BMCT Project Equip Teachers with Psychosocial Skills to Motivate Batwa Children Back to the Classroom

By Obed Kankiriho

KABALE:

Bwindi Mgahinga Conservation Trust (BMCT) that works within a radius of two parishes surrounding Mgahinga Gorilla National Park and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park has embarked on a move to equip teachers with psychosocial skills in a bid to upsurge the number of Batwa School going children.

In October this Year, Bwindi Mgahinga Conservation Trust (BMCT) launched a one-year Sustainable Education Responses for Batwa Children (SEREB) project, worth Ugx 150 million to enhance Batwa education in the districts of Kisoro, Rubanda and Kanungu.

The objective of the USAID funded project which was launched at the Kisoro district headquarters is to improve Batwa children’s perception of education, also seeks to help Batwa parents improve on their saving skills in order to meet the needs of their school going children.

Now, speaking at the closure of a four days’ workshop of District Education officials together with Head teachers in the three districts of Kigezi namely Kisoro, Kanungu and Rubanda held at Kirigime Guest House, Kabale District dubbed “Sustainable Education Responses for Batwa Children” (SEREB) on Friday this Week that started on Wednesday organized by Bwindi Mgahinga Conservation Trust (BMCT) that attracted over 200 Education officers and head teachers who imparted skills to handle delicately the endangered group of people (Batwa) around Echuya Forest Reserve in Kisoro and Kabale Districts of South-Western Uganda, Wilberforce Tumwesigye, Trust Administrator – BMCT said that their goal is to see Batwa community get integrated in the entire society, do development work, participate in government work and have children educated.

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Edson Tumwesigye, the Inspector of Schools Kanungu District said that the district Education department has traversed to schools that educate the Batwa and follow up cases of neglect. Tumwesigye adds that they intend to gear up the move to seek those that have dropped out from school such that they are brought back to school to attain Education.

Emanuel Sakubu, Head teacher Mayuyemeru SDA Primary School in Kisoro District said that the administration has always been lenient with the Batwa children who report at school late as a way of imparting hope in them and fight discrimination to look after them like other pupils.

Judith Abensigensi, Head Teacher Bucundura Primary School in Rubanda District explained the cumbersome Batwa way of living in regard to socialization. She reinstated that the Batwa encounter isolation tendencies from the Bakiga.

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Meanwhile Scolla Tumwebaze the programs Coordinator Batwa also a graduate Mutwa appealed to the  government construct schools for Batwa, holistically support with all scholastic requirements.

The Batwa, also known as pygmies, are indigenous tribal group in Uganda, living in southwestern Uganda.

The group that was formerly hunters and fruit gatherers were forcefully evicted from forests by the Government in a bid to conserve nature and the environment.

A small percentage of the Batwa have managed to adapt to life alongside other tribes by cultivating land for food, engaging in intermarriages and seeking formal education.

However a big number of the Batwa continue to struggle with finding their true place and identity among other tribes of the land.

The Batwa live a miserable life of begging, stealing and loitering, often ending up in prostitution and drug abuse

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Since its inception in 1994, BMCT has been supporting Education and research through the Batwa Sponsorship scheme, and skilling for Employment programmes.

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