Uganda: Mama Kevina Comprehensive Secondary School Project

Completion of WCF Mama Kevina Construction Project

February 13, 2015

Naku Charles Lwanga

The construction project at World Children’s Fund Mama Kevina School started in December of 2013 is now completed. The project involved the construction of the following buildings: Girls’ Dormitories, Boys’ Dormitories, Classroom/Administration Block and a Multipurpose Dining and Event Hall. The work was completed by the MMK Engineering Company Ltd, a local Ugandan construction company.

Work plan

The construction began with the building of the Boys’ and Girls’ Dormitories.

Fully completed Girls’ Dormitories

Fully completed Boys’ Dormitories

Unique features of the Boys’ and Girls’ Dormitories

  • Reinforcement pillars which will make it easy and possible to add other floors/levels on top of the existing level when the school enrollment increases and funds are available
  • Both hostels have emergency exits
  • Both hostels are spacious with standard wall heights of 2.8m, the windows are of standard 1.5m x 1.2m, doors 2.7m and standard ventilation
  • Both hostels are well finished with washable paint
  • Both hostels have electricity

Capacity of Boys’ and Girls’ Dormitories

Girls’ Dormitories:
Have a capacity of housing 90 girls, each girl sleeping on her own bed. The beds are arranged in two columns of 5ft apart from each other and rows of about 3ft from each bed. These dormitories cover a space of 203 square meters. They are evenly partitioned into 3 rooms and each room covers a dimension of 68 square meters. Each room accommodates 10 bunk beds and each bunk bed has 3 beds. This means that each room accommodates 30 occupants multiplied by three bringing the number to 90 occupants. The matron also sleeps in the dormitory with the girls so that she is always available in case of any emergency as well as giving guidance to the girls. A five stall bathroom with a curtain well is attached to the dormitories at the back.

Inside of the Girls’ Dormitories

Boys’ Dormitories
The Boys’ Dormitories houses 105 boys with a reserved space of accommodating 8 patients (in the sick bay): This structure covers a total space of 272 square meters. It has 4 partitioned rooms with two rooms evenly partitioned to accommodate 11 bunk beds and each bunk bed with 3 beds. In short these two rooms house 66 boys. The bigger room in the corner accommodates 13 bunk beds with 3 beds each, hosting 39 boys. This brings the total number to 105 boys in the whole block.
Construction of the Multipurpose Hall
The Multipurpose Hall covers an area of 36m x 12m. It serves as examination hall, assembly hall, entertainment hall, debating hall, and as hall for other general functions.

Putting the rafters on the Multipurpose Hall

Completed Multipurpose Hall
Unique features

  • The Multipurpose Hall has a raised platform and stage area.
  • Sufficient ventilation and fitted with windows and doors up to standard.
  • It has a 2.5 overhang and veranda which protect the main wall from the effects of rain water.
  • This hall is roofed with well seasoned Cyprus timber preserved in its natural beauty. In addition the roofing timber is doubled in order to provide additional strength (the timber is well seasoned so that it does not exert unnecessary weight on the structure).
  • The structure has a ramp that enables persons with disabilities to access the inside of the hall.

View of the doubled timber that holds the roof of the Multipurpose Hall
Special significance of the Multipurpose Hall to the World Children’s Fund Mama Kevina School

  • It is used for conducting the national examinations.
  • It is used for co-curriculum activities, theatre/drama, and assemblies and other performances.

 Construction of the Classroom/Administration Block

The Classroom Block
This block is planned to be a two-story building; the ground floor was established with the funding made available for this phase of construction. The ground floor covers an area of 810m2. It has 7 classrooms and each classroom has a seating capacity for 56 students. This building also contains the Head Teacher’s office, Staff Room, Bursar’s/Secretary’s Office and 2 storage rooms for learning and cleaning materials.

