A dream… in a district where very few people have been to school, these women, as old as 80, are given the chance to study. They are taught numeracy, literacy and general knowledge.
It is one of the projects in Okere smart city, which used to be a village shuttered by war.
Amuge Hurriet is one of the students, and already applying the knowledge in her business
“Originally I used to also do simple businesses and because I didn’t know mathematics they would cheat me. But now because of this adult literacy class, I am able to calculate simple mathematics so I can count my money well.”
And that is what drives Ojok Okello, the community builder behind this transformation
“My inspiration was quite selfish. I wanted to live a good life, even in the remotest of locations and I noticed then that I couldn’t just live a comfortable life myself, we had to thrive together as a community.”
With his own savings, Ojok has built a complex that accommodates an adult education service, health center, local bank, and even a sheer massage parlor – facilities you wouldn’t find in typical Ugandan villages.
When he first returned after an insurgency, he found nothing at home in Okere Mom-Kok, Otuke district, Northern Uganda.
Then he took a radical approach to build the first sustainable rural city.
“In the next 10 years which is 2030, we hope to build the 50 per cent and then the future we want to create this place as a hub.”
In a society where the rural is often ignored, Ojok’s milestones are changing how the countryside is perceived.
They recently held the maiden Okere summit with the belief they can transform this once impoverished village now founded on sheer nut, driven by the people and powered by solar.
As Africa progresses, Okere smart city is proving that rural areas are key actors and not just onlookers in development.
Raziah Athman, for Africanews, in Otuke, Uganda.