Monday, April 30, 2007

PICTURE Africa! Ugandan Bloggers and the Danish Factor

PICTURE Africa is an acronym for Poverty and Information and Communication Technology in Urban and Rural East Africa. PICTURE Africa is a three year study in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and Rwanda. It is being funded by the IDRC. On Monday the 23rd April 2007, I met Kathleen Diga, from the International Development Research Centre IDRC. Katheen is the person behind the blog Picture Africa. Discussions were centred on issues regarding a communication strategy for the PICTURE Africa Project. We, later attended a joint meeting of teams from PICTURE Africa Project and Research ICT Africa (RIA) before finalising with PICTURE Africa Country team members. True! A Communication strategy has to be developed and implemented! Some pictorials at her post.

Ugandan bloggers
On Sunday, I had the chance to meet some faces behind the Ugandan blogsphere and the Danish students doing a documentary on Ugandan bloggers. Thanks to Dennis Matanda of the Call for the African Recolonisation fame.
Dennis was the idea behind the romantic atmosphere at Joglo, paid all the swine meat bills and accompanyment! A big thank you Dennis! Bloggers! Hips don't lie! Ugandan bloggers, FDC and UPC bloggers inclusive - I don't see the NRM bloggers!, love their bottle, love to flirt, have fun, chat, smoke and locate the g' spot! A blogger is about to fix or marry another in Uganda! A Ugandan tribe is being developed! Ugandan bloggers shall be a force to reckon with!

I left early. I had to! I had to babies sit! And now I say bye bye to the Danes. Come back again! The documentary! Thank you Ugandan bloggers who were there: S.A.G.E , Country boyi, I have left Copenhagen for Uganda! Feed me, love me, never leave me Carlo All sweetening hats who came Rumbling and Rubbish, you should also meet this Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwean Dennis Matanda!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Borrowed Civilisations

ICT is the way to go! ICT!? Yes ICT. Information and Communication Technologies or Information Communications Technology aka Information Technology. ICT, the cousin to Informatics, Information Systems, Information Science, Information Engineering, Computer Science, and all the hype around it! However, ICTs are foreign to the bulk that make African cultures. True! Africa must not only adopt, absorb, concot phrases to refer to ICTs and related concepts but also be prepared to embrace and use ICTs in everyday businesses and activities.
Absorbing a foreign technology is like borrowing a leaf from a foreign civilisation! It can not be easy.This is the context I dwell in. The Information Age version of Uganda, Southern Sudan and indeed Africa. I therefore feel the following skills are badly needed in order for Africa to benefit from this borrowed civilisation called ICT: Information Literacy and then Computer /ICT literacy. I conquer with the following definitions from the National Forum on Information Literacy:
"Information Literacy is the ability to know when there is a need for information, to be able to identify, locate, evaluate, and effectively use that information for the issue or problem at hand. "
Information Literacy is primarily my training in Library and Information Science.
"Computer Literacy: The ability to use a computer and its software to accomplish practical tasks."
Computer Literacy is a vital component of my primary training. I use computers to accomplish my information literacy tasks. To me, this is Informatics! Informatics is achieving an Information service task using a computer.

Were I to combine my Informatics with some training in an information domain such as the health domain to accomplish a health service task, then I would be into Health Informatics!

I wish somebody could throw some light on these borrowed civilisations called ICTs, Informatics and Information Sciences!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Confused in the Information Age

Two things can never be the same! Information Science and Informatics can not be the same! The avalanche of information and terminologies in the Information Society, Information Age and related academic university offerings could have created a mist in understanding the development of the age! What is what!?

I, be but one information professional, feel that Information Science and Informatics is one such mist! I sought some answers from a colleague a colleague, fellow collegian and professional and a friend working as the Librarian at the Institute of Infectious Disease. What is the difference between Informatics and Information Science? Can the task of all librarians at a Medical instute be termed Health Informatics?

From the Wiki Answers, I begged for an answer! I paused a question to the WikiAnswer thus: What is the difference between Information Sciences and Informatics!

Please Answer this question by clicking the New Wiki Question generated! Anselm thanks for your in put!

Friday, April 20, 2007

!?! ?$M7@? I hope you understand!

African leadership is a puzzle! Understanding the ways of African leadership is like trying to analyse the chess moves of the great Gary Kasparov! Gary is alone in his world! You might not be good enough to understand what he does! But see! He is the world's undisputable Super Chess master! Museveni could be the equivalent in the political development in Uganda! He will win! The grandmaster rarely loses his knight for naught! There is a wonder move behind!

Just when I thought the Mabira controversy had incensed Ugandans, His Excellency breaks things down in the New Vision as if to say: Before you make nonsense over this Mabira thing, Look! I gave away this, that and those and you didn't complain that much . You dare disrupt me!

Below is an excerpt and its URL in today's New Vision! It is a good read!

<span class=

Yoweri Museveni

Why I support Mabira give-away to Metha

By Yoweri Museveni

You must have been following the controversy surrounding our decision to give some forest land to the manufacturers. There are three forest lands that have, so far, been given out to the manufacturers. These are:
- Some land in Kalangala for BIDCO, the palm oil project;
- Some forest land in Mabira for Mehta to expand his sugar operations; and,
- Earlier on, we had given the planted forest at Namanve for an industrial park.
I have been involved in these land allocations. Why? It is on account of the urgent need for industrialising our very backward but rich country in terms of natural resources and raw materials.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Pearl of Africa my hoof

Mabira Forest! The events surrounding the Mabira Forest giveaway in Uganda have turned political, racist, emotional, chaotic name it. Ugandans have expressed them selves in the worst possible. Some members of parliament have begun the long rot in prison cells. Opposition leaders are exploiting the situation and their reward is a good bath with (liquid?)teargas. Will Mabira go or not? All national news rooms are portraying the reactivities in Uganda.