Construction of the Classroom Block/ Administration Block

Finishing and plastering the Classroom/Administration Block

Finalizing the Overhangs/Verandas of the Classroom/Administration Block

Painting the undercoat inside the Classroom Block

View of the newly completed section of the Classroom/Administration Block

Corner view of the Classroom/Administration Block

Part of the back view of the Classroom/Administration Block


Front of the Classroom/Administration Block

Inside the new Classrooms

All buildings funded by WCF bear this sign post

WCF team cutting the ribbon at World Children’s Fund Mama Kevina School, Tororo

Rain Water Gathering
In order to prolong the life span of the newly constructed buildings, the rain water falling on these buildings needs to be harvested and collected in an underground tank. This water will serve for the students and also prolong the life of the buildings by preventing silting on the verandas.
Challenges encountered during the execution of the construction project
The construction has been successfully completed. Here are a number of challenges encountered, consideration of which will help with the next construction project:

  1. Some items had not been quoted in the bills of quantities. For instance, the overhead plaster for the Classroom/Administration Block. This required more money than initially budgeted. In addition wiring and lighting the houses was not included in the BOQs.
  1. New statutory policies. For instance, during the planning period it was not mandatory to put escape doors/exits in the dormitories but when construction was underway, the Ugandan government instituted a policy for school dormitories to have escape exits. 7 additional doors had to be purchased and yet they had not been planned for. This further increased the costs.
  2. Interferences from the school administration. They influenced the contractor and circumvented RMF’s instructions and our official contract with the contractor to make unapproved changes in construction without considering that those alterations would translate into financial implications. For instance, the school administration influenced the contractor to put reinforcement pillars in the Boys’ and Girls’ Dormitories for construction of additional houses on top of the dormitories. This translated into significant additional construction and expenses and into the contractor turning to RMF after the fact demanding payment for these additions. Further still, the school administration instructed the contractor (again, against contract and without approval) to add 4 additional meters to the length of the Multipurpose Hall. The school administration was ignorant of the cost attracted by that increment in building length.  
  3. Because of the increment in length, the Multipurpose Hall required being roofed with double timber. When the structure reached roofing level it was realized that it was too wide to be roofed with common timber and single timber. This resulted in additional costs of sourcing special timber (Cyprus timber; which is rare and expensive in Uganda). This again escalated the cost of delivering the Multipurpose Hall and increased overall project costs.
  4. MMK (the company that was contracted) did not have resources of its own to purchase supplies ahead of time, so it kept waiting for installments from RMF which delayed timelines. This was not in alignment with our contract with the contractors since it clearly stated RMF’s policy to provide payments in previously agreed to installments after specific phases of completed work.


This construction has changed the face of the World Children’s Fund Mama Kevina School and the entire village of Agururu and the city of Tororo where the school is located.

The construction company also hired many local people who have enriched their families through the wages they were getting and resulted in much community support of the school.

World Children’s Fund Mama Kevina School and its administration, the village of Agururu, and the city of Tororo are all deeply thankful for the upgrades made possible with this construction. This construction changed the face, influence and impact of the school and of the entire city of Tororo forever.


Mama Kevina Comprehensive Secondary School was opened in 2006 with international financial support, and with the goal of providing both secondary education and vocational training. The student population is mostly from Northern Uganda where many children have been affected by ongoing wars, floods and HIV/AIDS. Many of the students’ parents were killed by rebels or AIDS which left many of the children as orphans; some boys had been forced to be child soldiers. Enrolled at the school are students ranging in age from 11 to 24, who attend secondary grades 1 to secondary 4.


Support World Children’s Fund Mama Kevina School with the following:

• Food supply for the students and staffs
• Support of the school garden work: planting of the maize, and now they are weeding
• Anti-malarial medication and mosquito net supplies for the students and staff
• Support the school clinic with other medications
• Payment of staff salaries
• Support computer purchases to teach IT skills
• Purchase of text books and other school teaching supplies
• Purchase of office equipment supplies like photocopier, printer, and office furniture
• Facilitate participating in community outreach and inter-house competitions with music, dance, drama, regional games and sports held in partnership with the Tororo District
• Support of infrastructure/constructions projects on campus