JAMAICA NETWORK COMPUTER
FACILITATION PROJECT
(Jah-Net)
 
 
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Check here for the logistics in more details

If you are upgrading, or otherwise seeking to get rid of computer equipment, and you think we may be able to use it, please contact Carmen Tipling at ctipling@infochan.com. Thousands of school children in all grade levels will feel the effects of your gift. We can use parts and software as well.  Here is a list of other items we can use: 

Welcome to Jamaica! It's 1:19 a.m in Spanish Town as I write this, and reggae waves are vibrating through the hot night air. Far enough away not to be obnoxious, but close enough to give me the full effect of the music, and remind me, if the heat and dust and rich aromas of vegetation ever let me forget, that this IS Jamaica. Home of Reggae, dance hall music, Blue Mountain coffee, bold and beautiful souls, deep deep rhythm, land of wood, water and mangoes, of poverty, and love. 

It is a land of energy and paradoxes. Like the paradox of Peace Corps Computer Facilitators. When I first imagined serving in the Peace Corps, I had visions of living in small villages, and rural grass huts -- not using high tech electronic equipment. But more and more in today's world, the computer is a critical tool. A society that does not utilize computers is severely handicapped in the competitive world economy. To develop, and to raise the population out of poverty, a country must offer its products in a competitive manner and medium to a market where computers establish a baseline requirement for efficiency, communication, automation, data exchange, etc. 

In Jamaica the Peace Corps is working in partnership with the Jamaican Computer Society Education Foundation (JCSEF), the Ministry of Education and HEART Trust/NTA (a national vocational training division of the Government of Jamaica) to establish and facilitate computer learning labs in the Jamaican schools. 

There are twelve Peace Corps Computer Facilitators in schools around Jamaica. Three of these oversee multiple labs. One volunteer is placed in the Ministry of Education and oversees computer labs in the parishes of St. Catherine and Clarendon. We facilitate the use of computer labs, train teachers, teach computer classes, provide lab hardware and software maintenance services, make recommendations on virus policies and other lab maintenance policies, and assist schools in identifying and obtaining information as well as supplies to support the labs. 

The JCSEF is an offshoot of the JCS (Jamaican Computer Society), a group for computer professionals. JCSEF is responsible for an initiative to assist schools to obtain funding and to install computer labs. Their emphasis is on using the computers to increase literacy and numeracy. 

So here's the deal:

There is an enormous enthusiasm for computers in the schools. It has become clear that schools and facilitators need support in the form of more equipment, teaching materials, text books, software, manuals and computer supplies. An effort such as this one cannot succeed without adequate equipment and the demand is greater than available resources can meet. The Peace Corps Computer Facilitation Project is seeking donors to help us get the equipment and supplies that are so urgently needed. 

The schools also need volunteers who touch1.gif (4682 bytes)can do repairs and maintenance. We are seeking local Jamaica volunteers, as well as foreign visitors who would like to come and stay with a Jamaican family on our homestay program.

Through contacts with private persons as well as companies we hope to collect equipment for schools that need it. The major need is for IBM compatibles, but Mac equipment has also been requested. We would like to identify companies or individuals who are upgrading, or otherwise seeking a home for computer equipment. We can use equipment that is normally of no value in the US. Many schools are using computers with no hard drives, just floppy drives. We have local and Peace Corps volunteers who will help to repair, upgrade, transport and install the equipment. Schools, and local supporters will help to cover expenses.


Software Evaluation

The Ministry of Education Youth and Culture is currently doing evaluation of  educational software for use in the schools of Jamaica. Particularly, software that increases literacy is sought. Low cost, well designed software with strong content is needed for the schools. Contact ctipling@infochan.com with recommendations or donations.
 
 
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For general questions or to volunteer with us, to find out how to donate, or to arrange transportation for a donation, contact Carmen & Frosty