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Uganda, 22 January 2015: Computer whiz shares how he fosters community

Isaac is a powerhouse example of how an internet connection can create effective change in people’s lives

Isaac Komakech (18), shares a rented mud hut with nine siblings and his single mother. And though he still has a few years of school to go, Isaac is a powerhouse example of how an education and an internet connection can change people’s lives.

As is not uncommon in these parts, poverty and the remnants of conflict led to a late start at school, but this hasn’t held Isaac back. Although still a student, Isaac is also an ICT lecturer and for the past four years has been a ‘trainer of trainers’. He has also found his voice by coming together with other youth.

He has no hesitation in pointing out what led him to where he is today. “I received guidance, care and great IT lessons,” he says, about his time at the UNICEF-supported Bardege ICT for Education & Research Centre, in northern Uganda.

It wasn’t always this way. Isaac said his early years were spent as an “introvert”, due to a lack of sufficient individual attention at home. However, his deep-seated desire to learn, connect and communicate was given wings when he stumbled across the Centre in his home town. The Centre is part of UNICEF Uganda’s PBEA work. The goal of the PBEA programme is to strengthen resilience, social cohesion and human security in conflict-affected contexts, including countries recovering from conflict, through strengthened policies and practices in education.

The PBEA programme is partnership between UNICEF, the Government of the Netherlands, and the nation-al governments of 14 countries across the globe, including Uganda.

Today the centre includes computers, internet, laptops, a Digidrum (computer in a drum installed on the front porch of the centre), a Mobistation (a complete I.T & presentation kit) and educative material via the ‘Uganda Content Portal’. QUOTE from Isaac. “It has everything we need to,” says Isaac. “This place is more than about catching up on opportunities – it’s about getting ahead.”

Today Isaac runs his website and blog where he has visitors from all over the globe, designs logos for the companies he dreams he'll have one day (including a production company), and creates websites - back end and design - for tender purposes for NGOs and schools that are more upmarket than his own.

Isaac has a single-minded drive, ambition and a truly astonishing talent. His favorite subjects at school are math, science, physics and, of course, I.T – which he helps tutor at school, too. And he has no doubts what this life change, courtesy of PBEA, means for him: “I can create my own resources to get myself the best education I can. I’m going to become an engineer and travel the world.”




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