COMMUNITY LEARNING CENTRE
Starting with much anxiety over the sustainability of the centre and the CLC concept in Ghana, the year 1999 was very challenging for CEDEP CLC. The centre's activities advanced over the year due to the standard performance of the new computers and the setting up of effective administrative systems.
The Training Officer, Ms. Elizabeth Plas-Otwe manned the Centre together with her three Assistant Training Officers, Mr. Kwame Manu-Antwi, Mr. Salifu Mohammed and Ms. Ellen Comfort Awuah and the Front Desk officer, Mr. Solomon Kwame Opoku.
Change of Computers
On 12 May 1999, the CLC received ten (10) Gateway Personal Computers from the USAID to replace the non-performing computers used at the start of the project. This came as a great relief to staff, clients and CEDEP Management because the previous ones did not measure up to expectation and the Centre was losing public confidence. The new machines therefore restored confidence by boosting activities at the centre.
In January, Ms Elizabeth Plas-Otwe attended a workshop organised by USAID on the preparation of a business plan in Accra. She also represented the centre at a 3-day conference on Information Technology at AITEC (African IT Exhibitions And Conferences), Ghana held in Kumasi.
Training of Trainers
The CLCs Co-ordinator, Mr. Jonnie Akakpo organised three training sessions on the following areas for the trainers of the centre. This was to equip them with the necessary skills to enable them offer effective training to clients.
Internet Orientation for CEDEP Staff
CLC organised training sessions in computer literacy and Internet orientation for CEDEP staff in Kumasi. The training was to equip staff with the necessary computer skills to carry out their duties and to enlighten them on the Internet as a tool for development as well as its effect on the world of communication.
A total of 35 staff were taken through skills such as basic computer literacy, file management, components of the computer, practical sessions on Windows 98, Word processing and Spreadsheets.
The Internet orientation course covered computer networking and their applications, origin and history of the Internet, growth and rules governing its use using illustration to explain how data files are transmitted from one computer to another on the Internet. Internet services such as Electronic mail (E-mail) Listservs, discussion groups, file transfer and the use of search engines were discussed.
Introduction of the CLC Concept
The outreach team comprising Comfort Awuah of the CLC (leader) and two Marketing Students on a two-month attachment to the CLC visited 40 organisations in and around Kumasi to introduce the CLC concept to them, with introductory letters and questionnaires to assess their level of Internet usage.
Two seminars on The Millennium Bug, Origin, Myths and Realities were organised at the Kumasi Polytechnic and the Institute of Management Studies in March as part of the CLC's objective of creating IT awareness among the youth in the Kumasi metropolis. The 150 students who attended were informed about the Y2K problem and its implications for them as future accounting and marketing personnel.
Workshop for Private Medical Practitioners
In June, the CLC organised a workshop on the topic The Computer a Tool in Medical Practice for the Ghana Association of Private Medical and Dental Practitioners in Kumasi. Fifteen doctors attended the workshop, which explained the different areas in medical science where computers could be of great importance, the use of Telemedicine as a way of improving healthcare as well as the benefits of using the Internet.
As part of the CEDEP CLC 's objective of making the Internet accessible to both men and women in the Kumasi metropolis, it organised an open week for women in and around Kumasi. The week-long programme, from 23 to 27 August, had a total of 212 women from all walks of life participating.
The objectives for the women's week was to reach out to as many women as possible; bring into focus the numerous benefits from the use of computers and the use of the Internet as a tool for the development of women.
The CLC's NGO Week
With the objective to sensitise our sister organisations on the uses of information technologies and communication (ICT) for development, a week-long Internet usage awareness was organised for NGOs in and around Kumasi in October. In order for them to know how best to use the centre, the 25 organisations that participated were introduced to the activities of the centre.
They visited Internet sites relating to their work such as gender issues, development education, reproductive health, HIV/AIDS, poverty as well as websites of other partner NGOs. For most of the participants it was the first experience although they had heard a lot about the Internet and e-mail.
The CLC organised a lot of training sessions in the year for the general public the most significant of which was a six week training for 10 private medical practitioners to upgrade their knowledge and skills in computing.
A total of 96 participants made up of 45 females and 51 males were trained in basic computer literacy after which they undertook courses in various programmes offered by the centre such as Internet orientation, word processing, spreadsheets, desktop publishing and database management.
Majority of these participants were secondary school leavers and administrative personnel who wanted to acquire some basic computer skills.
Internet Access and E-mail
The CLC provided Internet access and e-mail to the public at a very competitive fee. An average of 500 people used the Internet every month in a ratio of three male to one female. This service to the public is the major activity of centre and this was well patronised.
Projections for the year 2000
Expansion of CEDEP CLC Activities
As part of CEDEP CLC's plans to expand its activities to reach out to a wider populace, the centre will undertake the following projects:
The successful turn of events during the year clearly indicates that CEDEP CLC has the potential for expanding. As computers stand on the threshold of a new millennium we look forward to a successful and challenging New Year which ushers us into the Information age.
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