A new local
NGO I work with in Mbarara, Health and Development Agency Uganda (HEADA) has a
modest Peer Group project in 6 senior secondary schools in the town. During my recent visit I was invited to view
a drama put on by the peer group at Nyamitanga Senior Secondary School. We are met just inside the gate their female
patron, one of the teachers, Ms. Saubah Kengalagwa, the student leader of the
group Imran Muhumuza, who is a Senior 1 student and the peer group coordinator, John Senoga.
John and his
fellow coordinator, Collins Sebufu both received their original facilitator
training through the Healthy Child Uganda project. Since that initial training they both have
continued to develop the program and their own leadership skills. After
introductions to the school, John gives us a concise overview of the Peer Group
program in this school. The Peer Groups
are given 11 specific sessions with a theme for each one. But the specific themes appear to be just the
starting point and the gatherings a focus for their enthusiasm and interest.
We learn that
the peer group has 27 members and membership continues to grow. As students learn about what they are doing,
they become interested. It is obvious
the students at this school are active as they have posted messages on the
bulletin board and even have a logo. The
Peer Group project is in its second phase which started in July 2012 following
training of the trainers and the Peer Group Educators.
Group has been very active in recycling.
They show us a variety of items made from recycled paper and plastic,
several of which have been used in the drama.
The group appears very organized, with positions and roles that allow
many to take part. Many of the students
who aren’t boarders, stay on after school to take part in Peer Group
play a group of young girls perch on benches at the side in white hijabs. There are not enough places or chairs in the
classroom so many students press up to the windows on both sides to watch the
play. As it is Saturday, only boarders remain
at the school but from the look of things all of them have their places at the
drama there are numerous speeches. Dr.
Sharif, the executive director, tells them how pleased he is with their
drama. The Peer Group Leader thanks us
for coming. Even I share my delight.
Amazing how much can be accomplished by an inspired group of students given some direction