The Battery Operated Systems for Community Outreach (BOSCO) Uganda goes an extra mile with Kolibri to bring South Sudanese refugees home away from Home since September 2017. (Art & Technology for Tenderness Video, Adjumani) . If there is to be found anything unique in addressing the refugee crisis then it is in north and North West Uganda where local people Logbari, Kakwa, Madi and Acholi who suffered rebel war between the regime of Yoweri K, Museveni and the resistance of Joseph Kony between 1986 and 2007 are now offering pieces of their land for refugees to feel home away from home. What more decent settlement can you find for one who takes refuge in your home area than a piece of land to build, cultivate, sink pit latrine and build bathroom besides own hut to sleep. Yet that is not all. There is another unique way in which the BOSCOUganda, a Church Based Organization using unlicensed spectrum under the trustee of the Catholic Archdiocese of Gulu is contributing to give love and tenderness to their South Sudanese refugees drenched in bloody civil war since December 2013.

Kolobri is an open source plat form used by BOSCOUganda to share contents: videos, pictures, and articles etc among school going and out of school youths, adult women and men refugees and their host communities who like to learn from one another. Kolibri makes high quality education technology available in low-resource communities such as rural schools, refugee camps, orphanages, non-formal school setting and prison institutions to mention but a few.

Explaining how Kolibri works Benson Olobo BOSCOUganda’s head of the technical crews says: “One collects contents and creates account on the Kolibri curation server where all contents are up loaded pretty haphazardly. Where does one find contents? The contents are found all over in schools syllabi, books, pictures and games, storytelling, songs, game reserves, cultivating the fields, etc. Whatever, whoever, anywhere and anyhow provide content for learning. Kolobri server accommodates all of these. It is all pretty customizable”.

Using the channel identification, hereafter ID a Kolibri client will be able to down load the desired contents. Channel ID enables Kolibri field client to download all contents from the curation server. Channel ID also sorts out what you want. BOSCOUganda is aware that harmful contents to users’ moral dignity are unwelcomed by right and so such contents are prohibited to feed into the curation server for knowledge sharing.

In the refugee settlements we found that there is limited network to enable learners share knowledge. There are solar powered computers which are interconnected together (networked) and refugees love to learn on the computer. In the computers we fed contents derived from the Kolibri curation server. The Kolibri server located in the refugee settlement shares whatever content it has with the interconnected computers within the settlement.

The Kolibri Open Source Software (KOSS) is of course free of license. It runs both on windows and UBUNTU/Linux and Linux is as we know resistant to virus.

With such rich opportunity as Kolibri BOSCO Uganda whose driving slogan is “connecting people and preserving culture” wants to connect the refugees’ family members scattered out by war and store their cultural heritages on the curation server and then distribute them through the channel ID.  All “devices running  Kolibri will be able to find and directly connect with each other over a local WiFi network allowing for easy content sharing and data updates” (Kolibri).

BOSCO Uganda has a total of 32 internet hub stations spread all over the Acholi sub-region. It has a total of 16 Kolibri access centres all over the refugees’ settlements in the West Nile and Acholi Sub-regions. One can imagine what window of learning there is with such offline educational library as Kolibri and the earlier web 2.0 applications. One must conclude that BOSCOUganda has gone an extra mile from just connecting scattered people to bringing refugees home away from home. (Videos from the refugee settlement in Adjumani Northern Uganda)

Learning equality (creators of Kolibri here below) Team in picture below visiting and talking to users in one of the refugees settlements


The Rev Fr Joseph Okumu co-founder and CEO BOSCOUganda says: “If you disconnect technology with the human persons and their dignity then I see no point ministering to an organization that is only dealing with technical equipment. The Holy Father Pope Francis has repeatedly asked us to love. He is the Pope of Love and mercy if you like. … and my Archbishop Most Rev John Baptist Odama would add… love humanity. As one who orders to minister from them I must ensure that BOSCOUganda is an instrument of love to humanity. So by BOSCOUganda South Sudanese and any other refugees must find him or herself home away from home. BOSCO Uganda will continue to unveil this dream to the south Sudanese until May of 2018.

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