Quench and Connect
Copyright © 2010 Quench and Connect
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Gayaza Cambridge College of St. Mbaaga is a private secondary school in the Gayaza District 10 miles outside Kampala (In Uganda, secondary schools are sometimes called 'colleges'). It was founded in 2003 by Dr. Frank Kakinda, a UK-trained professor who retired from the faculty of Makerere University, the premier University of Uganda. He used his retirement funds to acquire 10 acres of land, sold his home to construct and furnish the buildings, and established the school. The current enrollment is ~650 students with 2/3 being girls. Both day and boarding students are accepted. There are 29 academic subject teachers (16 are part-time). The academic performance of the students at this school is outstanding (87/90 students with principle pass at the last examination), and has been recognized by the Ministry of Education. The school has been honored by being named a ‘Uganda National Examination Center”, one of only 160 in the country.
Previously, working with the ECOLIFE Foundation, we provided a borehole water well to this school, and now the students have clean water to drink and improved health. At a visit to the Uganda site in 2009, we learned that not only the students but the local community was benefiting from the clean water (~5000 individuals). Continuing with this success, Quench and Connect was founded to extend the support beyond clean water by providing items needed for academic goals at this and other schools. In 2009-2010, the founder of Quench and Connect, Dr. Kathryn Ely, worked with the Social Action Club at Muirlands Middle School in La Jolla, California on a student-driven year-long campaign to collect items that were needed by the students at Gayaza College. Working with a list of items provided by Dr. Kakinda, the principal of the Uganda school, the sixth and seventh grade students at Muirlands, mentored by an energetic and talented teacher, Ms. Susan Minnicks, planned, advertised, and publicized the list to their fellow students at the middle school. At the end of the year, the members of the Social Action club boxed up 22 cubic feet of items, including things like school supplies, art supplies, science lab small equipment, notebooks, pens, pencils, paper, toothbrushes, toothpaste, athletic clothes and soccer balls and shipped the boxes to Gayaza College in Uganda by sea.
In September 2010, Dr. Kathryn Ely returned to Gayaza Cambridge College, to meet with Dr. Kakinda and his teaching staff and learn what is needed for the teachers to meet their academic goals for their students. Also on this trip, two very large boxes of athletic jerseys were taken to the Gayaza students, donated by Ms. Sherri Marinovich and her daughter Elizabeth, and by a local athletic equipment supplier Westwood Sports/Rocket Depot. Mr. Steve Vargas was instrumental in making this connection for the students in Uganda.
The Principal of Gayaza Cambridge College is a visionary educator, with a goal to make the school he founded an outstanding educational beacon in Uganda. Because of his personal selfless sacrifices, the school has infrastructure and qualified teachers.
Dr. Kakinda himself stands as a real example of the value of education in advancing the human work force. He is broadly trained with bachelor’s degrees in psychology and chemistry, a master’s degree in psychology and a doctorate in urban sociology. He taught for 33 years as a Lecturer in sociology at Makerere University and has rich experience in the educational system of Uganda. He clearly is an effective leader and a respected educator.
Dr. Kakinda has expressed the serious need for textbooks at his school. Students have no textbooks and teachers dictate or write the text on the board. Students must copy the text by longhand before they can begin to study. He has given us a detailed list of the textbooks needed for the subjects that are being taught at the school. Typical class size in 100, but Dr. Kakinda has asked for 30 copies of each text. Three to four students will share each copy for study. The priority texts are for English, Science and Mathematics ($17,000) and the cost for 30 copies of texts for the other subjects is $11,000. With textbooks in hand, students will have more time for study, instead of writing text material by hand. This time will be used by the teachers to enrich their teaching curricula, and by the students to study each subject in greater depth, providing an increased level of understanding for each subject. If this school receives textbooks, with the leadership of Dr. Kakinda, the performance will stand as a model in Uganda for a new level of teaching. Access to textbooks will allow the very brightest students to reach for higher educational goals, stimulate motivation to continue with higher education and provide an opportunity for these students to become future Ugandan ‘stars’.
Other needs for this school include pipes for rainwater catchment ($2,000), small equipment and reagents for the science laboratory ($3,000), and nets for football (soccer) and volleyball for the athletic program.
Gayaza Cambridge College of St. Mbaaga