It all started early 2007 when a civil servant from Austria was sent to Gulu through HORIZONT3000 in order to support BOSCOUganda and the rural ICT project.

Origins
At that time the first phase of the wireless internet – solar power – computer installations in rural Northern Uganda was almost done. People in several displacement camps started using the new technologies to get in contact with the outside world and read newspapers through the internet. But it was also clear that more local support for maintenance and training was necessary in order to make that great idea of ICT in Northern Uganda a success in the long run.

HORIZONT3000 is the biggest Austrian Non-Governmental Organisation for Development Co-Operation, working in Uganda, Kenia, Tansania – and several other countries around the globe. Its main strategic areas include rural development as well as peace building and conflict transformation. And beside financial support to local organizations, HORIZONT3000 is running a personnel program – providing technical advisors and consultants to support capacity building of their partner organizations.

BOSCOUganda has become one of the most successful partners of the capacity building program of HORIZONT3000 in Uganda.

Challenges
Although it started with a lot of challenges: When I came in as a Technical Advisor in 2008, there was still no real local structure, no staff beside the director Fr. Josef Okumu, no office, no transport, etc. My own “office“ was just a table and a chair at the veranda of the CTC Guest House in Gulu – nothing else. And it became worse: In August 2008 one of the main towers through which the project was connecting the rural internet centers, was bought up by a telecom company and could not be used from BOSCOUganda anymore. And as if that wouldn´t have been enough already, the main server in Gulu got hit through lightning as well – the whole internet connection to the rural sites was cut off.


Progress
But since then a lot has changed:
  • the whole internet network has been build up again and expanded to new locations,
  • the organizational structure of BOSCO in Uganda has been defined,
  • the organization is now operating with 5 local employees who are officially contracted by the Gulu Archdiocese,
  • a Strategic Plan has been developed, defining the way forward for the next years,
  • BOSCO has got a fully equipped office,
  • new partnerships have been established,
  • an accountability system has been developed providing regular update of the organizations financial status,
  • a local technician has been trained and is already doing further wireless installations on its own,
  • and so on…

HORIZONT3000 will continue supporting BOSCOUganda at least until the end of 2010. The Advisory Programme of HORIZONT3000 always focuses on strengthening local structures and training their staff. Our success is defined by the level of external support needed by our local partners: The more independent a local organsation can operate, and the less personnel support they need from outside – the more successful is our own work.

And BOSCOUganda is on its best way to proof being a success story of our advisory programme.

Stefan Bock
HORIZONT3000 – Austrian Organisation for Development Co-Operation
Technical Advisor of BOSCOUganda
www.horizont3000.at

1 comments:

  1. calledout said...

    Stefan,

    I'm both encouraged by these technological developments, and wary of what is likely to happen somewhere along the line when people discover they can access corrupting influences from off the internet.

    Dave  


 

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