Deaf cultures and Sign Languages of the world: Uganda (Uganda)

Created 10 April 2000, links updated monthly with the help of LinkAlarm.

Ugandan flag David Bar-TzurUgandan flag

map of Uganda

Flag: World flag database.
Map: Perry-Castañeda Library Map Collection.

For a quick, interesting resource for facts about this and other countries,
try Mystic Planet - The New Age directory of Planet Earth.

Note: A flag next to a link shows what language the website is in. If it is followed by this icon: (video camera: This links to a video), it is a video in that spoken language. A flag followed by Sign Language iconmeans it is in the sign language of that country. globe (international icon)Sign Language iconmeans there is International Gesture.

Books on deafness Deaf advocacy and politics Deaf and social services Deafblind Deaf education
Deaf health Deaf history and current events Deaf performing arts Organizations Periodicals
Religion & Deafness Uganda Sign Language Uganda Sign Language dictionaries

Books on deafness

National Head Start Association. (1990). Head Start: The nation's pride, a nation's challenge. Report of the Silver Ribbon Panel. Alexandria, VA: Author.

Nyst, V.

golden marble bullet(1999). Variation in handshape in Uganda Sign Language. (Diploma thesis). Leyden, The Netherlands: Leyden University.

golden marble bullet& Baker, A. (2003). The phonology of name signs: a comparison between the Sign Languages of Uganda, Mali, Adamorobe and The Netherlands. In: Baker, Ann / Bogaerde, Beppie van den / Crasborn, Onno (eds). Cross-linguistic perspectives in sign language research. Selected papers from TISLR 2000. Hamburg: Signum, pp. 71-80.

Uganda National Association of the Deaf. (1998). Manual of Ugandan signs. Revised ed. Kampala, Uganda.

Wallin, L., Lule, D., Lutalo, S. & Busingye, B. (2006). Uganda Sign Language Dictionary. Sign Language Project, Faculty of Special Needs Education, Kyambogo University, Kampala.

World Deaf directory - Uganda.

Deaf advocacy and politics

Deaf Link Uganda. Mission: To advance the welfare of Deaf people in Uganda by providing educational, social, economic and cultural opportunities. Vision: To create a society free of barriers for all Deaf people in Uganda so as to enable them lead meaningful and dignified lives.


golden marble bullet(2004, April 11). Uganda Deaf group makes demands. Members of the Uganda National Association of the Deaf (UNAD) called on the Ugandan government to provide adequate education and employment to the hearing impaired. Addressing a news conference at their headquarters in Kampala, they demanded that the government should make sign language interpretation available at all public places.

golden marble bullet(2004, April 4). Deaf people speak out in Uganda. People with disabilities in Uganda say they have been marginalised for too long. They are now demanding that their basic rights be restored and recognised. Addressing a press conference at their headquarters in the capital, Kampala, on March 29, members of the Uganda National Association of the Deaf (Unad) said the government should commit itself to granting them access to education and employment.

Matsamura, E. K. RIGHTS-UGANDA: Deaf people speak out against marginalisation.

Deaf and social services

Making the blind see, the deaf hear, the lame walk - World Bank Uganda’s move to strengthen development dialogue with the disabled. How can a blind person who has been abused testify in court, when asked to identify the offender they cannot see? Can they present evidence based on voices of the suspects only? Those who have their full sight never think of such dilemmas. But questions like these are what dominated a roundtable discussion for youth with disabilities to mark the International Day of Disability in Uganda, November 29th 2006.

Uganda - 2008 DRF Grantee Organizations.British & American flagSpanish flag


Deaf education Uganda: Deaf Deserve Better - Disability Boss. Juliet Tumuhairwe, the head teacher of the Uganda School for the Deaf, said on Tuesday that it was unfair for children with disabilities to sit the same examinations with their colleagues who do not have any disability.



golden marble bullet(2005, April 4). Schools lack facilities for disabled. At Uganda School for the Deaf, Ntinda, sign language is the norm. During breaks, students gather in groups, with no sound rising from the setting, essentially the hands do the talking. Students conspicuously move fingers in a fascinating way that leaves one amazed at how speech can easily be substituted with finger action. The students on the receiving end constantly nod in agreement.

