Reports from Siriba indicate that the new academic year which started in January has begun well. An encouraging number of students have been enrolled in four practical disciplines: Carpentry, Tailoring, Building and Bricklaying, and Motor vehicle repair and driving. The latter two courses seem to be the most popular with the more traditional carpentry course being undersubscribed.
During 2012 we encouraged the project’s Board of Governors to have a proper financial audit done. This has now been completed by a firm from Kampala. It is encouraging to see in their report that the overall financial management of the project is sound and that progress has been made in getting the courses properly registered with the Ugandan authorities.
The audit also refers to some points for improvement. The first is that there is a problem with student retention. It seems that a number of young people begin courses but fail to complete them. The other main problem is financial.
Although some progress has been made in collecting student fees the project is almost entirely dependent on grants from Hands Around The World. We have written to the Board of Governors to say that a substantial effort now needs to be made towards self-funding. If the project is to have a long term future this will be essential. We are hoping that with the project being registered with the Ugandan authorities some government money for tutors’ pay will be forthcoming which, in addition to student fees, would meet running expenses.
For the rest of this year we will still give grants to the project in order that they will have time to move towards this more sustainable future. The project will always need financial help with capital expenditure in the form of grants for such things as new buildings and equipment, but running costs need to be raised locally.
Your help and support is, as ever, much appreciated. Thank you!