To fortify families and communities by providing technology, tools and training to advance education and economic empowerment in disadvantaged regions.
When U-TOUCH empowers the young adults in Uganda we are fortifying the foundation for the next generation. A particularly good example is the Women’s Empowerment Program touching generations of women with a future filled with hope and success. Successful mothers serve as examples, role models, for their daughters to emulate. With their newly earned discretionary income mothers invest in education and healthcare for their children. The ultimate mission of U-TOUCH is to get healthy children in school and provide the best opportunities for their educational success. This multi-generational ripple effect strengthens families, communities, and ultimately countries.
With U-TOUCH certification in technology, life skills, entrepreneurship, job skills and women empowerment training, young women and men are becoming employed or becoming entrepreneurs. With incomes they are providing for their family’s basic needs and putting children in school. Young women and men are building improved economies of their communities, breaking the cycle of poverty and changing the course of the future of Uganda.
Our Core Values
Respect & Dignity – Provide a “hand-up” not a “hand-out”. Brilliance is equally distributed, opportunity is not.
Diversity – Honor personal differences and values and actively seek to understand
Results Oriented – Focus on performance of bottom-line measures that matter
Excellence – Driven by continuous improvement to provide world-class applications
Innovation – Always focused upon new and improved methods of achieving our mission
Integrity – Commitment to honesty and moral principles
Passion for our Work – Our efforts are heart-driven fueled by compassion and caring
U-TOUCH was founded by Deb and Ron Plotkin, two intrepid adventurers and travelers who were so moved by the tragedies they witnessed in northern Uganda that they knew they could not return to “life as usual” without making a significant effort to improve living conditions for the populations of this region.
Girls and young women believed their job, their goal, was to walk to a borehole to access water for cooking, cleaning and washing. Women and girls did not believe they could attend school or have a job. Unemployment rates overall were above 85% in northern Uganda. There seemed to be no hope for a future.
U-TOUCH began by sponsoring students, orphans, resulting from the Lord’s Resistance War (LRA War). Too many children were out of school. Without an education how could the youth advance their country in the future? Recognizing that it was impossible to fund the education of millions of children, U-TOUCH took a more sustainable approach toward helping the children of Uganda.
In their determination to improve the lives of people in this war torn region they began U-TOUCH, A 501 ( C ) non-profit organization developing Digital Centers, places where young and old alike could come and actually touch a computer for the first time – connect with the outside world, share their stories, and learn that they were not alone in their struggle to regain freedom, dignity, and a purpose in life.
This transformative approach has help thousands connect with the outside world. U-TOUCH training programs have graduated over 5000 students with invaluable IT skills that help them get jobs, create jobs, or improve their current job positions. U-TOUCH graduates have gone on to start their own businesses, developed mobile apps – things that would have never even been a consideration in their lives without a U-TOUCH education.
U-TOUCH has gained unique expertise in the process of establishing digital centers in challenging regions which results in sustainable global impact. With the right partners and financial support, we can dramatically extend the impact to millions of individuals and communities in the developing world.
TGG is a leading provider of outsourced accounting and business advisory services for small to mid-sized businesses across industries. TGG handles all of the monthly accounting and produces accurate and timely financial reporting for U-TOUCH. To learn more about TGG, please click here.
Meet our Team
Deborah Plotkin (Founder):
Deborah is the spark, inspiration and source of boundless energy of U-TOUCH. She brings to her role extensive experience in international development, innovative educational approaches, cross-cultural awareness and communication. She has led projects around the world including building schools high atop Himalayan mountains in Nepal as well as establishing a student sponsorship program in northern Uganda. She has been a champion for children’s rights and for those with disabilities in the US and Africa.
Joshua Kyallo (Chairman of the Board):
Joshua brings over 25 years of International Development leadership experience, most recently serving as Director of Africa Programs for Tobacco Free Kids. His expertise in strategic partnerships, management, presentation and organizational skills are unparalleled.
Ochan Charles (Country Director):
In addition to providing ICT training in Gulu, Charles is a youth counselor, providing counseling, guidance, life and job skills training and health education. By fostering AIDS and other STI awareness and furthering other health education goals he continues to improve the outlook for his students.
Stephen Topaco (Project Manager):
Stephen is a project Manager, Business Development, Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning. He provides leadership for the U-TOUCH Uganda program development team, monitoring, evaluation, documentation and reporting. He has vast experience and expertise in Program Development, Project Management, Administration and Human Resources.
Board of Directors
Ron Plotkin, Ph.D. (Vice-Chairman):
Dr. Plotkin has extensive leadership experience guiding non-profit organizations focused on improving educational and psychological conditions in developing countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and Middle East. He holds his PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Rochester and has extensive consulting and clinical experience.
Joshua Searcy (Legal Counsel and Secretary):
Beyond providing legal counsel, Joshua shares his passion and deep interest for empowering individuals and societies to overcome all obstacles and improve the quality of their existence.
Larry Kesslin is one of the founding partners and president of 4-Profit. Over the past 25 years he has worked with thousands of solution providers, and numerous vendors and distributors to help guide and inspire leaders to reach their chosen business destination.
Noah is an experienced business executive, entrepreneur and inventor, with several start-ups and a venture backed business to his credit. He started a web based company in 1999 and grew to generate millions in online revenue in the past decade and is currently CEO of SearchBug, Inc. and Intelligent eCommerce, Inc.
Dr. Norman Jacknis:
Dr. Norman Jacknis, Director of Cisco’s IBSG Public Sector Group (the company’s strategic consulting think tank), is a globally recognized expert in government innovation and transformation.
Dr. Jacknis has extensive executive and leadership experience in local and state government, including Westchester County, and other technology and innovation organizations. Prior to his public service, Dr. Jacknis had diverse experience as an executive in the software industry, with emphasis on Internet applications and distributed computing. Government Technology Magazine selected him as one of the nation’s “Top 25 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers who, using technology … broke bureaucratic inertia to better serve the public“ – a list which included not just technology leaders, but elected officials as well.
In 1987 Chuck founded Industrial Computer Source (ICS), which grew to $22M in sales with over 100 employees. It was acquired by Dynatech which kept Chuck as a Group VP . With his sharp business acumen he has been involved in several seed investments. Chuck balances his life with his dedication to his family and his wise counsel to non-profits.