Benefits of the CTPH Telecentre

Milton-Teacher, Bwindi Vulnerable School
CTPH’s Introductory Course on Computers taken: 2008
Hometown: Ntungamo parish

Reason for taking the course: Milton believes that “every Ugandan should lean how to use a computer.” He had heard about computers but prior to this course, had no previous experience working with one. Milton personally paid for the Introductory Course and would invest in additional advanced computer training were it to be available locally.

Background: Milton is a school teacher outside of Buhoma, the entry town to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest.

Impact: Milton has been exposed to and has exposed others to a multitude of resources and opportunities via the Internet, which he learned how to use during the Introductory Course on Computers. Milton used his notes from this course to develop a theoretical introduction to computers to his students. His fellow teacher Sylvia, who has not had the benefit of firsthand knowledge of computers, also uses Milton’s notes as the basis for her theoretical computer training course. Milton also learned about, applied for and was accepted to a perm culture program via the Internet. Computer literacy was required for success in this program. Subsequently, Milton has used the Internet to investigate rainwater harvest, seed saving and organic composting and is now using this information to start a demonstration garden at the primary school where he works.

IMG_3466Milton and Sylvia in front of the demonstration garden

The experience of taking the course has given Milton and other graduates the confidence to enter the world of new information and take advantage of the opportunities it presents.

IMG_3471Bwindi Vulnerable School

Jeremiah at the Bwindi Community Hospital Internet Cafe



CTPH’s Introductory Course on Computers taken: 2008
Occupation: Customer Care Assistant, Bwindi Community Hospital Telecenter
Hometown: Buhoma
Reason for taking the course: Jeremiah’s dream was to learn to use computers.
Background: Jeremiah was a school teacher in rural area lacking electricity and communications infrastructure, when he registered for the Introductory Course on Computers. As such, he had never had the opportunity to use a computer. He used his own funds to pay for the Introductory Course on Computers and believes it was an extremely worthwhile investment.
Impact: He was able to realize his dream of a technology career due to the availability of local, affordable, and certified computer training. He did not have resources to train in Kampala which was the only other option. Following the course, Jeremiah landed the highly competitive Internet café attendant position at the Bwindi Community Hospital Telecenter, a position which he would not have been eligible for had he not taken the course. From there he was promoted to data entry clerk and then the current Customer Care Assistant position. He notes that “everything in the course helps me do my job,” and he estimates his income has increased 50% since he graduated from the course.
Jeremiah wants to increase his computer knowledge through advanced courses if they were available locally on topics such as website design and computer maintenance and repair.
Conservation Through Public Health enables individuals to realize the technology career dream.

Testimony from David Matsiko, one of the CTPH’s Introductory Course on Computers graduate, 2007

David Matsiko is a graduate of CTPH’s Introductory Course on Computers of 2007

Occupation: Community Telecentre Officer and Bwindi Field Office Manager, CTPH

Hometown: Rugando, Kanungu District

Reason for taking the course: David believed that the “world is changing, when one is not computer literate, he will not compete well with others for jobs.” Being an ambitious young man, he was keen on gaining computers skills and become self-sufficient on the computer.

Background: David was the Deputy Head Teacher of geography and political science at a high school in rural Uganda when he registered for the Introductory Course on Computers. He took the course in the evenings after his teaching responsibilities and invested his own money to pay for the course.

Impact: On a personal level, since receiving the Introductory Course on Computers certificate, David considers himself a conservationist. On a professional-level, David’s career has accelerated. He beat out more than a dozen other candidates for CTPH’s Telecenter Internet position and began to teach the Introductory Course to the next generation of students. In less than six months, he was promoted to become the manager of the CTPH Telecenter and a few short months later he became the CTPH Community Telecenter Officer. Fourteen months later, David was responsible for all of CTPH’s activities in Bwindi with his promotion to Bwindi Field Officer.

David now manages a team of five and programs in public health, wildlife health monitoring and sustainable tourism. David estimates that his income has increased 70% since he graduated from the course. David represents a broader scale of leadership emerging from the local community.

David at the CTPH Gorilla Research Clinic

Testimony from Amos and Emmy-2008 graduates


Amos and Emmy in the CTPH Gorilla Research Clinic
Graduates of CTPH’s Introductory Course on Computers, 2008
Hometown: Buhoma

Reason for taking the course: Amos and Emmy both wanted to learn about computers to better prepare for university studies and increase their career prospects in the long-run.

Background: Amos and Emmy were high school students when they took CTPH’s Introductory Course on Computers in 2008. Neither had ever used a computer before the course, but both had aspirations for professional careers. Both Amos and Emmy paid for the training out of their own pockets and found it to be worth every schilling.

Impact: CTPH combined computer training with exposure to its Gorilla Research Clinic, where CTPH investigates the intersection of human, wildlife and livestock health and conservation. This combination of computer and conservation training further refined Amos and Emmy’s career interests. Amos gained further exposure to cell biology and Emmy become interested in a career in conservation. Amos is scheduled to begin college for medical instruction in May and Emmy plans to begin his university studies on conservation and tourism in September. Both Amos and Emmy have highly recommended CTPH’s course to their friends and family and would pursue advanced studies if they were available in Buhoma.

