Online Reading Grows in Uganda
Community-led and locally-owned initiatives are what make Worldreader e-reading programs sustainable. It is especially important to have the community’s support behind the e-reading programs, to ensure students have the resources and encouragement they need to excel. Such was the case with a new Worldreader partner, Yamba Abaana, an organization that worked to establish a Worldreader e-reading program at the Rubanda Solidarity School in Western Uganda. We now have 425 e-readers reaching 2250 readers in Uganda and we are excited to share news of this latest Launch. Read more below with contributions by Peace Uwimana, a local champion of Rubanda and Yamba Abaana’s work.
How was the Rubanda Solidarity School established?
Rubanda Solidarity School was established in 2005 by Father Dominic Tumusiime who had the vision of addressing high levels of illiteracy in his home area. Today, Rubanda is one of the best performing schools in the Kabale District and the school has grown from 90 students to over 300.
How have the students been inspired by the new e-readers?
Another student, Twinomujuni Michael, says “These e-readers are very important for me because buying books is becoming expensive for some of our parents, but now we are very lucky that we are going to be using e-readers as reading materials.”
What do the teachers and school faculty have to say about the e-readers?
Rogers Orishaba, Program Manager for Yamaba Abaana Uganda and Worldreader Project Manager, could not hide his joy at the cost savings. As he put it, “We do not need to incur the costs of materials to put up a library. Students have the library in their hands. Very little space is needed to store the devices compared to a physical library.”
How do you feel the introduction of e-reader technology will impact Rubanda?
Rogers is sure that other schools in the community will emulate the use of technology in the classrooms. He is also sure that teachers from neighbouring schools will come knocking, hoping to borrow the devices and build their capacity as professionals.
The head Prefect of Rubanda adds, “We are happy to have received this. To us, it sounds as luck and a blessing because it will help us fit in this technological world which is developing day by day.”
How did the guests at the Community Launch react to the new e-reading program?
Engineer Denis Sabiti, who works with the Uganda National Roads Association, was so impressed by the introduction of technology within the school that he pledged to donate one computer to the school to boost the capacity of teachers in ICT.
There is another engineer who promised to work hand-in-hand with the government of Uganda and bring water to the school. Many more other impressed community members came together to offer what services they could to help the school thrive and its students succeed.
How did Rubanda gain the attention of the press in Uganda?
Thanks to Anthony Kushaba, a journalist from Kampala, who attended the Launch, the next day news was all over most of the radion stations in Western Uganda. News of the e-reader launch was reported on Freedom Radio and Kisoro Radio three times in a different language (Kifumbira the local language, English, and Kiswahili) each time. VOK Radio also reported the news in Ki-Anyakole.
What impact do you hope to see from the e-readers?
Rubanda now has 61 e-readers with over 6000 e-books; 11 were donated by previous donors. With the introduction of the new e-readers, they hope to increase the margin of performance even more. Each classroom has a maximum of 40 students, meaning now each child will have his or her device during a lesson.
In Father Dominic’s words, “E-readers will allow Rubanda students to adopt digital libraries. Access to thousands of books will be created at a go. Students will be prepared for the future, thereby raising the levels of education within the community.”
Interested in partnering with Worldreader? Learn more about how you can bring a Worldreader e-reading program to your classroom.
Worldreader believes that readers build a better world. We’re an online learning charity with a low-cost, high-technology approach, combining 21st-century education technology, culturally-relevant digital ebooks, and supportive programming to support the sustainable development goals – particularly improving learning outcomes, workforce readiness, and gender equity in vulnerable communities around the world. Since 2010, Worldreader and its partners have distributed over 46 million digital books to 15 million children and young adults across five regions (East Africa, West Africa, Latin America, MENA, and South Asia). Worldreader is always looking for partners to reach millions more. With COVID-19 forcing millions of children out of school, Worldreader is providing distance learning solutions to families around the world. To donate to our reading charity, please go to worldreader.org/donate