First to kwanjula My Finance, a weblog that I think will become a great resource on business and personal investment in Uganda. My Finance is authored by Ugandan business journalist, Kelvin Kiyingi. Pay My Finance a visit, will you?
Yesterday was International Literacy Day.
According to UNESCO, there is a demonstrated direct correlation between people’s level of literacy and their chances to maintain good health. A study conducted in 32 countries shows that women with secondary education are five times more likely to be informed about HIV/AIDS than women who are illiterate. Another example: the rate of infant mortality is higher when the mother can neither read nor write.
Some 774 million people, roughly one out of five adults in the world, can still neither read nor write; 75 million children remain excluded from the educational system. Notable progress has nonetheless been made.
Over the last few years, the number of illiterate adults has dropped from 871 million to 776 million.
However in countries like Uganda with rapid demographic growth, this does not necessarily indicate a decline in the number of illiterate people. In sub-Saharan Africa literacy has increased by 8% but at the same time the number of illiterate adults has gone up from 133 to 163 million people.
According to the 2007 World Development Indicators, Uganda’s national literacy rate stands at 66.8%.
Several organizations are working to improve literacy in the country, particularly among adults and children from disadvantaged backgrounds. More information on these efforts is available at:
This is a short, but cute video from People Concern Literacy Center – Uganda on their work in the country.
The Uganda National Book Week Festival is around the corner.
The announcement for the festival was made yesterday, but don’t beat yourself up if you missed it. It was hidden on page 26 of The Daily Monitor, somewhere between the Kyabazinga’s condolence messages and a random announcement by the Education Service Commission.
The National Book Week Festival organized by the National Book Trust of Uganda (NABOTU) is usually a bland and poorly attended affair. It is not very exciting. A handful of exhibitors have random displays of their books, a few publishers distribute T-shirts and caps and loud kadongo kamu and UTAKE music blares in the background.
The highlight of the festival is usually the Children’s Reading Tent, which hosts storytelling session, word games, painting and modeling and short child-friendly debates.
Rarely are any Ugandan authors showcased. There are never any book signings. Maybe one or two public readings are held, but usually these are targeted towards the children.
Perhaps this year, it will be different. Perhaps …
I don’t have much faith in the work of NABOTU, but if you are interested in finding more about it, click here.
The National Library of Uganda has a website; can you believe it? The organization that is housed in a dimly lit, poorly stocked, dilapidated building on Buganda Road has a website … Maybe things are on the up and uppahahahahaha! Visit it here.
The organization that I think is doing real work is the Uganda Community Libraries Association, which supports the creation of small village libraries around the country. Although they only offer minimal financial and technical support to community libraries, the impact of their work is far reaching. Visit them here.