Current ICT Initiatives and projects - The Republic of Uganda

Uganda is currently implementing a ICT-related initiatives in the areas of eInfrastructure (Research and Education Network Uganda, Broadband Services ERT Programme, National Backbone, Migration from Analogue to Digital Broadcasting Project, eNetwork project), eGovernment (Electronic Government Infrastructure, Voter Registration, National Identify Cards project, ICT4Democracy in East Africa project), Technology-enhanced Learning (Connect Ed project, National Curriculum Development Centre, VSAT project, SchoolNet Uganda, Content Development at National Teachers Colleges, Connecting Classrooms project, Improving Learning Outcomes through ICT project, ITELE for ICT project, Helping teachers use ICT for Teaching project), eHealth (Improving health care delivery, Health Child project, Electronic Rural Health Information Project, Malaria Diagnostic Systems project), eCommerce (District Business Information Systems, Reflect ICT Resource Centre, Village Phone Project), ICT for Rural Development and Entrepreneurship (Microsoft Innovation Centre).

Research and Education Network Uganda (RENU)

RENU was set up in 2006 as a not-for-profit limited company owned by the universities and research institutions through the Vice Chancellors Forum to establish a Research and Education Network (NREN) for Uganda. The Uganda Communications Commission granted RENU a special license to operate a private communications network that can provide an international gateway and transmit members' traffic from NRENS in neighbouring countries.

RENU is a member of UbutuNet Alliance, part of AfricaConnect, and has an agreement with the Dutch NREN, which facilitates network equipment procurement at discounted prices.

It is currently hosted in Makerere University and has 10 - 12 active members (public and private universities), who all pay the same membership fee. This facilitates group purchasing of bandwidth. The Board of Directors is representative of academia and industry. At present RENU has an ICT Directors Forum and a Librarian meeting. In the future it would like to have a Researchers Forum to facilitate sharing of experiences and an annual research conference to ensure good awareness of the research being undertaken at national level.

Currently it does not have its own network. Under AfricaConnect, a transcontinental network will be established. The Government will provide the national network and Members will address the last mile. There are plans to have 70% of the physical network up to the campus gate by 2014. If the NREN network can build on the national backbone, services can also be provided to schools and hospitals. At campus level, network management training is needed.

World Bank Cycle II project Development Process

The World Bank Board approved a total grant amount of US 8 million for ERT cycle II programme under an ICT sub-component. The main investment programme of the project includes sub county broadband services for Northern Uganda and Communication Information Centres are planned to be implemented. The National Commission for Science and Technology has put the criteria for disbursement of the funds in place.

eGovernment

There are a number of activities related to eGovernment currently running including:

- The e-Government readiness survey is being conducted. The survey will assist in establishing the current status of availability, access and usability of ICTs for governance and service delivery.

- Piloting of Unified Messaging Collaboration System (UM&CS) - for intra and Inter-institution communication and data sharing has been completed in two MDAs - NITA U and MOICT. The State House will be next in the pilot before UMCS is rolled out to other MDAs. The proposal for roll out is already prepared.

- Piloting of Voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) has been finalised in NITA U, MoICT and Ministry of Internal Affairs and a roadmap for roll out has also been developed. UMSC and VOIP aim at improving efficiency in flow of information across government and cutting own on communication costs.

- The plans are underway to establish a government portal (www.gov.ug) that will ensure that government information are uploaded and managed under a single resource/facility so as to improve security of information and improve its sharability.

National backbone infrastructure and e-government project

The Government of Uganda through the Ministry of Information Communication Technology is spearheading the development of the National Data Transmission Backbone Infrastructure (NBI) and the Electronic Government Infrastructure (EGI). This US$ 100 million project implemented by NITA-U is a public private partnership designed to complement private sector initiatives to relieve the acute shortage of bandwidth in three phases.

The NBI is intended to ensure that high bandwidth data connection is available in all major towns of Uganda at reasonable rates. The EGI is designed to reduce the cost of doing business in government, improving communication between government agencies and reducing the need for officials to commute for meetings and thus increasing efficiency.

