Uganda libraries empowering the tech generation
Project by EIFL and partners contributes to sustainable ICT training in Ugandan public and community libraries

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ICT training in a new computer lab in Koboko Public Library. Each learner has a computer terminals in cubicles.
Koboko Public Library is one of eight libraries in Uganda that have received new computers and furniture in recognition of their ICT training programmes.

During the long school holiday season in Uganda, which lasts from the end of November to early February, Koboko Public Library is experiencing an increasing flow of young people eager to acquire digital skills. 

Situated in the West Nile Region, bordering South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Koboko Public Library is the only public library serving the information and learning needs of the Koboko district community. The district is home to a large population of refugees - people fleeing political instability and violence in South Sudan and the DRC. About 70% of Koboko's population are young people grappling with high levels of unemployment, poverty, and limited access to modern educational and social infrastructure.

Recognizing their pressing needs, Koboko Public Library is currently offering daily digital skills training to 60 people. The library manages this large number of participants by dividing them into three groups and providing the training at different times throughout the day. 

Recently, the library introduced a new initiative by partnering with a local NGO, Light for Disability Transformation, to provide digital skills training for children with hearing disabilities, expanding inclusivity in the educational landscape.

"The Digital Skills Programme at Koboko Public Library is an engine of change, a catalyst for community development, making sure that no one is left out.” - Hon. Florence Ajonye, Deputy Mayor of Koboko.


Koboko Public Library is one of 26 public and community libraries that participated in the Digital Skills @ Your Local Library project, implemented by EIFL and partners from December 2020 to June 2023. During the two-and-a half-year project period, librarians and volunteers trained by the project taught basic and mobile ICT skills to over 22,000 people – mostly women and unemployed youth.

The success of the project, and the remarkable numbers of people reached, inspired private businesses and other donors (Uganda Communications Commision, Airtel Uganda, MTN Foundation, Absa Bank Uganda) to provide libraries with much-needed donations of computer equipment and internet services. 

The momentum is growing. It has been five months since the project came to an end, and the libraries are continuing with digital skills training. They are also continuing to provide space and guidance for groups from the community to complete online learning courses on topics like entrepreneurship and digital marketing, as well as craft-making and other practical skills. 

As a result, they are attracting new partnerships to help them meet the ever-growing demand in communities for digital skills and access to computers. Eight libraries - Koboko and seven more, in Hoima, Jinja, Kabale, Lira, Mbarara, Paidha and Soroti - have had their ICT training capacity significantly bolstered by a joint initiative of ATC Uganda and Airtel Uganda. Each of the libraries is receiving equipment for a new ICT lab, and the two companies are also supporting purchase of furniture and renovations to improve library spaces. 

At Koboko, the lab has been equipped with 20 computers, uninterrupted power supply and broadband internet connectivity. "Improved infrastructure enables us to meet the overwhelming demand of youth and women turning up at the library‘s door every day. From next week we plan to accommodate an additional 20 participants, bringing the total number of learners in a day to 80,” said Peterlee Guma, librarian at Koboko Public Library.

At the opening of the new ICT lab in Hoima Public Library, Rajesh Agrawal, Chief Technology Officer of Airtel Uganda, said, “Imagine a world where every child in even the remotest part of Uganda can access the wealth of knowledge available on the internet. Imagine them discovering new ideas, learning skills that could transform their futures, and even finding opportunities they’d never dreamed of.”