Homosexuality issue in Uganda hits donations to Humanist Schools

2013 Annual ReportThe newly published 2013 Annual Report and Accounts of UHST shows a £20,000 fall in donations between 2012 and 2013 and Steve Hurd, the Chair of UHST, says there has been a further worrying decline since October 2013.

While it is difficult to be sure of the reasons, the fall coincides with the prominent press coverage given to the passage of anti-homosexuality legislation through the Ugandan parliament. It is clear that this may be provoking some donors to boycott projects in Uganda.

If this is indeed the cause, then it is a pity. The Humanist Schools in Uganda are beacons of tolerance and inclusiveness and, at the very moment when illiberal forces are taking hold in Ugandan society, the schools need all the  support we can provide for them.

The schools are doing well in so many respects. Over 1,500 students are now educated in the Humanist Schools. They provide equal opportunities for girls and for the poorest members of Ugandan society. As a result of the scholarships our supporters provide for the schools, we are able to ensure that many single and double orphans receive a good education. Performance in national examinations is good and the schools are beginning to stand out among schools in similarly impoverished rural areas.

As a result of support from the Humanist Community internationally, the schools have good stocks of books and science equipment. They have science labs, libraries and computer labs. We have provided clean water, improved toilets and wash rooms, power supplies and kitchens for school dinners. Two of the schools have purpose built hostels for girl students, one has a medical centre which caters for the school and local community and we have helped two schools to buy and improve land for sports fields. During 2013 we were able to help the schools refurbish their buildings with plaster and paint, so the appearance of all the sites has improved dramatically.

They are still, however, works in progress. As the numbers grow there is always pressure for more learning materials of all kinds, including materials for the arts, music, drama and sport. We have more to do to improve water and energy supplies in the schools and they need additional laboratories and computer rooms. Our greatest challenge is to raise money to provide additional hostel space, especially for the boys, who feel at the moment that they have been forgotten.

At a time when the political climate in Uganda is challenging I would urge the Humanist community to step up their efforts to help the schools. They really do need your assistance now!

Download the full UHST Annual Report for 2013