Phases I and II of The NBI have been completed and consists of the following:

- Laying of 1536.39Km of Optical Fibre Cable across the country to build the National Data Transmission Backbone;

- Connection of NBI to the borders of Southern Sudan (Elegu) and Kenya (Malaba and Busia) thereby linking the country to other regional backbone infrastructure;

- Expansion of the Government Metropolitan Area Network into a Wide Area Network covering the towns of Kampala, Entebbe, Bombo, Mukono, Jinja, Busia, Tororo, Malaba, Kumi, Mbale, Soroti, Lira, Gulu, Masindi, Nakasongola, Luwero, Mbarara, Kasese, Fort Portal and Kyenjojo.

The EGI component consists of the e-Government Infrastructure installed in 27 main line Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and the Primary Data Center. This infrastructure is supporting the Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS), Video Conferencing Services, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and the Secure Messaging and Collaboration Platform (SMCS). The SMCS platform has been successfully piloted in three sites namely: State House, Ministry of ICT and NITA - U. Other MDAs will follow the roll out of these pilot sites through the IT Rationalisation Program.

Achievements to date include:

- Delivery and installation of communication equipment to the 27 Ministries and Departments that form the E-Government network was been completed;

- Videoconferencing services have been deployed to 27 Ministries and Departments;

- Backup communication equipment for each of the EGI sites have been delivered and installed;

- VoIP service is currently under test and three (3) pilot sites; NITA-U, Ministry of Foreign Affair and Ministry of Internal Affairs have been identified for the deployment of the service.

- NITA-U has realigned the National Backbone Infrastructure Program to confirm quality of the Optic fiber cable and all installations done in Phase I and the subsequent Phases to ensure reliability in providing services to the citizens.

- A detailed quality assurance process has been developed to ensure quality of Phase I and Phase II of the NBI/EGI Project.

The NBI Phase III will connect the following districts and border points: Kabale, Katuna, Malaba, Masaka and Mutukula. Phase III will also avail an alternative route to the undersea cables at Mutukula through mainland Tanzania to the East African Submarine cables and will also connect Uganda to the Rwandan border. All other districts will be reached using the last-mile connectivity programme using other connectivity technologies such as WiMax.

The Parliament of Uganda has approved the implementation of Phase IV to faciliate the connection of Sironko, Kapchorwa, Nakapiripirt, Moroto, Kotido, Kitgum, Adjumani, Moyo, Yumbe, Arua, Nebbi and Pakwach towns. Since funding for Phase IV is not covered under the concessional loan from the People's Republic of China, the Government of Uganda will source the necessary funding.

Funding sources : Uganda government and implement by the Uganda Ministry of ICT

Geographic scope and time frame: National; ongoing.

Migration from analogue to digital broadcasting project

This project aims to provide choice to consumers with different service providers through

- Interoperability of systems

- Ensuring the presence of a competitive market

- Efficient use of spectrum

The Digital Broadcasting Migration Policy envisages the delivery of quality education, health and small, medium and micro enterprises, the opportunity for developing new skills and the creation of new jobs, and new investment opportunities. The key benefit of digital broadcasting is that it enables the utilization of the scarce national radio frequency spectrum far more efficiently than analogue technologies.

Migration from analogue to digital broadcasting has commenced in the Kampala Metropolitan area, following the handing over of signal distribution equipment to the Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC). However the analogue signals continues being distributed alongside the new digital signals. New set top boxes are now available with DVB-T2 technology, a digital terrestrial transmission system developed by the DVB project.

Funding sources : Chinese government and implementation by the Uganda Ministry of ICT

Geographic scope and time frame : National; ongoing.

Voter registration- Electro Commission Uganda project

This project focused on: enhance transparency, accountability in the election management process, increase voter confidence in the electoral process in the 2010 general elections. This project was supported by the International foundation for Electoral systems and USAID. The purpose was to support the voter registration process and enhance the credibility of the voter registers by strengthening access to the register and providing it online. USAID, the Electoral Commission, and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) also cooperated to develop an SMS text messaging system to facilitate any voter with a cell phone to verify voter registration status and polling station assignments via text

Organization(s)/funding sources : The registry is part of the U.S. government's ongoing support of democracy in Uganda and was funded through a US$600,000 USAID grant to IFES to work with the Electoral Commission to develop the secure registry site.

