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UCLan donates computers to African community organisation

21 May 2013

Lyndsey Boardman

Laptops for Community Journalism Bureaus

Caption: Paul Egglestone and George Ogola hand Rosemary Okella Orlale, former CEO of AWC, and her team one of the UCLan laptops.

University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) lecturers George Ogola and Paul Egglestone have handed over a series of laptops to The African Woman and Child Features Service (AWC), a Nairobi-based Non-Governmental Organisation.

AWC http://www.awcfs.org are working to develop an African media sector committed to diversity, gender equality, social justice and development in Africa. The laptops will be used to help equip a series of content bureaus in East Africa.

The pair were in Kenya leading students from the School of Journalism, Media and Digital Communication as they explore African media as part of the highly successful UCLan Student Travel Bursary scheme. Whilst in Nairobi they dropped into AWC to deliver the laptops and catch up with friends.

Paul Egglestone, who heads up UCLan’s Media Innovation Studio, commented: “It’s great to be back in Kenya and working with AWC again. East Africa is a fascinating place to be practicing journalism and the laptops we’ve donated will be well used in community news bureaus across Tanzania and down in Mombasa.”

“We hope that students will develop a real appetite for what’s happening in Kenya and maybe even develop a few connections of their own through this initiative.”

As well as supporting community journalists working in the field to produce stories for Kenya’s citizens, the laptops will enable them to create and share stories with the UK on the School of Journalism, Media and Digital Communication’s news website, the Hotpot. (http://ukjournalism.co.uk/thehotpot/).

Egglestone and Ogola are keen to develop connections between fourteen community content centres and UCLan’s staff and students.

George Ogola, a native Kenyan who teaches journalism at UCLan, said: “Linking the bureaus to our website will help us keep in touch with stories from East Africa on an almost daily basis. We hope that students will develop a real appetite for what’s happening in Kenya and maybe even develop a few connections of their own through this initiative.”

“We share many of AWC’s values here at UCLan so it’s a really good partnership and Kenya is such a beautiful place it’s difficult not want to return again and again.”

George and Paul plan to continue working with AWC running community journalism-training workshops alongside classes for professional journalists in subjects ranging from peace journalism and ethical issues to reporting on minorities.

As well as producing research on issues affecting local communities AWC are involved in training investigative journalists and community reporters; monitoring media outputs in Kenya as well as keeping an eye on the Government. They’re also great at sharing what they do – whether that’s at international conferences or United Nation’s Summits.

Paul Egglestone said: “We share many of AWC’s values here at UCLan so it’s a really good partnership and Kenya is such a beautiful place it’s difficult not want to return again and again.”