Panykworo ICT - 2021 version

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Coope Community - Uganda
Information and Communication Technology Center

The Community

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.
 


Coope Community Members

The Need

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.
 

The Vision

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.
 
 
Specifically, this vision includes:
  • Community empowerment by means of:
  • Achieving computer literacy
  • Access to online training and education
  • Providing the community with improved means to advocate for itself
  • Promoting entrepreneurial prospects and business & economic development
 
Providing opportunities and location for:
  • Social engagement and community development
  • Cultural preservation
  • Income Generating Activities (IGA)
 

The Plan

Over the course of two assessment trips and many teleconference meetings, the vision developed into a plan. The ICT Center will consist of two mirror-imaged buildings, each about 1,000 square feet, plus a separate sanitation building.  These buildings will accommodate 50 computers and support the various goals mentioned above.
  
The walls will be constructed of a concrete beam and column frame system with infilled brick walls. The foundation will be a shallow, slab-on-grade concrete foundation, with the foundation stem walls of brick up to the slab except at columns locations. The roof will consist of timber trusses and a corrugated metal roof deck.
 
Power will be provided by a solar energy system that allows the community to be self-sufficient, and to take advantage of a reliable and renewable resource, while remaining affordable. Water will be provided by a groundwater system (well) that will provide a reliable source of clean water, with adequate volume and reasonable cost. The sanitation facilities will be comprised of flush toilets with a septic tank and soak pits.
  
 

Recent Progress

Because of the generosity of our donors, as of October 2020 the people of Coope have water …

… and, more importantly, they have hope!  Below are just a few of the many expressions of thanks from community members.

 
 

Next Steps

In addition to providing water for the community, the new well will enable the start of building construction in 2021. Currently about two-thirds of the needed fuds have been raised. Your support will fill this gap and turn this vision into a reality.

 
 
“I am happy you are drilling a borehole as you know water is life.” 
- Mary Gorreti, nurse
 
  
“The water at the centre will help them so much.” 
- Mwoka Joshua, land donor family member
 
  
“Now that you have drilled for us a borehole, it will help us because we have a lot of challenges of water at the moment.” 
- Richard, a student at Lukome Secondary School
 
  
“I thank you all for good water closer to us.” 
- Local Council III Chairperson
 
  
“The project will bring better water closer to us and therefore it will be easier for our children who will not have to walk far and get very tired.” 
- Megalit Valerian, a farmer and an elder in the village
 
  
“As I speak now, I am overjoyed as our water is right here.” 
- Okello Moses, Chairperson, Water Committee, Punena, Aworanga Village
 
  
“We shall now drink clean water.  We thank you so much.” 
- Obote Franko, Chairman Local Council I, Panykworo Village

 

 

 

 

 

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