Geographic scope and time frame : National

National Identity Cards project

The National Security Information System (NSIS) project is focused on implementing a biometric and central data management and identity card registration. It aims to help government to have easy identification of Ugandans on the government pay roll, social security, police and army and within the east African community.

Issuance of identity cards and the mass registration process has now begun. It is expected that by December 2015, all eligible Ugandan citizens of voting age (18 years and above) will have been registered and issued with a national identification card and a unique National Identification Number (NIN).

Organization(s)/funding sources : Uganda Government, Implementation overseen by Uganda Ministry of ICT

Geographic scope and time frame : National

ICT4Democracy in East Africa

The ICT4Democracy in East Africa project (June 2011 - July 2013) was based on leveraging the potential of ICT to increase citizens' participation in decision-making processes, thus strengthening democratisation. Launched in June 2011, the ICT4Democracy Network in East Africa consists of 7 partners in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania (Kenya Human Rights Commission, iHubResearch-Kenya, Commission for Human Rights and Good Governance-Tanzania, Toro Development Network-Uganda, Women of Uganda Network, Transparency International - Uganda and The Collaboration on International ICT Policy in East and Southern Africa (CIPESA)). The Network initially received seed funding from the Swedish Programme for ICT in Developing Regions (Spider). It is a network of organisations collaboratively leveraging on Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to enhance communication and the right to freedom of expression, as well as the right to seek, receive and impart information to enhance civic empowerment and improve governance.

During late 2013, the network were successful in receiving a Grant of SEK 8.4 million from SIDA under the Swedish Government's Special Initiative for Democratisation and Freedom of Expression.

Organization(s)/funding sources : SPIDER / SIDA

Geographic scope and time frame : Regional - Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania

Technology-enhanced Learning

Connectivity for Educator Development Project (Connect Ed)

With the introduction of Universal Primary Education (UPE), there has been greater demand on teachers and the quality of primary education has increased. In order to address the need for quality primary education and the provision of additional resources for Ugandan primary teachers, the Connectivity for Educator Development (Connect-ED) project was initiated in May 2000.

The Connect-ED project is supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in close cooperation with Uganda's Ministry of Education and Sports and within the framework of the U.S. Education for Development and Democracy Initiative (EDDI). Connect-ED is using technology to enable and enhance learning and teaching for primary educators through the creation of multifaceted approaches to integrating media and computers in the Primary Teacher Colleges (PTC) classrooms. Connect-ED accomplished this by setting up Education Technology Centres thereby increasing access, availability, and provision of relevant and quality learning materials and support for teacher professional development. Connect-Ed is a non-governmental organisation that is providing connectivity to 8 core PTC's: Shimoni PTC; Mukuju PTC; Gulu PTC; Bushenyi PTC; Ndegeya PTC; Kibuli PTC; Soroti PTC and Boroboro PTC. The focus is on sustainability and long-term ICT strategies for KyU and the PTCs and on continuing to provide computer training and completing the digitisation and enhancement of the national PTC curriculum.

Organisation(s)/funding sources : Phase I was funded by USAID. Initial partners included Computer Frontiers (for Internet connectivity), World Links (for Development for training in the colleges), Schools Online (for equipment procurement), and Academy for Educational Development (for the projects at ITEK). Phase II is supported by International Education Systems, a division of Education Development Center, an international, non-profit organisation.

Geographic scope and time frame : National. Phase I: 2001-2003; Phase II: 2003 to present.

More information available at here

National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC)

The National Curriculum Development Centre (NCDC) established the Curriculum Net project in an effort to create electronic learning materials using CD-ROMs. The project is now using ICTs to provide instructors with multimedia materials they can use in selected core subjects.

