Last Friday I had the pleasure of watching technicians from
AfricaOnline and KPTC working together to install a dedicated 64kbps
digital leased line between the International Centre of Insect
Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE) and AfricaOnline. The line presently
serves a network of 7 computers in a training room at ICIPE (donated
by USAID), but will soon serve the entire center of perhaps 100
workstations. Cost is about $3000 per month for the line.
I was very impressed with the obvious competence and professionalism
of the technicians concerned. The training center was up and running
in time for the arrival on Sunday of entomologists and technicians
from around Africa, Europe, and North America. Do have a look at the
web site located at www.icipe.org.
Information about the conference can also be reached from that page,
including my photograph... in case you were wondering what I look
We had a fascinating discussion Thursday afternoon -- ok, well, I
designed the session, so perhaps that's why I found it so
fascinating. We asked participants in small groups to design an
"information system." We'd been talking all week about wonderful
gadgets and tools -- fancy web sites, searchable databases,
interactive resources, digital cameras. But within an information
system design, the participants were challenged to identify
precisely how these resources were to be delivered and then used to
In the Chinese restaurant of the Safari Park Hotel, I had the
opportunity to sit and chat with a small commercial farmer from a
district near Mount Kenya. We dined in four courses on all kinds of
interesting dishes -- my farmer friend and I were particularly
impressed with the ginger sherbert. Have you seen the Safari Park?
It's this incredible complex of conference facilities, carefully
tended gardens, waterfalls -- fortunately we received a conference
rate significantly below the $150 per night they normally charge.
My farmer friend expressed some disappointment in conventional
extension services, suggesting that NGOs were much more effective
than governments in delivering critical information to farmers.
Jeff @ Nairobi
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