A first, from Sub-Saharan Africa, ALIN bags the Global Knowledge Award

November 26, 2011

ALIN is one of the first organizations to pioneer ICT technology in remote arid lands communities and with this it has seen its way to being awarded first place in the Global Knowledge Award, a first-ever from a Sub-Saharan region in Africa. Alin has gone over and beyond to make sure remote rural communities gain access to knowledge and information that will change their lives.

ALIN won the prestigious Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF)’s Access to Learning Award (ATLA) for 2011, which is given annually, marking international recognition of their work. The timing was significant, as ALIN celebrated its 10th anniversary since its operations in East Africa. The Award was given in San Juan, Puerto Rico on Tuesday, August 16th, 2011 during the International Federation of Library Associations meeting.

Deborah Jacobs, Director of the Global Library Initiatives at BMGF, presided over the ceremony and presented ALIN with the award for its immense contributions to communities in East Africa by supplying them with knowledge centres in remote areas. These communities have used the resources they received from ALIN to initiate local social enterprises that have had a positive impact on their livelihoods over time.

On hand to receive the accolade was Mr James Nguo, the founding Regional Director of ALIN. The ATLA award came with US$1,000,000 in cash meant to help ALIN scale up its winning concept so that it can impact more people. At the event, Mr Nguo said: “We understand that each community we serve is different and each individual is also different. Some communities need information about water harvesting, while others are dealing with a particular kind of pest.

We have also found that some people have taken to computers and technology, while others prefer live demonstrations or lectures in their native language.” “Thousands of people in these remote communities of Eastern Africa are improving their lives through the information available at these centres,” said Deborah Jacobs, Director of the BMGF’s Global Libraries initiative, at the award ceremony. Bill Gates, the Senior Co-chair of the BMGF, was quick to congratulate ALIN for this award. He highlighted how their efforts have helped transform communities’ lives in marginal areas through the establishment of 12 Maarifa (Knowledge) centres. He recognized the organization’s multi-media approach to information capture and dissemination using online portals and magazines. A follow-up event to celebrate ALIN’s 10th Anniversary and the big win in Kenya was held on September 1st 2011. It drew over 300 guests, representing partners and donor organizations, who shared in the celebration.

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