Government approval was given in 2004 for ICT-based curriculum materials in mathematics and geography for primary schools and mathematics and science for secondary schools, thus enabling use of the material by all schools in the country.

The National Curriculum Development Centre has worked with the International Development Research Centre to initiate the CurriculumNet project to develop, test and implement a mechanism for curriculum integration and delivery for primary and secondary schools in Uganda via communication networks using computer related tools as a means to influence both the practice and policy of Education.

The ultimate goal of this project is to accelerate the participation of schools, teachers and learners in the use of ICT in teaching and learning process. The project supports all educators, and students who foster the use of ICT in the teaching and learning process. As an action research activity, it was intended to test the technical and operational feasibility, and economic viability of ICT in the education delivery process. It is also expected to examine the "value added" of ICT in core subject areas of the educational system in Uganda and the extent to which teaching and learning is enhanced.

Organisation(s)/funding sources : SchoolNet Uganda with funding from IDRC

Geographic scope and time frame : National; 2001-on going

More information available here

VSAT project

This project used VSATs to offset the high cost of connectivity and to demonstrate the use of ICT-equipped schools as school-based community learning centers.

Organisation(s)/funding sources : World Links, Schools Online, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and SchoolNet Uganda

Geographic scope and time frame : Rural focus; ongoing.

More information available here

SchoolNet Uganda project

SchoolNet Uganda's mission is to make graduates of Uganda's education system more globally competitive. SchoolNet Uganda supports educators and learners by providing pedagogical and technical expertise and advice, infrastructure and human resources, coordination, training and capacity-building, and developing local and international partnerships.

Organization(s)/funding sources : Multiple partners depending on projects

Geographic scope and time frame : National; ongoing

More information is available here

Content Development at National Teachers Colleges, Uganda

The goal of this content development project is to use computers and the Internet to develop educational materials for secondary schools and National Teachers' Colleges (NTCs) throughout Uganda. Its main focus is on developing educational content. For example, it aims to create over 20 modules for all ordinary level subjects and place them on CD-ROMs so that they can be used by other National Teacher Colleges (NTCs) and secondary schools.

To make the project sustainable, large numbers of Kyambogo University staff as well as staff from the NTCs is being trained on how to work with computers and internet to look at, create and share educational materials. The goal is to make abridged versions of the finished products available as printed pamphlets, via a website, on CD-ROMs, and through intranet web servers. The content development programme started in 2005, has 2000 users and can potentially reach 40,000 students and teachers throughout Uganda.

Specific short-term objectives of the project are: Develop and digitise more than 20 courses at Kyambogo University, Develop high quality teaching modules to be used at NTCs and secondary schools throughout Uganda, Provide quality control checks on the educational content developed

Devise a good dissemination system for the digital content developed

Organization(s)/funding sources : IICD supported programme

Geographic scope and time frame : National

More information is available here

Connecting Classrooms project

The British Council launched a project to link schools in Uganda to other schools in Africa and the UK. The project, code-named Connecting Classrooms, aimed at co-coordinating ICT, science, vocational skills, global citizenship, and cultural science in the schools.

Organisation(s)/funding sources : The British Council

Geographic scope and time frame : Limited number of schools; 2006-2007.

More information is available here

Providing donated computers to schools plus capacity-building support to recipient local partners

Organization(s)/funding sources : World Computer Exchange in partnership with local organizations.

Geographic scope and time frame : National

More information available here

Uconnect - Providing computer connectivity and training for schools

Uconnect is a non-profit NGO that aims to advance public education by using ICT to improve the quality and efficiency of communications. Activities focus on providing computer connectivity and training for schools and recently on providing ICT training to officials of 22 mostly rural districts.

More that 225 schools have benefited to date and 22 district offices have been connected to the Internet.

Organisation(s)/funding sources : Multiple sponsors are involved such as telecom, hardware, learning software, transportation, and Internet provider companies.

Geographic scope and time frame : National; began in the late 1990s and continues to thrive.

