Uganda: Is the hi-tech center enough?
The National Information Technology Authority of Uganda (NITA-U) has recently been funded $300,000 by the Korean government to manage an information access center (IAC). James Saaka, the NITA-U chief, “promised that the centre will be put to good use and it will be central in [the] government’s master plan of training and innovation.” (Kulabako and Kayiwa, 2015)
Uganda is the 10th country in Africa and 42nd country globally to have implemented an IAC. The center will essentially provide access to computers and vital technology skills to civil servants, students, and non-profit organizations.
NITA-U proves that Information Communication Technology (ICT) is certainly prioritized for Uganda’s overall national development however, ICT schemes and the like usually lack the promotion of gender equality within the hi-tech sphere. The problem lies much deeper; not once in the article stated that the center would also focus on the promotion of ICT for women and young girls – something WOUGNET is dedicated in achieving.
The major concern with larger development programs dedicated in the “co-prosperity through cooperation between Uganda and Korea,” (Shin in Kulabako and Kayiwa, 2015) is the lack of dedication to and promotion of gender equality. Smaller grass-roots organizations, such as WOUGNET, need to be working in co-operation with larger development schemes like NITA-U in order for centers to be catering to the heart of the problem; in this case gender inequality. It seems ironic that one of the millennium development goals is specifically committed to promoting gender equality and empowering women and yet, not nearly enough development initiatives are focusing on the largest problem in all of development.
If international ‘development’ seeks to persist, gender needs to be placed at the center of inquiry for any project, especially programs related to information communication and technology as this field has been gendered typically masculine over the years. Not only will the opening of this hi-tech center be vital for development but there also needs to be an inclusion of women and girls in the discussion.
Kulabako, Faridah and Kayiwa, Edward. New Vision. NITA-Uganda opens hi-tech IT centre. 2015. Accessed Tuesday, May 26th, 2015.