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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

EIFL STAFF VISIT THE RIC-NET LIBRARY PROJECTS


Supported by Electronic Information for Libraries (EIFL), RIC-NET through Busongora Information Center (BRIC) in Kasese is implementing a library project. The project which aims at Strengthening community libraries’ capacities to access, repackage and share timely, reliable and relevant Agriculture information with rural Farmers is run by Plant doctors, Community Information Facilitators, Librarians and RIC-NET ICT staff.
It is this project that Monika and Sandra of EIFL, visited on 24.08.12. The purpose of the visit was to learn about the progress of the project and its relevance to the community.
Wholesomely this project looks at two things; transforming the community library at BRIC from the traditional book store to a more dynamic and digital social center, where the community can access more than books but also internet and other multimedia services. And at supporting farmers to access and share information related to plant pests and disease management. This intervention is aimed at boosting agricultural productivity, improving household incomes and consequent eradication of poverty and hunger in the Rwenzori region.
Under this project sixteen (16) trained plant doctors (largely farmers) are charged with  sourcing for agricultural related information from the library internet, books, and their smart phones and passing it on to the communities during plant clinic days, conducted on market days or farmer to farmer  farm visits (extension work). 
In attempts to realize this, several activities have been conducted; procurement of books and the establishment of an agricultural section in the library, procurement of equipment; computers, smart phones, modems to mention but a few. And the training of the project staff on the use of the different ICT tools and established online platforms; webportal, http://library.ricnet.co.ug and blog http://busongoranews.blogspot.com.

Apart from the Library at BRIC, the team also visited, RIC-NET secretariat, the RIC-NET E-society centers at Kabarole and Kasese Districts’ headquarters and Kabarole Public Library as one of the RIC-NET partners in the region. At the Public Library the team met  Mr. Martin the Librarian, while at the E-society centers, the team met with the E-society center attendants, and the Kasese Deputy Chairperson Local Council five Hon. Muhindo Tadeo. 


Hon. Tadeo expressed gratitude to EIFL for choosing to support information sharing in the district and strengthening the knowledge and capacity of farmers to manage crop pests and diseases; which he said was a major threat to crop productivity and household incomes in the region.
Hon. Muhindo Tadeo the Vice Chair person LC V Kasese

He revealed that the District was grateful to RIC-NET for the information sharing (E-society Center) and Plant clinic initiatives in the region, asserting that the increased access to information and knowledge by the community/farmers is going to accelerate community development.
  
Sandra and Monica from EIFL posing for a photo at Busongora Community Library-Kasese
In addition to this, the team also interacted with the some of the plant doctors (Asthaluzi and Wilberforce) at BRIC, the BRIC Chairperson Mr. Isingoma Patrick, the  Librarian Ms. Kobusingye Lovence and some of the Library users at the Center. Other staff that participated in this activity were; the RIC-NET Information Officer-Alice, ICT Officer- Yosia, Community Out-reach Officer- Charles and the Program manger- Joselyne.

Monica and Sandra from EIFL with Staff of RIC-NET in Fort Portal
   

In a nutshell the visiting team was excited about the progress of the project and also learnt several things like, how it’s implemented, who implements it, the opinion of the beneficiaries, and milestones registered so far.