CALL FOR BUSINESS PLAN PROPOSALS FOR THE UCC/UCUSAF GRANT FOR “ENHANCING ICT ADOPTION THROUGH DIGITAL LITERACY FOR THE WOMEN IN THE INFORMAL SECTOR”

Decision of the Commission-In the Matter of the UCC Act 2013 & In the Matter of a Complaint By Mr Suuna Emmanuel Abdur Shakur (OS SUNA) Against Star DTV ( the licensed broadcaster of sanyuka tv) –
January 5, 2022
CODE OF ETHICAL CONDUCT IN BUSINESS FOR GRANT APPLICANTS
January 21, 2022

 

  • Introduction

 

Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) through The Uganda Communications Universal Service and Access Fund (UCUSAF), which is a Universal Service Fund (USF) to communications in Uganda, has launched a call for business plan proposals to establish a collaboration on the implementation of key activities under a general thematic area of addressing the digital divide amongst women in the communities.

Therefore, under the UCUSAF III programme resources were set aside to be utilized under a collaborative grant framework between UCC/UCUSAF and a suitable partner. Some of these funds are available within the operational budget of Financial Year 2021/2022 to implement activities related to addressing the digital divide among women in selected communities.

  • Background

 

Digital literacy includes both the skills to functionally be able to use the internet and digital technology, as well as the knowledge regarding how to do so safely, securely and with trusted information and protected data. Digital literacy is increasingly seen as an essential skill for employability and has been linked to higher earning potential and new economic opportunities.

 

Online experiences and opportunities are critical for people’s development across a wide range of areas. These include engagement in online education, both formal and informal learning, access to critical information and support related to health and wellbeing, participation in creative and cultural practices, civic engagement and expression of ideas and opinions, leisure and connecting with peers, and searching for employment, career information and entrepreneurship opportunities.

However, distinct geographic, economic, and social gaps in access persist, including those related to disability and gender. Closing the digital divide for all citizens in Uganda needs tailored understanding and actions for each of these barriers. Gender inequality in the physical world is replicated in the digital world. There is a large gap in women and girls’ digital adoption and use compared to men and boys.

 

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) reports that more than 50% of the world’s women are offline. This is more pronounced in developing countries like Uganda, where the internet penetration rate for adult women is 41%, compared to 53% for men. The Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA) found that 393 million adult women in developing countries do not own mobile phones, and globally, women are 8% less likely to own a mobile phone than men.

 

The gender gap in mobile ownership in sub-Saharan Africa is 13%. Women are more likely than men to borrow or share mobile phones (often within a household or from a male family member) and are rarely the primary owners of a mobile device. GSMA reports that women are more likely to have simpler feature phones that do not support mobile internet use and are 20% less likely than men to own a smartphone.

 

This gender gap in digital access is accompanied by a gender gap in meaningful digital use. Several studies have found that women tend to use mobiles and the internet differently compared to men. For example, limited by less expensive and sophisticated handsets, women use a smaller range of digital services (often primarily voice and SMS). Women also use digital services less often and less intensively, and they access the internet less frequently, for fewer reasons. These disparities in usage limit women’s access to the full range of opportunities offered by digitization.

 

As the digitization of economies expands, economic and social growth will increasingly depend upon people’s ability to use technology. While some jobs require very advanced digital skills, most jobs and daily activities need basic digital literacy to engage with a digital economy.

 

Without increased digital adoption and use, women and girls will have fewer employment opportunities and may face additional barriers to workforce participation. Digital adoption and use can also offer women, and girls in particular, opportunities to overcome hurdles they may face in the physical world. Digital access can empower women and girls, help expand their sense of self in the world, increase civic engagement, and raise awareness of their rights.

 

Reasons for the digital gender gap include inequitable access to education and harmful social norms that exist in the “offline” world and impact digital realities and potential benefits for women and girls. Factors that need to be addressed to close the gender digital divide can be   broadly categorized into three interlinked areas: access, digital literacy, and online safety.

