What you need to know:
- Locals of Nyakwae Sub-county want the government to build or take over community schools and help water-stressed areas.
Below the rocky hills that border Kotido and Napak districts lies Nyakwae Sub-county in Abim District. Abim is home to 25,000 people sharing four schools and 10 bore holes.
As a result, the parents in Nyakwae Sub-county, whose children cannot walk for long distances and have enrolled in community primary schools.
Mr Simon Emotu, one of the volunteer teachers at Abokat Nursery and Primary Community School with 600 pupils last week told this publication that the school, opened in 2021, has been struggling to stay afloat.
He said the nearest government-aided primary school is 20 kilometers south in Teso, while in the north, the nearest is Oreta Primary School, situated 12 kilometers away.
“The absence of government schools is further complicated by the absence of clean water sources. Our children go without water for the whole day,” Mr Emotu said.
He said with a recent jigger infestation, they temporarily had to close for three weeks to allow parents to fumigate the dusty makeshift classes.
“As teachers, we are not immune to the problems of these communities. We equally go without food and water for the whole day,” he added.
This situation is not any different at Apeipopong Community Primary School. The nearest government-aided school is Rogom Primary School, which is about 14 kilometres away.
Ms Hellen Akello, a volunteer teacher at Apeipopong Community Primary School, said at one point, they had close to 700 pupils, but about 200 pupils have so far dropped out.
Leaders speak out
Mr Peter Adei, the interim paramount chief for the Karimojong, said there are as many as 5,000 children who are not at school in the entire Nyakwea Sub-county.
He said the issue of education and safe water for the people is a matter of concern that must be addressed.
Mr Adei said the parents’ eagerness to start their own community schools is testimony enough that this community needs schools.
Mr Franco Ochuu, the chairperson for Nyakwea Sub-county, said they only have three primary public schools, which are Oreta Primary School, Rogom Primary School and Pukokanuy Primary School, and the other is Nyakwea Seed Secondary School.
He said they only have 10 functional boreholes serving 25,000 people.
“We have written to the district over the matters of Nyakwea and we are eagerly waiting for the government intervention,” Mr Ochuu said.
He said more than 5,000 children are currently out of school in Nyakwea.
Retired Capt Juventine Omara, the chairperson for Abim, said the lack of clean water sources and few public schools are some of the main challenges in Nyakwea.
He said the district council resolved that the Ministry of Education and Sports should take over the management of private schools in the sub-county to ensure more school-going children enrol.
“The community schools were captured and the minutes have since been sent to the Ministry of Education. All we are waiting for is for coding to take place,” Mr Omara said.
On the matter of water accessibility, he said the district authorities can only drill five bore holes a year.
“We call on development partners to offer a hand in helping the water-stressed areas of Nyakwea,” Mr Omara said.