Building a Secondary School in Buikwe

Building a Secondary School in Buikwe

Following a governmental push over the last two decades, Uganda has made good progress in making education more accessible. Primary school enrollment has increased.

Yet, despite continued efforts, many schools and children in rural Uganda still face challenges. Whilst access and completion of primary education has improved, many children do not continue to secondary education. In many areas, particularly rural communities, families struggle to afford school costs such as fees, uniforms and equipment. Families opt instead for their children to do housework, or find work in the community.

Schools also struggle. Many face significant problems including a lack of teachers, insufficient funds and resources, and a lack of learning materials.

Education in Buikwe District

In Buikwe District, there was a significant lack of senior school places. Many children and young people weren’t going to school as there weren’t enough places at local schools, and even if there was a place, their families couldn’t afford it. Others traveled long distances across the district to go to school but the long journeys by foot or bike put children, particularly the girls at high risk. Many children therefore did not make it from Primary to Secondary School; they missed out on the benefits of an education.

Building Buikwe Senior secondary school- a partnership with Ogilvy UK

In 2009 we partnered with global advertising agency Ogilvy UK to build Buikwe Senior Secondary School to provide quality education to local children. Every four months, volunteers from Ogilvy raised funds and visited the programme to get involved with the work.

One of the first Buikwings at Buikwe Senior Secondary School underway! (2009)

Throughout the project, over 100 volunteers from Ogilvy UK assisted and fund-raised. Together they raised almost £200,000 for the school building and surrounding education initiatives.

Building took place in stages, the school first opened in 2010 offering education for 130 students. By 2016 the school had been extended to provide quality education to over 530 students run by a team of over 30 staff. The school also has boarding facilities for the children to ensure that no child had to make a dangerous journey to and from school.

The Buikwe Senior Secondary Campus (2014)

Sponsored children

The school focuses on promoting access to quality secondary school education. In 2016 over 90% of the children attending the school were sponsored, most would not be able to pursue education without the support sponsorship provides. With the support from their sponsor, a child’s school fees are covered, and they receive a uniform, educational resources, basic medical care and school meals.

Find out more about sponsorship here.


Quality Education

The library at Buikwe Senior Secondary provides a quite space for students to study

International Needs Uganda are committed to providing high quality education. The school offers both a full academic curriculum and vocational training courses including baking, tailoring, construction and more.

At Buikwe Senior Secondary School the quality of teaching is very high. Recently the school has won two awards; one for having the best sports team in the area and the other for having the best academic results in the area. In 2013, the school produced the student with the best grades in the district.

Paul is the Headtecher at Buikwe Senior Secondary School

There is always a focus on keeping training and resources for teachers up to date; one teacher has even taken a distance learning course from Oxford University in English Literature. Teachers from the school have also recently taken part in our disability inclusion programme to improve and promote the accessibility of education to children with disabilities in Buikwe District.

This project was completed in August 2022



Key facts
  • Buikwe Senior Secondary School is attended by Over 530 students
  • The school has 39 teachers and non-teaching staff
  • In 2017 over 280 students received additional vocational skills training at the school


Whilst the school was completed in 2016, our partnership with Ogilvy UK is ongoing, and they are now involved in supporting our livelihoods programmes in Nepal. Ogilvy are supporting an extension to the Lydia Centre which is home to our Lydia Womens Empowerment programme, and our Livelihoods programme in Sindhupalchowk district supporting families in their recovery from the 2015 earthquake.

Help support our efforts

Donate today and help our ongoing work to improve the lives of families around the world. By supporting our different areas of development, your generosity will deliver impact and real change.

project updates

January 30th, 2023

Eltham College – A Trip to Uganda, by Nabila

Hi everyone,

My name’s Nabila, and this time around 4 years ago now, I was sat in a presentation much like this, about to make an amazing decision just as you all have the option to.

I decided to embark on a once in a lifetime opportunity and before I left for the trip, I was of course apprehensive. I was about to travel to a part of the world I had never been to, and although I had some nerves, I was excited to immerse myself in a different culture and really get involved in the wonderful work that International Needs do. A lot of preparation was involved, and we really were given a good understanding of what our purpose was when we got to Uganda.

Eltham College students helping to dig the ground for a new girls dorm in Uganda

In July 2018 I travelled to Buikwe, a village in Uganda accompanied by my friends, teachers, and International Needs. Without a doubt it was one of the most incredible, enriching trips I think that I will ever be lucky enough to go on. After a long, but exciting journey to Uganda we arrived at the guesthouse and from the moment we were there, we felt completely welcomed into the community. From day 1 we were learning new things whether it was helping to build water resources in rural villages, attending church services, playing netball with the children at the local school or trying some of Uganda’s famous dishes. We had a lady called Irene cook for us in the guesthouse and honestly her food was quite phenomenal!

Group photo of Eltham College students

You will experience so much on this trip and getting to take part in the work that international needs do is truly inspiring, and you feel like you are actively making a difference to people’s lives. Throughout the trip you meet families and visit different schools and villages in the area, we were fortunate enough to join one of their lessons which was a great experience. One of my most poignant memories was helping to fill up buckets of water for people in the village and their families. It was devastating to hear the risks that these children, particularly girls face on this essential trip, yet they were grinning from ear to ear, giggling as us 16–17-year-olds struggled with the litres that they carry without complaints. But it showed the reality of life for some children in Uganda and really highlighted why trips such as these are important.

Students playing sports with young people from the local school

Upon my return back home, I took away a lot from this trip. The memories I made will last a lifetime, and I often discuss my time in Uganda with my peers that went with me as well as many others. There was a lot of fun and laughter, equally, there was moments that made me become more reflective on our privileges and what more should be done to help others who are facing the challenges of those faced in Buikwe. I have carried my experiences from Uganda into my adult life; I gained many valuable lessons, some of them include how important gratitude is and I realised how much we often overvalue materialistic items and get caught in things that don’t matter in the long run. In Uganda you will realise the culture is centred around valuing one another, I gained a perspective I would never have gotten had I not joined this trip, and it really opened up my eyes to a different way of life.

Helping to fill up buckets of water for people in the village and their families

I want to end by saying that the link we have with Eltham College and Uganda is so important and it helps all of this wonderful work to happen that really helps and changes lives. I hope that as a school and within the community at Eltham we can continue to support international needs and I wish the best of luck to the group visiting this year.

Thank you all for listening.

Group photo!

Nabila, former Eltham College student who went on a GoGlobal to Uganda with International Needs

June 7th, 2022

New Tank for Bright Secondary School, Uganda

The future is looking brighter at the Bright School in Bujaaya Village!


In many schools in Africa, children miss out on school teaching in order to collect water to be used by their school population. They often travel great distances to collect water from often unprotected water sources such as rivers, ponds and lakes leaving them less time to attend school.

Recently we were able to change the lives of 106 children (plus the school staff) by installing a 10,000 litre water harvesting tank at Bright Secondary School in Bujaaya Village. This water is now available to the school population for the purposes of hand washing and cleaning of the school premises. Thank you to everyone supporting our Water Project in Uganda!

February 8th, 2019

Sponsorship, School and Science – Mbasha Rehema’s story.

Mbasha Rehema lives in Buikwe, Uganda. Despite facing difficult circumstances in her childhood, with support from her family, her school and her International Needs sponsor, she was able to overcome her challenges and start the path to a bright future through education. Mbasha Rehema is now a graduated health professional working in a Laboratory and looks forward to the future and supporting her siblings to make it too. 


February 08th 2019

Project launched