More information available here

Providing equipment and training to schools

The Uganda Ministry of Education and Sports has undertaken several initiatives over the past years as part of its policy implementation agenda. Examples include providing equipment and training to selected schools, providing Microsoft software to government-aided secondary schools, and including the approval of a curriculum for ICT training for secondary schools.

Organization(s)/funding sources : The Ministry has allocated some funds for these initiatives and is discussing provision of additional support with various donors.

Geographic scope and time frame : National; 2006-2007.

I-Network Project

I-Network Uganda is a national network of individuals and organizations that act as a platform for sharing knowledge and information on applying ICTs. One of its programmes, District Net, focuses on providing public information using ICTs.

Organization(s)/funding sources : ICT4D practitioners including IICD project partners; policymakers such as ministries; students and teachers; NGOs; rural communities

Geographic scope and time frame : National; over 700 registered members from the public, private, and civil society sectors. Began in 2002; ongoing.

More information available here

Improving Learning Outcomes through ICT

The "Improving Learning Outcomes through ICT" project commenced in December 2011 and it will run until 31 December 2014. It is focused on improving learning outcomes for girls in particular in primary schools in the Apac District of Uganda through access to ICT. It aims to train teachers and school administrators in learner centered teaching and learning methodologies, facilitate access to up to date teaching and learning materials, build capacity of teachers, facilitate networking between schools and provide life skills to pupils for improved self confidence. The target group is 100 primary school pupils and 40 primary school teachers.

Organization(s)/funding sources : Partners include: Connect4Change, Edukans, IICD (Netherlands) and Education Local Expertise Centre Uganda, FAWEU and I-Network (Uganda). Funded through Grant of €36,000 from Edukans, Netherlands.

Geographic scope and time frame : Apac District of Uganda, December 2011 - December 2014.

More information available here

ITELE for ICT (Improving Literacy and Numeracy in Primary Education through ICT)

IICD launched the "ITELE for ICT" project in December 2011 and it will run until 31 December 2014. It is focused on improving literacy and numeracy in primary education in the Serere District in Eastern Uganda through the integration of ICT in teaching and learning processes. The projects aims to train 20 teachers in 8 targeted primary schools and then 10 teachers per school by 2014 to develop Information Communication based teaching content, lesson planning and scheming and support pupils to design, develop and disseminate IEC materials that address community needs and concerns.

Organization(s)/funding sources : Partners include: Connect4Change, Edukans, IICD (Netherlands) and Education Local Expertise Centre Uganda, HNU and I-Network (Uganda). Funded through Grant of €39,568 from Edukans, Netherlands.

Geographic scope and time frame : Serere District in Eastern Uganda, December 2011 - December 2014.

More information available here

Helping teachers use ICT for teaching

IICD launched the "Helping teachers use ICT for teaching" project in December 2010 and it is still active. It is focused on training teachers and sensitising Head Teachers in Western Uganda and West Nile of the importance of using ICT for Education and for school management. It aims to train 400 teachers and senior staff on how to use computers to improve classroom instruction, teaching materials and school administration in 13 schools.

Organization(s)/funding sources : Partners include: Connect4Change, CharITy, IICD (Netherlands), Close the Gap (Belgium) and Computers for Schools Uganda (CFSU), I-Network (Uganda). Funding of €110,820 from CFSU (€18,203), IICD (€35,117), Close the Gap (€47,500) and CharITy (€10,000)

Geographic scope and time frame : Western Uganda and West Nile, December 2010 - ongoing

More information available here

eHealth

Improving health care delivery through continuing medical education for rural health workers

This project is focused on improving health care delivery through continuing medical education (CME) for rural health workers by using ICTs and multimedia. The major focus is on gathering and repackaging high-quality health information for dissemination through ICTs. Training in the use of basic ICTs is provided.

Organisation(s)/funding sources : Co-sponsored by Cordaid and IICD and implemented by Uganda Martyrs University, Faculty of Health Sciences, and the three hospitals of Itojo in Ntungamo district, Nkozi in Mpigi district and Mutolere in Kisoro district

Geographic scope and time frame : District-based; ongoing.

