• Ross Young

A new science lab at Kihembe Secondary School

Updated: Sep 29

I’m absolutely delighted to share with you the news that the science laboratory that we’ve been building at Kihembe Vocational Secondary School (KVSS) has finally been completed! This project has been a long time in the planning and development and I’m delighted with the progress that has been made.

The government of Uganda announced that all schools would have to close back in March due to the outbreak of COVID-19. As a team we used this as an opportunity to complete work on the secondary school. As is the case with all of our projects, this was done in phases and began with the completion of the building work, which was actually finished at the start of the year.

As it turned out, building the lab was the easy part. In order to understand what a school science lab looks like in Uganda, we visited a number of schools in Kanungu to get some inspiration. Working with local carpenters and guided by the science teachers at the school, we created a plan for the interior of the lab, which included a storage room at the back, desks and stools, as well as electricity and a sink with running water.

The carpenters from Kihembe skilfully handmade all of the furniture for the lab and it looks fantastic, as you can see from the photos. They also created space for the storage of the science equipment at the back of the lab. We are waiting for the equipment to arrive from Kampala and as the lockdown is still ongoing, we’re not entirely sure when it will arrive. But at the very least we know we will receive it before schools reopen, whenever that is.

Arguably the most challenging element of equipping the lab was acquiring a safe and constant water source that could pipe clean water to the sink that is needed for practical lessons. We decided that a water tank would be the most cost effective and simplest way of achieving this. I’m very grateful to Coventry Jubilee Rotary Club who very generously donated £500 to contribute to the construction of the water tank.

As well as supplying the science lab with water, the tank will also serve as a crucial water source for the school kitchen, and the staff will use it in order to prepare meals for the students. Everyone in Uganda is very grateful to the Rotary for their ongoing support of our projects and this latest contribution was both timely and integral to the successful completion of the science lab project.

Another significant development that we’ve seen at the school site during lockdown is the installation of solar. We are very grateful to the sub-county team for organising this and it is another example of our collaborative model that we’re so proud of. There are many stakeholders involved in the development of the school and it’s always wonderful to see local politicians and leaders making a positive contribution to schools in their districts.

The installation of solar is hugely beneficial in a village where there is currently no electricity. The solar will provide power to the science lab, but it will also provide a power source for our next project: the creation of a computer lab and library. We have already approved a budget to start building work on the new classroom that will serve as the computer lab, but we would like to ask for your help with this project.

Because computer equipment is so expensive over here in Uganda, we’re asking you to have a look at home to see if you have any old laptops that you no longer use. If you do, then we would be incredibly grateful if you’d be willing to donate them to the school. We ask that you reset factory settings on your laptop and remove any passwords. We are also requesting for novels and informative resource books that students may be able to utilise. All textbooks will be purchased in Uganda.

It is our hope that we will be able to send across 10 computers and a significant amount of books that will stock the library. We will do this in one shipment and we hope to send them before Christmas. If you can contribute to this project, then please send me an email – ross@zuriprojectuganda.co.uk – and I will let you know how you can support us.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has contributed to the science lab project at KVSS. We hope that now we have a science lab, we will be able to attract more students to the school and we hope to see a significant improvement in the test scores of the students who undertake science practicals in their examinations. As the plans are already in place to work on a computer lab and library, we’re very excited to see the school this time next year.

Ross.

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07761871385

ross@zuriprojectuganda.co.uk

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© 2020 by The Zuri Project Uganda.