A spotlight will shine on the rising stars of Ugandan technology and education scene this year, as Kampala plays host to the eLearning Africa 2014 Conference later this month. A key focus will also be on those in the nation who don’t yet have the access and education allowing them to reach their potential.
It is clear to Africa and the world that Uganda needs to generate more employment for its young people, 78% of whom are under the age of 30. In theory it is a desirable situation: a large youth population that is buzzing with energy and new ideas – but in reality this places huge pressure on Ugandan young people to fend for themselves with limited resources.
Offering the access to technology and an opportunity to learn and innovate is the Kampabits Digital Design School in Kampala, which up-skills underprivileged young people in ICT. To prepare them for an employment market that is growing, the young people are trained in using graphic design software such as Photoshop, as well as in web design using Dream weaver, Flash and Joomla – transferrable skills for an increasingly online world.
Helping to improve future prospects for these kids at the Kampabits School is 49-year-old education graduate Alex Okwaput, who leads advocacy initiatives for the sustainability of the Bits training concept in Uganda and raises awareness of the work the school does. Although not a digital native himself, Alex provides the intergenerational solidarity and support essential to young people, who require basic computer training and guidance from in order to lift themselves out of what can be a hopeless job market for many Ugandan youth, with almost two thirds unemployed.
One young Ugandan self-starter noticed a disconnect between the law and technology, and sought to find an accessible solution that would give Ugandan people greater access to legal information via Skype, email, Facebook and Twitter. 30-year-old law graduate Gerald Abila founded the BareFoot Law Project (BFLP), which empowers Ugandans with legal knowledge – a luxury often reserved for the most privileged and formally educated of citizens. With just a quarter of people in Uganda receiving formal education at a secondary level, free and accurate legal counsel is an important way to help Ugandans become agents for change in their own lives and for their communities.
Over 300 speakers will be sharing ideas like these at eLearning Africa, as well as news of ground-breaking technologies and education strategies, not just in Uganda, but from across Africa and the globe. More than 1500 participants from all corners of Africa will have the opportunity to partake in knowledge exchange sessions, engage with keynote speakers in plenaries and network with fellow eLearning enthusiasts.
From May 28th – 30th, African education and technology experts will come together with Conference participants to discuss the latest developments in this space, as well as brainstorm for future progress in Uganda and Africa more broadly.