreys Class) welcomed Shakila with a special assembly, which they wrote themselves. The children delivered a specially choreographed dance, sang songs and presented information on the school, the village and the united kingdom. The staff were really grateful for the gifts that Shakila brought and Mr Davies loved his special T-Shirt. The exchange of gifts was completed when Hambledon presented Madam Shakila with a bunch of flowers to brighten her room during her stay and some British sweets to take home.

Madam Shakila worked hard throughout the day visiting each of the classrooms and answering questions about Uganda, Kasese and Rihamu that has been specially prepared by the children. She also brought with her pen-pal letters from our cherished friends in Uganda. We are looking forward to writing back.

This wonderful opportunity is made possible by the British Council Connecting Classrooms Project and facilitated by the QE parks Project. Hambledon is very grateful to these organisations for bringing the schools together.

Madam Shakila will be teaching at Hambledon for the rest of the week, completing the children’s learning on ‘Wants & needs’, ‘Sanitation’ and ‘Community Change’. We can’t wait.

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Changing Communities: Building in Liss part 5

Preparation for building houses continues apace on the Andlers Wood site. The diggers have been very busy, and large containers are being installed on the site.

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A great debate!

On Thursday, Ash class got into role as Farmers or Rangers of QENP to try to explain why farmers encroaching on National Park land was a positive or negative. They gave great ideas and were very articulate about their reasons, using what they have learnt from looking at maps to support their arguments.

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‘Sanitation’s What You Need…’

Owls class have been learning about the importance of good sanitation. Diarrhoea kills more children than HIV/AIDS, malaria and measles combined. Almost 1 billion lack access to safe drinking water. More than 2.3 billion people lack access to safe sanitation.

The children in Owls made their own ‘Tippy – Taps’. Before they began their builds, the children discussed why they would be needed. They discussed that in areas where water is not readily available, that it is really important to conserve as much water as possible. Additionally, the need for good sanitation is really important. Figures tell us that incidences of diarrhoea can be reduced by 44% just by washing your hands with soap.

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