Thursday, August 10, 2017

ULIA holds second IAP workshop in Northern Uganda: Excitement hits Librarians in the Region

Group photo of some of the Participants
The Uganda Library and Information Association has taken IFLA’s International Advocacy Programmee (IAP) by storm. In less than a month, the professional library body in Uganda has twice made media captions through her IAP workshops. On the 24th to 26th July 2017, ULIA held its inaugural IFLA-IAP workshop at the Uganda Christian University, Mable, and Eastern Uganda. On the 7th to 9th August, 2017, ULIA shifted her IAP sensitization guns to Gulu, far north of the country.  

The workshop was officially opened by Hon. Ojara Mapenduzi- Gulu District LC 5 Chairperson. Honorable Mapenduzi was very pleased to learn that the library fraternity was ready to support the realization of the SDGs and the UN 2030 Agenda.  

He said: “The current global development framework focuses on inclusive philosophy whereby, no one, poor or rich, should be left behind. All the SDGs will require the use of information as key to the UN 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. I am happy Uganda Library and Information Association (ULIA) is making the case for why it is important for all libraries to be central to the UN Agenda and Development. Libraries should empower citizens with choice and control over the decisions that impact their lives, their communities and their nation”. 

The Honorable further promised to work with the librarians in the Northern Uganda to implement his manifesto. He was now aware that libraries had a role to play in the attainment of the UN 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. He was also now aware that the reading culture of his people was still very poor hence the need for an active public library and a vibrant ULIA to manage this challenge.

The local politician was happy to see, the son of the soil – Prof. Constant Okello-Obura, Principal, College of Computing & Information Sciences (CoCIS) and immediate past President of ULIA, talking about development strategies of Gulu district and the role libraries could play in the UN 2030 Agenda.

Dr. Raphael Aregu- University Librarian, Gulu University and Mr. David Tibemenya, Principal Administrator, Gulu Regional Referral Hospital jointly made the welcome remarks. Dr. Sarah Kaddu, the current President of ULIA gave the overview on the IAP workshop.
Principal, Gulu Regional Referral hospital 
addressing participants

Dr. Kaddu, who is also an IAP Trainer, imparted knowledge and skills to the participants on how they could develop library programmes and align them to the National Development Agenda, Vision 2040, the Cape Town Declaration 2015 (Agenda 2063), and the Lyon Declaration 2013. Kaddu put particular emphasis on Goal 16:10 which directly speaks to the libraries and access to information. She further emphasised working with decision and policy makers towards developing library programmes that are aligned with the current development agendas within Uganda.

Currently, Northern Uganda has got a total of 30 districts, making it one of the biggest provinces in Uganda. The region is well known for the infamous civil war led by Joseph Kony. The region suffered from civil unrest since the early 1980s and this lasted for over two decades. 

Hundreds of people were killed in the rebellion against the Ugandan government, and an estimated 1.4 million people were left homeless. The war not only displaced people but also utterly destroyed northern Uganda’s social services sector including agriculture, education, transport, health and the economic base.  Programs such IAP are seen as timely and God sent for the natives. They are geared towards restoring hope and parity in the region.

Speaking after the Workshop, Mr. Steven Okurut commented: “This is God sent. As a result of this workshop, I now know the role of my public library; I can now take the duty I had declined, to brief my Area MP and my Council about the role of Moroto public library. Certainly I shall request for his full support in mobilising resources for its development and my advocacy work begins next week.’

Ms. Shilla Adyero, a Community Librarian was all praises for the workshop because many of the participants heard of ULIA for the first time. Ms Adyero and her colleagues vowed to support the ULIA programs to advocate for the library programmes and the role of her community library in disseminating information for development thereby supporting the UNESCO Agenda, 2030. 

At the end of the workshop, participants had developed the draft Advocacy programmes that they would further share with the decision and policy makers. They were particularly very grateful that ULIA was rolling out the Advocacy workshop to ALL regions of Uganda and East Africa. To them, advocacy is not one of the courses the LIS schools have considered in their curricular yet very important. They promised to initiate change in their libraries and also partner with decision makers, community leaders, policy makers and all the people who may cause change in the library services sector.

During Group Discussions
The Northern and West Nile Region IAP workshop attracted thirty two (32) Participants who came from: Gulu Regional Referral hospital, Lira University, Lutino Adunu Nwoya community library, Gulu university library, Cavendish university Gulu, Arua public library, Nebbi Municipal Council, Paidha public , one public library, NTC Unyama, Gulu SOCO, Gulu public library, Nebbi public library, Moroto public library, Arua Public library and Gulu District Local Government. The workshop was closed by Dr. Pasca Apio. Dr. Apio said she was hearing about ULIA and SDGs for the first time.
The IAP guns will now shift to Western Uganda in October 2017.

Well-done IFLA and ULIA for informing the world. 


  1. Great work team. It is the only way the communities and relevant stakeholders will come to appreciate and support the role of libraries and information centres in fostering positive change and the much needed social-economic transformation through information dissemination.

  2. Library advocacy needed more than ever before. Good job

  3. Well done ULIA for information dissemination