This is a programme designed for the northern region (seven districts) of Uganda. The region experienced an insurgency for 20 years, a situation that only improved just two years ago, but which left a shattered economy that impacted negatively on all aspects of life including education systems. Recovery for Acholi Youth is a programme supported and also heavily facilitated by the Norwegian Refugee Council.
RAY is a three pronged project aimed at offering recovery opportunities to children and youth in the Acholi sub-region, thereby mitigating the potential for renewed conflict in the region. The three components of this project are:
- Accelerated Learning Programme
- Youth Education Pack
- School Construction
Accelerated Learning Programme
The Accelerated Learning Programme’s objective is to increase access to quality basic education for the out-of-school children in the Acholi sub-region through the promotion of alternative education models. The target beneficiaries of the programme are the vulnerable children of school going age (9–14) who are out of school. The vulnerabilities catered for are mainly orphans, child mothers, child headed households, children with special needs, former abductees, children born in captivity and those from poor families who because of this factor are unable to either join or continue with their basic education.
Youth Education Pack
The objective of the Youth Education Pack is to expand access to basic vocational skills training for war-affected youth in the Acholi sub-region through the establishment of community vocational centres. Under the programme, vulnerable youth aged between 14 and 24 years undertake a year of skills training in bricklaying and concrete practice, carpentry and joinery, catering, welding and metal fabrication, salon and hair dressing, and basic motorcycle repair. The categories of those vulnerable who are eligible for the the Youth Education Pack are similar to the Accelerated Learning Programme but only vary in age range.
This component is to improve the quality of education in the Acholi sub-region through the construction of teachers’ houses and expansion/improvement of infrastructure in selected schools.
Impact and effect
The programme has offered an opportunity to more than 2,500 formerly out-of-school children to rejoin primary education. In 2011, a total of 44 classrooms and 38 pit latrine stances were constructed. Ten other classrooms were renovated in the Accelerated Learning Programme host schools and the Youth Education Pack centres to accommodate the learners. Seventy teachers’ houses (35 blocks) have also been constructed in some of these centres. About 4,000 youth have graduated in the respective skills since the programme started in 2006. As of 2011, the programme had seven Youth Education Pack centres in the Acholi sub-region.
All the three components of Recovery for Acholi Youth are implemented in collaboration with the respective District Education Authorities. An estimated 1,040 learners are undergoing practical vocational skills training in these centres. Five similar centres initiated by the programme are now separately being managed by local authorities (handed over in 2010).
Twenty-two more Accelerated Learning Programme centres will be operational in the year 2012. The programme aims that by the end of the project in 2013, over 7,000 learners, 55 per cent of whom are girls, should have accessed basic education or mainstreamed into primary education or secondary education-Universal Secondary Education systems. Another set of learners will be trained in partnership with Papule Vocational Training School.