Illiteracy, Participation and Feminisation of Poverty: A Critique of Uganda‘s Plan for Modernisation of Agriculture (PMA) from a Literacy Perspective

Dr. Willy Ngaka
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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
Stream: Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Gender
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: Illiteracy, Participation and Feminisation of Poverty

Dr. Willy Ngaka

Doctoral Student, School of Comm. Dev. & Adult Learning, University of KwaZulu-Natal
South Africa

Mr. Willy Ngaka is currently a Doctoral student in the School of Community Development and Adult Learning at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Howard College Campus, Durban, South Africa. Back in Uganda, Mr. Ngaka is a lecturer in the Department of Community Education and Extra-Mural Studies (CEEMS), Institute of Adult and Continuing Education (IACE), Makerere University, Kampala. He taught and Coordinated Project Management Programme in the Department of CEEMS from 1999 – 2002. He is the Course coordinator for Project Management Course for the MSc. (Natural Resources Management for Sustainable Agriculture), a collaborative Masters Programme between the Agricultural University of Norway and Makerere University Faculty of Forestry and Nature Conservation since 2002 – to date. His interests are: Project management, Natural Resources Management, Development and Adult Literacy and Community Education. He is a member of Uganda Literacy and Adult Learners' Association (ULALA)and also serves as the technical advisor for Uganda Rural Literacy and Community Development Association.

Ref: I06P0236