The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, on Thursday launched the Digital Literacy Programme to give the youth in rural areas computer skills.
At the Launch, Kadaga called on the youth to maximize the benefits of the initiative saying that it will enable young people in the informal sector to take computer lessons while they work.
The Speaker launched the initiative at the African Square in Kampala.
“The people for whom the programme is targeted are busy. They are hustling and trying to make a living. They neither have the time nor the money to attend classes,” said Kadaga.
The digital literacy programme is an initiative of Craft Silicon Foundation, a non-profit organisation working towards empowering youth, children and communities through free ICT education and services. This is in partnership with Finance Trust Bank, a local financial institution.
The Speaker called on the youth to take advantage of the initiative so as to improve their livelihoods, and to also increase their opportunities of getting better jobs.
“ICT helps one to work from anywhere. I ask you to study computer since you now have the opportunity. The good news is that in Uganda today, we have very many smart phones,” said Kadaga.
The Chief Executive Officer Craft Silicon Foundation, Priyah Budhabhatti, said the programme was started following a discovery that a big percentage of youth in rural areas are computer illiterate.
She said ICT has become a part of today’s lifestyle, and hence the need to bridge the digital divide, irrespective of gender and background.
“It is going to put all of us at the same level so that we can all participate in ICT related jobs, business and government jobs,” said Budhabhatti.
She added that the programme is in line with the rapid technological changes in Uganda, including the shift from analogue to digital broadcasting, transition from satellite to fiber optics, connectivity and adoption of E-commerce technologies.
She however called for support from government to enable the programme succeed, saying that it has registered successes in Kenya.
“Over the last eight years, we have educated 10,500 students from the less privileged areas who cannot afford college fees and a bus fare in Kenya. In Uganda our agenda is not different,” said Budhabhatti.
The Managing Director, Finance Trust Bank, Annet Nakawunde Mulindwa said that the programme will prepare and empower young people to reach their full potential as productive members of the society.
“We are certain that it will give youth the tools they need to distinguish themselves in the competitive global economy,” said Nakawunde.