March 7, 2022
March 22, 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 the rural border communities.

Therefore, UCUSAF III programme set aside resources 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 digital divide amongst the rural border communities.

  • Background

The Covid-19 pandemic and the social distancing measures implemented to curb the spread of the disease, which resulted in millions of people modifying their daily habits, as well as an urgent need to digitalize work, education, and trade, has rendered the need for digital literacy skills inclusion all the more necessary and urgent. For millions of people who are unable to connect to the internet, the offline world is economically and socially isolating. COVID-19 has emphasised the ‘digital divide’, a term referring to the uneven access to/distribution of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in societies

The adoption of digital skills among the rural population of Uganda is a subject that has been left out of public debate, as the obstacles to access to rural connectivity have frequently monopolized attention, deferring the issue of how these resources are used. However, both access and use are equally crucial, and need to be addressed simultaneously.

According to the OECD (2020), there is a positive link between the dissemination of digital technologies at sectoral level and productivity growth. A study for the European Union (2020) indicates that the associations of ICT skills with productivity are strong: a 1% increase in simple ICT skills is associated with a 2.5% increase in labor productivity, and a 1% increase in complex ICT skills with a 3.7% increase in labor productivity. The same report suggests that both cognitive and non-cognitive capacities have a positive correlation with labor productivity.

The following findings have been advanced by key studies on the state of digital literacy in Uganda:-

  1. Internet use is more frequent among those who have greater schooling, come from favorable economic backgrounds, do more highly-qualified work and have technological tools at their disposal.
  2. There is differential use and access by gender. Girls come into contact with technology later than boys and have fewer stimuli for using technological devices.
  • Children and young people in rural homes are key in encouraging the adoption of ICTs in their environment, and are the most frequent users. The presence of young people encourages internet and mobile phone adoption.
  1. Schools (especially at secondary level) are an incentive for ICT adoption and use.
  2. Digital illiteracy is a major limitation among those who state they do not use ICTs (as well as reasons of infrastructure and costs). Another major factor is the lack of awareness in rural areas that these resources exist and the existence of diverse technologies with no clear purpose.
  3. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the use of ICTs especially in education and e-commerce in rural areas.

Evidence from the nationally representative surveys conducted across 20 countries (including Uganda) in 2017-2018 shows that mobile phone penetration and Internet use systematically correlate with Gross National Income (GNI) per capita.

A 2019 study by Research ICT on the State of ICT in Uganda revealed that the lack of electricity and underdeveloped ICT infrastructure are the primary causes of huge discrepancies in urban–rural Internet use and mobile phone penetration rates in Uganda. Only 18 percent of households in Uganda have an electricity connection, with an urban– rural electricity gap of 85 percent. Half of those who do not use the Internet (86% of the total population) have no Internet-enabled devices such as computers and smartphones.

However, other than poor supply-side factors, human development factors are also a cause of concern in Uganda. Just over one-third (36%) of non-Internet users are digitally illiterate, 23 percent stating that they do not know how to use the Internet and 13 percent gave a negative assessment about their need of the Internet.

Shifting people from passive consumption of services to productive use represents a far greater challenge, however. This requires not only improving digital literacy in order to bring people online but developing wider skillsets for the production of local content to stimulate demand, improving entrepreneurial application to create jobs and increasing the consumptive capacity of the economy more broadly to drive growth.

Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have enabled society to evolve towards electronic participation, promoting inclusive online engagement, global exchange of information on government knowledge and innovative civic technology. However, in Uganda like other developing countries, the digital literacy levels are very low especially in the rural and marginal-urban areas.

As part of the Government’s efforts to bridge the digital-divide, the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has in the past through the Uganda Communications Commission through Uganda Communications Universal Service and Access Fund (UCUSAF) used schools’ computer laboratory infrastructure as a platform to provide basic digital literacy skills to the communities around the schools, which greatly contributed to the reduction of the digital-divide in the country. Upto 4000 community members were trained in the period 2017/18 to 2019/20.

