Empowering communities through wireless networking

Around 11 students gathered at the Youth Development Fund (YDF) conference hall for a three-day wireless networking training workshop organized by Rural Education and Development (READ) in collaboration with Digital Employment Foundation (DEF), India from 10 April.

“These participants were selected from the regions where READ offices were established,” said the Development Officer, Ngawang Phuntsho.

The students came from Bumthang, Punakha, and Changjiji in Thimphu. A few youth volunteers from grade XII and X also joined the workshop.

The participants were taught computer fundamentals related to networking.

One of the resource people of the workshop, IT Manager of DEF, Neeraj Kumar Singh stated that it was the most challenging workshop the foundation has ever conducted since the scope of computer knowledge in the Bhutanese school curriculum is very limited.

“Yet the students were keen on learning computer skills,” he said.

The concept of ‘network topology’, namely how the network is structured and how different computers are connected to each other was one of the things taught among others like the requirements of a computer within a network for being able to communicate.

It was also explained how e-mails are transmitted from one machine to another besides discussions being held on network classification and concept of subnet.

One of the significant concepts the participants came across was the ‘radio links using online software’. This is to find a proper place or space so that network signal can be passed without any disturbances.

According to the IT Manager of DEF, wireless internet connectivity is most effective in a country like Bhutan as it has a rugged topography.

“To have a cable connection is very costly and time consuming and would need huge government budget,” he said.

Participants would be sharing the knowledge and skills they gained in their respective communities later.

Most of them exhibited enthusiasm on the things they learnt from the workshop.

“The technical terms were a bit complex but with basic computer knowledge it’s easier,” said Rajesh Ghalley, an undergraduate.

It was the first workshop conducted by DEF in Bhutan in collaboration with READ.

READ began working in Bhutan in 2008 with the goal of transforming rural communities by creating access to knowledge and opportunities.

With the help of partner communities,  READ built the first rural community libraries in the country while DEF is also an NGO dealing with rural empowerment through ICT technologies.




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