Norwegian Refugee Council Uses Returned PRDP Funds to Construct Classrooms

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In short
Now, the Norwegian Refugee Council says that it has invested the money in the construction and renovation of more than 23 classroom blocks in Acholi-Sub region.

The Norwegian Refugee Council-NRC has injected the money that was recovered from government after it was stolen from the Peace Recovery and Development Program-PRDP into the construction and renovation of classroom blocks in Acholi-Sub region. In 2013, over 50 billion shillings meant for rehabilitation programs in Northern Uganda went missing in the office of the prime minister.

This didn’t go down well with the donors, who piled pressure on government to take action against the implicated officials and recover the missing funds. Government launched investigations into the financial scam, which led to the arrest and prosecution of the implicated officials include Geoffrey Kazinda, the principal accountant in the OPM. Government also returned 8 billion shillings to the Norwegian Refugee Council to make good for stolen monies.

Now, the Norwegian Refugee Council says that it has invested the money in the construction and renovation of more than 23 classroom blocks in Acholi-Sub region. Charles Wabwire, the Programme Director NRC Gulu offices says the Norwegian embassy came with an initiative to invest the returned funds into a much beneficial venture other than repatriating the cash to Norway. He says they carried out an assessment to decide on how to spend the money and found out there was urgent need boost education in hard to reach return sites in the region.

Wabwire said they coordinated with the district education committee and selected 23 community primary schools in Gulu, Nwoya, Amuru, Kitgum, Pader and Lamwo districts were NRC injected Shs 8 billion in construction and renovations of community schools. Some of the schools benefitting from the project include Opira primary school in Nwoya, Opolacen in Amuru and Agwec primary school in Nwoya among others. Wabwire added that the project that started in August last year is expected to be completed and commissioned and handed over to the districts for use in July this year.

Achilles Kiwanuka, the Senior Programme Officer the Royal Norwegian Embassy says the theft of the funds in the OPM bogged down many projects, which were meant to boost education and facilitate the smooth recovery process. He pointed out that their major emphasis is to improve education in the hard to reach community schools in the region which operated in dilapidated structures. Most of the beneficiary schools are community owned. Kiwanuka urged the district officers to support the schools the rehabilitation works are completed.

Morris Odell, the Head teacher Bungu Primary school in Lii Village Koch Sub-County in Nwoya district has expressed his gratitude to NRC’s initiative adding that, it will improve the performance of pupils as they will now be in a good learning environment. He said the organization has built seven classrooms blocks, four staff quarters, a ten stance pit latrine and also furnished the classrooms, store and offices. 

 

About the author

Alex Otto
“Journalism that changes lives is my goal,” Alex Otto has said on more than one occasion. That is his career’s guiding principle. Has been since he was a radio journalist in the northern Ugandan town of Gulu in 2009.

Otto passionately believes his journalism should bring to the fore the voices of the voiceless like the shooting victims of Apaa. Otto tries in his journalism to ask tough questions to those in positions of authority.

Based in the Kampala bureau, Otto is especially interested in covering agriculture, politics, education, human rights, crime, environment and business. He has reported intensively on the post-conflict situation in northern Uganda.

A URN staff member since 2014, Otto previously worked with The Observer Newspaper from 2012 to 2013 and later the Institute for War and Peace Reporting IWPR based in Gulu.

He was the URN Gulu bureau chief 2014-2016.