Kasiisi Project Updates

Girls’ Empowerment


Kyanyawara School skit demonstrating how parents empower girls by supporting them with basic needs and love care and guidance










Screen Shot 2014-07-06 at 6.04.12Students from 7 schools competed in a Drama, Music and Dance competition, focused on issues of sexual health, girl’s empowerment and equal access to education. This competition, the culmination of 6 months of activities designed to support the health curricula taught in the schools, was part of a new trial initiative, funded by the Lalor Foundation, to bring  in-depth health knowledge and greater life skills to our girls. So that  information presented in the skits and songs could be shared with a wider audience, all teams performed for their schools before traveling to the competition. Nurse Lucy, of the Kibale Health and Conservation Project was on hand to correct any errors.


Bad company and alcohol


And lifts from Boda (motorbike taxis) Boys









Can lead to early pregnancy









Kiko won the prize for the best song, Kyanyawara for the best skit, Kigarama showed the most creativity, Rweteera the best Life Skills message, Pere Atche the best Women’s Empowerment dance and Iruhuura the best Empowerment message. Kasiisi Primary School was the overall winner.

Scores from Music Drama and Dance, gardens and essay writing were tallied and Kasiisi became the first Recipient of the Lalor Girls’ Health Cup.


Kyanyawara Girls’ Choir

Posted in Girls Support, Health Project, The Kasiisi Project, Uncategorized, Volunteer | Leave a comment

Social Entrepreneurship at Kasiisi


Nai leading discussions with teachers at Kasiisi

This summer MIT D-Lab student Nai Kalema, visited  Uganda as a follow up to her classwork, to work alongside teachers in Kasiisi Project schools to develop a pilot program introducing the concept of Social Entrepreneurship, the process of pursuing innovative solutions to social problems,  to the students of the Kibale Forest Schools Program.


Model of electrical connections to a village house

Students from Kasiisi Primary School learned that the many ways they identified as showing creativity in their lives, making books from newspaper, balls from plastic bags, cooking, drawing etc  can be applied to creating social change for the good in their communities. That even children can be agents for positive change.


Students brainstormed issues they felt were important to their communities: Bringing electricity to their villages to reduce deforestation: Environmental management: Promoting agro-forestry to reduce impact and frequency of droughts and famine and clean water.

The groups made posters and models illustrating the ways they could effect social change around their chosen topics: Changing community behaviors that are adverse to the environment through education and monitoring of environmental impacts: Advocacy in local churches, markets, community centers and villages : Facilitating conversations with leadership and within communities : Providing safety education about electricity.

They then presented their projects to the rest of the school.



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The Agro-forestry team presents to the rest of the school
















Posted in Entrepreneurial Development Project, General, International Collaboration, Social Entrepreneurship, Teachers, The Kasiisi Project, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Summer News from Uganda

Oliver Bradley, Clara Chen, Kayal Brude, Ann Finkel and Matt Stolz in the Mountains of the Moon

Volunteers Oliver Bradley (Yale ’14) , Clara Chen (Harvard) , Kayla Bruce (Tulane) , Ann Finkel (Harvard) and Matt Stolz (Harvard)




The US summer brings  new groups of young volunteers to Uganda and with them a come a range of fun and educational activities for the schools – always a high point of the year for our students.

Students at Kyanyawara Primary School are learning  to knit, thanks to the efforts of Ellen Sarkisian. Ellen, has donated wool and needles and has encouraged others to follow suit.

girls knitting road to Kanyawara

Kyanyawara girls knitting on the way home from school.



Oliver building the fire pit







Volunteers enjoying  the fruits of his labors



Kasiisi Project hand logo in the fire pit







Volunteer Oliver Bradley has put his architectural skills to work designing and building a new fire pit, sporting the Kasiisi Hand Logo  at the Kasiisi Guesthouse.

Lunch at the Kasiisi Guest House

Lunch at the Kasiisi Guest House


Yvonne introducing Maths game

Yvonne Pemberton introducing Maths games in the Kasiisi Primary School Library

Pants for girl guides

Underwear for Kasiisi Girl Guides

Skipping ropes

Skipping Ropes

Meghan Pemberton recorder P4

Meghan introducing recorders to the P4 class















Megan and the Kasiisi Netball Team







Yvonne and Meghan Pemberton, visiting from the UK, introduced the children to  recorders, brought skipping ropes, played netball and used games to enhance math skills. We thank Yvonne for suggesting to Tesco that they might donate underwear to our girls program. Providing underwear is an important component of menstrual care.