ICT Maintenance Facilities for rural technical colleges

ICT maintenance facilities for rural Uganda have been established at five technical colleges. An ICT maintenance facility will be set up at each college to provide technical support and to introduce a new course called ICT Installation and Maintenance to train technicians.

Organisation(s)/funding sources: The Uganda Institute of Information and Communications Technology, established by Uganda Communications Commission, manages the project with the support of the International Institute for Communication and Development (IICD).

Geographic scope and time frame : The five UTCs are located in or near upcountry towns and are geographically well distributed throughout the country. Launched in 2005; ongoing.

Health Child / STAR Parent

The STAR Parent project builds on past projects implemented by Health Child to improve maternal and child health conditions in Uganda. It commenced in October 2012 and aims to run until 30 September 2015. ICT has been adopted to complement the project activities, which focus on improviding pregnancy outcomes, neonatal and child survival. The project is implemented in close partnership with Village Health Teams, Local leaders, health centre, District Health Office and Ministry of Health.

Organisation(s)/funding sources: Partners include: Connect4Change, Cordaid, IICD (Netherlands) and Health Child and I-Network (Uganda). Funded through Grant of €166,395 from IICD (€64,725) and Cordaid (€101,670).

Geographic scope and time frame : Jinja, Lira and Apac districts in Uganda, runs from October 2012 to 30 September 2015

More information available here

e-Network

Makerere University Faculty of Computing and Information Technology won an Africa Union (AU) bid to create an e-network that will provide connectivity for Eastern and Central African countries to a pan-African network through fibre optics and wireless links. This will enable the sharing of resources such as BlackBoard digital learning software, backups, and elearning courses. The faculty has a department that trains staff in e-learning and supports elearning in the whole of the university.

Organisation(s)/funding sources : Funding was provided by the Government of India through the AU. Makerere was the lead university serving Comoros, Djibouti, Eriteria, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda.

Geographic scope and time frame : Eastern and central African regions; project was announced in July 2006.

More information available here

Electronic Rural Health Information project: Feasibility and Acceptability of e-Card Maternal-Child Health Passport in Rural Community

Towards the end of 2010, the Ministry of Health released a Mother-Child Health Passport (MCH HP). The Mother-Child Health Passport is an initiative to improve maternal and child health in Uganda. It has already been started in a number of African countries including Malawi, Benin, Tanzania and Kenya. It replaces and combines the antenatal and child health cards. This Mother-Child Health Passport is a medical document that records pertinent facts, findings, and observations about an individual child's health history including natal history, past and present illnesses, tests, treatments and outcomes. It will also chronologically document the care of the mother during pregnancy and the child after delivery, thus offering an important element contributing to high-quality care. As with the rest of Africa, it will be paper based and therefore will have the inherent problems associated with manual paper based medical documentation systems. To ameliorate these problems, the paper system should be supplemented by an electronic system. This will revolutionise the health care system and efforts need to be made to enable the health system proceed from manual or semi-automatic data processing to a new method of entering, storage, and searching and protecting data using an affordable and safe electronic system.

This will also improve efficiency in data for health care and administration such health insurance accounts and other health surveys.

Organisation(s)/funding sources : Uganda Government in collaboration with ICTs for African Rural Development (ICTARD), Uganda Martyrs University, Nkozi. Department of Computer Science and Information Systems (CSIS)

Geographic scope and time frame : National

Malaria Diagnostic Systems project

The overall objective of the malaria diagnostic systems project is to design and implement an easy to use computerized system that has the capabilities to perform accurate diagnosis of malaria, recommend appropriate treatment for malaria, capture and update malaria patient data in real time, provide a platform for sharing data among health establishments, streamline the reporting to the ministry of health and also generate relevant patients and dug management reports

Organisation(s)/funding sources : Uganda Government

Geographic scope and time frame : National

eCommerce

District Business Information Centers

This project aims to address the needs of the community demand driven ICT based services. Since its launch in 2008, the District Business Information Centers (DBIC) project has established DBICS in the Districts of Kamwenge, Lira, Busia, Mityana, Iganga, Rukungiri, Tororo, Kitgum, Rakai, Hoima and Amuru.