Well now that all is not right about Uganda at the moment, so are the Ugandan bloggers and websites. They are failures! I think Ugandans are sleeping in the blogging era! Few are blogging! And few are blogging with regularity!

So whence the comrade thinks otherwise, I begun to ponder who is a Ugandan blogger! I think a Ugandan blogger is a blogger keeping a journal the situation and events about Uganda and not necessarily a Ugandan native blogging!

I think a blogger should be identified according to the premises that cause the content of their blogs. The Danish national who left Copenhagen for Uganda is a Ugandan blogger! She is blogging about events in Uganda! Right? I would call the famed Hash of the White African site an African Blogger and a Kenyan Blogger! He blogs from a Kenyan and African perspective! The 27th Comrade! I think you are a Ugandan blogger! The Danish students offer a clue in their post

Monday, April 16, 2007

Mabira! Good governance my hoof!

Uganda has a daddy! He is giving away his legacies and Mabira forest! His out-law intends to grow sugar cane! Ugandans may demonstrate and die but planting a natural forest is quite easy!
Crazy as it might seem, the inevitable is deemed to happen! And if I were to believe the editors at the The Monitor, then M7 either has a unique vision or cares less if not both! Has Museveni really decided to give away Mabira.
"As to the courts, the judges are not the ones who liberated Uganda. Their vision can not be superior to the one of freedom fighters...those are my views and stand."
If such an excerpt is one from a president's letter to his premier, then fadal! Welcome to the reality in Uganda. With three Ugandans dead, Ugandans seeming like racist pigs for attacking Ugandans of Indian origin, and daddy my hoof still bent on awarding the forest to his environmental outlaw by popular opinion, then the out cries to save Mabira have yielded nothing but highlighted the leadership credentials of a despot in a banana republic!

From the Information Society perspectibe, I too ask! Where are the Ugandan bloggers and websites? My verdict is that Uganda has a hand full of bloggers and that 99p.c of Ugandan websites are failures one way or the other! Environmental websites in Uganda like the website of NEMA, and that of ACODE can not be relied upon to provide online timely information on what should be their niche in the fight to save Mabira - Mabira updates! There are afew Ugandan bloggers and most are sleeping as a group of Danish students could honestly say!
"We would like to get in touch with Ugandan bloggers to learn more about why they blog and what blogging can do - what kind of opportunities does blogging create for communicating in Uganda, and to the rest of the world? What effect does it have on Ugandan society, if any? We are the amateurs, and we need help from the professionals - you, the Ugandan bloggers. Only you can tell us what blogging means to you."

Thursday, April 12, 2007

e-citizenship: Mabira Forest for sugar cane plantation

Mabira Central Forest Reserve and a Natural Conservation Area on the Kampala-Jinja highway could pave way for sugar cane plantation. Common sense is against it but the management of SCOUL and the Metha Family feels that this forest is the best place to expand their plantation of sugarcane. The Environmentalists world over and lay Ugandans will have non of this. The Save Mabira Petition echos similar sentiments! Yours truelly has signed the said petition. The petition is threatening 10,000 signatures!

From the information society perspective, the Save Mabira advocacy might have brought out a non political aspect of Citizen participation in the Information Society in Uganda. What could be called e-advocacy is being witnessed in Uganda. Campaigns, petitions and mobilisation have been conducted by SMS, E-mails, websites, TV and indeed radio broadcasts.

Some questions still lingers: To what extend have Ugandans in Uganda used the power of ICT on the "Save Mabira" campaigns? What ICT sysyem - email, website, TV, Radio, Internet, etc- ranked prominent? What threats? Which Ugandan Website can take credit?

Update from the The Monitor Website: A demonstration against the move is currently taking its toll. However, Demonstrators are spilling their sentiments on innocent Ugandans of Asian origins - Indian businesses to be precise. The Metha family are Ugandans of Indian origin. The demonstration threatens to turn violent!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Back in Kampala and a New dad!

After adventuring in Juba, Southern Sudan, I have happily returned to Kampala, Uganda. I travelled to Juba on the 2nd of Febrauary 2007 and returned on the 1st of March 2007. Happy New Year! Alot has also happened!

Guns! Brisk business! Constructions! Tents! Want for water and rest rooms! Dollars and Pounds! No thieves. Cruel! Yes! and too hot then! Thieves!? No! Juba is safe! The militant Southern Sudan has created a situation I would call "a balance of terror" and created numerous opportunities for minting money! It is a gold mine! But there is the gun! It is as if everybody in Juba knows the gun! Everyone can terrorise each other! Thugs are evils of our modern time! Every is busy! No room for leisure! Very expensive a place! Very low standard of living! Everything is makeshift!

It seems Southern Sudan is in another solar system in development! Juba and indeed Southern Sudan needs a sustainable development master plan to convert the large village called Juba to a city and bring development to the wilderness called Southern Sudan! More on Juba another time! One message! See Juba for your self to believe! Dare for the truth!

Back in Kampala! I returned to Kampala on the 1st of March 2007 well aware I was about to become a father! Well on March 20th 2007 I became a father of two little girls! Pics!? Soon! Names!? Wait!

I have to be grateful to Alpha Bravo, Alpha Mike, Delta Mike, ... and co! Thank you! Alpha Kilo, Hotel Oscar Oscar, ... you are friends indeed!

Yes I have returned and looking forward to returning to the Sudan some day. Behold! I am a father! There is a place called Juba!
Little Sis! Esther! In Algeria! I must blog it that you, the last born, are an Auntie to Colette and Claudia Bakita Owera!