Almost 90% of Ugandans live in rural areas. ICTs can therefore play a big role in bringing vital information to isolated places. In health, for example, IICD works with hospitals to set up hospital & health management information systems to digitise patient data. This helps health facilities monitor and prepare for trends such as increased malaria. It also provides essential information to district and national health authorities. IICD also addresses the demand and need for more health information within the communities in order to manage better diseases and to prevent sickness.
In education, IICD helps schools and other education actors to design learning materials and other educational content that is more applicable to the local context based on the curriculum in place Teachers are better able to make their lessons more relevant for community and pupils needs, keep their lessons up-to-date and make them more interactive. Students and pupils also learn how to use computers and multimedia.
We also put ICTs to work for farmers with market price information,
IICD reached 336,000 people in Uganda in 2010, including 12,600 users of the ICTs and training provided in our 17 projects.
The national ICT for Development network in Uganda is I-Network, who facilitates, supports and advises on the use of ICTs in development. I-Network is a key player in knowledge sharing, lobby & advocacy and promoting ICT4D in Uganda.
In 2011, the Uganda Country Programme is supporting 15 projects throughout Uganda. Projects are currently being implemented in the education, health, and livelihoods sectors.
Uganda has been referred to as the Pearl of Africa, and you only have to take a look at its emerald hills, snow capped mountains, misty forests and deep, crystal clear lakes, to see why.
Uganda has substantial natural resources, including fertile soils, regular rainfall, and sizable mineral deposits of copper and cobalt. Agriculture is the most important sector of the economy, employing over 80% of the work force, with coffee accounting for the bulk of export revenues.
Since 1986, the government (with the support of foreign countries and international agencies) has acted to rehabilitate an economy decimated during the regime of Idi Amin and subsequent civil war.
ICT in Uganda
The use of ICTs such as mobile phones, fixed telephone lines and internet connections, has increased dramatically over the last 10 years. In the year 2000, just 5 people in every 1000 had a mobile phone subscription. At the end of 2006 that figure had risen to 95 people per 1000, an increase of nearly 2000%. A similar situation is seen with fixed line subscribers, with double the number of lines in 2006 compared to 2000. Given that most of the population live in rural areas (88%), it is not surprising to discover that the ratio of mobile to fixed line phones is 20:1.
Where are we now?
Several positive outcomes have already been seen in Uganda, including policy processes.
As a result of successful pilot projects in Uganda, leveraging opportunities have been identified which are still supported by IICD. The Rural Information System project under the Uganda Commodity Exchange has been replicated, in co-operation with SNV. The project provides a two-way information system to farmer cooperatives throughout Uganda whereby they can access and provide market information for improved marketing of their produce.
IICD supports the National Curriculum Development Centre, an autonomous body of the Ministry of Education & Sports with reforming the secondary school syllabus during which ICT is to be used as a tool across the curriculum.
Through the Connect4Change Alliance, IICD is currently supporting 13 partner organisations in Uganda with the integration of ICT in their development programs. It focuses on ICT in education and health programs.
IICD also works together with Oxfam Novib and three of their local programme partners in Northen Uganda. In 2011 and 2012, IICD will assist these partners with integrating ICT in their core Sexual and Reproductive Health & Rights programmes following a similar trajectory as with the C4C partners.
IICD in Uganda
The Uganda Country Programme began in 2000. Several features make Uganda stand out from IICD’s other country programmes. Firstly, there is a strong rural focus 88% of the population is rural). Secondly, there is a high level of commitment and self-reliance among IICD’s partners in Uganda.
Today, the Uganda Country Programme has seen success in e-governance, health, education and livelihoods activities, and is currently implementing 15 projects to its name in the education, livelihoods and health sectors.
IICD is working together, preferably with strong development partners alongside local partners. They need to be committed to investing in the projects and up-scaling them to the national level. In Uganda, IICD is working together with the Ministry of Education & Sports, SNV, Cordaid, Edukans, Text2Change & Oxfam Novib amongst others.
Addressing Uganda’s ICT needs
Since the start of the programme, IICD’s partners in Uganda have built up an impressive track record. Activities include organising projects, policy processes, events and training programmes under the auspices of the Country Programme, often with minimum input from IICD.
ICT in projects
The Uganda Country Programme supports 15 projects throughout Uganda, but with particular focus on Northern Uganda, the Teso region, Western Uganda and Jinja. Projects are currently being implemented in the education, health, and livelihoods sectors.
From 2007 onwards projects in Uganda have been carrying out their own M&E activities, and use the online tool independently. To ensure the feasibility of this, IICD has provided project partners with training on a range of topics, including questionnaire collection, data interpretation and analysis, reporting, and facilitation of focus group meetings.
Uganda’s national ICT for Development network, I-Network, has been operational since 2002. I-Network has a clear vision of, and strong commitment to, Uganda's digital transformation to strengthen its position in the world economy. It is working towards creating a better enabling environment for ICT-enabled development in Uganda.
I-Network’s activities include monthly seminars, special events such as workshops and policy meetings, newsletter, website and mailing list, and several small research studies. I-Network policy group is up and running, and following its official launch in 2006 is now a well known group.
An important, and successful, aspect of I-Networks function is to facilitate knowledge and skills sharing. Today, I-Network actively participates in the national ICT for development scene, and is generating plenty of policy ideas.
Participating in policy process
The first steps towards participating in policy processes were taken years ago, at the first Ministry for Tourism, Trade and Industry (MTTI) Roundtable workshop (Jinja, 2002) when senior officials from MTTI embarked upon developing an ICT policy statement for their three sectors as well as a coherent sector implementation plan for the Ministry and its affiliated institutions. Meanwhile, IICD has worked together with various Ministries, included the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education and Sports.
In Uganda, policy processes have resulted in widespread exposure for ICT for Development issues and IICD. Presently, IICD is working with the National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC), the corporate autonomous body of the Ministry of Education and Sports. NCDC is responsible for development of curricula and related materials for various levels of education (i.e. Pre-primary, Primary, Secondary and Tertiary). IICD supports NCDC with reforming the secondary school syllabus during which ICT is to be used as a tool across the curriculum.
The I-Network policy group was launched in late 2005, resulting in improved visibility and a strong voice for lobby and advocacy. The impact of the network in Uganda is a strong signal that ICT plays a crucial role in all areas within policy-making.
Key partners in Uganda include the Ministry of Education and Sports and the Uganda Commodity Exchange.
In the NGO and private sectors, partners include UCMB, Health Child, Ceford, Mango Tree, and educational institutes such as the National Curriculum Development Centre.
To enable project partners to address their capacity development needs, IICD is working together with a number of individual trainers and companies, depending on what kind of training is needed. These trainers are very committed and organise training events with a minimum of input from IICD.