 

A key barrier to women and girls’ digital inclusion is lesser access, compared to men and boys. This includes access to devices, to data, and to networks. Low levels of infrastructure, network quality, and coverage disproportionally affect access for women and girls. Their choice of network is often restricted by various factors, such as more basic handsets, fewer choices of SIM, and the cost of data. The Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) reports that costs tend to be higher in areas with lower connectivity due to lack of market competition and found that women and girls tend to be more price-sensitive than men. Women often have lower levels of income (women often earn 30–50% less than men) and are often less financially independent. GSMA found that women and girls with less disposable income to spend on mobile or internet services go online less frequently. Women and girls who live in remote areas were particularly affected, due to significant gaps in infrastructure and network coverage in rural areas.

 

In many countries, gender inequality means that women and girls have lower levels of education and less practice in using or creating digital content. As a result, women’s and girls’ digital adoption and use is frequently limited by lower levels of digital literacy, and a lack of confidence. For example, the Web Foundation found that in Africa and Asia, women who have attained some secondary education are six times more likely to be online than women with only primary education or less. Inequality in education represents a major contributor to the gender digital divide.

 

The gender gap in digital literacy means that female users are more likely to report difficulties in using digital technology, compared to males. One study found that women are 1.6 times more likely than men to report lack of skills as a barrier to internet use. Several studies report that more female users report trouble reading content and require help from others to use more complex features.

 

Limitations in digital literacy make women and girls more vulnerable to online risks than men and boys. When they experience harmful or negative digital experiences, women and girls often report a sense of helplessness. They may have little information or knowledge about staying safe online or resources and services available to them. A study in Brazil found girls do not know how to proceed or where to turn for help when faced with online harassment or non-consensual sharing of nude photos. This is also true of parents: many parents or gatekeepers have low levels of digital literacy themselves, and so their responses to their daughters’ use of social media or the internet is informed predominantly by fear of the risks, rather than by educating their children (and themselves) on how to stay safe online and what prevention and counselling services might be available to them.

 

UCC through UCUSAF, therefore, seeks to carry out a digital literacy programme in selected areas aimed at sensitizing and building digital literacy capacity for women, especially in the informal sector, so as to mitigate some of the challenges discussed above.

 

  • Project Key Output Actions

 

  1. Carry out a baseline survey on the status of digital literacy for girls and women in selected districts across the 4 regions of Uganda.
  2. Develop customized content for the training of women in the informal sector in basic digital literacy.
  3. Conduct digital literacy training for up to 4,500 selected women – at least 300 from the urban centers of each of the 15 selected districts: Kagadi, Alebtong, Kanungu, Kalangala, Napak, Ntoroko, Kaboong, Lamwo, Moyo, Sironko, Ngora, Agago, Butambala, Namayingo and Kumi.

 

  • Project Key Outcomes

 

  1. Increase in uptake of broadband services in the urban areas and expectations of a trickledown effect on the neighboring rural parts of the districts.
  2. Increase in smart devices penetration in the urban areas and expectations of a trickledown effect on the neighboring rural parts of the districts.
  3. Reduction in the overall digital divide in the district.

 

  • Target Group

 

This initiative targets women and girls with no or very basic digital literacy skills in the informal sector, especially groups linked to religious institutions, Saccos, associations, etc.

 

 

  • Eligibility of Applicants

 

6.1    General Criteria

 

  1. The lead applicant is a legally established entity in Uganda. In order to address the diverse needs of the programme, it is likely that the training will be delivered through consortia of providers. The applicant organization (in case of consortia both lead and co-applicant organization) will assume overall responsibility and sign a memorandum of understanding with UCC/UCUSAF to enforce joint accountability of action.
  2. The applicant organization must be in satisfactory financial health and have adequate financial structures and systems to report to UCC/UCUSAF as shall be required.
  3. The lead applicant or associate must demonstrate active presence and engagement with women groups in more than 70% of Uganda’s districts and a presence in all administrative regions of the country.
  4. The lead applicant has over 7 years’ experience working with girls and women groups in the country.
  5. The applicant has documented experience in mobilizing, coordinating, and delivering similar initiatives at national scale, especially working in upcountry areas.
  6. The lead applicant has a clear strategic plan incorporating such projects.
  7. The applicant has capacity to network and mobilize complimentary resources to sustain the initiative.
  8. The applicant and co-applicant must have an established working relationship spanning at least 1 year.
  9. Co-applicants must demonstrate complimentary competencies to the applicant.

