Community Information Centre
After a huge fundraising effort which involved Josie Redmond’s 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 after gaining a new set of desktop computers from Suma Wholefoods.
Sean, the centre manager, provides lessons on how to use the computer for research purposes along with drop in lessons in Microsoft Office, Excel and other basic software most days.
There is also a vast amount of Information in the Centre on health, nutrition environment, agriculture and business. There’s free handouts as well as library full of books on: life-skills, health, language, history, home economics, travel, novels and Interfaith AIDs Association newsletters. We have recently purchased a Raspberry Pi which provides access to multiple educational programs, training courses and lessons for up to 30 devices! This is also something that we are also promoting in nearby schools with a volunteer, Jeff, who initiated this amazing resource at Butterfly!
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 resource.
We aim to develop its role within the wider community to become a useful networking centre for the area, and have started mapping organizations all over Malawi that work with similar subjects, health, nutrition, community development etc. 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 centers as a way to share knowledge and ideas. We have also recently linked with Planeterra.org who are interested in using the centre to provide local enterprises around Nkhata bay with access to much-needed training and support so they can thrive, and invest in their economies, education, healthcare, and the environment!
We look to attract both students studying community development or other relevant subjects, and volunteers with relevant skills.
- Run IT workshops and lessons to the community and students in nearby schools
- Upgrade and maintain equipment
- Visit surrounding schools, collages and libraries to promote the services that are free for the community to access, and get people engaged and understanding the benefits of community development.
- Map organizations throughout Malawi, linking and collaborating them to create opportunities for working together to create a more successful and greater impact.
- Link this project to universities to create and internship opportunities to develop the centre further