Project #6103

Build A School for Kids in Uganda

by Building Tomorrow, Inc.

Announcing...the BT Academy of Kabasegwa!

12 March 2014  |  In the remote village of Kabasegwa, Uganda, where there once existed little more than a grass-thatched hut, now stands a ten-room brick school-house, thanks in large part to the hard work, tireless enthusiasm, and incredible generosity of the University of Texas-Austin chapter of Kappa Kappa Gamma.

Their fundraising and outreach efforts enabled Building Tomorrow to partner with eight communities in Uganda’s Lyantonde District to provide access to a quality education for hundreds of out-of-school children. And early last Friday morning, amidst a crowd of 500+ parents, family members, friends, government officials and local leaders, we celebrated the opening of their school: the Building Tomorrow Academy of Kabasegwa.

In line with recent updates to our model, the Academy is what we consider a public/private hybrid. Private, because parents have committed to making contributions to the school each term to fund a nursery (pre-K) teacher, supplemental classroom materials, and daily meals for students. And public, because it's considered to be ‘government-aided’ by the Ugandan Ministry of Education & Sports, meaning that they fund salaries for primary-level (P1-P7) teachers but they’re not the ‘founding body’ of the school. Teachers have likewise been posted by the government, and a member of our staff, Willy (who serves as our Education Support Officer) interviewed and approved their hiring. He is also providing ongoing training opportunities.

In short, the community couldn't be more supportive or excited. And starting this past Monday, students and teachers reported for their first day of class.

at a glance

Where in the world is Kabasegwa? supported by  |  Kappa Kappa Gamma at the University of Texas-Austin
district  |  Lyantonde District
site managed by  |  Jjumba Cyprian
building committee chair  |  Perez Mwesigye
groundbreaking  |  Sep 21, 2012
first day of class  |  Mar 10, 2014


in pictures

from the chairman

"Today is a happy day because we celebrate the work that has been done here. For us to have a school here, us now here in Kabasegwa have a degree. Our students must be well looked after in buildings as well built as these.

When you own a banana plantation, you don't only look at the leaves and disregard the fruit. So with this school, parents, we don't just look at this school and say we are finished. No. We use this as an impetus, a fire behind us to do more. When we close here don't go. There's good food to eat and big plans to be made."

- Perez Mwesigye
Chairman, BT Academy of Kabasegwa Community Building Committee

the BT Academy of Kabasegwa

We’re partnering, empowering, innovating, sharing and learning every step of the way as we work to provide access to a quality education for hard-to-reach students and communities across rural Uganda.

And to kick-off 2014, we wanted to highlight a number of new projects, supporters and exciting developments to our model from the past year. All of which you (yes, you) make possible. Reading our updates, sharing our story, and making a donation through GlobalGiving go a long way towards catalyzing real change and providing incredible opportunity for our partner communities in Uganda.

Take a look:


We partnered with the Varkey GEMS Foundation to provide training and resources for our teachers in Uganda. In September, two head teachers from Building Tomorrow academies and one of our staff members were selected to participate in a week-long workshop hosted by the Varkey GEMS Foundation. Keep reading...


“My goal for Building Tomorrow at Pinecrest is not only to raise money to build a classroom but to raise awareness about how privileged we are to have the opportunity to go to school.”
- Maddie Dyer, Sophomore at Pinecrest High School

Maddie approached Building Tomorrow this past summer about getting involved. Her sister, Heather, has been involved with our chapter at UNC-Chapel Hill for years now. “When my sister first told me about Building Tomorrow, I became very interested. I spent lots of time researching the organization and very quickly became extremely passionate about the project… I have come to realize how fortunate I really am to be receiving an education.” Throughout the semester, Maddie has been rallying together a group of students to help raise funds and awareness for the construction of a classroom in Uganda. Keep reading...


On a site visit earlier this year, Henry Katongole, now our Chief Community Development Officer brought me over to a foundation wall that had just been started. Strewn about the site were all the materials and tools one would usually see, a pile of bricks, bags of cement, string, a level and then a particularly-long metal bar a mason had just picked up. He positioned it horizontally and checked it against the three new bricks he’d just set. As I continued to watch, Henry looked over and said, “this is our latest innovation.” Keep reading...


If you were to ask any member of our team, I am confident they would agree with the sentiment that one of Building Tomorrow’s greatest strengths as an organization is our willingness – eagerness, truly – to critically review every aspect of our model; constantly seeking out opportunities for improvement, no matter how large or small. And over the years, our community partners, staff and supporters have gone above and beyond, proving time and again their commitment to the shared belief that every child deserves the opportunity to learn in a safe, supportive and high quality learning environment.

Teachers are sharing best practices within their own networks, parents are taking an active role in the education of their children, and government officials are lobbying hard for support beyond what was initially committed. But it’s not been an easy process and we most certainly did not get where we are today without facing our fair share of challenges.

All that said and done, we have learned an incredible amount along the way. So much so that last year we embarked on a project to document, in great detail, the evolution of Building Tomorrow’s model from 2006 to 2012 and outline a step-by-step look at our programs, policies, and overall quality of education strategy moving forward in 2013. Keep reading...


In 2011, Uwezo-Uganda collected data indicating the percentage of P3-P7 students competent in English, Math, and both. On average, in districts where BT is active, less than 42 percent were competent in English, 58 percent in Math and 34 percent in both.

In our own experience, it goes without saying that rural public education—both access to and the quality of—remains one of the biggest challenges facing the post-2015 international development agenda. The flow of education-related capital, human resources, training and oversight to rural communities lags far behind the curve, and even further behind where it needs to be. Keep reading...

