Where as access to information is a fundamental right to all citizens of Uganda, the desire to acquire this knowledge has quit often been lagging behind among many communities across the country. Arid Lands Information Network – Eastern Africa in partnership with book Aid international are promoting knowledge management systems among communities. This is in the mean time being done through equipping maarifa centers with relevant reading materials in line with the existing community needs and also enhancing identification ways for available reading materials at the various knowledge centers across East Africa. For the case of Lukwanga, this has been done with not only offering books but also giving support by setting up better reading environment through the provision of seats.
Acquisition of Furniture
In support of the different maarifa centers across the region, ALIN in partnership with book aid international supported Lukwanga maarifa centre with furniture. This comprised 15 plastic chairs (cosmoplast -Dubai), 4 tables (cosmoplast -Dubai) and a book shelf to “house” the books at the centre. This however came amidst great challenges where all the books at the centre were being kept in boxes and on top of a small table. Identification and access to these books was quit challenging by those who wanted to make use of them. Aspirations of acquiring furniture The acquisition of the seats (chairs, tables and book shelf) has created ease in accessing these books. Simplicity of accessing these books is further being promoted by the ongoing cataloguing system where books are becoming easy to identify and make use of wherever need arises. “We are now beginning to see the fruits of our knowledge centre. One can now sit comfortably and read his book without disturbance. ALIN has really saved us from squeezing ourselves on these small benches. We’re saved from moving up and down borrowing chairs during meeting…! exclaimed David Kimuli. The excited members of the FG who came to assist the FO in off loading the furniture from the lorry were noted chanting in praise of ALIN Available books at the maarifa centre Lukwanga MC is stocked with a variety of reading materials in its library. Most of these books comprise publications, magazines, issues papers and local content materials produced and shared from the existing best practices in the community. Majority of the reading materials are from EA, ALIN and Book Aid international who are partterns with alin in ensuring knowledge acquisation and sharing among communities for improved livelihood.
In April 2011, Book Aid International in partnership with ALIN provided the maarifa centre with a variety of reading materials. This has significantly provided referance materials for teachers nad pupils within the eight primary and two secondary schools in the parish. However, given the so many numbers of teachers and pupils and the increasingly demand for these referance materials, there is still need for more reading materials in the maarifa centre.
In a nutshell, the community and particularly the focal group of the maarifa centre are always appreciative about the most recent developments at the centre. The acquisition of furniture and facilitating free access to knowledge in the form of books is by far a good step towards promoting the set goals at the centre. They are however looking forward to having the best out of the knowledge centre while anticipating the centre attain its desired functional targets and milestones in regards to knowledge sharing and networking. For what appears to be small gains, the knowledge centre has significantly attained much and this is exhibited in the mode and manner through showed within the recent times.