Sunday, October 21, 2012

Training of District leaders in Website and E-library utilization successful

Enhance their civic competence and strengthen social accountability through information sharing. RIC-NET as mandated  in the proposal to design online platforms (websites and E-libraries) for districts and also train District leaders in the utilization of these platforms conducted a two days training of these leaders.
The training that attracted District Information officers, District planners and Chief Administrative officers from all the Rwenzori region districts was conducted at St. Josephs’ Virika conference hall from 17th -18th October 2012.
In his welcoming remarks, the Executive Director thanked the leaders for having honored the invitation and realized the importance of their participation. He also told them to embrace these tools and show more commitment and that also UCC and NITA-Uganda had funds to support districts in as far as ICT is concerned. He challenged district leaders to show concern and contact UCC for this support.

In his first session the ICTO RIC-NET introduced and explained the project objectives to the participants and told them what RIC-NET is mandated to do and provide to the districts which among others included trainings.
He further led the participants in an introduction to web browsing and explained a number of terms that users have always miss interpreted and used interchangeably. This attracted attention from members and they also participated in asking a number of questions that led more understanding of the terms and ICT. He also led them through some other social media later and introduced them to skype one of the easiest and quick means of communication and information sharing. Most of the participants signed up and saw how it worked and got excited about this new tool to them. They appreciated and pledged to use this tool even when in their offices.
In the second session the ED RIC-NET also gave more information about ICT and information sharing in trying to curb the information gap. He took the participants through blogging where most of the members signed up and created personal blogs. This was necessary because the current technology of websites uses almost the same method for updating and since the districts’ staff will be updating their websites, it was mandatory for that introduction. The session was so interesting and day one was concluded by a skype conference that everyone enjoyed and realized that there was no need to move from office to office to conduct small discussions and share files but rather to use this technology to save time.

Day two started with a recap of day one that was led by the ICTO. A number of issues covered in day one were highlighted commented upon.
The ICTO started the first session by introducing the participants to content management systems (CMS) a dynamic technology that is being used to develop their websites. He explained to them that the most CMS applications are joomla and word press that do not need a lot of ICT knowledge to members if they are to basically update the sites with data. He gave more details about joomla and permissions that can be granted to users at different levels including managers, Authors, editors among others and what each of those categories are supposed to do. He further logged in to one of the sites to demonstrate how the district leaders will be logging in to their sites and update them. “We are impressed by this training and we would like that you give us the passwords and we do a hands on updating with you” said District planner Kyegegwa. The ICTO explained that it would be possible only after being done with the designs and that since designing was still on they would not get the login details but will receive them as soon as their sites are done and receive more hands on trainings.
Later in the afternoon the ICTO introduced the District leaders to the concept of the E-library where he said it would be part of their websites where the district would upload all public documents like District Development Plan, District budgets among others. He also demonstrated and showing them a sample Electronic library and how they will be uploading files which he emphasized must be converted to pdf formats before being uploaded. He also informed the participants that RIC-NET procured a hosting server and therefore has started webhosting in addition to the activities it runs.
He later finalized with showcasing the already designs of the districts at the following sub domains;                                                                
He said that kabarole and kasese were already online but being redesigned using the modern technologies and bundibugyo was also already online hosted at and that the training was an entry point to Ntoroko.
In the way forward after the training members suggested that;
Ø  M.O.U for kyegegwa be signed as soon as possible
Ø  Kamwenge launch be organized soon
Ø  Kyenjojo MOU be harmonized and signed
Ø  More trainings be conducted
Ø  Ntoroko be considered and looked at if possible before end of year especially for a meeting with leaders.
Ø  Information be collected for those sites and sharing the links with other district leaders they think they can give input.

In his concluding remarks the ICTO thanked the members for participation and emphasized that they should embrace ICT since it’s the way to go in this rapidly growing world and that this would even ease their work since they would have enough references for information access.also reminded districts that had received E-society centers to utilize them and make use of the staff deployed there to get more skills and hands on trainings. He told them to always respond in case they are again called upon for any other training and departure was at 3:00pm.

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