–By Sarah Lovejoy
This week’s Alero-based Training of Trainers (TOT) is off to a wonderful start. Opening with responses to the question, “What is a computer,” including one man’s first time ever touching or even seeing a computer, the session wrapped up with photo editing.
The BOSCO team expects continued success throughout the week-long training, which is held at Alero’s Community ICT center. Usually a youth center, the main room of the building was transformed to a modern classroom with a projector and temporary blackboards. BOSCO brought an additional solar panel to power the 10 training computers. Though the sun was weak due to on and off rain showers, the computers were up to the challenge and suffered no problems. The training featured people of various backgrounds: site managers from Lira and Alero, a university student and a catechist, among others. Eager attendees articulated their expectations and fears, set ground rules, and learned the basic distinctions between hardware and software, keyboard and function key basics, and how to take, store, and edit photos. All in an Alero day’s work.
In articulating BOSCO Uganda’s expectations of the trainers, BOSCO staff member Robert Komakech laid out three key components: Commitment, Management Capacity of the Site, and Sustainability. In summary, trainers are responsible for the successful up-keep of their sites. They should use the knowledge gained at the training session to foster a sustainable community center that is safe and open for all. BOSCO provides the key equipment and guidance. Yet, Komakech reminds us, “This is not for BOSCO. It is the Alero ICT Center, not the BOSCO ICT center. We just help implement.”
BOSCO phases out after a one-year period, at which point the community center belongs entirely to the community it serves. If the sense of the community pervading the training session is any indication, the centers its trainers return to will be booming successes. At the end of the day I was struck by how joyful it had been. The level of laughter matched that of the learning, which is saying something because it was obvious that a great deal had been taught and received. Blending technology, development, and community, the day was a perfect example of all that BOSCO stands for.
Sarah Lovejoy is originally from Tacoma, Washington and currently studies in the Program of Liberal Studies at the University of Notre Dame. She is excited to be interning with BOSCO-Uganda during the 2013 summer and will be providing regular updates from Gulu, Uganda over the next two months.