Harvard Student Clara Chen held cooking classes with Kasiisi Students as part of a nutrition and health enrichment project.


Clara making Rolex – omelets wrapped in chapattis- with Kasiisi students













Ann Finkel continued a program of cross-cultural research into cognition, comparing how Ugandan and US children’s allocate resources,  and Kayla Bruce helped out with our girls’ sexual health program. Nai Kalema a student in the MIT D-Lab Education Class, worked with Kasiisi staff to introduce concepts of  social entrepreneurship to the children.


Ann Finkel testing how Ugandan children distribute resources


Kayla Bruce and Kasiisi nurse Basemera Eve, with the Lalor Cup, awarded to the school who have made the most progress in girls’ health.






Nai Kalema meeting with teachers


Sunset from the Kasiisi Guesthouse

Posted in Educational Collaboration, Entrepreneurial Development Project, General, Girls Support, Health Project, International Collaboration, Teacher Support, The Kasiisi Project, Uncategorized, Volunteer | 1 Comment

Kasiisi Project Girls’ Program

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Girls from 14 Kasiisi Project Schools attend Peer Education Workshop

Our Goal: Happy, healthy confident girls. Students from 14 Kasiisi Project Schools attend Peer Education Workshop














Thanks to a generous grant from the Lalor Burdick Foundation we have been able to deepen the content of  our Girls’ Health Education Program,  and for the first time to lay the foundations of a parallel initiative for boys.

Senior Women Teachers

Senior Women Teachers

Two girls and a senior woman teacher from each of the 14 Kasiisi Project schools attended a 3 day residential Sexual Health Education workshop at the Makerere University Biological Field Station ,led by Ainembabazi Rachel of the Jane Goodall Institute (Uganda) to train them to be Health Peer Educators and to be a resource for other girls at their schools.




Nurse Eve, Kasiiis Project Scholar and Project Nurse

Nurse Eve, Kasiiis Project Scholar and Project Nurse









She was assisted by Field Director Debi Hoege, Basemera Eve, Kasiisi Project nurse and graduate of the Kasiisi Project Scholarship Program,   and Nurse Lucy of the Kibale Health and Conservation Project.


Nurse Lucy lists the challenges girls and boys face during adolescence





Re-usable Sanitary Pads





And how they fit into underwear














Following the workshop  girls from 7 of the schools are engaging in a series of projects to enrich and support what was learned in the workshops.


Ideas for enrichment activities

Supervised by Nurse Eve girls will   debate gender roles, take part in drama and music competitions,  and write essays about the challenges and joys of being a girl.

The first activity chosen by the schools was to design and plant “Secret Gardens” – private space with trees and flowers where girls can gather and talk about life skills and the issues that are important to their health, happiness and academic success..


Nurse Eve selecting plants for the “Secret Garden” at Kigarama


Kigarama Students ready to plant.






The gardens will have signs, painted by the students highlighting the facts they had learned from the workshop.


Students from Rweteera School painting a sign to remind their peers that it is important to “Bathe Daily”

Posted in Boys Programs, General, Girls Support, Health Project, Teacher Support, The Kasiisi Project | Leave a comment

Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Enrichment Project

Kasiisi Project Ngamba Island (8)

Kasiisi Project Students, the Kibale Forest Schools Program Conservation Education Team and Ngamba Island staff


“Chimpanzees are our closest relative. They share 98.7% of our DNA – isn’t that a person? Now if he/she is a person you try to conserve them, right?Nyangoma Sarah, Visitor to Ngamba Island,  Grade 6,  Rweteera Primary Schoolacedeadbeef322c4e4c8b2d

Columbus Zoo logo


This year, in collaboration with the Chimpanzee Sanctuary and Wildlife Conservation Trust (CSWCT) which runs the chimpanzee sanctuary on Ngamba Island in Lake Victoria,  we launched an exciting new program aimed at fostering empathy towards chimpanzees in our children,  The chimps spend most of their time free in the island forest, but there are times when they are confined to holding cages. This project was designed to get children thinking about the impact of boredom and inactivity on themselves and the chimps. The project was generously funded by the Columbus Zoo Conservation Program.

