Turning Rural Civil servants into ICT user Club

Nakaseke community Library was established in 1997 under the pilot of Nakaseke Multipurpose Community Telecentre project which was executed by Uganda National Commission for UNESCO and the National Library of Uganda for a period of three years. It is now stands out to be the only biggest public Community Library in Nakaseke District.
The Library has a total of 8650 reading materials and it is the most accessed service in the Centre by mainly; school going children, teachers, health workers, extension staff and researchers and perhaps some few semi-illiterate farmers. This is because the biggest collection is in English. And it has been difficult to find enough local content produced in the native languages that can impart skills to the local community.
The Centre also provides electronic information on agriculture, health and education which is accessed on the Internet at affordable cost. Computer training is also another service which is offered to the community. In addition, the Library introduced a Box service to help far rural marginalized schools to have access to reading materials.
However, we observed that a lot of information is not published in books and can be access online. The Nakaseke Telecentre management discovered that some civil servants had limitations of visiting the Telecentre regularly to access desired information. We then thought that by introducing a social media platform on Facebook we could be able to attract and communicate with them effectively.
The reason why we introduced this service was mainly to empower rural marginalised civil society working in Nakaseke to have an opportunity to share information, ideas and best practices locally and on the global world. Initially we started using emails to keep the members of the club connected to one another and later we discovered that it was not interactive enough as some members were not participating well. We then decided to introduce the social media preferably facebook as the best platform to network rural civil servants from different institutions within Nakaseke District.
So far, 60 civil servants have been trained in basic computer application and the use of Internet. Before we introduced the social media platform to the civil society in Nakaseke it was pretty hard to bring all of them together. Now they can freely communicate to each other. 90% of the ICT user club members are employed by the government and 10% are privately employed.
This service was started in 2010 by training Civil society in emails and computer basic applications to lay a good foundation in the use of ICTs to the marginalized rural civil servants mainly Teachers, Nurses and Doctors, Tutor in Nakaseke Core PTC, and Extension workers. To achieve our goal we initiated a partnership with the University of Nijmegen in The Netherlands whereby each year two students (interns) are sent to assist Nakaseke Telecentre and Library in promoting the use of ICTs.
The Training led the creation of The Nakaseke ICT user Club which has brought unity and information sharing among civil servants unlike before when club members were still relying on emails as the only source of communication to one another. Each year we train only 20 people so far we have a total of 60 civil servants of whom 42 are male and 18 female respectively.
Robert Kinyenya,30 years the headteacher of Bukalabi Primary School he says that after school 8years ago “I lost contact with all my friends and working in rural areas it was very difficult to interact with them. Life was also very difficult, even interacting with my fellow teacher within the district was not easy”. But when Nakaseke Telecentre invited us for a training life changed when I was introduced to facebook. I was so amazed to find my old friend and new friends. Am happy to be the chairperson of Nakaseke ICT User Club.
Rose Najemba is a nurse in Nakaseke Hospital and she has some interesting story to share, “working with patients all the time used to make me tired” but when I was invited for ICT training at first I did not know how it was going to impact on my life! I was so happy to find my boss and other old friends.”