To extend Internet penetration into more disadvantaged communities around the country, “Promise Hub”, a Non-Governmental Organization, has opened an Internet facility at the Nakivale Refugee Settlement in Western Uganda.
With the facility expected to serve about 100,000 people, Promise Hub will have boosted the National Information Technology survey of 2017/2018, which showed that in a year, only 12.1% of residents had used the Internet in that period spanning a year.
However, Promise Hub’s Internet facility comes with a greater importance to settlers in Nakivale, as it is a platform to open up global economic opportunities for them. Harald Neidhardt of Promise Hub told The Observer, that considering the high unemployment levels in Nakivale, the Internet facility will help residents there discover what the world needs, and find ways of providing it.
In Nakivale, the settlers, most of who came as refugees from DR Congo, Rwanda, Burundi, Eritrea and Ethiopia, are all geared towards making a livelihood for themselves, through the support of Promise Hub. Alphonse Majaliwa, 25, came from Congo in 2011, and has become a vanilla grower and trader.
Majaliwa said, “Promise Hub has trained me in how to use the Internet to get business opportunities. But beyond that, I am a facilitator/Game changer expected to train other residents here in acquiring Entrepreneur skills, so that they become self-sustaining.
In addition, Deborah Kasavubu, 20, who is also one of the 30 Game Changers, that Promise Hub trained, for capacity building said, “As youth, the future is ours, so we have got to take advantage of the global village, that Promise Hub has brought to us, so that we eliminate poverty.”
Diana Krueger, a director with Promise Hub, said there is a lot the Nakivale residents can benefit from the facility, to propel themselves to greater heights. “We have partnered with DHL, to ensure that whatever production they are involved in can reach the wider market.”
Moses Saramembe makes sandals out of used car tyres, and through Internet connections, the prospects of getting buyers are huge, he said. Already, a number of others artists are making bangles and bracelets from plastic and leather raw-materials that they intend to export.
Before this facility, which has 16 laptops, the Internet cafes in Nakivale charged residents Shs 1500 for every 30 minutes, which to Majaliwa is costly. In a nutshell, Promise Hub has brought a new dawn to Nakivale. What was previously a refugee camp, back in the 1950s, is not only a settlement now, but it is becoming part of the global village.