“Over 86% of Africa’s population has no Internet access and many live in isolated, impoverished regions, cut off from education, employment and empowerment,” said Deborah Plotkin, Founder and Executive Director. “In recent years, U-TOUCH Digital Centers have demonstrated that technology can be leveraged to dramatically impact lives in the developing world. Now, we have exciting expansion plans.
“We’ve gained unique expertise establishing digital centers in challenging regions and we’re evolving our model to have even greater, more sustainable global impact. Our centers are becoming hubs that can provide NGOs with IT training resources and businesses with trained employees for outsourced transcription, data entry, graphics, computer repair and other services. They can also serve as Internet cafes for tourists and local people. These revenue-generating services will help sustain and extend the positive cycle of bridging the digital divide.”
U-TOUCH established its initial Digital Centers in the rural villages of Northern Uganda, a region ravaged by extreme poverty and rebounding from a horrific civil war, and has graduated over 3000 trainees since 2010. Using their new IT skills, young women and men are being employed for the first time or becoming entrepreneurs, with an income to support their households, children’s education, nutrition, healthcare and independence.
Communities where U-TOUCH centers are located saw healthcare workers gain improved diagnostic and treatment skills, and more efficient dissemination of critical health information; students have improved their academic performance, achieved acceptance to universities and found scholarships; and farmers received agricultural information that improves yields and the nutrition of the community.