Empowering Former Child Soldiers and Their Communities in Uganda by Bridging the Digital Divide

U-TOUCH empowers former child soldiers and their communitiesBrilliance and talent are equally distributed across the world, though opportunity is not. In poverty stricken areas, the lack of access and connection to relevant information is preventing millions of people from escaping the cycle of extreme poverty, or developing the ability to compete in labor markets or be informed about basic health practices. U-TOUCH’s work in Uganda demonstrates the positive results that occur when information is provided, with support, to disadvantaged individuals and regions. Employment increases, incomes increase, businesses grow, health improves, and student’s academic performance improves.

U-TOUCH

Stephen’s Story

This is Stephen and I’d like to talk about how the
U-TOUCH Digital Library Center, Gulu has benefited me. First of all, I would like to say I completely had no knowledge of what a computer is, in fact I had never even touched a computer since I was born and never thought of learning and using one some day. It was not until, the U-TOUCH project came in place and set up the Digital Library Centers here in northern Uganda that I got the opportunity to learn computer skills and at the moment, I really have substantial knowledge in computer skills and that has greatly impacted my life positively in a number of ways.

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ICT Training in Gulu
Students beginning their computer training in Kabale, Uganda.

Students beginning their computer training in Kabale, Uganda.

What does U-TOUCH do?

The U-TOUCH Digital Library Center model explicitly works to empower users to fully employ technological tools and content for personal and community benefit. The program equips community members with a mindset of self-efficacy and skill-based education to utilize computers and Internet effectively. Beneficiaries of the U-TOUCH program participate in the community as interns to gain professional experience and collectively marshal forces to effectively tackle community challenges.   Examples of these community outreach initiatives include prevention of gender-based violence, family planning, cooperative economic development, water quality and sanitation improvement.

The ultimate goal of the U-TOUCH DLC is to support individuals and communities transitioning from conditions fraught with poverty, poor health, and dependency to a state of good health and economic self-reliance.