Interview – Informatici Senza Frontiere (local) – Comboni Samaritan of Gulu

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Introduction

Interview with: Maurizio Bertoldi

Name of NGO: Informatici Senza Frontiere (local) – Comboni Samaritan of Gulu

Location (city, country): Milan, Italy – Gulu, Uganda

Link: ISF – Informatici Senza Frontiere (local) – Comboni Samaritan of Gulu

Date Interview: March 2010

Summary

The project aim is to give an improved IT infrastructure to the Campus Comboni Samaritans of Gulu NGO, operating in Gulu, Uganda. The ISF, with support of local institutions and Sinapto, is managing project by providing PC for the NGO.

Challenges

The no-profit Comboni Samaritans of Gulu NGO in Uganda has been founded since 1992 to stop the AIDS spreads and its dramatic impact on the population. Main activities are:

  • HEALTH DEPARTMENT
    • Provides assistance and support to about 4500 of people with AIDS (PLWHA – people leaving with HIV/AIDS), including 1930 anti-retroviral treatment (ARV).
  • EDUCATION DEPARTMENT
    • Provides support to about 1000 child heads of household, orphans or children whose parents are seriously ill.
  • YOUTH DEPARTMENT
    • This area was created with two primary goals: prevention and awareness on issues related to AIDS and the business of peace building and reconciliation post-conflict.

Solutions

All NGOs operating in developing countries needs improved IT infrastructure and Internet access to share/exchange information

  • remote support
  • small local infrastructure, services
  • ASP located in Italy
  • training and education to local staff
  • remote coordination and technological supervision

Opensource technology use is one most important thing in technological improvement of solutions in these contexts. Specifically, the project provide:

  • Approximately 30 PC client with these features:
    • IBM Netvista P4 1700 – 256 Mb Ram – 20Gb HD
    • Software:
      • Operating System Ubuntu 9.04 (it is thinking upgrading to Ubuntu 9.10)
      • Suite Openoffice
      • Mozilla Firefox
      • Mozilla Thunderbird
      • Skype
  • network server Ubuntu server 9.10 based

Questions

  • Can you give us a few examples of what you have done? Maybe you have some pictures you can share?
    • This will be possible soon, after next mission in Gulu due in late March.
  • Did you also use other linux distros?
    • Yes, the devil-linux distribution on a gateway/firewall/proxy system, that allows the use of a PC without HD.
  • Did you also use proprietary software?
    • Yes, especially software for the NGO management (accounting software, not easily available in opensource scope).
  • What do you suggest should be done in Ubuntu to better match your needs?
    • Currently just to continue so!
  • What would you like to see improved in Ubuntu resources like documentation?
    • Certainly documentation accessibility (eg. explicative videos) accessible even without a internet connection.

Experiences

  • What is the biggest difficulty you encountered with Ubuntu?
    • Lack of support for some older devices (a very little problem) and performance improvements of graphic environment on PC with old graphic cards. There are also problems with users that used to have proprietary operating systems and platforms.
  • and what do you think is the best trick you learned along the way?
    • The easy “cloning” of workstations! Once prepared a master, it is easily to clone and use it on different PCs.
  • What would you suggest to our readers that are interested in an initiative like yours?
    • Starting with small projects (a single PC for a small association, a samba server ….)
  • How can interested readers help your organization?
    • Going to our website, registering as members and giving their own contribution, even small!

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One Response to “Interview – Informatici Senza Frontiere (local) – Comboni Samaritan of Gulu”

  1. Simon Says:

    Dear Maurizio,

    My name is Simon Vass and I am a member/activist for the Uganda Linux User Group. We have recently started to look for members up-country who would be willing to start chapters of the LUG in there respective towns. This allows us to spread our message of Open-Source Software as far as possible.

    I would like to invite you to our latest meeting this Friday if your around in KLA. http://linux.or.ug/node/453

    Simon Vass

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