School Head Teacher Forced to Return Swindled Solar Lamps

13-year-old Jolly Muhindo, a primary six pupil at Ighomerwa primary school located on the steep hill of Bukonzo sub-county in Bundibugyo district wants to become a nurse. Each day, she walks more than a kilometre up hill to her school. Owing to its location, access to power is a dream far from reach; she uses daylight and the local kerosene candle to revise her books. This is the reason why Save the Children in Uganda donated solar lamps to the school, to provide light for upper-class pupils so they could continue their studies at night with sufficient lighting.

Dubiously, the school Head Teacher diverted 25 of the lamps from their intended purpose. He distributed the lamps to other people who were not the intended target beneficiaries, including: the inspector of schools in charge of Bughendera County, a whistle blower who is also a teacher at the school and himself. Some of the lamps were sold. The pupils, who were the intended beneficiaries, received only 5 of the 30 donated lamps. This unfortunate scenario was brought to the attention of Rwenzori Anti-Corruption Coalition (RAC), a DGF partner that works closely with a network of whistle blowers in the Rwenzori Region.

Upon receiving this complaint, RAC embarked on a fact finding mission in collaboration with the Bundibugyo District Police. The investigation resulted in the arrest of the school Head Teacher, who pleaded guilty to the offence and was forced to recover and hand over the swindled lamps to the Senior Education Officer. The Head Teacher was later interdicted and a new one brought to the school.