Coope Community - Uganda
Information and Communication Technology Center
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
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.
In an effort to design and buils a new 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.
- 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
- Social engagement and community development
- Cultural preservation
- Income Generating Activities (IGA)
In October of 2020 a well was drilled and hand-pump installed. This has provided much-needed water to the community and also prepared for the construction process which requires a water source on site.
However, a water analysis indicated that the water was not suitable for drinking. We engaged with Davis & Shirtliff to design a water treatment system. The result was a recommendation for a combination reverse osmosis / ultraviolet system. We were then awarded a grant from the University District (Seattle) Rotary Club covering the cost of this system.
We put the construction contract out to competitive bis and received three very strong bids. We went through a detailed evaluation process to select the winning bidder. One aspect of the winning contractor’s bid was their commitment to use donated community labor, thereby reducing costs and providing training & work experience to community members.
Community Thanks for Drilling of Well
We continue to seek out additional partners to strengthen the partnership and to further assure the long-term sustainability of the ICT Center; we are currently in negotiations with a couple potential partners. Subject to bringing in a new partner, we are now anticipating construction to begin in the second quarter of 2023.
We continue our fundraising efforts and currently about half of the needed funds have been raised.
Your support will fill this gap and turn this vision into a reality!
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