The URDTGS aims at developing a pool of value driven, educated female leaders who are committed to take up transformational roles. The students learn to become socio-economic change agents in their homes and communities and as such get prepared for future leadership.
URDT Girls School uses the 2-generation approach whereby the students and their parents /guardians learn together, develop a shared vision for their home, apply systems thinking and plan for actionable steps together. The 2-generation approach promotes academic success as well as skill-development for the girl-students and their parents. It enhances household cooperation as parents see the girls as valuable resource persons rather than resource consumers. The school’s educational approach also promotes gender equality, sustainable agriculture, health, prosperity, peace, freedom and happiness in the students’ homes and communities.
By using the 2-Generation approach to education, the school specifically aims at:
- the parents/guardians to increase their desire to learn (bridge the knowledge gap between the child and a parent) and improve the quality of life;
- their children to participate in the development of their home without the fear of child labour and to shift the thinking that children will be useful only after they finish their studies and have become adults;
- evolving leadership capacities of the child to create aspired conditions based on shared vision and values and skills of both the child and her parents;
- shifting the attitude towards appreciating the child’s leadership potential and her talents and aspirations.
Over the years URDT noted that the Kibaale people did not look at investment in girl child education as worthwhile. There are a number of well known reasons. It seems that the only way to ensure that poor households will seriously invest in their girls’ education is if the decision makers realize, see and enjoy concrete returns to that investment, almost right from the first day the girl enters the school. This is what the URDT Girls’ School demonstrates: changes at home are evidenced while the child studies.
The URDTGS’ operations are grounded in the belief that people in this case, students and home members:
- Are key to their own development.
- Have innate power and wisdom which they can tap to transform the quality of their life and that of their communities.
- Who apply transformational /visionary leadership styles (systems thinking, shared vision, personal mastery, team learning and mental models) are effective in home transformation.
- With a common vision can transcend traditional barriers and prejudice caused by tribal, religious, political and gender differences and work together to achieve that which is truly important to them all.
- Will achieve lasting change only if they shift from reacting or adapting to circumstances to being the creators of their desired situation.
URDT GIRLS school intervenES AT three levels of DEVELOPMENT
1. AT student LEVEL
The URDT Girls school enhances the students’ academic success through offering subjects of the national curriculum and Non academic curriculum that enhances life skills by providing training in leadership, commercial farming, entrepreneurship, collaborative relationships, information technologies, arts and crafts, Debates, music dance and drama and counselling so as to develop an all-round person capable to deal with the ever changing world at all levels.
We believe that democratization starts at home. In a functionally illiterate household, and that is where our girls come from, a literate child at any stage in the continuum of education is a change agent. For example (s)he can explain how to prevent diseases, read and explain written instructions for improved agronomic practices for income generation or from the nearby health clinic and as such, offer the much needed leadership in improving the situation in her home.
The school enhances the students’ diverse range of skills and shapes their character through workshops, debates, essay writing, sports, various clubs, popular theatre, science fairs, music, dance and drama (MDD). They also engage in agricultural practices, environmental protection, testing and application of appropriate rural technologies. Because of the above, Students learn to link their education to employment. Last but not least, the school emphasizes the importance of science subjects and fine art because they enhance analytical thinking and creativity.
Below the highlights for what we train the student in:
- Workshops on transformational leadership. to improve on the teachers’, students’ and parents’ understanding of the mission of the school and its uniqueness, we organise workshops to discuss the concept of transformational leadership and the linkage with the back home projects and other aspects of the 2-generation approach of the school. students are encouraged to aim for positive changes at 3 levels (the individual, her home and the community) in the areas of health, prosperity, peace, freedom and happiness.
- Music, dance and drama lessons and popular theatre plays. Each class participates in weekly music, dance and drama lessons so as to enhance their talents in singing, cultural dancing and performing educational plays. The school’s drama group plays a very significant role in raising consciousness on many thematic issues and educating partners and parents on the school’s 2- Generation approach to education.
- Public speaking skills. We organise weekly debates to improve teamwork and enhance the students’ skills in public speaking, self expression and leadership as the positions of chairperson, secretary and time keeper among others in debates are rotational. The motions are agreed upon a week in advance to enable students make thorough research beforehand. The selected motions increase the students knowledge base and understanding on human rights & justice, gender issues, community development, preventive healthcare, among others.
- Essay writing. Essay writing requires the student to do research and as such widens the students’ knowledge base, research skills and written communication skills.
- Farming for food security and sustainability. All students are involved in agricultural practices that ensure food sufficiency, a balanced diet and therefore good health and at the same time preserve the land for future use.
- Straight talk and Young Talk Clubs. Our female teachers have reinforced the clubs’ impact with face to face class sessions and counseling sessions on female related issues. As a result most of the secondary students can now guide and orient the younger and new students on preventive health care issues.
- Peace, human rights and development. The school recognises that dialogue is a key to foster sustainable community cooperation. And in order to have productive dialogue, the community needs transformation leaders. This has been done through students and parents participation in Human rights and peace marathon, workshops and radio programmes under students leadership skills.
- The girls also work with the human and land rights information centre staff and get exposed to trends and forms of human right abuses. They learn about human and land rights advocacy methodologies and skills, and participate in minor arbitration cases. They later share their experiences with other students.
- Radio programmes. URDT manages the Kagadi Kibaale Community Radio (KKCR) with the mission to stimulate development and foster unity and solidarity at all societal levels. With support of the teacher in charge, URDT GS students continued to discuss on every Saturday human rights issues with specific focus on children’s rights, causes of poor performance among girls in schools and child abuse; future leadership and life skills for youths. Many listeners phone in to share their experience with others.
- Sports and physical fitness. The school considers sports as a key co-curricular activity to shape the students’ character as it requires focus, discipline, commitment, endurance, team work, tolerance, acceptance of defeat in a non-violent manner. Sports also build and maintain physical strengths and keep the mind alert. We also believe that combining sportsmanship with promoting care and support for the disadvantaged and marginalized, creating friendships and peace beyond traditional boundaries.
- Competencies in vocational skills, fine arts and crafts
Weekly lessons in fine art and handicraft have continued to be part of the mandatory programme. The students learn practical vocational skills and creative skills using the locally available materials. The knowledge to make furniture and other items for sales and household use is also transferred to their home members.
The school follows the 2-generation approach: it educates both the student and her parents. By actively involving the parents in functional adult literacy training, the school encourages family cooperation and limits the knowledge gap between the 2 generations.
The students get practical training in for example business management, accounting, processing agricultural products, cash crop growing, production of furniture and household items from locally available materials for use at home and for sale.
The students transfer their newly gained competencies to their homes and communities through tailor-made parents workshops, back-home projects; popular theatre and radio programmes.
The school also conducts mentorshipto parents and other family members in their homes to augument what is taught through parents workshops and decentralised workshops.
As such, the school demonstrates that disadvantaged homes can develop, provided they get the appropriate education and support.
- COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
Students are actively engaged in discussing topics on girls education, children’s rights and obligations Agribusiness and causes of poverty at household level. They discuss causes such as lack of co–operation, alcoholism, illiteracy, lack of information about profitable crops, lack of family visions and carrying out agriculture on a small scale. They inform listeners about solutions to poverty such as participation in workshop whenever there is an opportunity, have visions ,encouraging children to go to school and providing them with school requirements, and planning together.
Popular theatre community drama sensitization is one of the school’s activities carried out in rural communities of Kibaale, Kagadi and Kakumiro districts aiming at educating people through music dance and drama on different issues that hinder development and rural transformation. Themes are evolved based on unaddressed issues that hinder rural transformation but can be effectively tackled through music, dance and drama