…Specifically, a story to remind many of our readers of the privilege of the internet access that is all around us at all times. Sometimes, the internet is so present in all I do, I forget what it was like to live without it. This week, I get to share the exciting day that the internet arrived in Manymula Village! Here is the story, directly from Canaan Gondwe, SIA partner and Manyamula COMSIP Cooperative Coordinator:
Report from Canaan on Wi-fi Installation
More and more beauty, dignity and pride are adding up at the Manyamula COMSIP Cooperative Society Training and Development Centre. [Take a tour of the facility!] The installation of the internet gadgets at the Centre is real inspiration to the community of Manyamula. This is the only place in the rural area of Manyamula in Northern Malawi where people can flock to access the internet, photocopying, scanning and printing.
The Manyamula COMSIP Cooperative Management wrote a Wi-Fi project proposal to Spirit in Action in November 2017. The SIA Board with the Technical tips of the SIA Administrator approved the proposal and funds were wired to the COMSIP Cooperative in December 2017.
Buying the necessary equipment
The Wi-fi facility installation equipment was directed by the COMSIP Union Internet Technician Specialist. Yes, Management prearranged and organized a trip to Lilongwe [the capital of Malawi, several hours away] in January to procure the equipment. We went to AIRTEL Malawi office and many other electronic shops to buy a router, ethernet port, cable, “4-in-one” (photocopier, printer, scanner, and fax), and three laptop computers.
Cooperative members, as well as community members, students, and teachers will be able to use the laptops and printer at an affordable rate.
Laying the cables at the centre
The COMSIP Network Installation Team arrived at the Cooperative offices on the 6th of February of 2018 to begin the Wi-Fi facility installation. Yes, the team had two full days to do the job. The first day was dedicated the wiring of the buildings where the network was to be accessed and the other day was setting up the network.
When the configuration of laptops and printer was done, this facilitated printing documents through network. The next major activity to be done was to install engine search, which is a software to access network easily.
Laying the cables to connect with internet and printing network between the office block and the main meeting hall.
Technicians running the internet cable along the top of the meeting room to the dormitory rooms. You’ll be able to connect from all around the Training and Development Centre!
Ripples of Impact
The most visible impact is that the community of Manyamula has an internet café at the Cooperative centre where people can access internet mails, printing and photocopying.
The Wi-Fi facility at the cooperative if properly managed will reduce distance and costs to people who have been traveling 44 km (about 30 miles) each way to Mzimba to access the internet.
We will now be able to be more timely with regards to reports.
Patronage of our Training and Development centre facility and those who stay in our guest rooms and rent our conference hall will increase due to the presence of the Wi-Fi facility. This facility will help bring more revenue to the cooperative as people who access it will be paying for the services at a cost. This will boost and increase our income base, and therefore the amount we can give in low-interest loans.
The availability of this facility at the centre will help the students and out of school Youth of this community to learn computer skills.
Mbwenu, the local COMSIP cooperative bookkeeper, and the IT specialist from the COMSIP national organization build the network. Mbwenu will be able to use the computers for his record keeping.
The Manyamula COMSIP Cooperative would like to convey our gratitude first and foremost to Spirit in Action International for the support of the Wi-Fi Grant. This grant was timely done and now the community of Manyamula is greatly released from the sufferings of lack of such a Wi-Fi facility in the area.
The Cooperative Board of Directors and Management also send their vote of thanks to the Chief Executive Officer of COMSIP National Union for releasing their IT Specialists to assist in procurement of the Wi-Fi facility materials in Lilongwe, installation of the Wi-Fi Facility at the Cooperative centre, and also most importantly, their assistance of a vehicle to transport Cooperative staff and materials from Lilongwe to Mzimba.
Canaan Gondwe and Matthews Mahowe using the new laptops. Matthews is the Secretary of the Manyamula COMSOP Cooperative