golden marble bullet(2004, August 20). Deaf plea to govt. The chairman of Uganda Association of the Deaf, Ambrose Murangira, has said 60% of the deaf in the country drop out of primary school due to lack of special needs teachers. He appealed to the government to address the plight of the deaf for them to benefit from the Universal Primary Education programme (UPE).

golden marble bullet(2004, January 13). Government asked to focus on deaf children in UPE enrollment. The Uganda National Association for the Deaf (UNAD) has asked the government to focus on children with disabilities in the next Universal primary education (UPE) enrollment.

golden marble bullet(2003, January 27). Deaf children still denied access to secondary school. Over 1,000 deaf pupils countrywide sat for this year's Primary Leaving Examinations (PLE). Majority of these have no where to go for their secondary or vocational studies.

I-DEAF recipient has ambitious plans. The first recipient of the International Deaf Education and Advancement Fund scholarship at Gallaudet, Maurice Ssenyonga, intends to establish training programs in the deaf community and lobby for deaf people to become skilled in farming and in various trades.

Kisoro School for Deaf Children. The project aims to provide deaf children in Kisoro with a full two years of primary education. Fifteen children initially benefited in the first year, but there are now two classes with two teachers per class. The running of the school is overseen by an independant management committee.

Kyenjojo, J. M. (2008, July 28). Uganda: School Brings Hope to Deaf Children.

Maurice Ssenyonga letter (March 13, 1996). The first recipient of the International Deaf Education and Advancement Fund scholarship at Gallaudet.

Mittler, P. International experience in including children with disabilities in ordinary schools. This paper was originally prepared for a meeting organised by UNICEF to stimulate discussion on the possibilities of inclusion in Tunisia. It was written in response to a request to provide examples of countries where inclusive policies were being implemented. Most of the examples refer to countries in the Middle East or North Africa or to other French or Arabic speaking countries.


golden marble bullet(2005, September 1). Silent Voices. Following the provision of sign language interpreting training for five teachers in each of the units for deaf children in Bushenyi District, the SGP funded project has improved teachers' skills and the quality of education given to deaf children in Bushenyi district. The project has also bought parents and families into a closer relationship with the schools where deaf children learn. Two groups of families have decided to register associations.

golden marble bullet(2008, January 15). ‘Silent Voices’ Takes off!! Many deaf children in Bushenyi district are not in school and there is a lack of community awareness about the potential of deaf children. This project will support the association of parents and teachers of deaf children to develop their activites in more remote areas of Bushenyi District.

Ndeezi, A.

golden marble bullet(4 March 2000). Focus on policy: Universal primary education in Uganda. Uganda's Universal Primary Education (UPE), begun in 1996, is the brain child of President Yoweri Museveni. A former lecturer at the University of Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, Museveni is one of Africa's pragmatic leaders who believes in the transformation and modernisation of society through the elimination of illiteracy and the provision of Education For All - irrespective of one's gender, disability or any other categorisation.
golden marble bulletEducación Primaria Universal En Uganda. La Educación Primaria Universal de Uganda (UPE), fundada en 1996, es el proyecto del Presidente Yoweri Museveni. Ex profesor de la Universidad de Dar-es-Salam en Tanzania, Museveni es uno de los líderes africanos pragmáticos que cree en la transformación y modernización de la sociedad a través de la eliminación del analfabetismo y la provisión de una Educación para Todos- irrespectivamente de género, discapacidad y otra categorización.

Report from Kisoro [School for the Deaf].

Shettle, A. (2004, Spring). Deaf Children with Additional Disabilities in Developing Countries, Uganda.

Deaf health


golden marble bullet(2006, June 3). Uganda's deaf missing out on key AIDS education. Uganda's deaf face extinction at the hands of HIV/AIDS because the country's health authorities have ignored them in their national strategy to wipe out the killer disease, activists said. About 90 percent of Uganda's estimated 500,000 hearing impaired men, women and children are illiterate and unable to properly communicate, leaving them ignorant of anti-HIV/AIDS messages and vulnerable to sexual abuse, they said.

