An extract of a report of January and February 2015 says that “KEA CIRC needs to scale up the access and use of ICT to fit the rural settings by providing material that is most needed by the rural community. Information on issues pertaining to agriculture, gender disparities, health, climate change and community development needs to be made accessible on a broader basis thus the need to continue empowering the resource center to meet its vision and objectives.KEA has recently got its own plot of land and is constructing offices that will house a state of art resource center with better facilities. This will help to save on the monthly rent expenses in the long run, funds which will be pushed to support other activities in the resource center.”
Based upon this background, we continue to make the rural area of Kikandwa a better place to live in. We are going to use part of the last month’s disbursement to put a roof on the newly constructed resource center and the rest will be used to clear up monthly rent and facilitate the resource center attendants to continue with the lessons.
ICT services are no exception to the high population growth rates. Consumption of these services is mainly present in the urban areas than the rural areas. There exists a digital divide between the urban areas and the rural areas. Though there is an ever increasing demand for ICT services in the community, nationally and internationally, we cannot ignore other factors affecting the community like poor health, sanitation and hygiene, and poverty.
We take this pleasure as the management of KEA CIRC to congratulate Nakitto Betty (former student of KEA CIRC) for receiving a $1000 grant from The Pollination Project to enable the rural community of Bbambula parish to access safe drinking water. This would not have happened if the resource center didn’t teach her vital computer skills to enable her do research on water points in Kikandwa Sub County.
KEA CIRC is making progress one step at a time through providing a platform to community youths to access opportunities like that of The Pollination Project; opportunities which can help transform and develop rural areas.
These are among the success stories that are starting to emerge because of the resource center and will impact more people from other communities.
The management of the resource center continues to thank our donors for the continued belief in our cause by sacrificing their hard earned money and donating it to the resource center. We also thank Global Giving for providing a platform where organizations can turn ideas into reality.
Impacting Rural Farmers
2015 has started on a rather good note as we accomplished a lot in the last year. KEA CIRC’s mission is to make a community full of career ICT professionals with the knowledge to transform themselves so that they can affect and transform their lives for a positive social change. Despite our location where we are situated within a context which is essentially characterized with low ICT use inspite of an ever developing global village. We started this resource. Compelled by a very high population growth rate of 3.03% translating to nearly seven children per woman, it is not hard to imagine the challenges that the people encounter to access ICT services. This population growth rate creates strain on the country’s resources including arable land as the majority of people live in the rural areas and are farmers.ICT services are no exception to the high population growth rates. Consumption of these services is mainly present in the urban areas than the rural areas. There exists a digital divide between the urban areas and the rural areas.Therefore access in rural areas is limited due to poor infrastructure,high levels illiteracy, and high costs of connectivity coupled with lack of technical expertise to implement and deliver services effectively. These are major impediments preventing people especially women from using ICTs for development.This is why KEA CIRC is working with rural Kikandwa, to provide internet connectivity and PCs for the whole community. With ICT, the community especially farmers are able to find and share information and access forecasts from weather stations. Radio broadcasts detail the symptoms and treatment for crop diseases, videos demonstrate pest control techniques and web pages provide satellite imagery and analyses of local soil and vegetation. This information helps rural farmers to plant appropriate crops most suited to the region and the expected weather, increase their crops’ resistance to pests, all of which enable them to significantly increase their yields. Additionally, specially developed software collates and distributes market data to farmers’ mobile phones so that once their crops are ready to sell, they have the information necessary to secure a good price for their produce.
The Role of ICT in Rural Education
There is an ever increasing demand from schools, religious institutions for computers and ICT services. This is not simply because ICT literacy creates employment opportunities, but also because ICT is recognized as an important educational aid and service in itself.ICTs demonstrate traits of being alternatives to formal education and display noticeable beneficial effects on student learning, motivation and ultimately on student achievement across a diverse range of subjects. 30 farmers have so far been trained in computer literacy and these are people who are either school dropouts or never received any sort of formal education.These are among the success stories that compelled the management of the resource center to increase the fundraising goal on global giving because more people from other communities have started to see the impacts of ICTs on farmer beneficiaries.The resource center is going to partner with Rural Women Initiative; a women led organization in Kikandwa, to train under privileged girls in the positive use of ICT to change their lives. This will help bridge the gender gap in the use of ICT in rural areas of Kikandwa Sub County because the primary target of the partnership will be women and girls in the community.
Thus we call on your continued support to help these farmers get enough income from their efforts through the use of ICTs. We also continue to thank all of you who have unconditionally donated your hard earned money to the resource center to make our vision and mission possible
Since our inception in December 2012, we have accomplished a lot. I continue to that believe we can achieve so much more for the community around us.
Being located in Uganda, the resource center is situated within a context which is essentially different from any study of ICT use in a developed context. Poverty, gender inequality, HIV/aids, and lack of access to even basic resources such as electricity are just some of the backdrops of the community in which we operate. Our resource center shows that the creative use of ICTs and facilitation of existing structures and resources can improve people’s means of communication, with positive effect on their livelihood as well as their participation in public life. However, the majorities of people especially women in the area remain without access to means of communication and are entangled in structures of inequality.
The center applies a broad understanding of ICT casing various ways of information collection, exchange and dissemination. The role of ICT varies somewhat from rural to urban areas. Whereas the actors in rural areas particularly stress access to agricultural and health related information, improved communication within the community, and confidence building, the actors in urban areas are more focused on engendering ICT policies, podcast and video as means to share experiences, and the role of internet as a platform for communication, networking and online visibility. The various stakeholders in urban centers state that ICT usage, not least the internet, is seen as significant for improving the women’s economic and social situation, while internet plays a minor role for the women in rural areas.
In Kikandwa, ICT use is dominated by conventional media therefore we need to create platforms for conversation and dialogue that are important as the access to ICTs. The position of ICT capacity building both in the form of training, knowledge and experience sharing needs to be emphasized in especially rural settings.
Over 80% of Uganda's population is rural based and depends almost entirely on agriculture for livelihood. Diseases, pests, soil degradation and other factors such as lack of market for easily perishable crops have affected the total national incomes and subsequently the standard of living of people in rural communities. Generally speaking, access to ICTs such as computers and internet is very constrained, compared to conventional technologies such as radio and television. This is due to a range of development issues such as poor telecommunications infrastructure, unstable power supply, lack of ICT skills, high cost of acquiring and maintaining ICT equipment, high cost of making information available in local languages, and lack of sufficient time on the part of women due to gender roles (Jørgensen, 2010).
Therefore KEA CIRC needs to scale up the access and use of ICT to fit the rural settings by providing material that is most needed by the rural community. Information on issues pertaining to agriculture, gender disparities, health, climate change and community development needs to be made accessible on a broader basis thus the need to continue empowering the resource center to meet its vision and objectives.
KEA has recently got its own plot of land and is constructing offices that will house a state of art resource center with better facilities. This will help to save on the monthly rent expenses in the long run, funds which will be pushed to support other activities in the resource center.
We experienced frequent power shortages and this has limited our services to the community with using a generator proving to be expensive due to high fuel prices in the community.
We continue to appreciate the role that you have done in making our services happen in the community. We thank you for the love and belief in our cause of extending ICT services to the people of kikandwa Sub County. KEA CIRC also thanks global giving for sharing a platform where ideas can be transformed into a reality; KEA CIRC was an idea and is now a reality. Thank you our lovely donors that have driven us this far.