Friday March 7 2014

Information crucial for rural women

By Eric Nelson Haumba

In ‘Inspiring Change’, we have a pleasant theme for this year’s International Women’s Day that leads us to a modest recognition of women in society. But how are we inspiring change for the greater awareness of women’s equality? While women’s equality has made positive gains, the world is still unequal, especially in consideration of the rural women.

As we commemorate this year’s International Women’s Day tomorrow, let us reflect on the most salient needs of Ugandan women. There is fear that rural women are isolated by barriers such as social construction and limited information access. The information needs of rural women should be of concern to most of us because women are the foundation of any society.

An information society is where everyone can create, access, utilise and share information and knowledge, enabling individuals and communities to achieve their full potential in promoting sustainable development and improving their quality of life. An information society, therefore, empowers humankind through access and use of timely and accurate information.

In Uganda, majority of the females population live in rural areas. And if these women can industriously perform their roles in society, a quality generation will be produced. In order to achieve that, information is a necessity. Women, irrespective of location, need information on health, food and nutrition, family planning, education, business and agriculture.

Sadly, women living in villages don’t have access to such appropriate information. True, government has been an integral player in women’s education and empowerment. This has increased women’s participation in decision-making. However, this has been limited to mainly the urban educated women.

Obtaining and understanding valuable information will increase their productivity and participation in society. In order to facilitate them, establish information hubs in the rural areas and additionally introduce Information and Communication Technologies to them so that they can readily access information on their mobile devices and in their local languages.

Additionally, functional adult literacy programmes should be established to provide the necessary information and trainings for the individual development of all women.