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Kitgum Gets UGX 300m Children’s Library Block

The Kitgum District Chief Administrative Officer Martin Jacan Gwokto during the commissioning ceremony says the library will help to improve education of children in the district that still grapples with high dropout and illiteracy rates.
Japanese ambassador to Uganda Kameda Kazuaki [left] commissions the children's library in kitgum district on tuesday. photo by julius ocungi

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A multi-million library block has been in Kitgum District. The facility is expected to boost the literacy level among children from the once war afflicted region of Northern Uganda.

The library block constructed at a tune of 325 million shillings was commissioned by the Japanese ambassador to Uganda Kameda Kazuaki on Tuesday and handed to Kitgum district local government. 

Its construction was funded with part of the Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGP), a scheme administered by the Embassy of Japan to support community development projects to uplift the lives of people at the grassroots.

The Kitgum District Chief Administrative Officer Martin Jacan Gwokto says the library will help to improve education of children in the district that still grapples with high dropout and illiteracy rates.

Kitgum district illiteracy rate stands at 36 percent, while 56 percent of primary school children drop out before reaching primary seven, a factor attributed to the two-decade lord’s resistance army led insurgency.

According to Gwokto, about 54 percent of children from the district were directly affected from attaining formal education due to the insurgency in the region.

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Gwokto says the library will help to instil hygiene training among the children who will be using it given the fact that the district still has high cases of open defection with only one sub-county free of the vice.

The library according to Gwokto will target about 200,000 children. 

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Jackson Omona, the Kitgum LCV Chairperson says the investments is strategic since it backs up the local government’s initiative to improve the reading culture in the district.  

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The Japanese ambassador, however, called on the various stakeholders in the district to ensure that all children take the opportunity to utilize the facility for their educational activities.

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He also pledged that the Japanese government is committed in investing in educational projects in the region citing that a total of 77 projects have so far been implemented in northern Uganda.

The newly commissioned children’s library is equipped with a latrine block, solar-powered lighting system, library furniture and water tanks for conducive reading environment. 

Kitgum district is still grappling with poor performances of children in national examinations compared to other parts of the country due to limited access to education facilities and materials.

For instance, in the recently released Primary Leaving Education Exams [PLE], only 221 pupils scored first grade out of 3,605 pupils who sat within the municipality and district level.