golden marble bullet(2005, April 4). Who tells the deaf about Aids? Florence Mukasa, a deaf mother of five came to know about HIV/AIDS in 1994, when her uncle and aunt died from a mysterious illness. Nobody explained to her the cause of their deaths. Mukasa, a resident of Gayaza in Kampala, had depended on the scanty HIV/AIDS information from her five primary-school-going children.

golden marble bullet(2004, December 14). HIV and AIDS: The deaf get a raw deal. While statistics indicate that the rate of HIV/AIDS infection in Uganda has scaled down, it is sad to note that among the deaf the trend is fast rising.

golden marble bullet(2004, July 20). Deaf ask for UPE, HIV help. The Uganda National Association for the Deaf (UNADS) has appealed to government to consider it in the Universal Primary Education (UPE) and HIV/AIDS programmes. The association said it had been sidelined in all government programmes.

golden marble bullet(2004, April 7). Inside a VCT Centre for the Deaf. The dark blue sign board with gold lettering is no different from all others that announce Voluntary Counselling and Testing centres for HIV/Aids all over the country... [T]he services offered in Room 20 on the fourth floor of the multi-purpose building are unique: it is the only VCT centre in the country that caters for deaf people.

Uganda's Deaf Missing Out on Key AIDS Education - The Body.

Deaf history and current events


golden marble bullet(2004, August 23). Deaf train in Sign Language. The Uganda National Association of the Deaf (UNAD) has concluded a one-week training in basic sign language skills for over 35 deaf people in Karamoja, with a call to them to demand for their rights.

golden marble bullet(2004, August 9). Deaf beauty leaves a millionaire. The clich[e] disability is not inability could not have been proved more than what was displayed by the deaf Miss Uganda 2004/2005 first runner-up Ms Aidat Nabukalu. 19-year-old Nabukalu, who goes to Tororo School for the deaf, stole all the attention from the winner Ms Barbara Kimbugwe 19, and bagged Shs55.5 m from the audience to help in funding a new foundation for the disabled.

golden marble bullet(2004, August 9). Deaf contestant charms Miss Uganda 2004. She has not had much of a chance in life. Born a deaf mute, her father abandoned her when she was only two years old, and her mother died after that. But she never quit and on Sunday, Aidat Nabukalu stood cetre stage as thousands, who showed up at the Speke Resort Munyonyo for the Miss Uganda 2004 finals, paid tribute to her.

golden marble bullet(2004, June 7). Of beauty with a purpose. There were 12 beautiful young women, all of them winners in their own rights, vying to become the next Miss Uganda. But there was one special contestant; contestant number three, the 20-year-old Ida Nabukalu, who, on realization that she was hearing-impaired, became the center of attraction for the rest of the evening.

golden marble bullet(2004, June 7). Deaf girl tops east beauty pageant. She could not even hear the music she was supposed to walk to but 19-year-old Aidat Nabukalu, who is deaf and dumb, stole all hearts as she fought her way to becoming the first runner-up in the Miss Uganda 2004 eastern regional finals at Mbale's Mt. Elgon Hotel on Saturday.

Miles, M. (2005). Deaf people living and communication in African histories, c. 960s - 1960s. There is strong documentary evidence that deaf or hearing impaired men and women, girls and boys, did occupy social space and took roles across the full spectrum of life throughout Africa in earlier centuries, living lives like everyone else and also having some different experiences. Traces and signs of deaf people appear in many sorts of historical document, such as travellers' accounts, legal and genealogical records, government, institutional and missionary archives, linguistic studies, literature, folklore, religious narrative, mime, dance and drama. Many of their experiences have involved severe economic poverty and adversity, stigmatising attitudes and exclusionary practices; yet this has not been the norm everywhere in Africa, and many deaf people have shown great resilience, perseverance, humour and ingenuity in their dealings and communications with the non-deaf world.

Mr Francis Oranit.

NDCS. (2004, July 6). Links between Uganda National Association of the Deaf and the Rwanda National Association of the Deaf. This was an ad hoc project, which UNAD undertook on its own initiative following a request for support from the deaf people of Rwanda. Three members of the Ugandan Association of the Deaf visited Kigali in 1998 to visit the deaf survivors of one the worst and most barbaric massacres ever to befall an African country.

Sutton, V. (2000, August 21). Project manager of a Sign Language dictionary project in Uganda.

