Refugee Day: Refugee communities exposed to digital skills

Some of the refugees taking part in the training

What you need to know:

  • The Hello Hub is equipped with world-class, language-appropriate educational software that empowers every member of the community by enhancing their digital literacy skills

In effort to socially and economically empower refugees and host communities in West Nile, Hello World and partners have scaled up digital training with a view to arm the vulnerable and susceptible households with basic skills needed to navigate the virtual space.

 As the world commemorates World Refugee Day, Hello World in collaboration with abrdn, Andan, Imagine Her and Roke Telkom believe the best contribution that can be offered to the refuges and the host communities is to “teach them how to fish instead of giving them a fish.”

This explains why they constructed a solar-powered digital hub known as the Hello Hub at the Odravu West Community in Yumbe District to equip refugees and the host communities with digital skills, thus exposing them to e-commerce, e-marketing and digital financial services transacted virtually.

The Hello Hub is equipped with world-class, language-appropriate educational software that empowers every member of the community by enhancing their digital literacy skills.
Beyond Odravu West, similar hubs have been constructed in Lobe Town Council, Midigo Town Council, Geya Primary School, Barakala Town Council, Youth Center (Yumbe town), Apo, and Ariju Primary School within the Bidibidi Refugee Settlement.

Additionally, construction of two new hubs are ongoing at Yoyo secondary school and Luzira bright view primary school in Bidibidi Refugee Settlement.
The Hello Hubs are part of a larger initiative by Hello World to provide digital connectivity and learning opportunities to refugee communities across Uganda.

To date, Hello World has constructed 57 Hello Hubs across Uganda, including 13 in Nakivale Refugee Settlements, making it one of the largest hub networks in any refugee settlement in the world. These hubs have provided access to digital learning for over 20,000 refugees and their host community members.

Ms Winnie Nambuba, the project and operations manager for Hello World, said there’s a need for fast internet connectivity in communities, enabling them to have easy access to information, job opportunities, and digital learning for development in the refugee settlement.
"Every society now needs very fast internet connectivity to access information, get jobs, and also learn digitally for development," said Ms Nambuba.

Paul Oluka, an engineer with Hello World, said the hub provides various services to the communities including free internet, phone charging points, and tablets to access information for their development.
Mr Barnabas Delu, an elder and chairperson of the community, said the hub has opened up numerous online opportunities to the refugees and local communities that were previously inaccessible owing to a lack of internet connectivity.

“This hub has enabled us to access information, learn new skills, and connect with the rest of the world,” he said.
There is now call for international community to emulate this gesture and do more to support refugees and host communities with resources they need to rebuild their lives.

Uganda hosts approximately 1.5 million refugees countrywide, with the majority hailing from the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and Burundi, according to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees data