Mvule Trust works in districts with exceptionally poor educational indicators. In districts like Adjumani, in northwest Uganda, just 9.5% of boys and 6.2% of girls aged 13-19 are in secondary school compared to 24% of 13-19 year olds nationwide.
Mvule beneficiaries are selected on the basis of ability, need and interest in education. For secondary education, Mvule Trust places students in either day or boarding schools. Mvule initially began with a commitment to day schools where possible. But it became increasingly clear that boarding means more time to study and less time spent on home chores and walking long distances to school, which can also be hazardous. Boarding schools usually have light (solar, sometimes electricity) so that students can study in the evening.
Where possible, Mvule Trust identifies schools in the student's home district. Sometimes, however, the nearest A-level school is in a neighbouring district; hundreds of sub-counties still do not have a government secondary school.
For technical and vocational training, Mvule Trust builds strong relationships with upcountry institutions such as Ngora and Arua Nursing Schools where we have 20 and 22 students respectively. Health workers trained in their home areas are more likely to remain there to work than those trained elsewhere. Only about 50% of health posts are currently filled in upcountry districts in Uganda.
Mvule Trust also has a close relationship with institutions such Arapai Agricultural College (part of Busitema University) and Uganda College of Commerce Soroti: Mvule Trust has 22 students studying in each university.
In 2006, Mvule Trust has funded over 80 girls (and about 35 boys) at the National Forestry College. Says Principal Dr Wilson Kasolo: "Through partnership with Mvule Trust, we have raised girls to 30% of the student body." Less than 15% of students in technical and vocational institutions are female.
Many such institutions operate below capacity, and all are severely underfunded as the government strives to provide universal primary and secondary education. Receiving guaranteed tuition fees from a funder such as Mvule Trust encourages investment in infrastructure and motivates staff. A complete 2-3 year training in nursing or forestry costs £800 - £1000, including tuition and boarding.