Kasiisi Project Ngamba Island (34)

Making Noise Makers from Jerry cans and Bottle Tops

Kasiisi Project Ngamba Island (27)

Stringing Bottle Tops on Wire






400  students from 7 Kasiisi Project school Wildlife Clubs heard from visiting CSWCT staff about why chimpanzees end up in sanctuaries, and the special challenges of keeping them healthy, happy  and active. Each club was matched with a particular Ngamba chimpanzee and, with help from the CSWCT education staff,  they learned of the benefits that enrichment articles bring to captive animals. Under  CSWCT guidance they then constructed balls, tire climbers, noise makers and feeding puzzles for “their” chimp.

Kasiisi Project Ngamba Island (25)

Filling Feeding Puzzles with Honey and Peanut Butter


Kasiisi Project Students with Feeding Puzzles, Noise Makers, and Tire Climbers ready to install in the holding cages on Ngamba

Children from all seven schools,  accompanied by Kasiisi Project staff then visited Ngamba for 2 nights, met the chimps and watched them enjoy their new “toys”. They also spent a night at the Ugandan Wildlife Education Center and visited the airport – a highlight! These students are now preparing presentations to share what they learned with their school Wildlife Clubs.

This makes a great noise

I like this noise

Kasiisi Project Ngamba Island (80)

But what is making it?


Kasiisi Project Ngamba Island (66)

There is definitely something good in here


Kasiisi Project Ngamba Island (3)

We just need the  right tools

Thanks go to CSWST and  to the staff at Ngamba for providing such a wonderful experience for our children.



Special gratitude to Lilly Ajarova, Director of CSWST for enthusiastically supporting this project, to Columbus Zoo who recognized its wonderful potential, and to the Ngamba chimps, who played up beautifully, and made the project work by doing everything they were supposed to with the   children’s offerings.


To get at it!


Uganda Wildlife Education Centre


Entebbe Airport


Posted in Conservation Education, Educational Collaboration, Kibale Chimpanzee Project, The Kasiisi Project, Uncategorized, Wildlife Clubs | Leave a comment

West Point 2014


West Point Cadets and Rwabuhinga Francis Kibale Forest Schools Program Conservation Education Coordinator


For a third year we welcomed a group of West Point Cadets and their Professor to the Kasiisi Project. This year they focused on 2 water related projects. The first was to ensure that all our schools had working  rain water catchment systems, with a 10,000L barrel for every 500 children. They installed barrels in 2 schools and work in 7 more schools will continue after their departure. IMG_0842







Watching other people work is the most fun. Kigarama students recess entertainment


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But you can help as well – Rweteera students carrying hardcore to the site of the new water tank








The second was to find a way to pump filtered water from the river at the eastern boundary of the Kasiisi farm, up the hill to where it is needed for chickens and pigs. There is no electricity at the farm so they focused on ways to use the energy from the river’s flow to pump the water. They visited the RAM pump at Nyakasura  in Fort Portal to see how one school addresses this challenge


RAM pump at Nyakasura


Measuring lift distance







Walking to the Farm




Testing turbidity for the proposed filter

After further research they will return to Ugandan in 2015 to build a pump best suited to our needs.

In addition they initiated the first step of a new program to compare emissions from traditional 3 stone fires and the clean burning stoves built by our students in their communities.


Traditional high emission 3 stone fire


Low emission, fuel efficient stove


Emission testing equipment










Setting up the equipment









While with us they also tracked chimpanzees and visited Queen Elizabeth National Park accompanied by students from Kiko, Kigarama, Rweteera and Komyamperre schools. They joined other volunteers in a soccer game against the barefoot Kasiisi team and were beaten 1-0, and we took advantage of one cadets skills as mechanic to fix our project bikes.


Hanging out with the kids


Fixing a project bike








Visiting the Katwe Salt Pans


West Point, Harvard and Yale Students joined by pupils from Komyamperre   School on a trip to Queen Elizabeth







Kasiisi Primary School Team and Volunteer Teams face off. Final score 1-0 to Kasiisi

Posted in Conservation Education, Construction, Educational Collaboration, General, International Collaboration, Porridge and Farm Project, The Kasiisi Project, Uncategorized, Volunteer | Leave a comment

Kasiisi Project and Conservation of Kibale National Park Videos

We have 2 videos linking the Kasiisi Project and conservation made  by Ronan Donovan and Caroline Riss in 2014.  The first one is new but you may have seen the second one before. We are posting it again in case you would like to take a second look.

Thank you to everyone who makes this work possible!

