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The Benefits of Buddy Clubs

Peter and Emmanuel go to school in Uganda, and are part of Build Africa's buddy club programme. Peter, 16, looks out for Emmanuel, who is eight years old. We spoke to them about their experiences of the buddy clubs.

Peter's story

I enjoy school because I like learning and playing during the buddy club activities. I joined the buddy clubs last year in 2018.

We would have weekly buddy activities, but I would meet with my buddy group members every day. 

I was partnered with six younger students. I helped them by making them more confident in coming to school by showing them the different places they needed to go and helping them interact with people.

I also taught the children some of the picture cards that teach them about the roles within the community. We liked singing about animals, we have buddy songs, but we also did dancing, playing together and asking questions.

We would play during break time and I would make sure they are playing within the school vicinity. At lunch time if they needed to go home I would walk home with them. It made them feel more confident and safer.

There was bullying at the school, but when those in the upper classes interacted with those students it reduced. At one time we were playing in the field and one of the children in p3 came and wanted to fight one of my group members, so I went to him and told him to stop initiating the fight or I would report him to the headteacher and he stopped.

The buddy club has given me more confidence because I have been able to teach the buddy members songs and told them what to do. At first I was fearing it and didn’t know how I would manage, but in time I became more confident and felt more able to stand in front of the children and teach them with some authority.

I would like to go on to Secondary school. When I grow up I would like to be a driver.

Emmanuel's story

I like going to school because of the things I learn. I feel like I will get much better and brighter by coming to school.

I enjoyed being in the buddy club, especially the singing. Besides the singing we would also dance and have indoor and outdoor games. Our indoor games involved cards.

Peter particularly helped me during the buddy club activities with the reading, and he walked home with me. It made me feel more safe.

On the days when Peter is not around I feel a bit of insecurity. If somebody wants to beat me up I will first go to Peter who will help me to report it to the teacher. I feel better knowing he is there to help me.