BOSCO-Uganda, CREEC Embark on a Solar Campaign

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1) How can one identify and detect that the solar product is genuine?; (2) Can we assume this is research going on? What are the long term health effects of solar products to the community as compared to Phone effect e.g. effects of radiation, cancer related?; (3) If spoilt, who can help rectify the solar? Are there recommended companies of CREEC trained personnel down here since CREEC is based in Kampala?; (4) Where is BOSCO-Uganda located and area of Operation?; (5) Why is BOSCO-Uganda not in Opit?; (6)       Are there other activities being done by BOSCO-Uganda other than computer training?

Questions from communities/participants answered, explanations on warranty and guarantee clarified.

Battery Operated Systems for Community Outreach-Uganda (BOSCO-Uganda) had the pleasure of joining Center for Research in Energy and Energy Conservation (CREEC) during a Solar Awareness Workshop at Renewable Energy Powered Business Information Center (REBIC)-Northern Farmers Community Initiative, held on Friday 16th. May 2014 at Opit-Lalogi Sub County. Approximately 200-300 people converged at the event.

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It all started at around 9:30 am with the arrival of different community members and invitees. Different institutions, local/approved solar companies were recognized and had the opportunity to show case their products and services.

Companies represented included: – Dasmond Technologies, Davis and Shirtliff, CREEC and BOSCO-Uganda. Other stakeholders present were Local government of Opit-Lalogi the sub county, civil servants of the area, students of REBIC center and general community.

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Robert Komakech, BOSCO-Uganda Field Coordinator represented BOSCO-Uganda at the solar awareness workshop. The Field Coordinator did social market BOSCO-Uganda while highlighting that BOSCO-Uganda is a not-for-profit faith based organization under the Catholic Archdiocese of Gulu in Northern Uganda that popularizes the use of Information & Communication Technology (ICT) for the Development of rural communities in Northern Uganda; The Solar component system is used for the low powered computers and/or lighting at the different ICT Sites. The Field Coordinator added that in addition to the Entrepreneurial activities in the different communities, BOSCO-Uganda has got three different training packages: – (1) Web 2.0, Office Applications & Life Skills Training, (2) Leadership and Management Training and (3) Basic Maintenance and Management of ICT Equipment Training; all targeting both the educated and non-educated, Luo being the main language for instruction with emphasis placed on a more practical and less theoretical training approach. He also emphasized that BOSCO-Uganda has got a needs assessment tool that informs the survey, assessment and identification of community/youth groups for partnership.

A wealth of other issues touched included: – Danger & practical illustrations of Kerosene lanterns e.g. high daily costs, air pollution, fire hazards, health issues VS Solar lamp as alternatives-a safe technology free from bad health issues, has got low daily costs, no air pollution, no fire hazards. For more information on workshop content, please see link below “guidebook for solar products”.

Solar Awareness Workshop-Opit Handbook

After the Quiz and award (solar lamp products and T-shirts) session, Hon. Okelakwo Anthony of Lalogi Sub county made the closing remarks; thereafter the workshop was adjourned at 2:00pm by the Mr. Otto Lubila-REBIC Managing Director.

This event is one of the outcomes of the programme Intervention Connectivity, Electricity and Education for Entrepreneurship (CE3) implemented by BOSCO-Uganda with support from Accenture Foundation through University of Notre Dame Initiative for Global Development. Under this partnership, a Solar Training Workshop (29 July 2013 to 2 August 2013) organised by BOSCO-Uganda was held and facilitated by resource persons (trainers) from “Centre for Research in Energy and Energy Conservation” -College of Engineering, Design, Art and Technology; Makerere University (Kampala, Uganda) targeting 19 Participants including BOSCO-Uganda staff; CE3 Community Solar Technicians from the three Project partner Sites (Lacor St. Mary’s College-Amuru District, King James Comprehensive School-Lira District and Pabbo Sub County-Amuru District) ICT site users & volunteers; interns from Makerere University, University of Notre Dame and Gulu University). Please click here for a pictorial of the Solar Training

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BOSCO is named a finalist for global Echoing Green competition!

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Jonathan Marino and Father Joseph Okumu together in Gulu, Uganda.

