Who knew?

Elspeth Dugdale | January 31, 2019

Who knew?
Future author at Connect Gulu holiday reading camp

After 6years of talking about both Connect Centres,  we think we have good knowledge about why they work and how they work - and generally the feedback from schools is very positive. Recently, Melissa and Sam at Connect Gulu went to visit each of the participating primary schools, to hear what they had to say after their first year of 'business' at CEC.


To be honest, we might have expected some 'pat on the back' comments about the interesting lessons and the delights of reading. What we didn't expect, was a deluge of appreciation and warm feedback on a whole variety of developments:  

Some we might have anticipated.......

  • Improvements in confidence levels and therefore pupils are more active in class.
  • Good teaching styles with great learning aids..
  • Children are very interested – they are hungry for books
  • The exposure to learning and environment is great – promoting learning.
  • CEC demonstrates real commitment – sessions have never been cancelled.
  • Children are reading where before they couldn’t read a word.
  • CEC gives our teachers good skills for Maths teaching.
  • Improvements in spoken English.
  • Pupils are becoming more concerned about handwriting.
  • Pupils are more accepting of group work and sharing. They are better at sharing ideas and they freely mix.
  • IMG_1841.JPG


And then some of the observations were .... unexpected, amusing and very enlightening: 

  • Children get excited; they sometimes run ahead and leave the teacher on the way.
  • Developing a heart of belonging.
  • Encouragement to be the best.
  • Increased sense of responsibility.
  • Better hygiene, more careful handwashing, better latrine use.
  • On a Connect day, absenteeism goes down; pupils are impatient to get to the CEC.
  • Maths has become the top exam for P5!
  • Less shouting and more quietly behaved.
  • Girls participate more than boys.
  • Children have developed leadership through walking along the road.
  • Attitude change towards Maths – lowest mark used to be 0 and now is 25.
  • Good holiday programme – one pupil wrote a book.


So it's official, reading is good both for your health and hygiene, and also leads to less shouting and better behaviour!  Reducing screen/ phone use is not really an issue for young people currently in Uganda; but access to reading and good books is still a luxury and therefore highly prized. Understanding the written word starts to happen when you can read over 45 words per minute. Connect is starting to make real differences in reading and understanding - plus, as we discovered there are some other fun and unexpected benefits!