A number of Bristol primary and secondary schools are linked with schools in the Masindi area of Uganda. We are partnered with Ikoba Secondary School, a small, poor (even by Ugandan standards) Church of Uganda-sponsored rural school, about 30 minutes drive out of Masindi. It has four main year-groups at present, S1-S4 (Years 8-11 equivalent), with a growing sixth form (S5 and 6). Students are prepared for the equivalent of GCSEs and A-levels (examined in English). There are more girls than boys in the school and most of them board (this is usual in Uganda). Mrs Faith Kahuma is the Headteacher, Mrs Doreen Tuhaise the Partnership Co-Ordinator.

Combined image

Our partnership started in 2006. We received a DFID (government) grant to support teacher and student visits each year and to develop some curriculum projects on ‘sustainability’. This led to some exciting joint work in Science, Art, Textiles and Geography, for example. Students in Uganda love writing letters and a number of lasting friendships have started through this route. We received three years of ‘Connecting Classrooms’ grants from the British Council. 

Personal, school, faith and community relationships lie at the heart of the partnership. Many of us at the ‘richer’ school have found that Ikoba has a real wealth of faith, commitment, warmth, community and enthusiasm that is humbling. Consequently, as we develop the partnership, we want to keep the reciprocal visits at the heart of what we do, despite the high cost of such visits.

Ikoba school badge

 

 

More than twenty two staff from each school have made a visit. Over thirty SMRT students, including some on a World Challenge expedition, have experienced Uganda and eleven Ugandan students have braved Bristol culture and weather. Two SMRT ‘gap year’ students have spent three months living at Ikoba school this has led to a real deepening of the relationship and to Skype conversations.

We have established links at all sorts of levels in addition.  Our Friends of SMRT (Parents’ Association) and some teachers, students and churches are sponsoring needy children to go through the school, including some from the troubled areas in the north of the country. We are delighted also to support and be supported by Bristol Diocese’s Uganda links. SMRT Governors are funding a substantial annual project at Ikoba. James House traditionally supports the equivalent of 'free school meals' at Ikoba each year.

Beautiful tree at Ikoba school

2016 saw the tenth anniversary of the partnership.  We raised £10K between the schools for the tenth anniversary, for a sports pitch and a brass band at Ikoba. @ikobaTENsmrt on Twitter has all the details. A photobook of the first ten years has been produced.

Art lesson

We have publicised and fundraised in a number of ways, including a CD, a joint calendar, wristbands, Harvest sponsored sporting events and a Words of Wisdom joint booklet. We would be delighted if you wanted to join in with any aspect of our partnership.


Ikoba links

Simon Stevens (Assistant Headteacher) on behalf of the SMRT/Ikoba partnership.

For further information, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and/or visit Facebook group, Friends of Ikoba School, Uganda and follow @ikobaTENsmrt on Twitter.