Monday, January 22, 2018

What a drag...

I simply cannot believe that it's been 5 years since my last post on this blog! Brings to mind the verse that says "See how far the righteous have fallen". Not that I'm saying that I am righteous just using the phrase as a way of expressing my dismay at the fact that events over the past 5 years seem to have kept me away from keeping this blog updated.

So, let's me to try catch up...In April 2013 I left Kenya and moved to Uganda to start working with Oxfam Novib (the Netherlands Oxfam) as Programme Manager for a programme in Gulu, Northern Uganda called "Internet Now!". The programme aimed at bringing internet and ICTs to communities in post-conflict Northern Uganda and by targeting the youth, give them skills, access to information and employment opportunities that would help them improve their livelihoods. Underlying all of this was establishment of a social enterprise that would be self sustaining - SINFA Uganda.

Blantyre, Malawi
I was in Uganda for a little bit shy of 3 years when the programme ended and as things would have it I found myself on a flight to Malawi to take up the reins as first General Manager of SimbaNET Malawi - a new company that had been set up to connect Malawi, a landlocked country, to the rest of the world via fiber optic. 800 kilometers of fiber had been constructed linking Malawi to submarine cables via Tanzania in the North and Zambia, Botswana and South Africa in the West. This is where I find myself as I pen this down.

SimbaNET Malawi's Fiber Network
It has been two years since I've been in Malawi and it has been an interesting and exciting time. The country still has a long way to go development-wise and it has been very fulfilling for me to play a part in terms of increasing access to and affordability of the Internet. Since we are focused on provision of longhaul and International bandwidth I have not been able to do much at the retail end of service provision apart for encouraging and supporting the emergence of new ISPs - some of whom are really growing fast. There still remains a massive untapped and unserved set of potential internet users.
My family moved to Uganda where we lived for the duration and similarly moved to Malawi where we presently live. The kids have managed to adjust and fit in - after lots of moans and groans about the change of scene. We managed to find a good church (halellujah!) and interestingly both my wife and our second born son - Kamoza - took up playing golf (and have both become quite good at it!)
Anyway, signing off for now. More later - let's hope I'll be more consistent this time round

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