powerful communication and information instruments that can promote and accelerate development in a community. The beauty of the computer is that you can add
or alter information whenever you like and accordingly have fresh information all the time.
AS AN INFORMATION TOOL
Types of lists that may be stored on computer as ”databases” and which could be very useful:
- Membership (members’ personal and payment details).
- Roleplayer and stakeholders address and personal particulars.
- Sponsor and training agency addresses and histories.
- Training courses/tracking progress of development projects in your area.
- Storing administrative work such as bookings for functions, bookkeeping (financial records), minutes of meetings, correspondence.
Some of this information can aIso be used to generate income, such as selling the community profile to developers or the local council.
In a more general sense, the facility may act as a general information node, collecting information on what to get where, such as:
- Where can I find a doctor?
- Where can I find a
- How do I treat a burn or cut?
- Where can I find a lawyer?
- Where can I find treated seed for the pumpkins I want to grow?
- Where can I find counselling services (e.g. for rape victims and addicts)?
- Who are my community organisations?
This service of being a clearinghouse as described above will, of course, have to be free. If you develop this service-rendering aspect of your facility, you may be able to attract good funding for your facility from donors.
AS AN EDUCATION TOOL
Individuals in the community may want to use the computer for their educational needs such as:
- practice their skills
- type their assignments.
The real value of computers and the multi-purpose facility as a facility of
learning becomes evident if you have educational programmes (software),
Students will flock to the facility. This is even enhanced when you have a modem and have access to the Internet. Then you can
offer information on bursaries and training courses. Distance education makes much use of the information network provided by the computer system. The
Internet can also be used to look for job opportunities and to interact with commerce and industry.
AS A FUND GENERATOR
Some of the means of generating funds through the computer have already been mentioned. There are more, particularly if you have a modem and
access to the Internet. Business people may use you services to do their ordering of stock and the local
government may use it for some of their administration. In addition, some people in the community may wish to explore the world through the Internet or do some e-mailing. You may like to charge a small fee per hour for using the computer for these purposes.
Computers are sensitive equipment, you should take proper care of your
computers and their security. Dust and rough handling will disturb their
performance severely. Keep them clean and as dust-free as possible.
Several technical problems may arise, with the computer itself (what is called the ’hardware’) or with the programmes of the computer (the ’software’). You have to have good relationships with people skilled in computers to help you in such instances. Conflict may arise from the use of the computers, such as who may use them and when, for how long? Who will be ultimately
accountable for the well functioning of the equipment?
Security might be a problem, depending on your situation. Computers are very sought-after and you have to arrange for good burglar proofing of your facility.
(A Notes section is provided in the printed
to download a copy thereof.)