Posted in Conservation Education, General, Girls Support, Kibale Chimpanzee Project, Literacy, Porridge and Farm Project, Scholarships, The Kasiisi Project, Uncategorized, Wildlife Clubs | Leave a comment

Another Kasiisi Scholar Excels, Virtual Cultural Exchange and Photography!

Namara Godwin

Namara GodwinAnother Kasiisi Project Scholar has excelled in his Grade 12 leaving exams, to become our third highest scoring scholar ever. Namara Godwin scored 18/20 in his A Levels – results that qualify him for a government scholarship to university.

We are especially proud of Godwin who kept going despite bouts of debilitating ill health in high school, and we would like to extend huge thank yous to everyone who chipped in and supported him, when he lost his sponsors after 10th Grade.   Thanks too to the Kasiisi Project Scholarship Committee,  that ensured he got the right medical attention when he needed it and who helped him regain his place as one of our best students.

Virtual Cultural Exchange


Iruhuura Student Skype with Brookwood


Demonstrating making mud bricks

For the last 2 years a Kasiisi Project School has partnered with Brookwood School in Manchester, MA and schools in Brazil and Rwanda to discuss issues of conservation and to build clean burning, fuel efficient stoves (now built with handmade unfired mud bricks to reduce cost and use of wood). This year this Virtual Cultural Exchange,  expanded to include not only the building of stoves, but also discussion of great ape conservation  and  issues impacting girls. Students from Iruhuura Primary school and Brookwood were able to meet and learn about each other through e-mail and Skype.







Grouped Photographs by students of Kigarama Primary School, Uganda, Brookwood School, Massachusetts and The Urban Assembly School, Bronx, NY

Brookwood has also become a 3rd school in the growing program to connect students to their environment, and to each other, through photographs.

Kasiisi 2









An exhibition at the school included photographs taken by students from Kigarama and Kyanyawara Primary schools in Uganda, from the Urban Assembly School in the Bronx, NY, and from Brookwood in Massachussets.

Posted in Conservation Education, Educational Collaboration, General, International Collaboration, Renewable Energy, The Kasiisi Project, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Plight of Boys

Christopher, Christopher, rabbits










Much attention has deservedly been paid to the difficulties that girls have getting an education in developing countries, and to the importance to economic development of educating girls. And indeed we have seen in Kasiisi Project schools how relatively simple interventions, such as building special latrines and providing sanitary pads, can have a substantial impact on their attendance and academic performance.

In most local primary schools boys outperform girls but in Kasiisi Project Schools girls do as well as, and in some cases even better than, boys. While this is a clearly a good thing for girls, in the long-term equal educational opportunities for both sexes is our goal. Uneducated, unemployed men are bad news for any society.

Screen Shot 2014-03-21 at 11.49.28

Our data show that absenteeism is much higher in boys than girls, and rough data indicate that boys drop out of Kasiisi Project schools at a higher rate than girls. This is likely happening because boys can bring financial benefits to their families at a younger age than girls. Primary aged girls are useful as babysitters and for domestic work, but boys have real economic value, whether by watching cows or driving away vermin. Dr. Catrina Mackenzie from McGill University, has shown that the likelihood of boys completing 4th Grade, is substantially reduced in forest edge communities with high levels of crop-raiding by wild animals – boys are kept at home to guard the crops because local people say baboons, the most frequent crop raiding species around Kibale National Park, are not scared of girls or women . Boys as young as 10 are hired to work in the tea plantations, driving up drop-out rates in schools located close to commercial tea enterprises.

Economic need is a much harder challenge to address than lack of sanitary pads. Helping boys complete primary school at the same rate as their sisters will not be easy, and is compounded by the fact that, while finding money for girls’ programs is at least a possibility, there is virtually no funding to support boys.


Posted in Boys Programs, Educational Collaboration, General, The Kasiisi Project, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Tumwesige Chris

Tumwesige Chris - Future Nurse

Tumwesige Chris – Future Nurse

Tumwesige Christopher has been a Kasiisi Project Scholar since 2009, completing Grade 10 in 2012. Chris wants to be a nurse and last year enrolled in his first year of a 3 year nursing certificate program at Virika Hospital in Fort Portal.

Unfortunately Chris lost his sponsor after 10th Grade. On Saturday Allison Rosenberg and her mother Susan are running in the DC Rock and Roll Half Marathon to raise money to help pay for Chris’s tuition and that of other students who for one reason or another no longer have sponsors.

Please help Chris by sponsoring Allison and Susan at  http://www.crowdrise.com/RunforKasiisiStudents

Only 3 days to go!



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