|Home||Who we are||What we do||Where we work||News, events & media||Contact us|
‘I never dreamed that – at my age – I would ever use a computer. We thank you so much for the opportunity.’ - Alice Nanyonga, library trainee.
Alice Nanyonga is one of 50 women farmers who attended information and communication technology (ICT) training organized by National Library of Uganda as part of their new agricultural information service.
The training – the first ever for women farmers in Nakaseke District – took place in the Nakaseke Multi-purpose Community Telecentre (MCT), which is close to where the farmers live. Training included basic computer, keyboard and software skills, internet and email, and discussion of the value of social media tools like Facebook and You Tube for sharing knowledge and information.
‘I now know where to find the best market through the internet,’ said one trainee. ‘It is really amazing to tell the weather through the internet,’ said another.
As a first step to using ICT, the farmers have opened a Facebook page for Kangyatto Women Farmers.
During training, librarians also demonstrated the value of using mobile phones to receive SMS alerts about the weather, pest control, market prices and other vital agricultural information. In the next phase of the project, the library will complete the website and begin sending information to the farmers via SMS.
Titled Electronic Information Empowering Women Farmers, the service aims to improve livelihoods through free access to ICT and ICT skills training and creating a website and online farm produce market. Information will be carefully selected for relevance to the local context, and will be translated into the local language, Luganda.
Previous project updates:
Background to Electronic Information Empowering Women Farmers
Serving a community need
Nakaseke District, where the service will be implemented, is about 65km north of Uganda’s capital, Kampala. The main economic activity is small-scale and subsistence farming. Livestock farmed includes cattle, pigs and poultry; crops include vegetables such as maize, beans, bananas, cassava, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and cabbage, and fruit farmers grow pineapples and mangoes. Most farmers use traditional farming methods, and sell their produce in Kampala.
Research in 2006-2011into agricultural information needs in the district found that women farmers need information about marketing agricultural products, market prices, the weather and seasonal forecasts, plant diseases, and how to obtain credit and loans. They also need computer and information literacy skills, and information in Luganda the local language.
The new service
National Library of Uganda (NLU) and Nakaseke Multi-purpose Community Telecentre (MCT) will work with 50 rural women in the nearby Kyangatto village. They will sensitize them to the value of ICT and offer courses in computer and Internet use, and conducting online research. The new service will develop an agricultural web-portal for women farmers, including a produce market. Women will be encouraged to share information through the web-portal, and to use social networking tools like Facebook and twitter. In addition, the new service will offer a question and answer service using mobile phone text messaging, so that farmers who cannot come to the centre can receive information on their mobile phones.
NLU will support development of the web portal, create a database of agricultural e-resources and train Nakaseke MCT staff to maintain and update the web portal. NLU will also support development of the mobile phone question and answer service. Nakaseke MTC will assist with design of the database, maintain computer networks and the web portal; mobilize and train women farmers; collect agricultural information from agricultural extension workers and from the farmers, and share it through the web portal. Nakaseke MTC will also support development of the online market and the marketing of farm produce.
NLU and Nakaseke MCT are is replicating some aspects of the successful AgroLib-Ja service of Public Library Radislav Nikčević, which works with farmers in central Serbia.