Special Training was provided to the initial DBICS Managers to improve their Operations in 2011 and DBICS Managers were trained to provide E-Tax services in their Districts through collaboration with the E-Tax Department in Uganda Revenue Authority. NITA-U has partnered with the United Nations International Development Organization (UNIDO) to further improve the delivery of services in the existing DBICS centres.

Following the ICT Parliamentary Committee Directive to harmonize all DBICs similar projects under UCC, Posta-Uganda and NITA-U, an MOU with Posta-Uganda has been developed to guide onward deployments of DBICS. The Turn Key solution contract was signed in November 2011with United Engineering Services to deliver DBICS in Amuru, Hoima and Rakai. Installation of the DBICS in Rakai and Hoima was completed by March 2012 after the MOU with Posta-Uganda has been signed. The Installation for Amuru was completed by 24th February 2012.

Organization and funding sources : UNIDO with funding from the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) and in close cooperation with local public and private sector representatives has developed a network of business information centers (BIC) in 8 districts, to see how they can support them in terms of ICT access. These include Arua, Gulu, Jinja, Kabale, Masaka, Masindi, mbale and Soroti

Geographic scope and time frame : 8 districts' initially but extending to another 8 districts in Uganda, 6 to be funded by government (Ministry of ICT) and 2 to be funded by UNIDO. The project is National; ongoing

Reflect ICT Resource Centre

The Reflect ICT resource centre has been equipped with computers (Internet connected), printers, digital camera and video, generator, UPS, public address system, World Space radio, and solar-operated radios, along with other office equipment including a photocopier. The aim is to facilitate access to agricultural, health, and commercial information based on needs that the 10 community identified.

Organization(s)/funding sources : DIFD, and community contributions.

Geographic scope and time frame : The project is located in Bukuuku sub-county in Kabarole district, western Uganda.

More information available here

Village Phone Project

The Village Phone Project provides micro loans to eight local businesses to enable establishing a community phone service. Testing of additional technologies will be done.

Organization(s)/funding sources : Grameen Foundation in partnership with MTN Uganda

Geographic scope and time frame : Started in 2003 in selected communities; ongoing.

More information available here

ICT for Rural Development

Energy for Rural Transformation (ERT) Project

The Second Energy for Rural Transformation (ERT II) Project financed by the World Bank is a long-term project alignd with the Rural Communications Development Fund (RCDF) mandate by extending the country's electricity supply to rural areas. The project has three components: i) construction of the rural energy infrastructure, ii) financing internet broadband extension to rural areas and iii) financing solar PV energy packages for rural schools, health clinics and water faciliaties.

Organization(s)/funding sources The World Bank funding of US$75 million. Implementation overseen by Office of Rural Communications Development Fund (RCDF).

Geographic scope and time frame : National

Adaptive Bandwidth Management in Cooperative Wireless Networks: Affordable and equitable access to the Internet

In 2006, the Community Wireless Resource Centre (CWRC), that was established under the Department of Electrical Engineering, Faculty of Technology, Makerere University, setup local wireless networks at three sites - Nabweru Telecentre, Lira Canadian Physicans for Aid and Relief (CPAR) telecentre and Kabale/Kachwekano Telecentres. The wireless networks were established with technical support from IT+46, a Swedish ICT organisation, and with financial support from the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) in the amount of US$ 89,866. The general objective of the CWRC is to provide or enhance sustainable Internet connectivity infrastructure, particularly in rural or under served areas in Uganda, by means of wireless technology. The specific objectives are to (1) implement and support the maintenance of community wireless networks, initially targeting the IDRC-funded Telecentres by establishing a Community Wireless Resource Center in the Department of Electrical Engineering, Faculty of Technology, at Makerere University; (2) build capacity, among students at the Electrical Engineering department and the technical staff at the Telecentres, in the design, installation and maintenance of community wireless networks including bandwidth management and efficient traffic provisioning; (3) undertake research to assess the technical feasibility and economic business/partnership models of community wireless networks; and (4) document and share the results widely.

