Coope Community - Uganda
Information Communication Technology
Coope is a small, rural community located in northern Uganda.
This area is still emerging from the devastating 20-year conflict between the insurgent Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and Ugandan government forces. The Acholi people of northern Uganda suffered greatly from the atrocities of this war, including murder, torture, mutilation, and child abduction.
Many Acholi people were displaced, and much of the area became an internally displaced persons’ (IDP) camp. Conditions in the camps were horrible. Much of the international aid, in the form of food and medicines, intended for the Acholi people was taken by the government troops and the Acholi often served as human shields as the soldiers hid in the interior of the camps.
Referring to this conflict, Archbishop John Baptist Odama recounted an African saying: "When two elephants fight, the grass suffers." The Acholi people witnessed the LRA rebels and Ugandan armed forces fighting in their homeland. They endured atrocities at the hands of the LRA and mistreatment from the government forces. They, indeed, were the grass that suffered when the elephants fought.
In order to rebuild their lives, and to provide a better future for themselves and their children, the people of Coope established an Information and Communication Technology Center in 2007.
However, resources were scarce, and ultimately the very modest facility was unable to remain in the rental space it occupied.
Subsequent to that closure, a local family donated land for a new center and the community formed a partnership with the non-governmental organization (NGO), BOSCO-Uganda to develop this facility.
This group applied to Engineers Without Borders-USA (EWB-USA) for help and, though this process, the Puget Sound Professional Chapter of EWB-USA (EWB-USA PSP) entered into the partnership in 2014.
December 2013 – Project Kickoff
April 2015 – Assessment Trip 1
April 2016 – Assessment Trip 2
Thus, the joint program entails the design and construction of an Information and Communication Technology Center.
The ultimate goal of the program is to empower the community, particularly its youth, by providing computer access and training, as well as training in other life and professional skills. The center will also serve as a focal point for the community, accommodating educational, entrepreneurial, social, cultural and recreational activities.
The EWB-USA PSP team has completed two assessment trips to Coope. Several teams have been established to address the different aspects of the program.
The architectural team has developed plans and continues to refine these.
The structural team has begun evaluating the design details for structural acceptability.
The energy team has developed detailed energy models for the facility.
The water team has conducted an extensive review of a long-abandoned water system and determined that drilling a new borehole is the preferred alternative.
The sanitation team has contacted providers of composting toilets.
The four projects have now moved on to the detailed design stage and developing implementation plans.
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