UK Uganda Network. Uganda 200. Scroll down to "The 'Pallisa' Project 14th to 20th August 2000, Report by Tony Fulford - 'Pallisa' team leader." The Kavule School for Deaf Children at Iki-Iki, also to the south east of Pallisa, was in need of a safe water supply. Their source of water was a well which was in a deplorable condition, being very dilapidated and dangerous. Marie had raised money to have the well made safe and to install a hand pump. The children at this school also needed clothing and bedding.

UNAD - News.

Yeo, R. (14 June 1999). A community-based Sign Language programme in Uganda. Action on Disability and Development (ADD) works with groups and organisations of disabled people in 13 countries in Africa and Asia to help build their capacity to campaign effectively for inclusion in society. The Deaf Development Programme in Lira, Northern Uganda, is the only programme supported by ADD which is exclusively for Deaf people. It was started three years ago by Gloria Pullen, a Deaf staff member from the Centre for Deaf Studies at the University of Bristol, together with Ugandan colleagues. Uganda is one of the few countries in the world where Sign Language has been written into the constitution. There is also political representation at all levels of government. Currently there are 46,000 places for disabled people, both male and female. There are five disabled people in parliament, one of whom is Deaf.

Deaf performing arts

The Deaf take Magic Seeds play to National theatre.


Uganda National Association of the Deaf (UNAD)'s mission is to advocate for the equalisation of opportunities and for the rights of the deaf people in all fields of life;: basic higher education, employment, health and social economic welfare. In doing so, UNAD tries to ensure that services developed or to be developed are relevant to the needs of deaf people in Uganda.


Religion & Deafness

Christian Relief Uganda - Deaf Hostel and School. Following a successful fund raising campaign, a new hostel building was completed where initially about 30 deaf children stay during term time. This allowed them to attend school, usually for the first time. Existing buildings within the KPPS block were refurbished to house the Deaf School. The further integration of the deaf children with the other children in KPPS is one of our ongoing aims for these children.

Deaf Ministries.

DeafTODAY. (2003, December 10). Deaf ordained priest. The Church of Uganda has got its first deaf priest. The Rev. David Bulime, 38, of the Immanuel Church of the Deaf, Namirembe, took his vow to priesthood on Sunday at St. Paul's Cathedral, Namirembe... Bulime swore in speech and later repeated the commitment by sign language while his wife, Rose Bulime, interpreted to the congregation.

Uganda Sign Language

International bibliography of sign language. Click on "U", then on "Uganda Sign Language".

Nyst, V., & Baker, A. (2003). The phonology of name signs: A comparison between the Sign Languages of Uganda, Mali, Adamorobe and the Netherlands (pp. 71-80). In A. Baker, Bogaerde, B. van den and O. Crasborn (Eds.), Cross-linguistic perspectives in sign language research. Selected papers from TISLR 2000. Hamburg: Signum.

Ugandan Sign Language: A language of Uganda.

USAID Africa: Uganda Deaf Trainers. With support from USAID's regional Omega Initiative, the Gulu Association of the Deaf in Uganda is training some of its members to teach sign language to deaf persons living in nearby communities. This pilot program is part of the broader initiative of the USAID mission in Uganda to integrate the concerns of people with disabilities into its ongoing activities. In Uganda , 1 in 25 people is disabled, and 15 percent of the disabled are deaf.

Waiswa, J. (2006, June 13). Uganda: The brain behind the Ugandan dictionary for the deaf.

Wikipedia. Legal recognition of sign languages - Uganda. On October 8, 1995, Uganda's national sign language was recognised in the country's new constitution, making Uganda Sign Language one of the few constitutionally recognised sign languages in the world (WFD News, April 1996). A Deaf signer (27-year-old Alex Ndeezi) was elected to parliament in 1996.

Uganda Sign Language dictionaries

Cassingham, R. Sign language: basic vocabulary. Kampala : Uganda National Institute of Special Education.

Uganda National Association of the Deaf. (1998). Manual of Ugandan signs. Revised ed. Kampala, Uganda.

Wallin, L., Lule, D., Lutalo, S. & Busingye, B. (2006). Uganda Sign Language Dictionary. Sign Language Project, Faculty of Special Needs Education, Kyambogo University, Kampala.