The Nyeri pilot Project was carried out between the 27nth of March 2011 and 1St April 2011 in two districts of the Othaya County; Central province. These districts were Othaya and Nyeri districts.
The following were the participants in the Pilot.
- Stephen Wathika Wanjau - Team Leader
- Grace Kariuki
- Christopher Austin Riwa
- Anne Njeri
The following were the schools visited and the experiences learnt from them. They were:
- Temple road secondary school
- Nyeri Baptist High School
- Karima Boys High school
- Gatugi Girls secondary school
- Othaya Boys High school
- Nyeri high School
- Chinga Girls High School
- Gathera secondary school.
- Chinga Boys high school
- St. Mary’s secondary school
Temple Road Secondary school
The school is located within Nyeri Municipality and it is a mixed school. They offer computing as a subject where students only do it for literacy purposes but they are not examined. The computer section is apportioned from the library space. They have 10 computers that are accessible by the students; one computer for their computer technician, one for the principal’s secretary, one at the staffroom, one for the deputy and one for the principal.The computers can be used by 12 teachers and 200 students.We only managed to have a session with the teachers where we shared information about the Wikimedia foundation, since the students were taking their examinations.
Nyeri Baptist High school
The school is too located within the Nyeri municipality. The supervisor for the pilot was the computer teacher who was aware of Wikipedia; the online encyclopedia, but had never heard of the other Wikimedia projects. They have an internet connection in their school but they took in the offline version too.We had a presentation with the teachers because the students were busy with their examinations. We installed the Wikipedia for schools in 25 computers and they can be accessed by 480 individuals inclusive of the teachers.
Karima Boys high school
The school is 30km from Nyeri town, in othaya constituency. The school has a population of around 700 students and teachers and they all had access to the school computers. Unlike in some schools where only students taking computer studies are allowed into the computer lab, here they allowed all students who were willing to learn and use this research tool to enter and use the computer laboratory. We had a session with the students and teachers. They were happy to learn that Wikimedia foundation had some other exciting projects. Moreover, one teacher had used wiki species and did not know it was under the Wikimedia foundation.There was a teacher from a school in the neighboring Karatina district; who had come for some benchmarking program in the school, and she was very happy to learn about Wikimedia. She requested us to pass by her school but our schedule was tight and Karatina is quite a distance from Nyeri town. I opted to give her a DVD that contained the material plus the manual of how to go about it. I even went ahead to show her how to install it as we did the same at this school.
Gatugi Girls secondary School
The school has 34 old computers which can be accessed by 160 persons which including teachers and students.The contact person was the computer teacher who was happy to have the Wikipedia for schools.
Othaya Boys High School
The school is 35km from Nyeri town and has a population of 950 teachers and students who can all access the computer laboratory and some other computers in the library. On the material day the computer teacher directed me to the head teacher who happened to be absent, he took it upon him to call and explain to him about our objective. The head teacher then asked for a letter from the ministry of education or any other form of identity which we did not have. We then requested him whether we could talk with the deputy head teacher about the same. Fortunately, the deputy head teacher agreed to have the Wikipedia for schools installed. Thanks to my team for helping me convince the administration.We later managed to talk to the teachers and we even had a presentation session with them. The students came in later and we also had a session with them.They were very happy with the idea and some even brought their personal flash disks to copy it immediately so that they would use the same at home now that the April holidays were due.
Nyeri High School
The school is located in the Nyeri Municipality. It has 40 computers; some in the computer laboratory, some in the library, the deputy principal’s office, the staff room, the principal’s office and the heads of departments’ offices. The computers can be used by 500 persons.They were quite receptive and really happy about the Wikimedia foundation initiative. We did not manage to have a presentation because the students were taking examinations and even the teachers were held in another function that was going on at the time. However, we still managed to install the Wikipedia for schools in a number of their computers.
Chinga Girls High School
They readily embraced the Wikipedia for schools which we installed in the computers in their computer laboratory. The teachers also allowed us to install the Wikipedia for schools in their personal laptops.They have 12 school computers and they can be accessed by 100 students who take computer studies. We took it upon us to explain to them the importance of allowing other students to use this material now that it did not only contain computer studies. They said they would consider the same.
Gathera Secondary School
I had met the principal during the pre visit and he was ready to have the Wikipedia for schools installed in the school’s computers. He was absent though during the pilot but he had already left instructions of our motives to the supervisor for the pilot who was also the computer technician. We successfully installed the Wikipedia for schools and we even went ahead to have a presentation to the students who were very happy now that they had some e-learning material for their research.They have 32 school computers and they can be accessed by 320 students and teachers. The administration of the school was very happy and they even went ahead to offer some snack and a cup of tea in appreciation.
Chinga Boys High School
The institution is in Othaya District of the larger Nyeri County. They had a total of 15 computers in their computer laboratory. Other computers were also available in their departmental offices, the staff room and the administrative offices. The team managed to install the Wikipedia for schools in the computers in the laboratory facility as well as in the deputy principal’s office. Furthermore, we managed to have a presentation session which was attended by a few teachers and students as well as the school principal and his deputy.They were all elated with the offline version of Wikipedia. The principal was quite receptive with the technological boost that we added to the institution and mentioned that using information technology was the way to go in secondary education. The school had a population of 800 teachers and students who had access to the computers located in different areas of the school.The team also managed to make a presentation on how someone could register to the foundation online as well as edit their articles.
St. Mary’s Boys Secondary school
The school is located within Nyeri Municipality. They have a total of 40 computers in the school which can be accessed by a total of 500 students and teachers. The students were undertaking their end of term examinations during the pilot so we didn’t manage to make a presentation for them. However, we managed to install the Wikipedia for school in a few administrative computers with supervision from their computer technician. They were also impressed by the Wikipedia version and promised to start training their students and teachers on how to use it as soon as they completed their examination.Therefore, we left them a copy of the DVD containing the Wikipedia for schools and the user manual guide after having a brief training session with the school’s computer technician.
- Some computers were old and the use of flash disks in copying the files took too long.
- Some people didn’t really know what Wikimedia was and couldn't comprehend why give the off-line Wikipedia for free.
- The lack of some form of official identification proved to be a challenge in accessing some schools.
- Some of the schools’ computers were highly infested with viruses. This ended up putting our own computers at risk of being infected too.
- We should consider purchasing external DVD drives which would be faster in copying the files into old computers which have USB ports.
- The purchase of an effective anti-virus for volunteers going out for projects is inevitable at this point to ensure the well being of their computers availed for the institutions responsibilities.
- The foundation should consider conducting awareness campaigns to sensitize people on the roles and objectives of the Wikimedia foundation as well as its chapters. I would like to thank my team to Nyeri for tirelessly working with me in undertaking this pilot. We would even have to take late lunch to meet demands from some schools so that we could meet with their students while they were on the lunch break and the other challenges as highlighted above. Thank you ladies and gentlemen for your perseverance and support. Once again thank you.
while we were in Nyeri
- We visited the Baden Powell information center. He was the founder of scouting brotherhood and he was buried in Nyeri. Important to note too,we met another volunteer here who was working to save the park and the grave yard where Robert Baden Powell and other colonialists were buried. He informed us that local politicians wanted to partition the park and have it for their private use.Did you know Baden Powell’s wife,Olave Baden-Powellwas born when he was 32 years old and she was married to him when he was 55 years old?
- We also visited Chinga dam which was on our way to Chinga Girls. The dam was constructed by Mau-Mau fighters so that it would reserve water during the fighting with the white settlers. The dam is manmade and you would be amazed at the size.