Organization(s)/funding sources : Uganda Government under the MSI World Bank project

More information available here

NUFFIC ICT projects for Uganda's universities

The "Building a Sustainable ICT Training Capacity in the Public Universities in Uganda" NUFFIC One project 2003 - 2008 has been very successful in boosting the capacity of public universities in the field of Information Technology and Communications (ICT). The project addressed the issue of building ICT capacity in the four Public Universities in Uganda. The target group was the staff and students in the Ugandan institutions and mid-career ICT professionals. The main activities required expertise from the Netherlands, to support curriculum development and implementation, idevelopment of research capacity and to advise in the establishment of a Centre of Excellence for ICT Training and Research.

The project which cost about 4 million Euros, has had great impact in the areas of curriculum development and implementation, human resource capacity development, research capacity development, ICT infrastructure development, collaborations among the Public Universities, gender policy, ICT Policy and Master Plans, and the establishment of a Centre of Excellence for ICT Training and Research at Makerere University, for the public Universities in Uganda.

As a result of this project, spin off projects were launched, such as: Netherlands Program for Institutional strengthening of Post secondary education and training capacity (NPT) project on 'Strengthening ICT Training and Research Capacity in the Four Public Universities in Uganda'; and NPT Project on 'Strengthening the Institutional Capacity of Uganda's Technical Colleges. All the project activities and objectives were completed including 5 new MSc and 5 PhD graduates.

As a result of this successful project, it was decided to design a follow-up project, which lead to Nuffic awarding the four Public Universities another NPT project on 'Strengthening ICT Training and Research Capacity in the Four Public Universities in Uganda'. The overall objective of the Project is to strengthen the capacity of Makerere University Faculty of Computing and in return CIT provides IT support.

In 2008 CIT together with the Southern Faculty of Computing & Information Technology and IT, the Institute of Computer Science at Mbarara University of Science and Technology, the Departments of Computer Science at Kyambogo and Gulu Universities collaborated to develop, implement and manage relevant educational and research programs for poverty alleviation, rural and economic development. The lead institution in the South is Makerere University with Mbarara University of Science and Technology, Gulu University and Kyambogo University as partners; and the lead institution in the North is the University of Groningen with Radboud University Nijmegen (RUN) and Eindhoven University of Technology (TUE) as the consortium partners.

The target group was University staff and students in the above institutions and ICT Policy makers. The project was implemented from June 2008 - 2011 with a maximum Nuffic grant of €5.7 million.

More information is available here

Other ICT Initiatives

Huawei Initative to address the challenges for local content

As part of an ICT partnership between Makerere University and Huawei to boost ICT in the university, Huawei sent 10 students and tutors for a one week specialized training in ICT at the Huawei Training Center in Nairobi in late June 2012. The programme included WCDMARAN System Overview, LTE Systems Overview and Transport Solution Training, IP Network Technologies and service Training and Mobile SoftSwitch Fundamental Training.

Microsoft Innovation Centre

Initially funded for two years by the Rockefeller Foundation, in November 2011 the Innovation Centre (CIT), College of Computing and Information Science, Makerere University was re-launched by United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and Microsoft as the first Microsoft Innovation Centre in Uganda. Hosted at the College of Computing and Information Sciences at Makerere University , the Centre is an extension of the global Microsoft Innovation network and is designed to promote the development of innovation and growth of the Ugandan software economy. The Innovation Centre provides access to PCs, software, desk space and mentoring, and supports both final year students, recent graduates, staff and external entrepreneurs. The facility focuses on skills development and aims to educate local students to help improve their professional IT knowledge and gain real project experience before graduating. In collaboration with the Ugandan Government, National Information Technology Authority Uganda (NITA-U) and Makerere University , the Centre also helps developers and IT professionals learn about the latest technologies, stimulate technology innovation and drive the local software economy to boost national competitiveness. It also provide assistance and resources to small and medium sized enterprises to create new and innovative products and services, bring those products to the market and increase their business competitiveness.