Every country deserves a functional records and archives centre, and Uganda is now finally in that league. In line with the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, Article 189 Sixth Schedule (10) and the National Records and Archives Act, 2001 the Government with support from World Bank constructed the National Records Centre and Archives (NRCA) Phase I under the Ministry of Public Service to decongest the Registries and Records Centres; assure proper storage and preservation of the archival holdings of Uganda for posterity.
The mandate of the National Records Centre and Archives is to preserve and manage Uganda Archival records which are the national documented heritage for cultural, research and historical values.
The NRCA, located adjacent to the Ministry of Health Headquarters along Lourdel Road, Plot 8 – 10 was officially commissioned by the Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Ruhakana Rugunda on September, 29 2016.
Before the construction of the NRCA and the subsequent transfer of archives into it in November, 2015 the National Archives was located in the basement of the former Colonial Administration Building in Entebbe, where the National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) Secretariat currently seats.
History of national records and archives
Long before Uganda got her independence from Britain in 1962, records and archives were already being kept in the Protectorate. The process of keeping national records in Uganda started in 1950 when the Secretariat Archives was established under the Chief Secretary’s Office. These records were kept at the Protectorate Secretariat in Entebbe.
At independence, the Archives became Government Archives under the general preview of the Department of Management Information Services, in the Office of the President. With the recommendation of the Public Service Review and Re-organisation Commission Report of 1989/90, the National Records and Archives were transferred from Office of the President to the Ministry of Public Service, where they are to-date.
Before it became the National Records Centre and Archives (NRCA) as of today, it was known as the National Archives of Uganda.
Key Functions of the National Records Centre and Archives
The key functions of the National Records Centre and Archives are to:
- Work with Ministries, Departments, Agencies and Local Governments to ensure that all the semi-current and archival records (manual and electronic) created in the Public Service are managed and exploited to the best advantage;
- Ensure that all public records of permanent or continuing value to the nation are physically and legally transferred to the National Archives;
- Identify all records originating outside the public service that, within the appropriate legislation, are deemed to form part of the national heritage, to take measures, to bring these records into suitable custody and exploit their value to the nation by appropriate means;
- Preserve and conserve records of enduring value;
- Provide reference service to Government;
- Facilitate research nationally, regionally and internationally;
- Facilitate information exchange and networking with institutions and organizations within Uganda and abroad;
The target clients are:
- Policy makers
- General public
- Records and Archives professionals
- Ministries, Departments, Agencies
- Local Governments
Services offered include:-
- Storage and management of appraised semi-current and archival records from Ministries, Departments, Agencies and Local Governments;
- Reference services;
- Retrieval Services;
- Search room services;
- Outreach services such as publications, exhibition, media broadcasts, seminars and workshops;
- Library services;
- Sound recordings and oral history
Requirements for Service
- All people intending to carry out research at the National Records Centre and Archives have to seek clearance from the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology (UNCST), which is the Government Agency mandated for the purpose.
- Payments for academic and non-academic research is made to the Uganda National Council for Science and Technology prior to conducting research in the National Records Centre and Archives as follows
- Foreign researchers USD 300
- Nationals USD 300.
- Students (Masters Programme and PHD) research USD 50.
- National under graduate students intending to carry out research in the National Records Centre and archives are required to seek clearance from the National Council for Science and Technology through their Heads of Department.
- Study tours/visits in the National Records Centre and Archives are conducted free of charge.
Sources of Archival Records
Sources of archival records include: –
- Government institutions;
- Records generated during transaction of business;
- Private companies;
- Diplomatic missions, regional and international bodies;
- Public and private broadcasting corporations;
- Migrated archives.
What you can find at the facility
This Centre is Uganda’s heritage. Ugandan researchers and even the general public can come here and view records from far back as 1888. This Centre tells the history of the country. So you can come and view the 1900 Agreement, the Governance records of Uganda from colonial to post independence period, the various Constitutions we have had among many other important documents, including photographs, Gazettes, News Papers. A country without archives has no history. This is our heritage and we should cherish this as a nation,”
The earliest records in the repository date as far back as 1888 covering the activities of the Imperial British East African Company from 1888 to 1893, the Commissioners of the Protectorate and the Foreign Office from 1894 to 1905 when the first Governor of the Protectorate was appointed can all be accessed at this facility.
Other notable records are those of Districts and Kingdoms. These are preserved because they are important to the Government in terms of public reference, long term research purposes and they provide information of value to the citizens of the country
Currently the Ministry is desirous to equip the facility with the state of the art equipment. Funds are being solicited to equip the NRCA to ensure efficiency and effectiveness in service delivery. The Ministry intends to establish an archival management system with adequate and secure storage infrastructure and supported by professional staff; and automated processes and systems.
After the operationalization of Phase I of the NRCA the Ministry intends to construct Phase II of the building at the same location. This phase will increase the capacity of the repositories, to ensure that the national documented heritage is fully acquired. The construction of this phase will also increase on the office accommodation of the NRCA. Funding is being sought for this.
Ugandans are encouraged to take advantage of the facility and all are invited to take an opportune time to visit the National Records Centre and Archives.
You are all welcome.