A critical part of empowering a community is to know as much as you can about the community.
With this is mind, Meaningful Volunteer conducted a census for every house in the targeted parish of Buyaya in the province of Sironko. 238 households were surveyed. In addition, Meaningful Volunteer carried out an educational survey of 332 people.
The educational survey serves two purposes:
- Allows us to gage educational levels and target students to join our literacy and computer programs
- Provides a control group.
Every student that joins our literacy program will take the same educational survey. In twelve months time or so, we will conduct a similar educational survey. We will them compare students who are part of our program with students who are not part of our program. If the students in our programs are doing significantly better than those who are not, then we know that we are doing something right.
Selected highlights from the census and educational surveys include:
- Uganda has two educational policies called UPE and USE. These stand for Universal Primary Education and Universal Secondary Education respectively. These - in theory - guarantee all children a primary and secondary education.
This appears to be working in Buyaya at the primary level (with 393 students enrolled), but not at the secondary level (with 54 students enrolled).
- Most students under nine cannot read a single letter.
- Most students under fifteen struggle to read simple triplet words. (Triplet words have a consonant, then a vowel, then another consonant. Words like cat, dog, man and tap are all triplets).
- The reading levels further deteriorate when silent-e words (cape, Kate, Dave, cute and so on) and consonant blend words (blue, king, snow, gloves and so on) are added.
- The students who could read still performed very poorly on English comprehension tests.
- The average age for males in 19.5, and the average age for females is 20.5.
- Malaria accounted for 53% of all deaths and HIV accounted for 15% of all deaths.
- There is an average of 4.9 residents per household
- Chickens (4.18/household) and goats (1.18/household) form the bulk of livestock.
- Almost all residents are sustenance farmers with beans, maize, and cassava forming the bulk of the crops.
- 35% of residents farm coffee as a cash crop.
- Residents spend an average of 1 hour and 49 minutes collecting water from the sole bore-hole well, and 1 hour and 27 minutes from the various wells around the parish.
- 11% of children are orphans
- HIV rates are hard to determine because of the stigma of associated with HIV+ people.