SOME FACTS ABOUT UGANDA
Uganda is a country with a troubled recent past which is now striving to recover and to rebuild its economy and improve life for its citizens. It has some of the worst poverty in the world and the population has been badly affected by HIV Aids as well as other endemic diseases such as malaria. Life expectancy is low (59.8 years), infant mortality is high (56.1 deaths per 1000 live births), healthcare rudimentary. Only 65% have access to safe drinking water but this falls to 2% in some rural areas. 75% of the population do not have access to proper sanitation facilities. The national adult literacy rate is 70.2% and the average family has 6 children. (Details sourced from various government reports 2018). Yet this is an exceptionally fertile country with valuable mineral reserves which bodes well for the future. Uganda is seeking to rebuild its reputation as an attractive tourist destination with fabulous wildlife parks, beautiful scenery and friendly people. There is a road network to facilitate access to the parks for those who wish to go on safari, and there are some very comfortable lodges and hotels where tourists can stay and will be made very welcome.
Education and the Pandemic
The COVID pandemic led to the Ugandan Government taking early and robust action. The country went into lockdown in March 2020 and all educational establishments were closed for 82 weeks, after which there was a progressive opening allowed starting in January 2022, still subject to stringent conditions. Home schooling was impractical for many parts of the country without power, radio or TV. The whole country was locked down, so subsistence farmers (who constitute the majority of the parents in the areas where SEDCU is active) were unable to get their produce to market and were effectively unable to earn a living. School teachers were laid off without pay in many cases. When the lockdown was over, many private schools were unable to reopen due to the financial impacts, and also many pupils dropped out of education. Although schools and colleges were mostly allowed to re-open in January 2022, it has taken a year for things to return to something like normal, and even then the loss of nearly two years of education will have had a long-lasting impact on a generation of young people.