DevelopNet Iganga - Uganda
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About Us
Volunteers

Over the years the DevelopNet Project has received countless hours of effort and support from volunteers. We are grateful to all of those who have given their energies to the DevelopNet cause, and are always looking for other motivated individuals who are looking to work side by side to bridge the digital and development divide.

Meet our volunteers:

Featured volunteer
Judy Novia

In June 2007 the DevelopNet Project received an international volunteer. From her current home in Chicago in the state of Illinois, Judith traveled to Iganga, Uganda with hopes to develop programs for the DevelopNet Project, lend management skills to the staff and deliver equipment.

During the months prior to her departure Judith raised monies to put towards a training program for the DevelopNet project and was also able to collect a good amount of donated equipment for the cafe. Once in Iganga, Judith, along with her friend, consultant Jodi Zamore, met with the management of DevelopNet to discuss the cafe's future plans. Together they worked out a budget and plan to support regular training.

While in Uganda Judith spent time with one of DevelopNet and the Iganga District NGO/CBO Forum's member organizations, a women's group called RAPTA (Rural Agricultural Productivity Training Association), with whom she spearheaded a seminar on stigmas associated with HIV/AIDS.

"It was obvious that everyone was interested in learning about the internet. I didn't realize that many of the Igangan locals had never been on a computer before. I was talking to them about email addresses when they hadn't ever used a keyboard. A serious training program will be so beneficial to the entire community."

Read a bit about Judy, how her summer in Uganda went, and what she is planning next!

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Featured volunteer
Chris Sanders

Chris Sanders volunteered in Iganga during the summer of 2006. Before his trip, he collected computer hardware and accessories from generous donors and friends in the UK and Germany and the center is much improved now that these have been incorporated into the computer network.

Working with the DNet staff, Chris managed an overhaul of the DNet center to achieve a more efficient layout and improved safety for both the equipment and its customers. With over 20 years of experience in IT maintenance and development, Chris was able to locate and repair many hardware and software flaws that were slowing down the center's operation.

To ensure sustainability of the progress made during his visit, Chris carried out various training sessions with DNet café staff in regards to advanced hardware and software maintenance and internet security.

Commenting on his experience in Iganga, Chris notes: "I was glad I'd been able to collect the hardware I did prior to traveling to Uganda. It came as a surprise that simple changes to the computer systems required someone to travel from a town 45 minutes away and that major changes required a shopping trip to Kampala! Overhauling the café, from putting down new flooring to rebuilding entire PCs was quite a lot of fun, especially considering time constraints. The café staff was open-minded to new ideas and very eager to learn what improvements could be made, especially in the area of internet security. I came away from the trip feeling that I'd really made a change in Iganga and that the café provides a valuable service for the region. Visiting Uganda and working at the café in Iganga was definitely one of the most educational experiences I've had."

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Featured volunteer
Kimberly Liao

Kim joined DevelopNet in July 2006 after studying at the School of International Training (SIT) in Geneva and before entering her senior year at Washington University in St. Louis.

“When I was offered the opportunity to visit Uganda and volunteer at DNet, with no specific task or expectation in mind, I hardly knew what to expect. Needless to say, the three short weeks I spent in Uganda was an adventure, from watching sunrise at the Entebbe International Airport, playing with orphans, taking cold showers, walking into town along the bustling Kenya-Kampala highway, and never knowing what was to come when traveling on the back of the infamous boda boda motorcyles. DNet gave me the opportunity to see how far I was willing to go outside the boundaries of what I was used to.”

At DNet, Kim spent most of her time updating software and cleaning up the computers (whenever the electricity was on), creating café operating procedures, and researching café funding and expansion opportunities, such as spearheading the search for an affordable energy solution to sustain 4 computers.

To grow the cafe into something that could not only sustain itself but also become a beneficial resource to the community, Kim was instrumental in the birth and initial planning of the DevelopNet website. On this project, Kim notes: “one of the unexpected challenges was designing a website that was resourceful to the local community, enticing and appealing to the international community, and beneficial and accommodating to the local sponsors, made up of over 200 local non-governmental and community-based organizations. I had the opportunity to meet many of the Iganga’s NGO/CBO Forum representatives, understand some of the problems and frustrations that their organizations face, and experience the challenges of being an outsider.”

Now graduated, Kim remains in St. Louis where she works as an immigration paralegal.
“Who knows what’s next and where I will end up!”

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