In a bid to bridge the digital divide gap that exists between Karamoja and the rest of Uganda, government has been urged to set up Community Multipurpose Telecenters in the subregion.
The recommendation has been made today by a team of researchers from Makerere University during dissemination of the findings from a study conducted in January and February this year for the establishment of Community Multipurpose Telecenters in Karamoja.
The study was conducted in six districts of Abim, Amudat, Kotido, Moroto, Nakapiripirit and Napak on a total of 728 respondents from the community, district leaders, health workers, education officers and NGOs.
Aloysius Ssenono Mwanje the principal investigator highlights the need for government to set up Community Multipurpose Telecenters in the subregion as an affirmative action to address the needs of the people of Karamoja in order to uplift their social, economic and technological wellbeing.
Some of the key findings of the study
Mwanje said during the study, it was established that majority of the respondents (22.8%) get information through community radio services, 18.4% through local leaders and 16% through village/community meetings.
He said other respondents got information through newspapers (8.3%), television (6.2%), church announcements (4.6%), phone calls (3.9%) internet (3.4%), friends (2.4%) , notice boards at subcounty headquarters (2.1%), schools (0.5%), political campaigns (0.5%) and parents (0.2%).
“Five radio stations are currently operating in Moroto, Nakapiripirit, Abim and Kotido. No radio stations were reported in Napak and Amudat. In Amudat specifically, people receive Kenyan content due to access to Kenyan radio stations.” He said.
Francis Ekwaro another researcher on the team said the need for telecenters which is an ICT for development initiative in Karamoja Sub region is long overdue.
“Establishing a telecenter in Karamoja will not only bridge the digital divide gap that exists between Karamoja Sub region with the rest of Uganda, but will go a long way to achieve economic development of the Sub region. Said Ekwaro
Speaking at the dissemination of the research findings held at Makerere University today, Moses Kizige the state minister for Karamoja affairs hailed the researchers for picking interest in Karamoja and pledged that his ministry will provide support for the establishment of the Multipurpose Telecenters in the sub region.
“For this project, we shall be part of you. What we need is to get full information in time like now the budgeting process has started. Let us plan, keep us involved, we have a good technical team at the ministry, interact with them and then we shall be able to give you the support that you deserve.” Said Minister Kazige
In Uganda’s development history, Karamoja region remains the least socially and economically developed with 61% of the total population living in absolute poverty (UNFPA, 2018). The poor information amenities and lack of access to information are major causes of rising illiteracy levels in Karamoja Sub region (Global Poverty Report 2000)