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Monday, October 17, 2011

KABAROLE DISTRICT E-SOCIETY CENTER STARTS WITH A BIG BANG!



In the bid to facilitate increased access to timely and credible information by the community in Kabarole District, RIC-NET in partnership with Kabarole District Local Government have embarked on establishing an E-Society Center at the District head quarters in Booma.
The E-Society Center’s vision is to ensure access to credible and timely information that can influence social accountability and also voice the silent issues/persons in Society.
To usher it in, RIC-NET and Kabarole District Local Government held a round table meeting on 13.10.11 at Toro Club to discuss and also map out modalities on how to get the E-Society Center functional come November 2011.
Speaking at the Meeting, the Kabarole District Information Officer Lillian Nkwenge expressed gratitude to RIC-NET for its interest in working with Kabarole DLG to promote increased access to information. She noted that they (RIC-NET and Kabarole Local Government) shared a vision.
Making his presentation about the E-society Center, the RIC-NET Executive Director Mr. John Silco explained that the Center is expected to facilitate universal and timely access to information, cause global influence and increased involvement of the greater majority; the grass root persons participating in the decision making process at the district.

The meeting that brought together other CSOs in Kabarole like RAC,KANCA,KIC, Toro Development Network, IWDP, and FORUD discussed a lot of things ranging from when the Center should commence, what it will do, who will provide what and how it (the Center) will be sustained.
Commenting on who would provide what, Lillian noted that Kabarole DLG is going to provide space (2 rooms), furniture (lockable office Cup Boards ), staff, carpet and information, while RIC-NET will provide Hard ware (5 computers),1 Multi- printer (Photocopier, printer and scanner),Internet support, trainings (introduction to computer, web2.o tools), staff up to December 2013, designing the District Website, development of on-line platforms – bulk Sms, e-library and d-groups, radio programs, small generator and technical back up from time to time.
In addition to this, KIC also offered to provide 7 desktop computers, 15 chairs, shelves, information sourcing from the community and Community Based Officers, and supporting the community Development office, while FORUD offered an office desk, and Toro Development Network offered radio programs effective January 2012. IWDP, RAC and KANCA pledged to communicate the kind of support they would offer by the end of October 2011.
Discussing what the Center would provide, the participants noted that first it should be established what kind of information needs are in the society, arguing that this would guide information sharing by the different stakeholders in terms of; what information should be shared, in what form, how often and through what channel? Its upon this that the members recommended that another meeting for majorly District heads of department be organized in the last week of October to critically think through these ideas as heads of department who will be regular providers of information to the Center.
Sharing their views the RWECO Coordinator Mr. James Mwirima and the KIC Chairperson Mr. Baguma Johnstone appealed to the CAO and the other stakeholders to put more efforts on influencing attitude change towards information sharing, arguing that even when most people have vital information they are always too reluctant to share it. They noted that there is need for people to learn the importance of information sharing and to routinely do it voluntarily and timely whether physically or electronically.
Closing the meeting the C.A.O Mr. Juma Nyende thanked the members for turning up for the meeting and for their different pledges towards the establishment of the E-Society Center and particularly to RIC-NET for the initiative to work with Kabarole DLG to promote easy access to information. He noted that the establishment of an E-Society Center is in line with the District’s objectives, because the District is equally supposed to have a resource center but due to limited funding it has not been able to have a functional one.
The CAO revealed that he was excited about this joint initiative that was going to make their resource room finally functional and to also add value to the services offered by Kabarole District Local Government . He pledged continued support towards this cause.