Despite caning having been illegal in Uganda for several years, it would be naive to believe it didn’t still happen. Indeed, Volunteer Uganda had warned us that it occasionally takes place and that if we heard of it occurring at any of the schools we were teaching/coaching in, we were to let them know so it could be dealt with in the appropriate manner. VU does not condone such punishment and educates teachers in the local schools on more appropriate ways to deal with unruly behaviour.
I came back from the pitch one day ahead of Jesper and Robbie. I was bringing the equipment whilst they came back with the children. As I approached the staff room I was dismayed to see a group of children sitting on the grass with a teacher beckoning them forward one by one to receive a caning on their backside. I must stress this was an isolated incident which I put a stop to immediately. I informed Volunteer Uganda, who immediately arranged for Gloria, Frank and J.B., the VU teacher trainers, to come in the following day to do a presentation about corporal punishment and how teaching young people to use violence to get what they want is inappropriate, not to mention against the law. They suggested the implementation of various more suitable methods and reminded the teaching staff of Volunteer Uganda’s one chance only policy on caning – if it were to happen again, VU would no longer send volunteer teachers to that school.