Uganda, the Pearl of Africa, became the twelfth pearl in AKF's string of countries shortly after the signing of a Protocol agreement by Mawlana Hazar Imam and President Museveni on April 13, 1992. AFK staff from Nairobi and Geneva made several trips to Kampala to begin examining education programme possibilities in Uganda. They found the Government particularly receptive to the Foundation's AKES' wishes to embark upon school improvement and early childhood education programmes. Many senior civil servants said that they were looking forward to seeing well-run and flourishing "Aga Khan" schools in the city.
During 1993, two new programmes were developed and one construction programme was implemented. The construction programme involved phase one of the Makerere School Complex Rehabilitation, under which the Nursery School was refurbished, thanks to an US$80,000 donation from AKFED companies in Kampala. The gift was made possible by enlightened fiscal policies of the Government which allows tax incentives for bonafide charitable contributions to approved institutions such as AKF(U). The school opened its doors to the first AKES intake of students in over 20 years in February. A formal opening is planned later in the year.
Of the two thematic programmes developed, the first involved the training of seven teachers in the Foundation's Madrassah pre-school programme in Mombasa. On completion of the training in July 1993, the Foundation provided funds to help the Uganda teachers develop teaching materials and conduct feasibility studies on the viability of setting up a full Madrassah pre-school programme in Kampala, likely to be launched in early 1995.
The AFK Board has also approved a school improvement programme in Kampala at the Makerere Road School Complex. The US$ 661,000 programme, co-funded by the European Community and AKF(UK), will seek to improve nursery and primary level teaching at the AKES school as well as organize general workshops and seminars for teachers from other schools at a Teacher's Resource Centre to be established by the project. Considerable interest has been expressed by the World Bank and USAID, which are eager to find a model for improving classroom teaching in projects they are supporting in Uganda.
In recognition of the rapid programme development in Uganda and AFK's need to have local monitoring capacity, the Board of the Foundation named a five person AKF National Committee.
Source: The Ismaili, Canada
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