Taylor Mork and Jake
Elster met in Switzerland while studying
international development at the School of International
Training (SIT). The Lugano-based Association for
the Cooperation between Ticino and Uganda (ACT-U)
provides an opportunity for research in Iganga. SIT
and its parent organization, World Learning, provide
support as it gets off the ground in the coming
Mike Bazira (left) works
in Iganga, Uganda with MURUDA Development Organization
and works closely with Elia Mulondo (right),
Director of the Livelihoods Development Initiative
(LIDI) in Iganga, Uganda.
Together they serve on the
Executive Committee of the Iganga District NGO/CBO
Forum – a group working to organize and empower
community development actions in the area.
Paths crossed in Uganda in 2003 while Taylor was
conducting a survey of community development organizations
and working with the Forum to perform a needs assessment
to suggest priority actions. The group determined
that the single greatest hindrance to more effective
community development was ineffective systems for
communication and informational organization. These
- Availability of information
on training, programming, constituents and impacts.
- Communication between organizations,
locally and internationally.
These functions were determined as necessary
by under-staffed and overworked community development
The discussion turned to solutions, and eventually
the community decided that establishing a self-sustaining
public internet café and nonprofit resource
center would service the needs of the general population,
provide efficient and effective tools to local
leaders, and act as a headquarters for social servants
from throughout the District.
Two years later, on the 1st of April 2005, the DevelopNet
Internet Café and Resource Center was
opened to the public and to members of the District
NGO/CBO Forum. At the time of its opening, about
half of the funding came from Ugandan sources,
with the other half coming from American donors.
The Resource Center opened with 4 guest computers
and 1 host server, and is currently running basic
training programs that target area teachers, civil
servants, development workers, and students.
In 2006 we added one more guest computer to The
Resource Center, due to customer demand.
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