What you need to know:
- The project. The books were launched in Luganda, Runyankole-Rukiga, Ateso, Luo, Kiswahili, Lugbarara, and Braile.
By Stephen Otage
The Makerere University School of Languages, Literature and Communication says it requires close to Shs100 million to translate coronavirus prevention messages into all local Ugandan languages.
While launching books translated in six native languages to communicate the Covid-19 prevention messages on Wednesday, Dr Allen Asiimwe, the principal investigator in the research project, said they need the money to hire editors and source experts in different local languages.
“I am from Ankole, the Bakiga are using the word akakokolo to mean a facemask but that mask is used for other purposes. Omweshereko is being used to mean lockdown, yet it actually means hiding. People do not understand what is quarantine,” she said.
She explained that the motive to conduct research on the accuracy of the words that are being used to communicate the Covid-19 prevention messages, was inspired by President Museveni’s persistent use of local words to drive his messages home when explaining the scientific concept during televised addresses to the nation.
“For example, the President used the word okwekyamura to mean sneezing but different tribes pronounce it differently and it, therefore, lost the original meaning. At border towns, the messages were in English and yet the disease was imported by truck drivers who speak Swahili,” she said.
Dr Robert Wamala, the deputy director of the school of graduate studies and research, said: “Government gave us Shs30 billion for research grants before Covid-19 came but we had to write to government and ask them that we divert the money into Covid-19 research, which they accepted,” he said.
In a similar development, Africom Business, an ICT solutions company, on Wednesday launched a mobile-based app, Taplink, which has been designed to eliminate use of paper to capture the bio data of people in high traffic public places. Mr Ben Ikara, the managing partner, said the app uses the bio data that government captured during the registration of Ugandans for the National Identify card to trace contacts of Covid-19. He said they share the information with the Health Ministry.