INFORMATION & COMPUTER CENTRE
After a huge fundraising effort which involved Josie and a friend cycling the entire length of Lake Malawi, the Information & Computer Centre opened its doors in 2009 on-site at Butterfly. Josie had raised over one million Kwacha and after a renovation effort, it turned a dormitory into an inspiring place for the community to use. It is run as a non- profit venture and has many aims, including: providing relevant information to the community and teaching computer skills.
Nine years on from its opening, The Information Centre is still going strong and we have recently gained a new set of desktop computers from Suma Wholefoods which hopefully will be easier to maintain. Gibson is the new centre manager, and provides lessons on how to use the computer for research purposes along with lessons in Microsoft Office, Excel and other basic software, which are held most days with children from the nearby schools. We always really appreciate if any volunteers want to lend a hand with teaching in this area.
There is also a vast amount of Information in the Centre concentrating upon areas of health, environment, agriculture and business. There are a number of free handouts as well as library full of books to read including: life-skills, health, language, history, home economics, travel, novels and Interfaith AIDs Association newsletters. It is without a doubt that the Information & Computer Centre is clearly trying to educate the community to provide awareness for many to learn the skills which will benefit them well into the future. Previous users of this service have ended up in education in IT in Dublin and South Africa, proving that for some it has been an invaluable stepping stone.
It further aims to develop its role within the wider community to become a useful networking centre for the area. The Permaculture Network of Malawi is keen to start working through regional hubs as a more useful way to disseminate information to local farmers and the International Permaculture Education Network (IPEN) are also keen to start linking with regional education centres as a way to share knowledge and ideas. The Information and Computer Centre would be the perfect place. We will look to attract longer-term students and volunteers to this project through our links to other universities and internship opportunities and in this way we can further realise the potential of the centre to become a really useful interactive resource for the community here and Malawi in general.