Can a Ugandan village keep its computers running? | Richard M Kavuma

From Global development | The Guardian Mon Jan 7 2013, 14:20:42

Funding for Katine's computer centre runs out in a year, and it's down to local residents to come up with a sustainable plan

It's lunchtime, and teenagers, some in school uniform, are huddled around a large boardroom-style table with ageing laptops in Amref's office in Katine.

Some of the youngsters seem to be fascinated by the gadgets. Others are moving the mouse around, clicking to open a Word document, and watching in awe as a press of a finger on a keyboard forms familiar marks on the screen. Under the eye of an intern trainer, others point excitedly at webpages, their whispers barely audible against the din from the diesel generator outside.

This is the Katine community media resource centre, one of the legacies of the four-year Katine Community Partnerships Project. When I worked here two years ago, we had five desktop computers, a couple of which were chronically unreliable. The initial idea was to use the resource centre and the internet to increase interaction between the community, Guardian readers and the rest of the world. But computer literacy proved a big challenge. My colleague, Joseph Malinga, a community reporter on the project, and I had to teach people how to use keyboards and mouses.

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