Adam and Xavier are two volunteers at BOSCO Uganda from the University of Notre Dame in the United States. Adam is a second-year student studying architecture and real estate. Xavier is also a second-year student but studying computer science. Recently, these two volunteers went on a trip to do fieldwork with Fred and Emmanuel, two workers at BOSCO. Read more bellow to find out the experiences of our volunteers and what they have to say about BOSCO Uganda’s mission.
What were your main responsibilities during your time in Kalongo, Uganda, working with BOSCO Uganda?
Xavier: Adam and I were responsible mainly for doing our own learning, both about BOSCO’s work and the local culture. We observed, asked questions, and contributed where we could throughout the trip. There were also conversations with workers at the local ICT centers where we learned much about the impact of connectivity on the area that we couldn’t have seen for ourselves otherwise.
What were some of the projects and initiatives you were involved in? How did they benefit the community?
Adam: Xavier and I were involved in some impactful projects that BOSCO did, including installing a fence around our Kalongo Tower on Kalong Hill, and the installation of printers at the two ICT Centres of Gwokma Inongo ICT Centre in Kokil and Divine Mercy ICT Centre in Patongo parish. The fence benefited the protection of the tower to allow a stable network to all of the Kalongo access points. Meanwhile, the installation of the printers created access for each ICT Centre to print for the community.
What were some challenges faced while working in Kalongo, and how were they overcome?
Xavier: The main challenge that BOSCO faces is also what makes their outreach so impactful. They are willing to work with centers in rural areas that don’t have local infrastructure for their network. We ran into issues with faults in the solar charging of one site, and connection difficulty at another due to trees in the way of the signal. The equipment difficulties were temporarily fixed, and a more permanent solution is planned. BOSCO is also committed to getting the second site connected through one of a few options available for rerouting.
How did the team collaborate with local community members and organizations to achieve BOSCO’s goals?
Adam: BOSCO is committed to providing every community with ICT capabilities while involving the community in the development of such. For the installation of the Kalongo fence, we hired local construction workers to help institute the defense. Additionally, we collaborated with the 2 ICT centers to involve the community’s opinions on our improvements and how we can set up the most optimized ICT Center.
What skills or lessons did you learn from this experience that you believe will be valuable for future work?
Xavier: I built my technical skills and had my perspective expanded by my experiences in Kalongo. I learned more about how the BOSCO network works and how it is maintained both through physical maintenance and technical solutions. This will help me in future work with managing networks, something I am interested in doing. I also learned more about the local culture by being exposed to a smaller town, living and working directly with local people. These experiences, compounded across all of my time here, will give me a new perspective to take back home and focus my work on improving life for others.
How will the impact or effectiveness of the work in Kalongo, Uganda be measured? Can you share any specific outcomes or success stories?
Adam: We believe that BOSCO is great at measuring the impact done in local communities. Through quantitative and qualitative data collected, we are able to understand how our work is affecting Uganda. We also noticed a lot of feedback from the community indicating the success of our work. It is truly impressive how BOSCO can make such a big difference in even the smallest of communities.
Article by Adam Scott & Xavier Reese
Check out our last post to find out more about what our volunteers were a part of: https://www.boscouganda.com/kalongo-tower-fence/