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 Thursday 04 October 2007
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UGANDA: John Pakoima: "I'm beginning to see the value of education"

Photo: Jane Some/IRIN
John Lokong Pakoima (left) with some of his 57 children at his home in Kotido District
KOTIDO, 28 September 2007 (IRIN) - John Lokong Pakoima, 43, is a respected village elder in Kotido District of Uganda's northeastern region of Karamoja. Living in this semi-arid region, Pakoima, like the majority of his Karimojong people, largely depends on pastoralism for survival. However, Pakoima is beginning to value education more than livestock, which the Karimojong have traditionally held in high regard; to the point of not sending their children to school. Out of the 57 children Pakoima has with his nine wives, only six are in school but he wants this to change. He spoke to IRIN on 13 September at his home in Kotido:

"I am a former councillor and I have 100 cows and 2,000 goats. But I am beginning to think that having a lot of cows is not enough. I need to send more of my children to school so that they can have a better life.

"I used a total of 2,700 cattle to pay dowry for my wives, this is about 810 million Uganda shillings [US$460,000]. Supposing I had invested in education instead? I probably would not have as many children as I do and most of them would be in school now.

"I am thinking of sending more of my children to school. The six who are in school are three boys and three girls; some are in primary school while others are in secondary school. I am planning to send more when schools reopen because I am beginning to see the value of education; we now have pit latrines in our village, we are using mosquito nets and we have more shops, all these are a result of more enlightenment due to education."

[See also: Malnutrition the main challenge in Karamoja's "chronic emergency"]


Theme(s): (IRIN) Conflict, (IRIN) Education


[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
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This material comes to you via IRIN, the humanitarian news and analysis service of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the United Nations or its Member States. Republication is subject to terms and conditions as set out in the IRIN copyright page.