Free at last, was the sigh of every Ugandan 50 years back, and down the road we have come to witness the joy of self rule and being instruments of our own development.
Today individuals, CSOs, Government and private sector are all happy to know that they are part of the development/achievements that were celebrated at the 50th Independence Anniversary.
In the same vein Rwenzori Information Centers Network (RIC-NET) a Community owned Information Network in the Rwenzori region is glad to mention how it has spear- head the use of ICTs in information sourcing, sharing and dissemination in the Rwenzori region and boosted agriculture during these 50 years of independence, www.ricnet.co.ug.
Having piloted E-society Resource Centers in the region, first in Kasese District in 2010 and later Kabarole in 2011, and now Bundibugyo and Kamwenge Districts in 2012; it is evident that the information gap between the District Local Governments and the community has been bridged, while the computer literacy and the use of different on-line platforms and social media has been enhanced amongst the civil servants and the community at large.
This has been made possible through the development of the different on-line platforms developed for the districts to share information; websites; www.kasese.go.ug www.kabarole.go.ug, www.bundibugyo.go.ug , www.kamwenge.go.ug and blogs, e-libraries, Skype accounts among others and through the free computer trainings offered at these centers by the RIC-NET staff.
Related to the above is piloting the use of ICT and CINEDUC in the teaching and learning of English in secondary and Primary Teachers Colleges in Kasese and Kabarole Districts. The purpose of this project is to address the traditional teaching methods of chalk and talk with ICT enhanced methods that that use photo digital stories, power point and video aimed at increasing efficiency in the learning-teaching process.
Rwenzori region is a food basket in Uganda though challenged by various agricultural problems like crop pests and diseases, poor infrastructure, lack of available market information and markets as well as unpredictable weather patterns. In response to this, RIC-NET developed a “Healthy plants for healthy people” project run by 16 trained plant doctors. These are charged with supporting farmers with plant diagnosis and treatment through “plant Clinics” conducted on market days in the market places. This has reduced crop pests and diseases, enhanced crop productivity and also increased farmers’ household incomes.
Strengthening Citizens’ participation in Social accountability/monitoring District Local Governments’ service delivery has reduced misuse of public funds and discouraged shoddy work on public projects.
Great thanks go to the Government of Uganda for the cooperation and enabling environment, and to the RIC-NET funders and partners; HIVOs, EU, Connect for Change, Plant Wise Uganda, CABI UK and EIFL for their financial and technical support.
Congratulations Uganda, Happy 50th Independence. For God and My Country!