6.2    Preference

 

Preference will be given to applicants whose Business Plan Proposals highlight the following:

  1. Demonstrate clear understanding and experience in dealing with capacity enhancement of women
  2. Entities that have qualified human resources in-house or working in an established and proven consortium to implement the proposed project within the proposed timeframe
  3. Proposals that provide for greater innovations in addressing digital inclusiveness for girls and women in a sustainable manner and demonstrating a logical process regarding the results framework in line with the national development agenda
  4. Proposals that provide innovation in execution of the project actions in remote and challenging environments (e.g. lack of access to the power grid or remoteness, among others)
  5. Clear financial and material contribution from the applicants over and above the grant amount
  6. Proposals that demonstrate higher value for money.

 

  • Assessment Criterion

 

The grant applications will be assessed based on a 3-stage process (Administrative, Technical and Financial):

  1. Administrative- focus on assessment of eligibility
  2. Technical –focus on clarity of the motivation, smartness of goals, appropriateness of methodology and project management, feasibility of work plans, innovativeness and potential impact of the project, ability to meet project priorities, addressing of crosscutting issues, project sustainability and capacity to deliver.
  3. Financial – focus on value for money, sustainability and ability to mobilize more resources to scale the initiative.

 

  • Risk Assessment

 

The UCUSAF Assessment Team will carry out a risk assessment of the indicated and non-indicated risks. The assessment based on the risks assessed will consider the totality of an applicant’s submission in assessing whether a potential engagement would involve low, medium, high, or extreme risk to UCC/UCUSAF.

  • Required Applicant’s Legal Documents

 

  1. Certificate of incorporation or registration for the lead applicant providing a legal name – the name that identifies the applicant for legal, administrative, and other official purposes
  2. Memorandum and Articles of Association for the lead applicant
  3. Applicant’s address (physical, postal, email, template, and web site)
  4. Contact person details – name, position, phone and email contact for an authorized representative of the applicant and co-applicants (if any)
  5. Letters of support from affiliated entities or proposed implementing partners if any (co-applicants)
  6. Applicant’s audited financial statements for the last 2 years
  7. Signed Code of Ethical Conduct in Business for Grant applicants and Providers

 

  • Business Plan Requirements

 

  1. Project motivation, objectives, and outcomes
  2. Project linkage to UCC/UCUSAF strategy and the national development agenda
  3. Experience managing similar projects
  4. Project implementation methodology
  5. Project management framework
  6. Project work plans and associated milestones, with clear description of responsibilities for each partner
  7. Project implementation budget with clear allocation of resources to implementing partners
  8. Sustainability approach
  9. Monitoring and evaluation approach
  10. Risk management framework

 

  • Application Timeline

 

The grant application is open effective 20th January to 3rd February 2022.

 

An online pre – grant application meeting will be held on 27th January 2022 at 10.00am. Meeting details are provided below:

 

Register in advance for this meeting at https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJwuf–srDMjE9cZW_dgmJPpdNBg27e7omwF

 

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

 

For any clarification or guidance on the grant application process, please contact telephone +256414339099 or email registry@ucc.co.ug/gkatongole@ucc.co.ug.

 

Final applications will be submitted in triplicate hard copy at the registry office at the UCC Office Bugolobi addressed as below:

 

 

The Executive Director

Uganda Communications Commission

Plot 42-44, Spring Road Bugolobi

P.O. Box 7376, Kampala

Uganda

 

And also by email using the following email address:

registry@ucc.co.ug and gkatongole@ucc.co.ug

 

Disclaimer

 

Personal information supplied in an application will be used by UCC in accordance with the Laws of Uganda.