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Our land, the subcounty of Kyarumba in Uganda

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The land and its people

Kyarumba is a very special place in the world, with great traditions. However, some of these traditions have limited the education and opportunities for our girls.

Kyarumba is in the Kasese district in the Western Region of the Republic of Uganda at the Congo border, located at the foothills of mount Rwenzori. Almost half of the district is covered with lakes and national parks, with dramatic snow-covered mountains. We have two seasons of rainfall each year and much of the land is fertile with cereals, tuber root crops, coffee and cotton being grown. The population is near half a million, with 262 people per sq km. Like most districts in Uganda, Kasese district is predominantly agricultural, relying on subsistance farming for employment and income. Subsistence farming hardly allows the generation of a minimal income while poor subsistence farmers depend on the capriciousness of nature for their basic needs. The people keep livestock including cattle, goats, sheep and pigs.

The biggest ethnic group in Kasese is the Bakonzo (80% of the population) - followed by the Banyabindi and Basonkora. The Bakonzo belong to eight traditional clans that are fundamental to social and cultural life and connection with our land. These are the Basukali, Bakira, Bahira, Baswagha, Babinga, Bathangyi, Balegha and Bahambu. These eight clans are basic to our unity and help us to identify with social and economic issues that affect society. The kind of homes in which people live are mud and thatch, mud and tin, and to a smaller extend permanent iron roofed houses. The average family in Kyarumba has up to 10 people. This was further confirmed by research conducted by the Research & Evaluation Consult International in 2005, women in Kasese are among the most fertile in the world. They can produce up to an average of eight children. The research conducted in 2005 further reveals that the district population was increasing at a 3.6% rate, which is above the national average. The common religious affiliations in Kyarumba are the Anglican, the Roman Catholic, and the Pentecostal church and Islam. The common language spoken is Lukhonzo followed by Lunyabindi and Lusongora.

Education in Kyarumba

Since 1997, the government of Uganda has been implementing Universal Primary Education (UPE), a programme in which up to four children in each family receive free primary education. The government is in the process of developing a framework for implementing free secondary education for children graduating from universal primary education. These programmes target less girls than boys in our society, and leave many parents with the burden of paying for the education of several more children. Therefore, there is a great need to complement government efforts to ensure that all children in Kyarumba - girls, as well as boys - achieve their education dreams.

We in the Bwimaniro Women's Club recognise the need to address the attitudes and practical realities to change and address the perceptions of the status quo.

We have therefore developed the Kyarumba Girls Education Fund, a Fund designed to respond to this situation and enable young girls to attend school.

For more information on the Kyarumba Girls Education Fund, please click here!

END
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