Published: 08 June 2015
After successfully implanting the Maarifa model in Kenya, ALIN was looking forward to \ extend the same model in East Africa. This was informed by many factors among them the arrival of the submarine fibre cable in Mombasa in June 2009.
I shared the regional dream with our Program Officer Mr. Thur de Kuijer when I visited Oxfam Offices in The Hague in 2009. In one of the coffee sessions we were joined by the East African Team Administrator Mr. Martin van de Steen who proved to be one of the most useful persons in the development of the proposal to the Dream Fund.
The ground work for the project was made possible with a grant of Euros 120,000 by Oxfam to ALIN to initiate preparatory phase for the big project. ALIN started 3 centres in Koro, Awach and Metu on three fabricated shipping containers. The containers were fully fitted to accommodate workstations desks, computers and had a satellite link all powered by solar systems supplied by our current partner, CLS Uganda.
As the preparatory phases continued operations, we used the results to feed in the main proposal. This was followed by many field trips with a team of other professionals’ such as Peter Wallop, , Denis Richardson with Martin van de Steen and I coordinating the proposal development. I remember with nostalgia how the April 2010 volcanic eruption over Europe and subsequent cancellation of all flights for about four days enabled Martin and I develop the project further. I was happy to have done this for a good course.
The 3 centres provided good results for scale up and by 1st October 2010 we submitted the first proposal to the dream fund. This was not funded and ALIN made another request for the extension of the grant to continue the operations of the three centres. The outcome of the Dream Fund application did not kill the dream as ALIN continued to operate the three centres in Uganda; it gave Martin and I an opportunity to critically look through the model for resubmission the following year. With professional business inputs from Peter Walop, the second proposal was submitted to the Dream Fund on 1st Oct 2011.
The persistence paid off when I visited the Hague just before the announcement of the recipients of the Awards on 9th Feb 2012. A small team from OxfamNovib and I gathered at a private residence in the neighbourhood of Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam watching the NPL announcements live on Internet. There was such joy as the name of Internet Now! was read by the jury! This marked the end of fundraising and start of the project with ALIN giving the initial logistical support since Oxfam Novib was not registered in Uganda.
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