Promoting Inclusive Development through Rural Community Based Resource Centers
The project was implemented by Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) in collaboration with Eindhoven University of Technology (Netherlands), Makerere University Business School, Uganda Women Entrepreneurs Association
The project aimed at investigating pivotal barriers to dynamic entrepreneurship and inclusion particularly among the rural populations in Uganda. To do this, the project team decided to initiate and sustain such processes by utilizing the already existing Rural Based Community Tele-centers to foster research, training, information dissemination and physical infrastructural support to create secondary opportunities within the farmer/business communities specifically in Nakaseke and Mpigi Districts.
This is a contribution towards ‘temporarily’ addressing some of the challenges faced in running these telecentres towards improving the socio-economic status of poor farmers and/or entrepreneurs.
UIA as an implementing partner in the project was to establish the functionality of these centers through
- Provision and installation of better of radio equipment to boost the radio signal/coverage of these centers
- Provide computers, furniture and generators
- Recruit Business advisers for the centers
- Build the capacity of both staff and beneficiaries of the center (rural female entrepreneurs)
- Rehabilitate the physical infrastructure of the centers
- Create a technological marketing platform that enables information flow and directly links sellers to buyers in the two districts.
From the quantitative surveys, ethnographic interactions and community engagements/social networking experiences, a vibrant though ‘struggling’ Telecentres in Nakaseke among others being supported by this project. UIA realized that there was perhaps an opportunity to use such functioning community infrastructures to move part of Uganda’s inclusive development as well as popularize the actually existence of such telecentres and what role they play in the rural communities where social facets drive adoption and individual progression.
Some of the existing Telecentres in Uganda initiated by Government of Uganda include; Nakaseke multipurpose community, Bwama tele center and Nabweru Telecentre in Central Uganda, Lira CPAR Telecentre in Northern Uganda, Kabala and Kachwekano Telecentres in South West Uganda.
These telecentres have a full-fledged board of directors whose members represent farmer associations, women groups, small business communities, local council leaders, and youth groups. The day-to-day operations are run by volunteers from the local communities which is in most times unsustainable.
In addition, all these tele-centres have access to cellular, TV and radio to enable them serve as the multiway media information disseminating agencies that facilitate entrepreneurial growth and demand for better services.
Recognizing that “knowledge and information is power” is an important element of the development agenda in order to achieve better-quality productivity, entrepreneurship, employment, financial market participation and consequently poverty reduction. This is only possible through the commitment of collective efforts by various stakeholders involved in actualizing such development strategies.