Illiteracy, Participation and Feminisation of Poverty: A Critique of Uganda‘s Plan for Modernisation of Agriculture (PMA) from a Literacy Perspective
In this paper, I examine how literacy levels affect participation in poverty eradication initiatives with specific reference to Uganda’s plan for modernisation of agriculture (PMA). PMA is a development strategy intended to transform Uganda’s subsistence agricultural sector to a commercial one in order to eradicate mass poverty among the rural population by 2020. I argue that literacy is a critical catalyst in unleashing people’s creativity and building their personal confidence and assertiveness necessary for effective participation in development initiatives, and that in a country like Uganda where over 80% of the people stay in rural areas and 30-40% of the adult population (most of them women) is non-literate, it is unlikely that the rural population will benefit from the PMA activities because of their limited literacy abilities. I further argue that because of the low literacy levels among the rural women and gender stereotyping that characterises the rural population, PMA will instead lead to feminisation of poverty. I recommend that literacy should be deliberately mainstreamed in all PMA activities if the programme is to realise its poverty eradication goal for the rural poor in Uganda.
Keywords: Illiteracy, Participation, Feminisation, Poverty, Plan for Modernisation of Agriculture Literacy
Dr. Willy Ngaka
Doctoral Student, School of Comm. Dev. & Adult Learning, University of KwaZulu-Natal