Bill Gates once said the Internet is becoming the town square for the global village of tomorrow. Looking at the numbers, we can see that "tomorrow" has arrived. The internet is the town square for the global village today.
A year-on-year comparison by Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) shows that 3 million new broadband subscriptions were recorded in Uganda between June 2020 and June 2021, a 16% increase. The nearly 22 million broadband subscriptions in the country translate into a broadband penetration of 1 internet connection for every 2 persons. By extension, that is equivalent to an active connection for every 1 of the 17 million adults aged 18 and above in Uganda.
Given this rapid growth in internet access, it is critically important for civil society organizations (CSOs) to have a digitial presence if they are to reach communities that literally exist online. For the USAID/Uganda Civil Society Strengthening Activity (CSSA), implemented by EWMI, the vital need for an online presence is a serious consideration when designing approaches to strengthening the organizational capacity of Ugandan CSOs.
CSSA recently collaborated with Diocesan Development Services – North Karamoja (DDS-NK), one of the CSSA Supported CSOs, to build an organizational website that is already changing their operations, and how they interact with donors, the general public, and their various stakeholders.
"Before anything, the email created for the staff (hosted on the website) is much safer, official, and looks more professional”, says Wilfred Luke Komakech, a Programme Manager with DDS-NK, who adds that their team members were initially using their personal emails for official work. This practice affected the confidentiality of messages and made it hard for certain partners to trust them, since custom emails are seen as a form of identity in itself. “We now look more legitimate to the community as a simple Google search can bring us up and connect us with people all over the world, including those who might have never heard about us before”, he says.
Simon Peter Ijala, the organization’s Executive Director says they are now able to apply for funding from certain donors who need a website as one the requirements for application.
“A donor recently sent a form for organizations with websites to fill. We are now up for such opportunities. We believe we will get more donors because of this website. Even with the regular donors, while making proposals, we no longer have to send heavy documents - just links to the pages that have all the information about us. We can now provide content to potential donors with just a few clicks.”
Mr. Ijala went on to add that the new website provided an important boost to the orgzanization's transparency and accountability now that they can share reports, like quarterly reports, online for their stakeholders.
“We thank CSSA for the support and for walking together with us”.USAID-Uganda CSSA Supported CSO Goes Digital