UCC also embarked on a digital literacy campaign throughout the country with a goal of equipping over one million informal sector people with the digital literacy skills they need to boost their businesses and improve their daily lives. Close to 10,000 MSMEs were trained under this initiative.

UCC and UICT in the FY 2020/21 also collaborated and successfully conducted a training of trainers (TOT) programme of five hundred (500) participants. The participants were equipped with basic and intermediate digital skills as well as trainer skills. The participants are equipped and shall support the Digital Skilling Programme at Communities in all districts across the country. These participants were later used to train a further 5000 community members. In the same collaboration, an Learning Management System (LMS) was developed

During the Covid 19 pandemic, UCUSAF undertook some initiatives at the border areas being some of the most vulnerable locations and WIFI hotspots were implemented in these areas to assist in the ease of doing business, easy access to Covid 19 information for its mitigation and enable local communities access free internet for the various social economic benefits.

Uganda Communications Commission through Uganda Communications Universal Service and Access Fund seeks to collaborate with a suitable entity to build on the initiatives above and extend digital literacy training to rural communities living around the selected 12 border areas of Uganda.

3.0    Project Objectives

  1. To bridge the digital divide and foster digital citizenship
  2. To empower communities and make them digitally literate
  3. To facilitate utilization of citizen services through digital means
  4. To create learning interest
  5. To improve life skills
  6. To improve employment opportunities and entrepreneurship

4.0    Project Key Actions

  1. Conduct a baseline survey on the use of ICTs in the selected border locations
  2. Conduct digital literacy training for up to 2400 community members (minimum of 200 inhabitants per location) around the border district areas of Kyanika, Oraba, Kagitumba, Mutukula, Vurra, Malaba, Elegu, Bunagana, Busia, Katuna, Mpondwe, Lwakhakha,.
  3. Reviewing content on the UICT LMS and customizing for online use and have the participants introduced to its utilization after the physical trainings.
  • Target Group

This initiative targets rural communities around the border district areas of Kyanika, Oraba, Kagitumba, Mutukula, Vurra, Malaba, Elegu, Bunagana, Busia, Katuna, Mpondwe and Lwakhakha.

  • 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 a solution 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 the UCC 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 the UCUSAF as shall be required.
  3. Lead applicant has over 10 Years experience working with trainings of similar nature
  4. The applicant has documented experience in mobilizing, coordinating and delivering similar initiatives at national scale, especially working in rural areas.
  5. Lead applicant has a clear strategic Plan incorporating such Projects
  6. The applicant has capacity to network and mobilize complimentary resources to sustain the initiative.
  7. The applicant and co-applicant must have an establishing working relationship spanning at least 1 year
  8. Co-applicants must demonstrate complimentary competencies to the applicant.
  9. Applicant should be able to mobilise some smart devices that will be used in the training.

6.2    Preference

The Fund will give preference to applicants whose Business Plan proposals highlight the following:-

  1. Demonstrate clear understanding and experience in dealing with rural communities digital literacy capacity enhancement.
  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 in a sustainable manner and demonstrating logical though process of the results framework in line with the national development agenda.
  4. Also proposals that provide innovation in execution of the project actions in the remote and challenging environments. (e.g. lack of access or remoteness to the power grid, 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) process but also incorporating the four equally-weighted, all-encompassing criteria:-

  1. Administrative- will focus on assessment of the eligibility
  2. Technical – will 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 and project sustainability capacity to deliver.
  3. Financial – will 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 lead applicant
  3. Applicant address (physical, postal, email, template and web site)
  4. Contact person details – the 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 Audited Financial statements for last 2 years
  7. Signed Code of Ethical Conduct in Business for Grant applicants and Providers – Template


  • 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
  11. Integration of cross cutting issues of; gender, youth, digital divide among other


  • Application Timeline

The grant application is open effective 11th March 2022 to 25th March 2022. An online Pre – grant application meeting on zoom will be held on-line 17th March 2022 at 10.00am. The link below will be used to access the meeting;

For any required clarification or guidance on the grant application process, please contact telephone +256414339099 or email

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



And also by email using the following email and



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