BOSCO participates in Rural Electrification Workshop

Tonny at UN conference

BOSCO’s CE3 Program Manager Tonny Okwonga recently participated in a workshop highlighting off-grid electrification in Northern Uganda.

The workshop, Towards universal energy access: Uganda, organized by the United Nations Foundation (UNF) and World Wide Fund for Nature-Uganda Country Office (WWF UCO) was held on July 22nd 2014. The workshop was aimed at highlighting the progress of the private sector actors in bringing off –grid electrification solutions to Rural Uganda and mechanisms to leverage private capital that can bring decentralized energy solutions to scale.

The workshop drew participants from all over the world: civil society organizations (CSOs), private sector, and government agencies. The stake holders shared their practical experiences, challenges and lessons learned in the provision/servicing the energy needs of the approximately 29 million people who currently lack access to electricity in Uganda.

Lacor SolarFrom the Press release: Energy solutions provided by members of the Network help electrify hospitals in hard-to-reach rural areas, improving maternal mortality outcomes; light up schools and improve educational outcomes for children; light up opportunity through clean reliable energy for households and communities; and – together – help make the difference in countries like Uganda in the effort to reach the goal of “Sustainable Energy for All.”

In partnership with the Notre Dame Initiative for Global Development (NDIGD) and Uganda-based Educate!, BOSCO-Uganda is a strategic and implementing partner for the Accenture-sponsored CE3 project, which has electrification-and-entrepreneurship pilots at the sub-county headquarters in Pabbo, at Saint Mary’s College in Lacor, and at King James Comprehensive School in Lira. Among the uses for electricity provided at these sites are ICT labs; entrepreneurial efforts such as grinding mills, electronic repair shops and lighting for small businesses to remain open longer; and lighting and water pumping for schools. Computer-based training in ICT, mentored entrepreneurship, and renewable energy is offered
 at each of these pilot sites toward the promotion of an integrated economic ecosystem.

Pabo Energy ProductionRevenue from electricity users at each site is recaptured and held bank accounts jointly administered by BOSCO-Uganda and each community partner, with proceeds remaining in the community for future expansion and sustainable replacement of equipment.

Energy use is monitored remotely to explore useage patterns and new opportunities for efficient use.

Find more images from the Workshop here.

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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

Forum Discussion

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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