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Uganda: Media Advisory: Uganda to launch “Go to School, Back to School, Stay in School” campaign

1.3 million children in conflict-affected north and northeast to benefit from UNICEF-backed effort to boost primary school enrolment, retention and completion

Minister of State for Pre-Primary and Primary Education (Hon. Peter Lokeris)
Minister of State for Karamoja (Hon. Aston P. Kajara)
Representatives of Ministry of Education-Sports, Ministry of Gender-Labour-Social Development, Kotido
District Local Government, United Nations agencies (WFP, UNICEF), Non-Governmental Organisations
and international donors

Launch of “Go to School, Back to School, Stay in School” Campaign

13 February 2007 / 10.00 AM

Napumpum Primary School, Panyangara Sub-County, Kotido District

The Ministry of Education-Sports, with the support of UNICEF, WFP and other organisations, is commencing a targeted campaign in northern and northeastern Uganda to accelerate primary school enrolment, retention and completion by girls and boys.  Dubbed the “Go to School, Back to School, Stay in School” campaign, this effort will comprise a series of regional launches during the 2007 academic year, starting with the launch in Kotido District (for the Karamoja sub-region) and progressing later to the Lango and Acholi sub-regions.

UNICEF assistance for the campaign in 2007 includes the provision of scholastic materials in the form of UNICEF Schools-in-a-Box (lockable containers with writing tools, mathematical sets, school bags and related equipment); textbooks and other teaching materials to implement the Thematic Curriculum; menstrual management supplies, such as sanitary cloths and soap, for use by girl pupils; and football, volleyball kits and related sports equipment.  UNICEF is also providing teacher-training materials for use by primary school teachers and Early Childhood Development (pre-primary) caregivers, as well as supporting local drama and music groups to incorporate campaign messages in their performances.

Key partners for the campaign’s Karamoja component include Save the Children and the Uganda chapter of the African Network for the Prevention and Protection of Children against Abuse and Neglect (ANPPCAN) which are promoting the concept of ‘safe and protective schools’; as well as school-based Girls’ Education Movement (GEM) clubs whose activities include identifying out-of-school children in the community.

The campaign is designed to benefit approximately 1.3 million children in and out of school, as well as 13,000 teachers in 1,600 schools in 18 districts (Abim, Amolatar, Amuria, Amuru, Apac, Dokolo, Gulu, Kaabong, Kaberamaido, Katakwi, Kitgum, Kotido, Lira, Moroto, Nakapiripirit, Oyam, Pader and Soroti).

With the introduction of Universal Primary Education (UPE) in Uganda in 1997, primary school enrollment
nearly doubled to 7.6 million in 2003.  The past 10 years have been marked by a gender gap reduction at the national level, currently at 51 boys to 49 girls.  The latest Census data indicates, however, that more than 700,000 Ugandan children aged 6-12, out of 5.34 million (13%), have never attended school.  There are also indications that more than two-thirds of Ugandan children enrolled in primary school today may not complete the full primary education cycle within the stipulated time.

Quick facts for education in Karamoja:

  • %age of children, age 6-12, currently in school:  19 [Acholi sub-region 81%, national average 83%]
  • %age of children, age 7-18, who have never been to school:  80 [Acholi sub-region 11%, national average 9%]
  • %age of families located over 5kms from nearest primary school:  30 [Acholi sub-region 16%, national average 8%]

Statement attributable to UNICEF Representative in Uganda, Keith McKenzie:

“Low levels primary school enrolment, retention and completion represent a basic violation of child rights and an urgent priority for action by all stakeholders.  The immediate impact of low education levels on individual health, HIV/AIDS prevention and protection from various forms of neglect, abuse and exploitation is critical.  UNICEF and its partners reaffirm our commitment to avail all the resources possible to help communities in Karamoja and across Uganda to send their children – girls and boys alike – to school.”
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For more information, please contact:
Chulho Hyun, UNICEF Media, Kampala, +256 (0)772 222 347,


UNICEF is on the ground in 156 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence.  The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS.  UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.



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