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Home > About The Project > Make a CHANGE, Make an IMPACT

Make a CHANGE, Make an IMPACT

by Michelle Slavin

Help us raise $12,000 for Ugandan schools between
15 April and 30 April 2012

Donate online using the NC Zoo Society webpage.

Would you be willing to make a small (or LARGE!!) lifestyle change for two weeks if you knew it would have an impact on schools in Uganda?

This April, join UNITE for two weeks as we give up "wants" in order to help others with "needs" and help make an impact in the lives of students and teachers at three UNITE schools. Maybe it’s your daily latte, your child’s weekly trip to McDonalds or your student’s afternoon snack. That’s up to you. For me? No pizza for two weeks (yes, Fort Portal now has pizza!)…so maybe I’ll help my waist size AND a Ugandan school!

This year, just before Earth Day, UNITE will launch its inaugural “Make a CHANGE, Make an IMPACT” fundraiser to help UNITE schools. Each year we will focus on a different need. For 2012, we will help complete classrooms at Rugonjo, Rwengobe and Bunoga Primary Schools (view a map of the general area).

Why are we focusing on school infrastructure in a conservation education program? Easy—students need to be educated in order to make informed decisions regarding the environment. Without proper classrooms, students (and teachers!) are not always interested in attending school—or they can’t because there simply is no shelter from the elements. Without new knowledge and problem solving skills, students are less likely to effectively conserve the environment, or to go on to university and become doctors/priests/rangers/DJs/scientists and more!

So what are you going to give up this April? Go grab some friends, family members, colleagues or students and join us on this exciting journey to help three schools in need of classrooms! We'll provide:
  • an informational flyer;
  • a Facebook page to read, and post your own, updates throughout the fundraiser;
  • information on FieldTripEarth about the schools you will be helping;
  • a Twitter feed so that you can follow the journey;
  • a thank-you letter from a student at one of the schools, along with a photo;
  • updates about the classroom completion projects.
Have questions? Want to tell us what you are doing to make an impact? Email UNITE at Also, follow us on Twitter (@NCZooUNITE) and like us on Facebook.

About the Schools [view slideshow]

Bunoga Primary School
Bunoga is our most remote school. It takes nearly one hour to travel there from our home base in Bigodi—but the drive is worth it! This school is run by an incredible group of 12 teachers who work tirelessly to help their 633 students. Bunoga Primary School is currently overseeing an anti-plastic bag campaign in their village, since there is no way to dispose of plastic in such a rural area. Being such a rural school, Bunoga students struggle with English skills (most of their parents do not speak any English) and attendance (many stay home to plant cash crops with their parents). This school will benefit from your donations by installing ceilings in two classrooms and finishing the outside walls, both of which will help keep out rain during the rainy seasons.

Busiriba Primary School
What Busiriba lacks in school infrastructure they more than make up for in teacher quality. The teachers at Busiriba are some of our most motivated and creative teachers in UNITE. In 2010, five of them were named UNITE Teachers of Excellence. Unfortunately for them, they got competition from some of our other schools and, in 2011, only two were named Teachers of Excellence! With over 950 students and only 15 teachers, Busiriba’s excellence is truly inspirational. Busiriba is another school that has waged war on plastic bags by re-using them and by making school bags for the students. The Busiriba Wildlife Club has over 100 students, so they make a lot of bags! Your donation will help Busiriba build walls in two classrooms and ceilings in one—making school a lot more enjoyable for the students and teachers during rainy seasons!

Rugonjo Primary School
Rugonjo is one of UNITE’s up and coming schools. With a high turnover of teachers, the road has been difficult for them the past few years. Luckily, they now have a solid group of teachers—albeit only seven—in place and are working hard to ensure their 435 students receive a quality education. In 2011, Rugonjo significantly increased its number of Primary Seven (seventh graders) who passed their end of year exams, meaning that more students were able to go on to Secondary School (high school). Rugonjo’s commitment to the environment in 2012 has been to properly dispose of rubbish. To do so, students have installed rubbish bins around the school yard, and teachers offer lessons on waste management. Rugonjo will benefit from your donation by helping the community build walls and ceilings in two classrooms—again, providing shelter during the long rainy seasons.
mugshotAbout the author:

Michelle Slavin is UNITE's Conservation Education Trainer in Uganda

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