An Alternate Approach to Improving the Girl Child Experience in King’s College Budo

There has been a much needed and timely furor of activity in Ugandan social media circles of the terrible experience our sisters in King’s College Budo go through. IMO there is no lasting solutions can be found without treating the root cause, which is that girls are second class citizens within the school despite being a key pillar in the learning and experiential outcomes for those who go through Budo.

The second class citizenship is excerbated by two factors, their population is 20% of the school, and they are physically located ~1.5km away from the main day-to-day school activities, making it a natural exclusion.

I was in Budo for 6 years, class 1990 to 1996, the last year to do UACE in April of the next year, during my most formative years 12 to 18 (you can compute my age now), residing in Ghana house of Lords. I can say that personally I thrived:

  • Academically – sufficient challenge to stay in the 5% percentile
  • Socially – found ways to survive within my sorroundings and made great friends both boys and girls till today,
  • Sports – learnt volleyball, lawn tennis, table tennis (was on the school team), chess the team of 4 Stephens lifted Father Grimes National Chess Tropy in 1994 and 1995 respectively
  • Leadership – supervised communal work from my S2 which meant I could plan for asssignments, break down tasks and get the work done
  • Business – oh yes retailed bread in S3 and S4 which helped me make ends meet

My suggestions, pretty radical are based on my experience working in civil engineering and software delivery domains both of which require working with diverse teams of professionals of varying skillsets, based in-situ and remote at different times during the project lifetimes

  1. Repurpose Girls End from dormitories to another use which is not in the day-to-day activities, could this be the new school science and arts innovation hub with carpentry/welding, computer systems etc – the physical distance provides the necessary disconnection
  2. Move Girls End to Muteesa/Nigeria area – this covers 2 sets of dormitories which is the equivalent of Grace/Gusta and Sabanzi houses
    • This seems the only workable option as South Africa/Australia do not provide sufficient space for girls, Ghana/Canada/England will be a tough sell on the reduction of the boys numbers
    • This reduces the boy population to a 65%-35% ratio
    • Brings the girls into the mainstream activites, reducing the 3km journey to and from their dorms to class and other activities
  3. Refrubish and improve girls supporting school infrastructure across accomodation, sports and welfare
  4. Bring back communal work – recent change which removes the need to clean up after ourselves
  5. Ensure that all dormitories have consistently flowing piped water with backup water harvesting – was not the case when I last interacted with the school in 2000
  6. Educate the leadership and teachers of the school on how to support the growth and development of the girl child
  7. Bring on more senior female leadership who have experience in all girls schools to help run day-to-day operations – bring a balance between the traditional schools and the newer age modern schools (I have just stopped short of calling for a head-mistress but that would be awesome!)

This is not a change of guards but a fundamental change to help move Budo in 2020

Gakyali Mabaga! 

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts – do share them

PS: I intend to update this post with a map of Budo to provide distance perspectives for those not familiar with the school layout

4 responses to this post.

  1. What I remember about you is that all through you treated girls like simple other beings. So I was waiting for you to advise teaching the boys the value of seeing and treating everyone (girl or boy) first as a human being. The rest usually works itself out.

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    • Oh yeah there is that aspect, however IMO it is structural in that the boys adapt to the environmental vibes and signals they are receiving. So in that aspect we need a nurturing environment to be able to influence better behavior

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  2. Posted by Julie Nagawa on July 1, 2020 at 11:05

    Whereas I am in agreement with your suggestions, I find that of moving girls end within boys end undesirable.

    For those of you that have siblings or friends from Kitende you may ask them about how the boys always peep into the girls showers and dormitories. You see between the ages 12-18yrs, we all are at the peak of our naughtiness and boys seem to play the naughty game better than the girls. They will peep and more!

    At girls end, we enjoyed moving around in half slips and bras, short shorts and all forms of near nakedness. That should not be taken away from the girls.

    I suggest that the girls end stays where it is, but the school brings amenities down there so that girls dont move 1.5km to access them.

    Finally, the idea of more female leaders will go along way in solving the problem.

    Julie Nagawa. 1989-1995. Sabaganzi house

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    • Julie thank you for that insight, which actually is a very very valid one for the comfort. What if the infrastructure was put in place to provide this privacy, or maybe even better weight to the Canada/England/Ghana location which is more secluded and easier to secure for this need

      However a question, what amenities would be brought to girls end, since the day-to-day ones are classes and mess

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