The BOSCO community should be very proud today!

BOSCO was selected as a finalist for the international Echoing Green Fellowship. We are one of 85 organizations worldwide selected from an original applicant of more than 3,000, putting us in the top 3% of organizations selected!

Visit this link to read more information.

Echoing Green is an international nonprofit organization that seeks out and invests in the most exciting and promising organizations and individuals working on community issues around the world.

They recognize the amazing work we have already done through BOSCO for rural communities in northern Uganda. And, they are excited by our vision for branching into new areas, like solar power and entrepreneurship.

The winners will be selected at an awards ceremony in New York City on May 17th. Father Joe has been invited to attend this event in person, and will visit some of our partners in South Bend, Indiana after the event.

If we win the Echoing Green, it will enable us to build our programs and make new partnerships in Uganda and around the world. Also if we win, it will enable Jonathan Marino, a current BOSCO Board Member, to lead global network development and work full time with the Uganda-based team.

So please take a moment to give thanks for this wonderful opportunity!

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Youth organise a Community Fair in partnership with BOSCO-Uganda

Children and other participants awaiting the event

Children and other participants awaiting the event

 

The Community Fair funded by the Austrian Development Cooperation and DKA-Austria through HORIZONT3000 and organized by the youth of Alero ICT Youth Centre in Nwoya District-Northern Uganda in partnership with Battery Operated Systems for Community Outreach-Uganda (BOSCO-Uganda) attracted 300-500 community members from within Alero Sub County of Nwoya District; and over 80 participating young people/community members representing 16 ICT sites from outside Nwoya District.

Community/Audience

Community/Audience

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Forum Discussion

The program highlights of the day started with the Republic of Uganda National Anthem followed by; Charity work at Alero Health Centre III; welcome remarks from the area Local Council One Chair Person & welcome song from the children of Alero Primary School; followed by Role plays & Pictorial Presentation by community members on three controversial issues (Land conflicts, Alcoholism & drug abuse, bad leadership & governance) identified by the community of Alero – accompanied by forum discussions; personal testimonies & power point presentation by community members on the benefits of ICT; Acoli cultural performances (dance & music); Exhibition and official closing remarks by the Resident District Commissioner (RDC)of Nwoya District (representing the President’s office).

An award worth 2, 480, 000 /= (Two Million, Four Hundred & Eighty Thousand Uganda Shillings Only) was presented through the RDC to the community to Alero ICT Youth Centre. 200, 000/= (Two Hundred Thousand Uganda Shillings only) was in-kind inform Games and Sports items which are 2 footballs, 1 netball, Ball pump & 2 pins, 3 whistles, Snakes & Ladders (with Ludo) and Scrabble. The 2, 280, 000/= (Two Million, Two Hundred and Eighty Thousand Uganda Shillings Only) cash award was start-up capital towards the Revolving Fund/Village Savings & Loan Scheme aimed at contributing to the sustainability of Alero ICT Youth Centre and improvement of livelihoods of the community of Alero.

Prior to the day of the community fair, two radio talk shows (hosting the youth/community of Alero) on controversial issues were held on Mega Radio Fm on Wednesday, 18th March 2014 (English Version) and Thursday, 19th March 2014 (Luo Version). In addition to the Luo Radio Announcement (to publicise the community fair) held in the morning of Friday, 21st March 2014; the radio talk shows also served the same purpose. The Local Media houses (Mega Radio FM and Rupiny) also covered and reported the issues at the community fair.

The 16 ICT Sites joining Alero ICT Youth Centre on Friday, 21st March 2014 at the 10:00am to 6:30pm event were: – Acoli Muslim District (Layibi Division-Gulu Municipality), Tam Pi Diki Child & Youth Support Organisation (Bungatira Sub County-Gulu District), Coope Information Centre (Bungatira Sub County-Gulu District), Bardege ICT for Education & Research Centre (Bardege Division-Gulu Municipality), Lacor St. Mary’s College (Lamogi sub county in Amuru District), Latanya Youth & Widows Services Uganda (Latanya sub county-Pader District), Peace Together Uganda (Pajule-Pader District), Lira Palwo ICT Centre (Lira Palwo sub county-Agago District), Gwokke Keni PHA & OVC Network (Patongo Sub county-Agago District), Gwok Ma Inongo (Paimol Network of Farmers in Paimol Sub County of Agago District), King James Comprehensive School (Lira District), Super Star Football & Netball Club (Lukole in Agago Town Council), Aber Youth Centre (Aber Sub County in Oyam District), Pabo ICT Centre (Pabo sub county in Amuru district), Lacor Primary School (Lamogi sub county in Amuru District), Ngai Youth Centre (Ngai sub county in Oyam district).

