By Faith Kisiangani
Arid Lands Information Network (ALIN) has partnered with Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO) Jitolee to establish Kiranga Maarifa Centre. The Maarifa Centre is expected to be a section of Kiranga Youth Polytechnic and it aims at improving Kiranga communities’ access to knowledge and Information Communication Technology (ICT) skills.
Lameck Mwangi who has been working in the ICT Department of the Polytechnic has been trained to manage the day-to-day running of the Centre. In preparation, he attended a three-day orientation at Ng’arua Maarifa Centre from August 12th to 14th, 2014. He was trained in record management, ICT training, documenting and disseminating information in different formats and blogging.
“I am convinced that Kiranga Maarifa Centre will start with the best possible footing. I now have practical experience on different services that are offered in Maarifa Centers’. More so, I have been better equipped on the task at hand so I am ready to begin to provide the relevant services when Kiranga Maarifa Centre is opened,” Lameck said.
He expects that the ICT training will provide an opportunity for professionals, farmers, Form 4 leavers as well as businesspeople in Kiranga area to learn how to use various computer packages. He also believes that the library will be extremely useful particularly to students as there is no nearby library in the area.
The Centre is expected to extend its services to other polytechnics served by VSO Jitolee like Kithoka Youth Polytechnic in Meruand Ithiru and Baraka Youth Polytechnics in Murang’a South.
Improving communities’ access to knowledge and skills through Maarifa Centres is one of the activities that ALIN has carried out over a period of years and as a result, it has established around nine Maarifa centres countrywide.
A Maarifa centre is a room or a fabricated shipping container where communities access free information resources. The centre is equipped with computers which are internet enabled and also has a library that is equipped with both electronic and printed information like publications, research reports, newsletters, CD-ROMs (Compact Disc Read - Only Memory), audio and visual materials for the community members.