Sunday, December 14, 2008

Blogging Marathon: Chapter 2. Computers!

OK, I was going to write about my backpacking trip on the Otter Trail, but that really needs pictures, and for some reason, I can’t upload pics. Other people can, so it shouldn’t be a problem, but it is. I just spent an hour in Blogger Help and all I got was “It works in Firefox.” And to that, I respond, “No it doesn’t.” But no one seems to hear me, or they don’t answer me if they do, so I’ll move to another topic.

And that topic is the surprisingly fun world of computer teaching. I have mentioned that I’m working on a computer manual for my organization a few times. MONTHS ago. I haven’t been very motivated, and have the easy excuse that my supervisor, Mma Legodi, keeps interrupting me with new tasks. Tasks that are much more exciting than writing a computer manual. But since we want to start teaching this for real in January, I needed to finish the manual and pilot test it, since I’ve never taught computers before. So, after bribing Nathan with promises of Battlestar: Galactica, we were able to get the manual into a decent draft and I was able to start the pilot-testing process.

Now, technically, the computer classes are part of a bigger job training curriculum for the youth and unemployed in Makotse Village and the surrounding areas. After doing a needs assessment (the technical term for talking to people about what they need), MWC determined that job creation is a very important component to both poverty reduction and HIV prevention. Our ward has about an 85% unemployment rate, and after MWC, the local mine is the biggest employer. Oh, and the government. There are government jobs in Lebowakgomo about 5 km away. And the unemployed, especially the youth, have a lot of time on their hands. Which puts them at risk for unhealthy behaviors. And poor health and poverty are a vicious cycle, so we do what we can to get people jobs to keep them out of trouble, keep them healthy and rise out of poverty.

The job skills training would be multi-faceted. Makotse Women’s Club has a bakery and a food garden (soon to include hydroponics if all goes according to plan) so there would be a technical component. Then, computer skills. Then, entrepreneurial skills like marketing, budgeting, and record-keeping. I think this is the most important component. Makotse Village is never going to be a hotspot for employment opportunities, so creating your own opportunities will have to pick up the slack.

To be honest, I’m a little iffy about the training. I think it’s a great idea, but there are so many factors affecting unemployment beside a lack of skills. It’s a long-term project, so I probably won’t see the impact, but at the same time, computer skills certainly won’t hurt anything and will help make people more employable. And at the very least, those working at the office will learn touch-typing which, I’ve come to realize, is probably the single most important thing in using computers well. Touch-typing may very well be my legacy. Now that’s something to put on your tombstone!


Mberenis said...

Grrrrrrrrrreat blog!!!

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Rosetta Kastama said...

I agree -- "grrrrreat blog" entry. You'll have a lot of energy to tackle all your work after vacation.

Just think; only SIX weeks until we see you! We're already starting to pack.

I love you. Mom

deola said...