Why we work in Uganda
Rapid population growth in Uganda has put a strain on public services including education, and there is also a large disparity in wealth and opportunity in Uganda. Although the number of people living in poverty has halved over the last decade, the North and West Nile regions and the Eastern region remain under-developed.
Uganda embraced universal primary education in 1997 which resulted in a huge increase in the number of children in school leading to shortages of qualified teachers and resources. Class sizes are often very large with up to 90 children per teacher in some areas.
Uganda has several higher education institutions and this sector is growing, although only 35% of secondary school leavers find a place in higher education.
English is the international language of communication in Uganda and the medium of instruction in school from primary 4 onwards. Uganda has a strong educational tradition with Makerere University one of the foremost universities in Africa. Demand for books in English is strong and the national publishing industry is heavily focused on school textbook publishing.
We work in partnership with library services and NGOs in Uganda to provide books to public, community and school libraries as well as higher education institutions, hospitals and prisons to facilitate reading for study and lifelong education as well as for pleasure. There is a real need in Ugandan institutions for the books we can supply – especially in the areas of higher education, medicine and school books.
Our work in Uganda
Through our partner National Library of Uganda (NLU), we support public libraries across Uganda.
In addition to providing books for general collections in public libraries we create vibrant and welcoming spaces for children in Ugandan public libraries through our Children’s Corners programme. Find out more
We are also working in Uganda to bring e-books to children across the country through our Digital Futures project. The programme is now complete, and you can read about its impact on children’s reading. is providing both books and preloaded e-readers through Children’s Corners in 10 libraries to give children their first experience of digital resources.
Supporting schools in Uganda
We provide books through our distribution partner Kyambogo University to a range of primary and secondary schools throughout the country.
We also work with Africa Educational Trust to establish school libraries in government schools in rural areas. So far this project has established new libraries in 100 schools and we have provided over 70,000 books towards the project.
Through our Inspiring Readers programme, we have also created 25 school libraries which have brought reading into the classrooms of over thousands of pupils. Find out more
Inspiring Readers Uganda is generously supported by the Thomas Cook Children’s Charity.
Supporting higher education in Uganda
The higher education sector in Uganda is growing and there are several newer universities building their library collections, such as Lira University and Muni University (both established in 2012), as well as the more established universities such as Makerere. Through our partners we are able to supply up-to-date, relevant books for study which enable people to reach their potential and shape their own futures.
Supporting community libraries in Uganda
Through the Uganda Community Libraries Association (UgCLA) we provide books for start-up libraries in communities where there is no access to a public library. UgCLA has a network of over 100 libraries in rural and urban settings which are often managed and run by the community themselves.
Books for better health in Uganda
We have supplied medical and healthcare books to Ugandan libraries for many years, both in public libraries and in educational and health institutions. In 2014 we delivered a project in Gulu Regional Referral Hospital to provide up-to-date medical and healthcare texts as well as training for hospital library staff.
*UN Human Development Report 2019