The Ugandan government has partnered with the World Bank to launch the Universal Digital Acceleration Program to provide Internet access to Uganda’s refugee communities.
Uganda is one of the top countries in the world for hosting refugees, with the most refugees recorded in all of Africa.
As of June 2022, Uganda was home to over 1.5 million refugees, most of whom had fled South Sudan. The northern Ugandan districts of Adjumani and Yumbe hosted about one-third of all refugees.
Consequently, the five-year programme, starting July 1, 2023, plans to provide these refugees with essential digital skills, develop new educational infrastructure, and teach them new language skills to make them employable.
Uganda’s Permanent Secretary for ICT and National Guidance, Amina Zawedde, announced this at an event co-hosted by MTN Uganda, the Uganda Small Scale Industries Association, and Centenary Industries Limited.
These organisations teamed up to raise UGX15 million ($4,000) to expand the computer lab at Refugee and Hope International, a non-profit refugee home in Kampala, Uganda.
Refugee and Hope provide language study, entrepreneurial training, and counselling for those with post-traumatic stress disorder due to their home country’s crisis.
Besides, Zawedde expressed optimism for the programme, claiming that having access to the Internet will be helpful for last-mile communities like refugee camps.
For context, she said everyone would use the Internet more effectively if it were accessible in facilities like government buildings, hospitals, and schools.
What’s more, MTN donated an ICT lab to Refugee and Hope International, empowering and providing them with the tools necessary to succeed as entrepreneurs through training and mentoring.