United Kingdom

Uganda Network



"Children have the right to an adequate standard of living"

Homes are buildings that we live in with our families. They are very important places which should provide love, warmth and security for everyone. Sometimes families are of the nuclear type but they can also include the extended family of grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and family friends.

This is particularly true in Uganda. Homes in the countryside are more like homesteads than the individual buildings we tend to think of as homes. There may be several buildings, grouped around a central open area which is also used as a living space. The buildings may be constructed from a wide variety of different materials. The main buildings may be built of locally made bricks and may contain a living room and some bedrooms. Another building, perhaps made from the woven roots from trees and covered with mud cement and thatched, may be a kitchen area. Yet another may contain another living area and another a pantry or grain store.

Generally, these homes may house an extended family of perhaps three generations, all farming the area around it. Other homes in the countryside, just housing a single nuclear family, may be much smaller.

They are often of the 'mud hut' type in construction and the mud cement is often decorated with murals both inside and out.

In the cities and towns, homes can also differ enormously. In what used to be the more affluent areas, Ugandan Asians built houses that looked like those of their European rulers. When the Asians were forced to flee the country by Idi Amin, African families came to live in the houses. They are usually bungalows with an attractive front room, often with a verandah. There are usually several bedrooms, and a kitchen. Because of the size of families, bedrooms normally cater for several people. Kitchens often have electric ovens installed in them but very few people can afford to run them. Instead, many families prefer to use traditional charcoal burners which sit on the floor and look very much like the trangia type stoves many people take camping with them in this country.

In the suburbs of the big towns and cities there are many purpose built houses for families on low incomes. These tend to be two room apartments, built either in small blocks of flats or on one level around a central meeting place. Families share the cooking and washing facilities.

The next few activities help Beaver Scouts to look at their homes and families. It is important to remember to be sensitive and not make assumptions when dealing with these issues with Beaver Scouts.

Activity - a picture

Ask the Beaver Scouts to draw a picture of their home and who lives there. In small groups get them to talk about their different homes. If they have their own bedroom, what do they keep there? What do they like best about their home?

A Mime - What's my Chore?

Invite a Beaver Scout to mime an activity that takes place at home for instance washing dishes, hoovering, cleaning the car, sweeping the floor, cutting the grass, hanging out the washing, setting the table and so on.

Can the other Beaver Scouts guess what the activity is? Whose job is this at home?

Shoe box Houses

Beaver Scouts can use shoe boxes to make United Kingdom houses. Then try making Ugandan houses by weaving walls of twig/ raffia together and covering them with clay.

Get each Beaver Scout to make a mud but using a strip of card made into a short cylinder with a rectangle cut out for the door and with a wide cone shape for roof. These can be coloured or painted, you could use straw, wool, raffia or paper strips which can be stuck on the roof to represent thatch.

Activity - Mud huts

Make a Ugandan village. Each Cub Scout can make a model of a mud but using mud for the circular walls and grasses and so on for the thatched roof. Around the outside of the village the Cub Scouts could make a fence of mud walls.

You will need a wide cardboard tube, a piece of thin card, thin garden canes, a junior hacksaw, straw or raffia, glue and scissors.

Cut a length of tube about 5cm (tin) long. Cut out a small piece for the door. You will also need two circles, one about 7cm (3in) diameter and the other about 12cm (sin) diameter.


Activity - Make a model African House

Glue the piece of tube to the larger circle.
Cut lengths of cane and glue to the outside of the tube.
Make a cut in the small circle of card and fold to a cone shape to fit the house. Glue into position.
Glue lengths of straw or raffia on to the cone to make the roof. Fit the roof on to the house.
A simpler method using thin card - download the template

Children's Rooms

The Beaver Scouts should think carefully about what different things they have in their bedrooms. They could then compare them with what they imagine a Ugandan child's bedroom to contain

Basket Weaving

Using a cottage cheese or margarine carton. Cut an uneven number of strips one inch wide in the carton. Take care as these sometimes have sharp edges. Do not cut through the rim. Weave thick wool or raffia through the strips - a safety pin on the end of the wool will help with the weaving. Mats could also be made by weaving using circles of card or paper plates.

Bowls can be made by using plasticine and rolling out long thin strips which can then be coiled from the centre, this is similar to coiled basketry.

Activity - Tribes

The tribal system still exists in some village areas and the tribes have their own customs. The drum is important in Ugandan culture and it is used for various traditional dances, ceremonies and communication. Masks too are used for special ceremonies and dances. Make tribal masks by cutting out a piece of card large enough to cover the Beaver Scouts' face. Download a mask to colour in. Cut out holes for the eyes, nose and mouth and also so you can attach elastic or string to go round the head. Decorate the card with paint, string, wool, raffia, silver paper, bottle top coloured foil and feathers and so on.

Tribal Game

Draw circles on the floor to represent huts, one less than the number of Beaver Scouts. Beaver Scouts do a dance round the hall. When the whistle blows they have to get into a but - the whistle could be a storm approaching or a wild animal. Anyone not in a but loses a life and has to sit in a but while the others dance round. The number of huts available decreases by one each time. Alternatively the Beaver Scouts could be chased by a wild animal and a few (huts) circles could be 'safe' areas. The huts are only large enough for three people and the Beaver Scouts can only stay there for 10 seconds (count to 10).


Contact the Uganda Network Copyright © The UK Uganda Network - 2002
Last modified 29 December 2003


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