Nkokonjeru is a wonderful little town of 14,000 residents in the central region of Uganda. It has 13 schools and 7,000 students, with a primary school enrollment of 93.9%. Our relationship with Nkokonjeru originates from a “twinning relationship” between St. Eugene parish in Milwaukee & Our Lady Queen of Apostles Parish in Nkokonjeru, Uganda.
Our primary point of contact and sponsor is a local community leader who manages a local community center associated with Our Lady Queen of Apostles Parish. When asked what was most needed in their town, he responded:
“What's needed most is a computer laboratory! Most community youth have to travel over 70 miles to access the internet. Students want to use computers to do research or apply for a course - all this is done using computers but the community lacks them. Here we can buy computers and a wireless wifi then volunteers can teach the youth and look after the cafe.”
An average Nkokonjeru family makes a wage of 300 dollars per year. This is where we come in, we can supply them with the money needed to build their own computer lab. There is already a community center with a secure building, previously donated by a gentleman from the US, where the computer lab will be located. Our plan is to provide 8-10 work stations with Dell laptops with MS Office and/or Dell Chrome Books. We would also provide funding for accessories like a wifi router, surge protectors, and a laser printer. The internet would be provided by local carrier – Airtel, which would cost the equivalent 100 dollars per month for unlimited access. The community center will charge a fee for usage to pay for ongoing access.
One of the primary challenges is the fact that the power to the building is not stable as there are frequent outages that commonly last more than 24 hours. The computer lab building will be improved to include 1.6 kw roof mounted Solar Panel powering a 24 volt battery pack with 1600 amp hour capacity. The building will be powered from the grid when its available, with a manual switch to run off the battery storage when electricity is not available. The expectation is that the battery storage will power the building and computer lab for at least 2 days.
The computer lab would be primarily used by students from ages 15-19 years old. It would enable the people to further their education, training, business ideas, attain certifications and apply for jobs.
We are grateful for the following project contributors:
- Anthony Kizito, Director Reach Out Center in Nkokonjeru
- Angie Dries, Sister who inspired the project
- Father Jerry Herda, Pastor of St. Eugene & St. Monica
- Father John Bosco, Pastor Our Lady Queen of Apostles Parish
- St. Eugene Twinning Committee: Jenny Kopetsky, Kate Myers, Bob & Monica Cardenas, Ryan Webster, Kim Gabaldon, John Karkheck, Diane Braza, & Kim Gabaldon
- Morgan & Allie Braza, did video interviews during their 2015 trip to Nkokonjeru
- Harriette Hauske: Social Media Leader
- Patrick and Megan McCormick: Project Supports
- Microgrid Solar: Rick Hunter, CEO; Chad Schubert, Solar Engineer
- Robert Harr, donated Reach Out building in Nkokonjeru
- Ryan Brennell @ Gladitood
- Anthony, Samuel, Peace are members of the Our Lady Queen of Apostles Parish who participated in video interview
Note: All donations go directly to St. Eugene's Catholic Church which is a 501(c)(3).