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How I have tapped the benefits of being part of the SchoolNet Uganda mailing lists by Ronald Kasendwa

My name is Ronald Kasendwa. I am a 2nd year BSc in Computer Science student at Makerere University, Kampala – Uganda. I got subscribed on SchoolNet Uganda’s mailing lists in 2007 after co-facilitating in one of their workshops.

On average, I have been receiving about 3 emails through the mailing lists per fortnight. These emails are about various subjects including but not limited to scholarships, job opportunities, and workshop reports.  On several occasions, I used not to read through those emails – and the few times I did, I wouldn’t bother following up the opportunities and information passed on to me through the mailing lists.

Around mid-2009, I eaves dropped a conversation between Daniel Kakinda and Ronald Ddungu about their international exposure and how they have utilized the communication through the mailing lists. I was really challenged by their talk and decided to start taking shots on all those opportunities that were coming afterwards.

The first opportunity I took up that was passed on through the SchoolNet Uganda mailing list  was participating in the Global Virtual Classroom (GVC). In GVC, students from three schools across the world collaboratively work together on developing a website about an issue of their choice. I participated as an educator in the 2009/2010 project cycle. My team had students from Gayaza High School (Uganda), Athens District High School (Canada), and Mt. Pleasant High School (California). Our students produced a website about “Violence in a teen’s world.”

Early 2010, I took up another opportunity that was again passed through the SchoolNet Uganda’s mailing lists. This opportunity required interested people from all over the world to apply to assist the World Bank Institute run the “EVOKE (http://www.urgentevoke.com/) – a crash course in changing the world” online game.

Luckily enough, applying for this job opportunity didn’t require any formal CVs – they were interested in applicants that had experience in moderating online communities and also those that were able to consume lots of digital media.

With my skills in media production – that I acquired while in Adobe Youth Voices and my previous experience in the Global Virtual Classroom project, I applied to work with the World Bank Institute. Luckily enough, I was taken up as a Game runner.

EVOKE was a ten week (3 months) social network game whose goal was to help empower young people all over the world, and especially young people in Africa, to come up with creative solutions to our most urgent social problems.

While in EVOKE, I got to interact with over 2000 people from different cultures and races around the world. It was such a great experience to work with the World Bank Institute at 19 years old.

Apart from getting a honorarium as a game runner, I was invited to a 3-day EVOKE workshop which was held (28-30) Sept 2010 at the World Bank offices in Washington DC, USA. The World Bank met my cost of accommodation and ground travel while in the US. My family and I contributed my air travel costs.

Recently,  another opportunity was again passed out on the SchoolNet Uganda mailing lists from the African Commons Project  calling youths from all over Africa to submit their applications for the “My Bubble, My Space” workshop for Digital Natives to be  in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 7th -9th November 2010.

I didn’t hesitate to drop in my application since I had tasted success in such opportunities. The organizers received 450 applications of which they selected 25 successful applicants. I was one of the six successful applicants from Uganda.

I was actually invited to attend the workshop. The African Commons Project is covering my costs of air travel, accommodation and part of the ground travel while in South Africa. I am now anxiously waiting to see what experience this workshop brings to me.

I urge all of the subscribed members to the SchoolNet Uganda mailing lists to always take up the opportunities passed on.

Thanks to the SchoolNet Uganda family.

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AWARDS

Over the years, SchoolNet Uganda has received a number of International and national awards for its contribution to ICT4D. Some of the awards are:

  1. Stockholm Challenge Finalist
  2. The Golden Nica Award by Prix Ars Electronica
  3. ICT Capacity Development Award by Uganda Communication Commission
  4. The Uganda Annual Best FOSS Integration Case Award, 2005