Testimony from Nyamiyaga Sec School

Nyamiyaga Secondary School
Administrators of and participants in the Intercultural Interaction program
Location: Buhoma

Background: A government-funded high school with approximately 250 students. The school is situated on the border of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. The school does not have electricity or textbooks – school administrators note that they do not even have enough funds to purchase a weekly newspaper. All but three of last year’s graduating class achieved high enough grades to qualify for university studies, but few had the financial resources to pursue these studies.

Relationship to CTPH: Nyamiyaga Secondary School has worked with CTPH since 2009 on a pilot test of the Intercultural Interaction program. A small number of Nyamiyaga students were exposed to computers and shared thoughts about conservation and their lives with students at High Tech School in the United States.


Nyamiyaga Secondary School participants in the Intercultural Interaction program and CTPH’s Bwindi Field Office Manager

• For students – a leap from 19th Century to 21st Century educational systems. They had their first-time exposure to a computer and the wealth of information available online.
• For administrators and teachers – overcome the “lack of information,” which is the biggest problem faced by this rural and resource-constrained institution.
• For the world: Students in the United States were exposed to the lives and realities of their peers in rural Uganda and the ecological significance of the Bwindi area.

Students as well as school administrators are keen on continuing and even expanding the Intercultural Interaction program, pending additional financial resources.


Headmaster and Director of Students

Testimonials from employer and peers of graduate of CTPH’s Introductory Course on Computers

Dear Readers
I am pleased to inform you that CTPH Telecentre brught a big impact to the community.
The following are some of the testimonies from its users. Visit here for more testimonies

Administrators of and participants in the Intercultural Interaction program
Location: Buhoma

Background: A donor-dependent, primary school in rural Uganda serving orphans and the marginalized Batwa (formerly “pygmy”) populations since 1994. The school does all its work on paper with no electricity or computer facilities but teaches computer education in its curricula and prepares financial reports for international donors. Last year’s entire graduating class went on to high school, very rare for rural schools in Uganda.

Relationship to CTPH: Buhoma Community Primary School has worked with CTPH since 2006, and approximately half of its teachers graduated from the Introductory Course on Computers in 2008. Older students are exposed to computers and conservation principles via CTPH and the school is currently pilot-testing the Intercultural Interaction program in which students engage with their peers in schools in the United States.

• For students – gain an opportunity to interact beyond their village horizon to the other side of the world, to both learn from and educate their peers in the United States.
• For teachers – become more effective and confident in teaching computers and communications, an existing part of the curriculum, because they had actual computer exposure and training.
• For administrators – enable faster and richer communication with school’s major financial supporters
• For the world: ability to couple conservation messages and intercultural understanding with technology training.

Everyone at the school who had not participated in previous training was interested in resumed training opportunities, and those with training were interested in more advanced skills.


Buhoma Community Primary School Headmaster and participants in the Intercultural Interaction program and CTPH’s Bwindi Field Office Manager

CTPH to appear on PBS Frontline World Documentary on Nov 17

Posted on behalf of Lawrence, the Director of CTPH.

gladys in the field

Look out for a documentary prominently featuring Conservation Through Public Health’s work in communities around Bwindi, home to half of the world’s critically endangered mountain gorillas. The story will be part of the FRONTLINE broadcast airing at 9pm EST Tuesday, November 17th on PBS stations in the US.

Please note that local times may vary, so viewers should check their local PBS broadcast schedule.   The story will also be available on the web on the evening of November 17th  It’s the first time they’ve paired a FRONTLINE with a FRONTLINE/World – so that should be interesting.

The longer FRONTLINE story is about Neda, the woman who was killed recently during the protests in Iran.

Our FRONTLINE/World story is 12 minutes long, and is called Uganda: Out of the Wild.

The link is also on home page.

This is how the PBS has described this documentary.

Uganda: Out of the Wild
A story from the wilds of Uganda’s “Impenetrable Forest”—home to the world’s largest population of Mountain Gorillas, but also a hotbed for a number of deadly diseases that cross the species barrier from animals to humans.  Here, a new idea in public health called “One Health” is emerging to help combat threats like Ebola, Marburg virus, and TB.  Says wildlife veterinarian William Karesh: “What we learned over the years is that all the same diseases that we were dealing with in the wildlife were the same as what we were dealing with in people living in the surrounding areas, or in their animals. So when we say that there’s human health or livestock health or wildlife health, we just made that up.  There’s only one health.”

Marketing Bwindi Crafts on the Internet


Ashaba Timothy displaying a gorilla mask he made

Alex standing in his handicraft shop

A lex standing in his shop

Youths living around Bwindi Impenetrable National Park are generally coming up with some self employment through handicrafts shop as away of conserving the park. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is famous for having half of the population of the mountain gorillas in the whole world.

Conservation Through Public Health an NGO that acts as the voice of the poorest people among the poor helped in the launch of Bwindi Community Blog where the views, wishes and developments from the community members are put.

David Matsiko who is a Community Telecentre Officer working with Conservation Through Public Health moved to some of the handicrafts shop.

