Advanced Virtual Education Centre (AVEC) is an ICT centre located on Mpuuga Arcade ground floor corridor  Opposite Byansi Pharmacy, Masaka District,Uganda.The centre was started by a group of Science teachers in October 2011, and was  registered as a Community  Based organisation (CBO) under registration Number 0064/2011.  Its core objective was to address the  problem of lack of computer literacy and also wanted to respond to scientific and technological challenges existing in the community. The Organisation's coordinating office is found at Mugembo village in Kirimya Parish, Kabonera Sub-County, Masaka District. AVEC owns 1.0 acres of  land on the hillside of Mugembo Village.


The Vision of our organisation is " A community effectively using information and communication technology(ICT) for its education & socio-economic development"

Our mission is "to develop , train and offer services that foster interactive  ICT knowledge and skills."



The objectives of AVEC include:
1.To develop multimedia learning materials, e-books and  offer electronic assessment.

2. To offer computer and internet services to community members.

3.To train youth and other community members  in ICT

4.To carry out community development services.


AVEC established an active ICT centre in Masaka Town, where students and other community members get access to training  in computer skills and access to internet services and related ICT services like electronic assessment and virtual learning  by students at secondary school level. With electronic assessment , students are able to attend to programmed questions  either as individuals or as a group. The system is able to grade them and offer feedback to a group of teachers who in turn can give the necessary guidance in all areas where learners exhibit deficiency.
In order to promote Virtual learning , the centre is involved in reproducing multimedia(Audio Visual ) learning materials that are availed to learners  at the centre  or on their personal digital tablets, all of which is aimed at reinforcing independent and accelerated  learning.
The centre provides computer skills to community members both within and outside Masaka Town.

PROJECT 1:  INTEGRATING ICT IN TEACHING/LEARNING AT SECONDARY LEVEL. 

PROBLEM DESCRIPTION
A summary  of some of the challenges  responsible for poor performance of students  and the  possible solution to each challenge.


1. Failure of students  understanding concepts explained/taught by the teacher in class.

Making a student understand requires a teacher to be well prepared with examples . The teacher has to show the importance and relevance of what he/she is teaching to daily life. However, with the limited  time and resources, many teachers simply rely on the traditional method of chalk and talk. This makes teaching more theoretical and only geared towards  passing examinations. If we are to expect a gradual change among our learners, it has to be followed by  a change in the teaching methodology. Teachers have to invest more time in reproducing learning material that is interactive. However, this may be impossible if we decide to stick to the traditional chalk and talk methodology. It's my humble appeal to all schools to see how we can integrate multimedia learning materials in  the teaching/learning process. With such materials, lessons are spiced up with demonstrations, real pictures and video clips of the daily activities that are geared towards making learning more effective. These learning materials  can be generated  by teachers during holidays, downloaded from you-tube or acquired on market. There should be a paradigmatic shift from the traditional  library to an electronic library where learners should be able to access  multimedia learning materials , electronic books and electronic assessment. 

2. Some students find it boring revising using textbooks.
Revising using textbooks or notes basically only exploits  the sense of sight. Study shows that students understand better if they use  as many senses as possible in learning. With Multimedia learning  materials, students get a chance of using the sense of hearing which increases their retention rate.

3. Lack of assessment received by learners.

Many schools have a big student to teacher ratio. This makes it impossible for students to receive enough assessment in their daily activities,the would be time for assessment is also used for teaching. This leaves a student with lack of assessment  from the teachers. Students do not get a chance knowing  areas of their weakness because even the exercises given, many of them are not marked in time. However, with ICT its possible some of the assessment to be done  electronically by a computer and in advanced applications  scanned responses from learners can be marked on screen by a group of teachers at remote at any time and from anywhere.

4.Lack of follow up to confirm whether the student is doing the actual reading. 
Students may be given time to read/revise, However, knowing whether the actual reading/revising is taking place, is also another challenge since teachers are not going to keep monitoring  what a learner is doing in the allocated time. This makes it a big challenge to understand whether poor performance of a child is due to his inability, weakness, negative attitude or lack of reading material because traditionally  there is no system that can track the time a student spends when reading and what he/she is reading. With an electronic library in place its is possible to track the time a learner devotes to all the work he/she does with aid of an appropriate software.

5. Teaching as a profession becomes monotonous as a teacher keeps on teaching the same things year in year out.
With time the teaching job becomes boring, its only robots that can keep doing the same task year in and year out without getting bored. This may be worsened  by the poor remunerations which have made many teachers lose hope of living a life they admire. Many teachers cannot afford paying school fees for their children in the schools they teach,  this greatly demotivates them and affects their performance, In order to supplement on their incomes teachers get involved in other businesses or teaching multiple schools, this greatly reduces their performance in the teaching activity. We highly believe with ICT a small group of teachers if well remunerated, can organise reading/teaching materials, exercises, examination papers, schemes of work that can be used by the whole schools in the country. With virtual platforms at schools, teachers  should be able to interact with their learners even when they are away from school.


In order to solve the above challenges AVEC  would like to put in place ,


 An electronic learning centre (Library). The Library is to be equipped with computers with an appropriate software  that would support learners to get access to multimedia learning materials and electronic assessment .


A  platform for onscreen marking/ assessment to enable  teachers mark scanned exercises/examinations submitted by learners  from anywhere and at anytime.

