Huawei's mobile training hub bridges digital gap in rural Uganda to improve livelihoods

Updated: Feb 7, 2024 Xinhua Print
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KATAKWI, Uganda -- Although internet penetration is relatively low in rural Uganda, young farmers are benefiting from a mobile training hub provided by Chinese technology company Huawei and gaining skills in using the internet to research ways to improve their yields and market their produce.

Sandra Apio, 28, a farmer in the Katakwi District of eastern Uganda, was optimistic that she could access the market for her three-acre (about 1.21 hectares) cassava plantation online, or at least know the market prices before selling to potential buyers.

Apio is one of more than 1,000 young people who recently graduated after completing a three-month digital training program provided by Huawei DigiTruck.

The DigiTruck, a truck transformed into a computer classroom, travels from one region to another, where instructors train people in e-commerce and online research. It is part of Huawei's TECH4ALL initiative to promote digital inclusion and sustainability globally.

Youth, women, and small and medium business owners in rural Uganda are now equipped with digital skills to improve their livelihoods.

"I am proud to say that the Huawei DigiTruck project plans to benefit over 10,000 people in a span of three years," Yi Junsong, subsidiary board director of Huawei Uganda, said at the graduation ceremony last Tuesday. "We hope that those who have benefited from these skills in this cohort can use them to improve their livelihoods. Just keep in mind that these skills you have obtained are to open up your minds to understand the importance of ICT (information and communications technology) and what it can do to improve yourself and your surroundings."

Data from Uganda's Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development show that more than 2,900 Ugandans have benefited from the DigiTruck project since it was launched in March 2023.

Some young people, like Apio, have begun using the skills they have learned to improve their lives.

Robert Otuke, 28, is another small business owner who used the skills acquired from the DigiTruck training to improve his bookshop business.

"Initially, we never had internet in our bookshop, but when I learned about using the internet and how it can make you money, we had to buy a simple Wi-Fi device. That thing helped us to commercialize internet usage in our bookshop," said Otuke.

He said this move has expanded his income generation and has improved his livelihood.

Ugandan Vice President Jessica Alupo, who was the chief guest at the graduation ceremony, urged the graduates to use the skills they have acquired as an added advantage and engage in income-generating activities.

Alupo commended Huawei for empowering her country's youth and entrepreneurs and for boosting employment, among other things. She said the government will involve more telecommunications companies to expand the provision of internet services to remote areas.

"Digital skills" has been identified by the Ugandan government in its Digital Uganda Vision 2040 as one of the five pillars that are critical in transforming the country into a modern and prosperous country within 30 years. The other four pillars are digital infrastructure and connectivity, digital services, innovation and entrepreneurship, as well as cybersecurity, data protection and privacy.

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