He was finding out if the CTPH Telecentre really changed lives of youths through internet. Out of 200 people trained since the Telecentre was established in 2005, 90% are youths.

A lot of benefits were realized by the youths after completing the computer training. Among them was that these people realized that CONSERVATION is a major thing that should not be ignored.

Our Community Telecentre Officer interviewed Ashaba Timothy the owner of Sue and Lee Craft shop and Alex Gabiito of Bwindi Porters’ Crafts Shop both youths and they all said that the internet has helped them to get market for their handicraft items. In addition, their shops have grown up because of the internet. Tourists who come to Bwindi leave behind their contacts and later book some crafts through the internet. This has created friendship between Bwindi people and the entire world.

Before the launch of CTPH Telecentre in 2005, people used to travel to Kabale, a bout 150 kilometers from Buhoma in search for the internet. The community is now happy that they have the internet in their community where they don’t even spend money on transport and most people now know how to use the computer for themselves other than some people doing it for them.


On 7th August 2009, a team from Conservation Though Public Health (CTPH) comprising of Stephen Rubanga, David Matsiko, Ngabirano Alex, took the two visitors to Nyamiyaga Secondary School (Jerry Ann Jaccobs and Beth Jaccobs). These two people were coming from High Tech High- a high school in America based on projects. They were explaining how students at high school level learn through projects.

This was a very exciting moment for students in Nyamiyaga School- a school that borders Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, a home of half of the population of the existing mountain gorillas in the whole world.

Many communities surrounding Bwindi Impenetrable National Park have benefited both indirectly and directly through CTPH. This is one way how Nyamiyaga benefited directly through CTPH.

High Tech High through Jerry Ann Jaccobs and Beth Jaccobs decided to work with Nyamiyaga Sec school, a hard to reach school where some students walk over 12 kilometers to school every day, a school with no laboratory, no library and no single computer on projects.

The students were told to look for projects related to Conservation, Hygiene and Family life.

Two students were selected from Nyamiyaga Sec School to lead others and work together with their teacher. The two students are Niwagaba Laban and Kesiime Judith and their teacher is Twebaze Francis who got his computer training at CTPH Telecentre.

These were to work with David Matsiko from CTPH who will coordinate all these through the internet.

CTPH has helped the Local communities in several ways and one of them is through such interactions. In 2008, CTPH Telecentre in Bwindi helped to have live interactions of pupils from Buhoma Community Primary School and those of USA guided by Tadge O’bren from Monroe Boces and David Matsiko from CTPH where they exchanged their experiences in Conservation, family life, way of living and others.

The value of internet technology and education to remote Bwindi communities

CTPH Telecentre Officer, Diana Neunje with Bwindi tourist using the internet to share her gorilla tracking experience 

 We were pleasantly surprised and greatly encouraged when during filming of Conservation Through Public Health (CTPH) work last Saturday 12th September 2009, by a PBS Frontline World film crew, Richard Ngabirano whose father, Mr. Bernard Mugabirwe is a local leader and Chairperson Local Council 1 in Buhoma Central Village, came to visit us at our CTPH office in Kampala and gave a great testimony of how he had benefitted from the computer training at the CTPH Telecentre. PBS Frontline World film crew wanted to find out how the CTPH Telecentre had changed the life of Richard and his community, a program started by CTPH Founder and Director of ICT for Development, Lawrence Zikusoka.

Richard said that since the telecentre was set up in June 2005 many members of the Bwindi community can now use the internet. Because of the email communication with potential sponsors, as many as 8 students living around the remote Bwindi Impenetrable Forest have gone to university, including him, at Nkumba University near Kampala doing a Bachelor in Business Administration. To top it all, one of these students, Brain Turindwamukama, who started Bwindi Kindness Club, a youth community based organization, was recently accepted in Scattergood School in USA through support from Linda Greenberg, Founder of 4Uganda Inc.

Richard also said that the community was appreciative that CTPH provided employment for the telecentre graduates, of which the most prominent was David Matsiko, CTPH Community Telecentre Officer, a former teacher of Rugando Primary School and former teacher and Director of Studies at King’s High School, both near Bwindi.

Richard eagerly recollected the time when he was taught by Diana Neunje, CTPH’s first Telecentre Officer, who had graduated from the Makerere University Department of Women and Gender Studies Gender and Technology Outreach Program. Diana who comes from Tororo in eastern Uganda went onto pursue a Masters in Information Technology at Makerere University and was replaced by David Matsiko.

PBS Frontline World asked whether the telecentre had made the communities more positive about conservation. Richard said that the TB program has had a great impact; he is pleased to see community members coming to the CTPH offices in Buhoma for follow up testing while in the Community Based Direct Observation of Treatments (CBDOTS) program. He also felt that people in his community were becoming more hygienic because of the CTPH brochures and posters displayed in the community, which link improved public health to gorilla conservation.

Lawrence Zikusoka asked Richard what he would like to do after graduation. He said that he plans to return to his community after he graduates and aspires to get a well paid job in the local institutions, such as, Uganda Wildlife Authority, NGOs like CTPH or tour operators based in Bwindi.