In brief the application should be able to do the following among others

1. Allow a student to create  an account using a browser. The account should capture all the details  of the student and other relevant information.
2. Allow a student to play multimedia learning materials the moment  he/she is logged into his account.
3.Be able to track the time/and lessons a learner has studied in order to give a time study report.
4. Have a provision of opening up e-books to enable a student to get access to electronic books, exercises and examinations papers and give a report of time spent reading e-books and the chapters revised.
5 Have a provision for a learner to submit in scanned copies of handwritten responses such that they can be marked  onscreen.(Assessing Structured questions)
6. Able to generate report for students and give instant feed back to share-holders.
7. Have a provision for administrators /teachers to mark students' work from anywhere using any device that can connect to internet.
9. The program should be able to support the Conveyor Belt System(CBS) in carrying out on-screen marking (Splitting questions done by a particular learner to enable students' work be marked by several teachers remotely.)
10. Have a provision where  learners can get access to trial questions submitted by administrators.
11. The application should have a provision for a learner to answer multiple choice questions and receive instant feedback.
12. Disseminate  information to teachers which may include all relevant teaching materials, examination papers, schemes of work, marking guides and any information deemed relevant.
13.Generate examination papers fit for summative evaluation.

All the above is impossible if a school lacks the ICT infrastructure. AVEC is heading a project of setting up a demo of an electronic library in Masaka town to  assist students from all neighboring schools  who may be lacking resources.

AVEC  intends to help schools in setting up Electronic Learning Centres by providing them with the necessary hardware , software , electronic books and multimedia learning materials  to enable  them integrate ICT in their Libraries and in their teaching as a whole. 

AVEC, would like to be a one stop ICT hub for all ICT equipments among which would include, laptops, server computers, min computers,thin clients, monitors, mouse, key boards, network switches, routers, modems, Power cables, VGA cables, LAN cables, RJ45 connectors, network cards, scanners, printers, photocopiers, riso graphs, stencils, toners. hard disks and other related computer accessories.

The Centre would also like to  give after-sale services among which would include,computer networking and maintenance.



PROJECT 2.           

MUGEMBO VILLAGE 300,000 LITER UNDERGROUND TANK FOR  RAIN WATER HARVESTING 

 MUGEMBO VILLAGE RAIN WATER HARVESTING  PLAN FOR TANK CONSTRUCTION.

MUGEMBO VILLAGE  RAIN WATER HARVESTING  SCHEME

Mugembo Village is found on the hill side of Kirimya Town, Kabonera Sub-county, Masaka District Uganda, East Africa. Kirimya Town is estimated to have 1500 homes with an average of 5 people per home. The town has got 20 schools  both primary and secondary with an average population of 500 pupils per each school.
The town has suffered with inadequate water supply by National water and Sewerage Cooperation the leading supplier of piped water in Uganda. The areas with piped water are unable to have water throughout the year. During drought seasons, water goes missing on taps. As a result community members are leaving in a situation  of water scarcity since many are tenants who are unable  to have facilities for storing water for a long period. This has made homes to rely on water collected from wells which are a distance of about 2-3 km away from their homes and likely to have contaminated water. Water collection is mainly done by children and women and this has greatly hampered development . Children do not attend  schools well since some of the time is devoted to collecting water.
Mugembo Village being on the hill hardly receives any pipe water and relies on water collected during the rainy season, bought from homesteads in the valley or that collected from wells and being  sold by the youth who use bicycles to traffic  the water. Many homes around this hill lack facilities to harvest rain water and when it rains all the water just spill away.

Advanced Virtual Education Centre (AVEC)  is working hand in hand  with LC1 committee of Kirimya Town to see that it constructs an underground water reservoir that would enable to collect rain water that would be able to sustain at least 2 primary schools and 50 homes found in Mugembo Village. The rain water is to be collected  from one Primary school (Unique Primary School) and 10 homes situated near the proposed site for constructing the underground tank . The tank is estimated to have  5 circular partitions each of capacity 60,000litres  which in total would give a total capacity of 300,000 litres . Each partition is estimated to cost UGX 18,960,000. Eighteen   millions,  nine hundred sixty thousand Shillings)= USD 5056

The water from the underground tank is to be pumped to a 10,000 litre water reservoir on an 8m stand using a solar pump after which it will be distributed through a network of pipes with the help of gravity to stand points where community members can collect the water.

FACTORS THAT HAVE FORCED US TO COME UP WITH THIS PROJECT

1.Mugembo Village receives two rainy seasons in a year each lasting 3 months. From these seasons we are able to fill water reservoir of the quoted capacity.
2. Mugembo village is at the top of the hill and hardly receives water from National water.
3.National water is not adequate more especially during drought seasons.
4.The cost for treating rain water is cheap and its  pure if well protected.
5.Un collected rain water has greatly contributed  to the erosion of the road network. Whenever it rains the running water makes ditches into the roads hence rendering them impassable.
6. constructing the tank on the hill can enable water to flow by gravity from the underground tank to lower ends just by using a siphon.
7. Water collected from wells by Children and Mothers is likely to be contaminated since these wells are also shared with domestic animals.
8. Water sold by cyclists is very expensive.


In February 2019 we received a grant of USD 5,000 from Augustine Stewardship Fund Trust that enabled us to construct the first partition and we are now left with 5 partitions.
Mugembo Village community members are so grateful for the grant given.