MTN Uganda, through its CSR arm, MTN Foundation, in collaboration with Sense International Uganda successfully implemented a Digital Access Program at Ngora School for the Deaf in Ngora District, Eastern Uganda. This transformative initiative from MTN Uganda signifies a significant stride forward in digital inclusivity for students facing hearing challenges.
The newly established computer lab, valued at UGX124 million, is a beacon of cutting-edge technology. The lab has been equipped with computers, projectors, printers, sound amplifiers, a power backup, and a dedicated maintenance plan for one year. In addition, the lab has not only been equipped with advanced hardware but is also tailored with specialized software designed to address the unique needs of deaf learners.
This approach ensures an inclusive and accessible educational environment, catering to the diverse needs of learners in the community.
Onapito Ekomoloit, Board of Trustees for MTN Uganda Foundation, said the new computer aligns with the company’s Ambition 2025 Strategy that seeks to bridge the digital gender gap, promote youth empowerment, and contribute to Uganda’s National Development Plan II and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
“We, at MTN Uganda, firmly believe that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected world, and this initiative stands as a testament to our commitment to meeting this aspiration,” said Ekomoloit, during the handover ceremony. Adding, “We strongly believe that the future now lies in digitalization to improve people’s lives and help countries achieve faster economic transformations.”
The urgency of such initiatives is underscored by World Bank statistics, revealing that Uganda has the youngest age structure globally, with 77% of its population under the age of 30. Simultaneously, youth unemployment in the country stands at a staggering 70%, with up to 400,000 young people entering the job market annually for a mere 9,000 jobs.
Gerald Othieno, the Senior Education Officer of Special Needs Education at the Ministry of Education and Education, extended heartfelt congratulations to MTN Uganda for its substantial contribution to youth empowerment through digital skilling.
“This initiative is a beacon of hope, a catalyst for change, and a commitment to uplifting the digital skills of our youth — the architects of our future,” remarked Othieno.
Charles Ekadit, the headmaster at the Ngora School for the Deaf thanked the telco for the computer lab as he emphasized how it will help equip the learners with the much-needed skills to thrive in this digital age.
MTN Foundation’s commitment to digital empowerment goes beyond Ngora School for the Deaf. The foundation has implemented the Digital Access Program in four other schools supporting inclusive education or catering to special needs. Notably, the program includes the setup of specialized computer labs.
The entire program is estimated to cost UGX800 million — a testament to MTN’s dedication to the development of Uganda and a vision for a more inclusive and digitally empowered future.
Other schools benefitting from this initiative include Salaama School for the Blind, Masaka School for the Deaf, Hornby High School Kabale, and Gulu High School.
Over the years, MTN Uganda’s longstanding commitment to ICT in education has been evident through its leadership in supporting over 42 ICT labs in various educational institutions countrywide.