Access to the internet requires access to hardware. Without some form of hardware access, people do not have the ability to make use of the endless possibilities that the internet offers. Although around 300 million computers are sold each year, there are still many people that do not have the opportunity to afford or access one. To ensure access to the internet, we contributed to BOSCO Uganda ‘s project to upgrade and extend the network in the Agago District.
During the course of the project, 4 ICT centers were refurbished with new computers, power systems, and internet connection to the BOSCO Uganda network infrastructure. In this blog, Daniel Arapmoi, one of the regular users of the Gwokke Keni Community ICT Center in Patongo Town Council shares what impact the upgraded network has had for himself and for the town.
Daniel tells the story of how the people and communities in the town got together to save up money to buy new computers, so that they could continue using the ICT center for learning. Despite their efforts, Daniel describes that the purpose of the center collapsed when lack of working computers meant lack of people. “Most of the computers that were here got damaged. Before the upgrade of the computers at this ICT center, the students that used the computers to learn were scattered. They stopped coming to the center.”
Photo credit: BOSCO Uganda. Daniel Arapmoi
BOSCO Uganda reached out to the community and offered to upgrade the ICT center by purchasing new computers. Daniel was one of 12 people who took part in a training program to learn more about how to use the computers for learning purposes. “There was an upgrade that took place and right now, we have computers installed. There are so many computers here in this center. Students can come and begin to learn. People are coming every Wednesday in the afternoon. Right now we have a plan. We have resumed the head of VSLA (Village Savings and Loan Association)”
Additionally, the community is still contributing to the maintenance of the ICT center as much as they can by saving money that is donated to the center. Furthermore, Daniel explains that they register students that come to the center regularly. They make sure that the learning facilitator is around for those students. To keep this running, the students are asked to pay a small fee. To keep an overview, Daniel and his colleagues write out receipts and do the bookkeeping. That way they ensure that the money is properly registered and used accordingly.
At the ICT center, the students also get computer training, and the goal is to offer training for some students so that they can share their knowledge with new students that want to learn. Daniel explains: “The knowledge of computers will help some of the people who want to, to go and get employment outside of the town.”
Photo credit: BOSCO Uganda. Computers at the Superstar ICT center
Looking at what they can do in the future, Daniel highlights his ambition to share the opportunities that the new computers bring to the broader community. “Before this, I had never had any education within computers. When I did the introduction that they offer here, it gave me courage to believe that it can be easy to operate. As a pastor, I want to share this with the community, so that they can enroll in the training and make the center grow.” Lastly, Daniel expressed his gratitude to BOSCO Uganda for enabling his community to connect to the internet.