Sustainable development goals are also known as Global Goals. In Uganda today, access to information has been a great hindrance to development. Sandra Nanungi a librarian notes that access to information means opportunity for growth as people will make more informed decisions hence making the right choices.
A report by Bartos Institute for Constructive Engagement of Conflict show that libraries are the institutions in a society that assist people in exercising their right to information, and that safeguard and provide access to cultural heritage, enhancement of community, civil society, organizations and government in capacity building skills and raise general awareness by strongly supporting the broader development targets of access to information, improved service delivery and thereby setting a platform towards achieving the SDGs by the year 2030.
Some of these goals include reducing poverty by providing people with information that can give them better ideas, end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture, ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages, achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls, ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all, build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation, Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss among others.
Since these goals are set for everyone, the National Library of Uganda has translated them into some of Uganda’s most spoken languages. The aim of this is to enable everyone in Uganda to know and understand what the SDGs are about.
How libraries contribute to sustainable development goals
Peter Kagezi a lecturer notes that libraries have done a great job in eradicating poverty in the country.
“Libraries feed people with information on different fields hence increasing their knowledge, this helps people become more creative and also venture in new things they have read. Libraries will equip everyone in their respective fields and give them practical solutions to their problems” he adds.
Kagezii adds that libraries have also reduced inequality in Uganda as they provide information that empower people in their respective capacities and gender as well as teach them their rights.
Through a variety of books and information, Kagezi says libraries help improve on the health of people as they learn on how to stay healthy alongside giving medical experts methodologies of treating people.
“Since knowledge is power, an informed society takes informed decisions, our politicians are able to make great and more realistic decisions from an informed point of view. Libraries have the power to change the way people think and reason, a great number of books from great rulers and other leadership books could change the politician’s perspective in certain matters hence making genuine decisions,” says Nanungi.
Reduction of hunger through a verity of agricultural and climate information, Kagezi also notes that people are now aware of when and what to plant as the information has been disseminated through libraries, they have information on how best to get high yields, how to improve the soil among others. Basically a library will feed you on how to better yourself.
There is great increment to justice as people are more informed on their rights and cannot be defamed. Many lawyers have also gotten more information hence increasing on professionalism in the field.
Education has been boosted through various books given to learners that complement what they study in class. People access vital information that they can use to better their academics.
“As E learning is one of the most popular forms of getting information, a number of people are able to get library training services online and this has also greatly helped on information dissemination hence empowering people in various ways,” Nanungi adds.
The Bartos Institute for Constructive Engagement of Conflict report also indicate that the National Library of Uganda provided ICT training specifically designed for female farmers to access weather forecasts, crop prices, and to set up online markets in their local languages– to earn foreign exchange through imports, thereby promoting the Gross National Product (GNP) of the country. Another example from Uganda is the inspiring story of Rosey Sembatya, the initiator of Malaika Children’s Mobile Library, launched the mobile library on a Motorbike Taxi, known as Boda Bodas, with the aim of delivery books to subscribers. This development has improved the reading culture of Uganda’s, as reading is not seen as middle-class luxury but a need for personal development.