For two weeks I traveled to Ngaoundéré, the capital of the Adamawa region of Cameroon, to help another Peace Corps Volunteer with a computer literacy project. Krystina Nguyen (Small Enterprise Development Volunteer) and I worked with some ladies from her womens groups teaching basic computer literacy. We paired up with a local cyber cafe for the training venue, where we gave classes for over a week.
This project was a big success. Over the period of the project 8 women were trained in basic internet usage (searching the internet, reading news, finding recipes, etc) and email account creation and usage.
The women were trained over a one week course, with two to three hours of instruction each day. Most women received 4 hours of training over the week. Over the course of the week 6 email addresses were created and allowed the women to practice email writing among themselves as well as communicating with Krystina and I.
Over the same period I was able to work closely with the Cyber Café staff and give some training in computer maintenance and repair. There were a total of 4 staff members who benefited from this training. The staff seemed very interested in gaining skills in this area. Together we were able to fix one decommissioned computer and evaluate the broken components in three others.
Krystina and I were also able to promote continued educational courses at the cyber café. From speaking with the owner, we proposed continuing the classes we had started at least one day a week. A staff member will take over the teaching position. We were also able to negotiate lower prices for first time women customers, removing a barrier to women’s computer education.
After the work in Ngaoundere was finished, I traveled to Mieganga in the western Adamoua to work with Andrew Ryan’s school. I worked closely with the two computer science teachers at the Lycee training them on computer maintenance and repair.
A total of 30 computers were tested, repaired, and cataloged. The machines which had broken components were separated and a request was made to the proviseur for new components.
I really enjoyed my time in the predominately Muslim and arid north of Cameroon. I hope I get a chance to go back some time.