What an incredible month it's been. Thanks to all of your incredible generosity we have raised $6,102 USD and counting for our computer lab installation! We need to give a special thank you to past-interns and Montreal volunteers Anna Bunce, Grace Ling, Anna Hermanson, Lena Weber, Claire Wilmot, and many, many others for their continuous efforts in organizing and getting the word out all month. Members of Daraja, the student group of past and present participants of McGill’s Africa Field Studies program, have been holding fundraisers for Africa SOMA and contributed $700 to our cause! Thank you Daraja for your efforts!
Right now we have two interns from McGill—Claire Wilmot and Emily Duncan—who are about to begin their internships. One of their main projects will be supporting the follow-through of this tremendous fundraising effort, by helping with the delivery of computers, the lab set up, and hiring of the computer lab coordinator. Design Museum of Boston is generously donating ten laptops for the lab, thanks to the efforts and coordination by SmallBean. (Check out DMB’s larger project, Designing a Difference, here: http://designmuseumboston.org/). These laptops will travel to Kenya with our interns, and form a solid base for our lab.
Over the course of the month of May, Liz our Kenyan coordinator, and our interns will work with the Elangata Wuas Resource Centre Committee (a local community-based organization that runs the Resource Centre) to hire a local computer lab manager. This is a key step in the process; our lab will only be a success if we have a committed and talented individual to teach classes and keep the lab working properly. The interns and our local coordinator will also contribute to developing a document outlining how the lab will function, working in coordination with the Committee and our new Lab Manager. While Africa SOMA has been developing a plan for the lab, we are committed to working with the local Committee so that they can question, revise and adapt our ideas based on their inherent knowledge of the community's dynamics.
Currently we are hoping to open the lab in July, but we will keep you updated periodically as the lab gets closer to opening. The funds we have raised so far will be spent on equipping the lab with the necessary furniture, software and hardware such as a printer/photocopier, paying the salary of the computer lab manager, the provision of internet services, and the transport and installation of the solar electricity system. We are currently comparing prices of solar panels and batteries and Nairobi, and will purchase three 140W panels soon. Our comprehensive project budget, including these and other details, will be uploaded to our project page soon.
Once again, we have been truly inspired this month at the outpouring of support for this library project. The Local Management Committee has expressed again and again their enthusiasm for and dedication to this project. Since the local Committee was formed in 2007. it has been our shared dream to equip the Resource Centre with a functioning computer lab. This lab will serve a growing demand for computer-based services and education, provide the Resource Centre with a sustainable income source, and increase the technological skills and access to information among community members.
Please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or post on our Global Giving project page wall with any questions or comments you have at this point. Thank you once again. We look forward to sharing the progress of the upcoming months with you!
Jennifer Glassco and Allison Rhoades
Africa SOMA Board Members