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Maendeleo Foundation, Uganda
Impact Assessment Results
Farmers save to help fund library ICT service
The Connect Uganda Pilot Project, which works through five libraries to develop agricultural information in local languages, inspired community members to form savings groups dedicated to contributing to the cost of internet connections.
The project, which reaches all of Uganda’s four regions, was one of 13 public and community library services funded by EIFL-PLIP in April 2012. Here we present results of impact assessment conducted a year later, in April 2013.
Read more in the document titled Impact Study Results, above.
Previous project updates:
Background to Connect Uganda Pilot
Serving a community need
The majority of Ugandans (87%, according to the World Bank) live in rural areas and are involved in farming. Information flows to rural areas – where farmers struggle to make a living – are hindered by many obstacles. There are several organizations to support farmers, but most of these are based in urban areas. Cost, poor roads and limited means of transport mean that these organizations struggle to reach farmers. There are community libraries and resource centres spread throughout Uganda, but most do not have electricity to power computers and connect to the Internet, because the electrical grid reaches only a small percentage (5-10%) of the rural population. Some librarians have computer skills, but their libraries do not have computers, and so they cannot practice or transfer their skills. Uganda has 42 local languages, and information in these languages is extremely scarce.
The new service
Connect Uganda Pilot will create and test an Internet-based database of information for farmers in local languages, working through five community libraries. If the pilot succeeds, it will be scaled up to reach the whole country.
The pilot is being coordinated by the Maendeleo Foundation. The foundation will install three Android-based tablets in each of the five libraries, and connect them to the Internet through existing 3G and GSM cellular networks. Where needed, the foundation will also install solar panels to power the tablets. The libraries will package existing agricultural information, and translate it into local languages. They will also gather new information from the farmers to share through the Connect Uganda Pilot database. Librarians will gather data about farmers’ information needs, and the Maendeleo Foundation’s database will track use of resources in the local language databases. Farmers will have free access to the computers in the libraries, and librarians will train them to use the computers.
The five selected libraries are
- Caezaria Public Library, in Central Uganda (Buikwe District), where the local language is Luganda, and the main crops and livestock are coffee, sugarcane, bananas, maize, beans, pepper, and cattle.
- Mpolyabigere Rice Centre in Eastern Uganda (Busoga Region), where the local language is Lusoga, and the main crops and livestock are maize, potatoes, cassava, sugarcane, rice and chickens.
- Alebtong Community Library Centre, in Northern Uganda (Alebtong District), where the main languages are Luo and Langi, and farmers mostly grain and cassava and operate fish farms.
- URLCODA Community Library in North Western Uganda (Arua District), where the local language is Lugbara, and the main crops and livestock cotton, tobacco, cassava, ground nuts, mangos, goats, fish and tree farming.
- RICNET Community Library in Western Uganda (Rwenzururu Region), where the main languages spoken are Runyoro and Runyankole, and the main crops and livestock are coffee, bananas, rice, cattle, fruit and goats.
Key partners are the UgCLA, which has 91 member libraries spread throughout Uganda, and Makerere University in Kampala, the largest university in Uganda, whose Centres for Lifelong Learning (CLL) have offices in 15 areas. Students and volunteers at the CLL will help the librarians translate agricultural information into local languages.
If you want to know more about this project, contact:
Ms. Asia Kamukama
Butebe Village, Mukono, Uganda
Email: asia [at] maendeleofoundation.org