Friday, May 26, 2006

UCONNECT: Using A Strategy For Leapfrogging

Uconnect is a project of Mission Mobile Education and its objective is:

"the advancement of public education in Uganda, using Information and Computer Technology (ICT) for education, to improve the quality and efficiency of communications through the provision of necessary hardware (as computers, fax/modems and printers) and software (as word processing, communications-Internet, electronic mail and web browsers), and the training of teachers and managers in the use of communications software, especially electronic mail (e-mail), and the World Wide Web, for education, health, agriculture and other sectors."

I know that that is a mouthful, so I will shorten it for you. Uconnect (which is short for "Uganda Connect" seeks to improve the quality of life in Uganda by using computers to enhance education. (my apologies to Uconnect if I left out some critical element.)

In addition to education, the organization plans to work towards "the relief of poverty, sickness and distress by the provision of such funds and equipment."

What started out as a computer literacy project has now grown into the Uganda Connectivity Project through the use of the Internet and the use of recycled PCs for connectivity.

Some years before the project began, Daniel Stern had discussed with the Minister of Education the idea of "leapfrogging" Uganda's educational processes through the, use of computer technology. Later while listening to a forum speaker at the ITU's Internet Days in Geneva, Spring 1995, Stern developed the conviction that the Internet was the missing piece to the puzzle of using computers for Uganda's education.

There is a much fuller account of Uconnect's early days and the inspiration of Daniel Stern, but I will leave it to the reader to look into that further at History

Uconnect is doing some important work and it is worth a visit to their web site just to see what is going on. But also, there are two very interesting and worthwhile papers at their web site.

The first paper is: "Guide to Improving Internet Access in Africa with Wireless Technologies" by Mike Jensen.

And the other is: "Upcountry HF E-mail Network As an Early Component of a Developing Country's Information Infrastructure" by Daniel Stern.

Uconnect has a score of sponsors including Nokia, Microsoft, Epson and Logitech, just to name a very few of them. Here is a link to the full list of sponsors .

While you are visiting Uconnect, take a look at the Internet Society link . There you will find a feast of links to sites relative to assisting organizations in coming into the Internet age.

You can pass up Uconnect 's site if you want to, but it will be your loss.

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