Battery Operated System for Community Outreach(BOSCO-Uganda) is a faith based, Non-Governmental Organisation(NGO) That is located in the Gulu Archdiocese Northern Uganda. It began in 2007 as an effort to put wireless and VolP telephony into the internally dispalced persons’ (IDPs) camps of Northern Uganda, in cooperation with the Archdiocese of Gulu. This was done in collaboration with Inveneo to place their low-power PCs Powered by solar panels in the Catechist Center and the Caritas Office in Gulu, at schools, hospitals, colleges and Churches in the Pabbo, Alero, Lacor, Coope, Jengari, Unyama and Pagak IDP camps. BOSCO-Uganda started as a collaboration between friends from Gulu and The United States of America, with the aims to use ICT to help end the isolation of Communities in rural areas that were affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army(LRA) war with the government of Uganda.
BOSCO USA was founded by Gus Zuehlke in 2007. Gus had established relationships on prior visits to Gulu with the Archdiocese of Gulu, including the Archbishop John Baptist Odama and Fr Joseph Okumu who is now the BOSCO-Uganda Chief Executive Officer. In 2007, northern Uganda was benefiting from a tenuous ceasefire, yet nearly 1.7 million people throughout the region remained stuck and isolated in Internally Displaced Person (IDP) camps
Gus discussed some of the needs and challenges the archdiocese and the people were facing. The Archbishop’s priority was to help the Acholi people of northern Uganda end the severe isolation they were experiencing in the camps. By connecting camp schools, community centers, parishes, and health clinics to the outside world through the Internet, the Acholi people could begin to end their isolation by advocating for their own cause
In 2007 Gus assembled an all volunteer Board of Directors and incorporated BOSCO Inc. as a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization. In April of 2007, with the help of Inveneo and BOSCO’s Founding Technical Director Ted Pethick, BOSCO deployed the first set of low power, solar PCs with long-range WiFi Internet in 6 site locations.
Today, BOSCO USA has watched BOSCO-Uganda grow as they employ a Uganda-based staff and administration and have expanded the BOSCO network to more than 30 sites. BOSCO has attracted partnerships from both local and international development organizations.