The buzz words 'monitoring and evaluation,' have become so hip within international development organizations we've coined them a nickname: 'M&E.' No doubt, it is a critical function in assessing the impact of a particular model and one in which Building Tomorrow practices. But as this latest trip reinforced, we'd be remiss to expect only statistics, percentages, and numbers to define our work; there's more to the story.

Statistics overlook the story of Muganga Nasanaili, a thin-figured, reserved lifetime resident of Mabaale who himself never had the chance to attend primary school. Vincent, our Community Development Officer (CDO) posted to Mabaale asked him to come forward just as a building committee meeting wrapped up.

"This man, he is an inspiration to me," Vincent said as he held up Muganga's callous-ridden hands. "You see, not only did he give us the land on which we are building this structure, but he has been here working each and every day without fail." Muganga and Vincent embraced in what is now one of my favorite Building Tomorrow images.

Percentages fail to capture the ingenuity of William, another one of our CDO's who after two hours of visiting his soon-to-be-completed Bugabo site, insisted that I go see the pit latrine. Reluctantly, thinking there could be nothing different about this pit latrine than the countless others I've seen before, I followed William. Steps later, he turned around, beaming.

"I designed this toilet," William said. "I've heard parents and students saying we need to make the latrine even more private, so I added a return wall on this side for girls, and on this side for boys for this purpose."

William's emphasis on ensuring an instilled sense of dignity for each future student didn't end there - he outfitted Bugabo with a wheelchair-accessible ramp and proudly asserted that every Building Tomorrow site to come will not be considered done until it too has a ramp.

Numbers don't capture the moment a handful of children at our future Building Tomorrow Academy of Kabasegwa shared with another as they cautiously moved toward our parked car, nestled under the shade of a jackfruit tree. Standing inside one of the classrooms, I knelt down as their forward progress would cease if they looked around and spotted anyone watching their harmless inquiry.

At first, one by one, the children made faces at the back window of the car. After each, they laughed hysterically. The younger ones discovered the same phenomenon looking eye-level with the body of our car, one daring enough to reach their hand out and make contact in a scene reminiscent of E.T. Half the crowd turned away unsure of what would happen, the other grew wide-eyed when nothing did. Peering out of a hole left in the wall for a window, I realized it was likely long before I first entered a classroom that I'd had the chance to see my reflection in a mirror.

Indeed, I learned, this was a first for many at Kabasegwa that day.

I've always believed the work of social change is peppered with split seconds of fulfillment - unexpected, goose bump-inducing moments that reaffirm the sometimes crazy notion that a small group of committed individuals can make an incredible impact. Indeed, the work of Building Tomorrow continues to prove as much, with statistics, percentages, numbers and a whole, whole lot more.

Onward and upward,

the BT Academy of Lukindu
the BT Academy of Lukindu

BT Academy of Lukindu is Open!       

This summer, Building Tomorrow celebrated the opening of its 12th academy, the BT Academy of Lukindu, with a joyous commissioning ceremony. Should you ever have the opportunity to attend one of these cermonies, you will feel the sense of accomplishment and achievement shared by the members of the community. Following a celebration with speeches, dancing and gratitude, the community shared delicious food to commemorate the opening of the school. 

We are grateful to the Segal Family Foundation for their generous support of the BT Academy of Lukindu.

Currently, Building Tomorrow has 12 schools open in Uganda and another 7 under construction or undergoing site-planning. Be sure to check out our Building Tomorrow Academies webpage for all the details and updates on each of these schools.

As always, thank you for supporting our vision of a world where every child with a desire to learn has a safe, permanent, and local place to do so.  

Webale Nyo!

On May 25, 2013, four University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill students joined families, students, community leaders, and Ministry officials to open Building Tomorrow’s 11th primary school in Uganda - the BT Academy of Kidula. The Academy was funded by the BT chapter at UNC-Chapel Hill (one of 30 college-based chapters) namely through Bike to Uganda, their signature event, a week long bike-a-thon raising over $45,000 in its first two years. Sarah Piscitelli (UNC ‘15), Erin Owenby (UNC ‘13), Catherine Edwards (UNC ‘13) and Amanda Wall (UNC ‘13) were there to celebrate alongside the community of Kidula.

In opening, the BT Academy of Kidula has the capacity to serve 325 children with access to a quality primary school education. Since the ground breaking in December 2011, community members have donated over 20,000 hours of labor towards the project.

But they aren’t done giving yet. During the opening ceremony, the community pledged to raise the funds needed to build teacher housing on site. Each family will contribute the sale of a hen (20,000 Ugandan Shillings or approximately $8 USD) while one family has committed to give 100,000 Ugandan Shillings ($40 USD) to jump-start the project.

The Ugandan Ministry of Education was also present at the opening ceremony. The Minister of Higher Education addressed the community about the importance of educating their children. He also personally promised to give 1 million Ugandan Shillings ($400 USD) to provide additional classrooom resources for the school.

Piscitelli said after the ceremony, “It was amazing to see the Academy complete and meet the community members who have partnered with our efforts. I cannot wait to get back to UNC and tell all the students about the people I met and the structure that now stands because of them. Education is our future and now these children will have the opportunity to learn.”

The BT Chapter at UNC is currently fundraising for a second academy. One-fourth of the way towards their goal and with another Bike to Uganda event scheduled for the Fall, they hope to be partnered with another community in Uganda to build a second primary school very, very soon.


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Organization Information

Building Tomorrow, Inc.

Location: Indianapolis, IN - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Eric Smolen
Indianapolis, IN United States

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