Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Community libraries increase access to English teaching/ learning materials

RIC-NET joined the rest of the members of Uganda community Libraries Association in celebrating the Book Week from the 15th to 20th October. The event took place at Busongora Rural community library located in Kasese District. This library serves both the farmers in the community as well as the students and other community members.

The main objectives was to create understanding on the value of reading to the pupils and students in Kasese, to create a linkage between the tradition teaching method with the modern, To derive a picture of the type of library required by the users- community, pupils and students. The participating schools included; Kasese Secondary, Kasese High, Kasese Moslem, Light of Hope Secondary[between S1-S3], Kasese Primary, Base camp Primary, Mother care and Rock primary[pupils between P.3-P6] other were RICNET, RWECO and BRIC staffs, DIO, DEO, Secretary for education and sports Kasese district local government represented by Mr.Tsembere Venesio the area district councilor. 
The activities included; Story telling by the elders to students and pupils. Art and drawing competition, Debate, Book reading and Quiz competitions among the participating schools involving the secondary and the primary learners.
During the silent reading and later sharing of the books, the pupils the participant realized that reading is important because; there is an increase in knowledge and awareness, pupils learn good behaviors, increase their ability to speak and write, has increased their ability to speak in public and their views heard, increase their literacy rate, get meaningful advice from certain books, able to understand program from the government and their rights as children of Uganda.

They also realized community issues that need actions from the community and their leaders are easily shared and understand especially; better farming methods, community literacy programs, family planning methods should be implemented to reduce on population explosion. Laws, ordninaces and by-laws should be put in place to regulate on drug abuse, children rights should be respected. One pupils from Mother Care Preparatory School Degaulle in P.4 amused the house when he mentioned that “the government is to blame for reduce the cost of Alcohol especially those that cost as less 500; Buveera”. He was supported by another Komukebya Sharon from Base camp Primary who said that these drugs are easily accessible everywhere in the villages. These views were later accepted and the District councilor accepted to table them in the council

The event also draw participants to an understand between formal and informal education. In informal education, the teachers were mainly uncles, Anti and grandparents where knowledge was passed in form of proverbs, stories, sayings, songs that were meant to increase behavior change,sence of belonging to the community, hard work and good character among the young ones as well as increasing the sense of belonging to the community. The fire place was the class room.
 In the formal education, teacher and schools have replaced the role of elders to pass knowledge. The story telling that formed part of this event draw the pupils the life back with the grandparents. Mr. Kyaminyawande Augustine an elder from the community helped the pupils to understand that informal education had value and those values should be taken even today.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012


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,
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;, , 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!