THE HEART OF KABAROLE
Rejoice Kabarole, for your time has come!!!
By Josephine Kembabazi, Information Officer Kabarole Information Center
Just as the heart connects many tissues of the body, KIC is here to connect Kabarole to the world.
Kabarole information Centre (KIC) is an indigenous ICT equipped NGO operation in Kabarole District. It is located in the centre of Fort portal town; plot 2 Babiiha road next to visitours lodge.
KIC was formed out of the concern of some civil society organisations as a way of harnessing locally available resources and opportunities through the sharing of every experience. These members realized that Information sharing is major key to any development.
The Centre was officially launched on November 7, 2008 at a function presided over by the Mr. Ambrose Ruyooka the Acting commissioner for Information technology, Ministry of ICT. Present also was the District Information Officer Madam Lillian Nkwenge among others.
Currently KIC is owned by 16 Member organizations, who subscribed to the Centre. Through and from these members developmental information is shared through Kabarole district. The Centre is currently working closely with the local government and its partnership is open for further partnership with any other institution.
Our main focus is to achieve an empowered community able to improve its livelihoods by making decisions based on access to reliable information. This we believe can be attained through information sharing.
At KIC we source, package and disseminate timely, reliable and relevant information to communities. The categories of this information include; Marketing, HIV/AIDS, Agro business among others. More to information sharing we also provide other services like computer training, Internet, website designing and hosting, printing, photocopying, typing and scanning.
Our clients can also get;
Kabarole information Centre welcomes all its clients like the member organisations, Business community, academicians, institutions, local government and the general public as we work together to achieve development.
Special appreciation go to our partners like SATNET, RICNET,MMU,RANNET and others who have been there for us KIC needs extra inputs.
RIC-NET works toward empowering the rural community through the collection, sharing and dissemination of reliable, up to date and relevant information which is very necessary for their development.
I was recently amazed at a workshop organized by OXFAM NOVIB in Kisinga from 6th to 18th July where different partners, local leaders and the entrepreneurs attached to Bukonzo Joint Co-operative Microfinance Association and Green Home attended.
It was really inspiring to see the local entrepreneurs draw their road journeys, define their visions and also plot relations clearly pointing out who impacts on them most. The methodology was innovated by Linda Mayoux and to everyone who attended, it was found very empowering especially for the ladies and described as a very relevant method of putting across development issues.
I hope that if RIC-NET employed such a methodology which is all inclusive and inspiring, we shall have sustainable Information Centres and increased participation of women in the Rwenzori Region.
I send you an update on information centers we have visited so far as we wait for the bigger report.
Karagwe is located in the North western part of Tanzania it borders Uganda in the south- west. The area is isolated from major Tanzanian cities including Dar-er-Salama and Mwanza, thus been attracted and assimilated to cultural practices and values of Ugandan nearby towns like Kyotera, Kalisizo and Masaka. The area communication network including radio and television are more connected to Uganda than Tanzania. In his own speech the manager of Karagwe information centers noted that; “few years back you could ask a village person from Karagwe the president of Tanzania and they would say Museveni because they only hear about Museveni from Ugandan televisions and radios”. Mr. Joseph Sekiku
Karagwe located on a plateau area is occupied by mainly subsistent peasant farmers, less educated and with strong cultural ties- often indicative of individuals less accustomed to change. Before the introduction of the information centre the manger noted that people were very ignorant and lacked information concerning disease control, agricultural market prices, and education. The fundamental point to note however is; there was much interest for people to learn. He thought through ways of sharing information. He started the aspect of notice boards, where he could individually source for information post it on notice boards located in public places and update them very after a period of time. He in the late 1990s started a local magazine which provided information for the locals on national issues. This he did through his personal salary earnings.
From scratch he has established a bigger information centre Family Alliance for Development through Cooperation (FADECO) which offers trainings in improved agricultural practices, (with demonstration gardens, food processors and preservers) computer trainings, resource room to access books and newspapers, community radio, internet, world space radio, and wood lots as samples for preserving the environment.
With the advancement of ICT, Joseph Sekiku The manager Family Alliance for Development through Cooperation (FADECO) developed an idea of starting a community radio with 12 few committed individuals. His major interest was to offer information to a wider community. He noted that notice boards could only be accessed by few people. He had accumulated some capital from his previous work with Accord UK which together with member contribution gave him a go ahead. His background in agriculture made him understand the nature of information that would benefit the local community. He first concentrated on market information but also giving room to important and urgent information that would benefit the community. He linked farmers to international markets, trained them in food processing and preservation methods and to a big extent brought the farmers on the radio to air out their needs. The radio has over time gained community support and ownership because farmers are involved in the general programming and online advocacy for their entitlements. Ownership to him is about what others can offer; farmers have acted as a mouth piece for the radio, and the radio a platform to air out their views. The radio with 50wats transmitter covers a range 120miles. It has a direct collaboration with the national radio of Tanzania, BBC, DW, and CTA which produces radio scripts. The centre through the VSAT offers LAN to schools and business cooperation in the area.
To a bigger extent the center is supported by the manager being committed and friends. Donors have very little or no interest in this part of the country and have often let down his proposals. He gave a testimony that; his last proposal was so convincing and a donor instead of funding him copied the idea and implemented it in the southern part of the country.
In his advice the manager emphasized the need to broadcast recorded programs. He noted that is very difficult to fight politics on the radio especially when broadcasting live on the air. Interested individuals should be helped to record their programs and edited by the information officer before they can be broadcasted.
