Despite concerted effort by successive governments in Uganda, in close collaboration and support, with it’s global partners to improve the rate of literacy in the country, in the last 53 years, since attaining national independence, from the British colonial rule in 1962, it is estimated that in excess of 10 million people, out of an estimated population of 35 million Ugandans remain illiterate.
Nearly 70% to 80% of the 10 million illiterate people, are amongst the country’s most vulnerable populations, the largest majority of whom reside in rural communities, including those in the West Nile sub-region of north western Uganda.
These are the people often ignored, neglected and marginalized by central and as well as local government’s lack of commitment of vital resources, to lift them out of vicious cycle of abject poverty. Unfortunately, central governments have been known to take advantage of such vulnerable members of society, for their own political gains and nothing more.
It is widely accepted knowledge that illiteracy is a major social, economic and political barrier, towards effective reduction and eventual total eradication of poverty, persistent in many rural communities and among urban slum dwellers, in the country.
The Directorate of Social Protection in Uganda estimates that up to 70% of the population are either poor or highly vulnerable to poverty and incidents of recurring poverty.
In accordance to United Nations Fund for Population Activities, of Uganda’s 35 million people, about 23million are prone to poverty. Of this total around 8.4 million, which is about 24.5% are trapped in absolute poverty, without any social safety network of one kind or another, including savings of any kind. It is an alarming situation, so grim that something radical needs to be done, to reverse the situation, from getting any worst.