Cultural Performance (Music & Dance)

Cultural Performance (Music & Dance)

Inaddtition to representatives from HORIZONT3000, BOSCO-Uganda Board of Directors & Secretariat in Uganda; also present from within Alero sub county and Nwoya District were representatives from Local government, Uganda Police, different Community Based Organisations/groups, Primary & Secondary Schools, Health Sector and clubs.

Three other similar events will be carried out in the districts of Agago, Lamwo and Pader organised by the young people and communities of Lira Palwo ICT Centre, Paddie-Archdeaconry ICT Centre and Peace Together Uganda respectively.

Alero ICT Youth Centre was established by BOSCO-Uganda in 2011 with funding from UNICEF; and upgraded in 2013 under the programme Intervention “Peace Building and Socio-economic Development using Information & Communication Technology (ICT) in the Acholi sub-region, Northern Uganda“ with funding from the Austrian Development Cooperation and DKA-Austria through HORIZONT3000.

Click here for more pictures

Radio Talk Show hosting community of Alero

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“Engineers Without Borders”

By: Maureen Connelly

Engineers Without Borders (EWB) is an organization that creates sustainable engineering solutions for communities in need across the globe. My EWB story begins in the Gulu District of Northern Uganda.

As a member of the Notre Dame chapter of EWB for 3 years, I have become very passionate about their mission, and want to do my part to contribute to their growth and influence. After learning about the involvement of Notre Dame Global Development with Battery Operated Systems for Community Outreach-Uganda (BOSCO-Uganda), I knew the communities in Gulu would benefit from the introduction of an EWB program as well.

The purpose of my travel was to identify problems faced by the community, and assist with the community-submitted application to become an official EWB program.

Through collaboration with Akiteng Stella (Project Coordinator for BOSCO-Uganda) we found the Coope Information ICT center fit the criteria for a successful program. The Coope community has struggled since 2007 to keep a permanent residence for their ICT center, but have been donated land for such a purpose. With support from EWB, and collaboration with the Bardege ICT for Education & Research Centre-Bardege Division, Tam Pi Diki Child & Youth Support Organization in Bungatira Sub County, and the Acholi Muslim District-Layibi Division, the community will be able to construct a permanent center on this land.

This ICT center will be open to all members of the communities to learn basic ICT skills (such as internet, Microsoft Office, and other computer software). It will also act as a central point for livelihood activities for the community, and will be a vital resource to mobilize the youth in the area and encourage them to become social advocates for themselves.

One of the most important aspects of EWB is sustainability. To this extent, all programs must be largely community driven to ensure success and future development. The Coope community has proven their determination for this project, and I am excited to see the benefits this new ICT building will bring for them in years to come.

I am very excited that I will be able to leave after my short 10-day trip having helped to complete and submit their application. Upon approval by EWB, the program will be open for a chapter to adopt, and collaborative efforts will begin between BOSCO-Uganda, EWB, and the Coope community.

This project will enhance the lives of this community, and I am very glad that EWB will be able to assist them with their future development.

For more information on the Coope community and/or Engineers Without Borders please visit the following sites: http://coope-information-centre.bosco-uganda.wikispaces.net/www.ewb-usa.org

(Special thanks to Father Joe and the BOSCO-Uganda staff, Akiteng Stella, Patrick Murphy from Notre Dame Global Development, and the Notre Dame College of Engineering for making this trip possible)

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Stella and I hard at work on the 501 application for program approval

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BOSCO and EWB Collaboration

Coope Information Centre

The room (right) previously used to house the ICT center in Coope

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