The radio should identify first learners and train them in broadcasting. He noted that current journalists are not development oriented. The focus of the community radio should be on eradicating poverty and therefore should focus on information that can help the poor to improve. This requires development journalists not news reporters and it is on commercial radios.
Donor support kills room for greater innovations as the focus is to achieve the outlined donor expectations.
Having clear goals and targets make us more focused, not to be derailed in small matters. His goal was to provide information to the community of Karagwe and indeed there is enormous improvement compared to the past.
Community ownership should be redefined to cater for commitment and what they can offer. This will stimulate new innovations and ownership of the centers. Focus should not be on the ideology only but the value communities attach to information and what they can contribute to get this information.
Uganda has more privileges for donor support compared to some areas like Karagwe; we need to utilize this chance when it is still available, so that in future we can move on in their absence.
Tomorrow we will visit another information centre in Sengerema few kilometers from Mwanza a major city.
Bwera Information Centre (BIC), in a bide to have information sourcing and dissemination decentralized, started on a move of initiating Information Points at Parish level. On 5th May 2008, Kyondo Information Point was launched and several equipment to help them in disseminating information were provided to the Information Point. These included bicycles, television set, DVD player and computer. Other Information Points that benefited include; Kayanzi, Munkunyu, Bikunyu et cetera.
Information was disseminated using different methods such as drama, music, dance, poetry, speeches and exhibitions. This launch was all inclusive and what was interesting about it is that even the young children were given the chance to express themselves.
Gender was mainstreamed and thanks to BIC for empowering the women and allowing them to express themselves freely at the launch.
Total Project cost: $ 121,500
UDMet contribution: $ 48,900
Partners contribution: $ 72,600 (specifically RIC-NET expected contribution = $48,400)
A number of farmers living in many rural communities
Uganda, whose livelihoods depend on rainfall dependant food production, are increasing getting vulnerable to extreme climatic events. Incidences of such harsh climatic events lead to crop failures, household food shortages, disease outbreaks and society instability. Whereas these cases are on the increase, fortunately the Meteorology Department, produce development information like seasonal rainfall forecasts, early warning information for farmers to use to fit within the expected changes in the climatic conditions. However though this information is available, it is not easily accessible to the rural communities.
As radios are the main communication media that farmers use to listen and access to development information, it is therefore important that Community Radio Stations are established in the three Rural Communities of Kyaka, Bwera and Karilo which have registered increased failures of crops due to changes in climate . However the use of any developmental information by farmers heavily depends on the language used in producing and airing the information as well as the level of interaction between the farmers and information producers. It is therefore justified to establish a rural community radio that caters, for local ownership, use of local language and allows closer community participation with information producers.
The main goal of establishing this community radio station is to increase access of vital development information to rural poor farmers which they will use to reduce their vulnerability to disasters of any nature. This will later translate into improved household food security, environmental protection, and increase women participation in community governance for rural development.
1) Establish three Rural Community Radio Stations:
A community radio will be established in each of the following rural communities.
a) Kyaka in Kyenjojo District,
b) Bwera in Kasese District and
c) Bumanya in Karilo District.
2) Establish three Rural Radio Management Teams for the Rural Community Radio Stations.
3) Train three Teams of Local Voluntary Radio Presenters for the Rural Community Radio Stations.
and Roles Uganda
The Uganda Department of Meteorology as a lead implementer of RANET Uganda Project has established partnership with Local Non Government Organizations which include RIC-NET operating in Western Uganda, and with Busoga Yaiffe operating in Eastern Districts of
The Department will routinely provide guidance and expertise to the RIC-NET and BusogaYaiffe at the various stages of implementing the Rural Community Radios Stations.
The Radio Management Teams will be attached to existing established Community Radios Station for training how to manage their own radio stations.
The Local Radio Presenters will be attached to existing community radio stations for training in producing and presenting user needed radio programs.
Community Farmers will give feedback to Radio management Team, on development
information they need to hear on the programs.
RICNET and BusogaYaiffe will mobilize funds to construct Mast for Antennae, acquire Office building and payment of operational costs.
see detailed on the link.
Bwera Information Centre (BIC)has launched 11 rural information centres at sub-county levels and Village information Points at village/ parish levels.
This has completed the long awaited strategy of sharing(sourcing and disseminating) information up to the grassroots levels and encourage the use of ICT for rural development.
The function attended by the District Woman member of Parliament,was also graced by the District Local Government Chairperson and numerous community progressive farmers.
Bwera information Centre with the support from HIVOS gave out Video sets, Generators, Telephone sets, Public noticed boards, some computers, and information packages in form of Videos. DVDs, News letter and Stickers.
RIC-NET also used the occasion to show case the success of BIC to other county information centres staff and board members from the five districts of the Rwenzori Region.
It is now confirmed that RIC-NET is going to receive two community radios from the Department of Meteorology(DMet)- Uganda Government.
This was communicated to the Chairperson RIC-NET Mr. M John Silco by Mr. Milton Waiswa, a staff of DMet and the Coordinator of RANET(Radio and Internet for Rural Communication) project in the department.
The radios are legally going to be owned by RIC-NET but operated by its member information centres in Kyaka (KRIC) in Kyenjojo District and Bwera (BIC) in Bukonzo County, Kasese District.
we expect to receive the equipment in the middle of May 2008 and radios are expected to be operational in September 2008.
However, this has given RIC-NET an extra responsibility and requires support both technical and financial to run these radios effectively.
RIC-NET and its members are launching soon a community sentisation and fundraising drive geared to moblise the community to own these radios and use them for sharing development information.
Details can be viewed in the summary proposal on our website www.ricnet.info