World Telecom Day observed
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
The Gambia, on Saturday May 17, 2008, joined the rest of the world in commemoration of the World Telecommunication Day.
This year's celebration, which started at the Gamtel Exchange, along Kairaba Avenue, took the form of a march past, with participants drawn from ICT related institutions such as Gamtel/Gamcel, Africell, Commit, Unique Solutions and ITAG. Led by the police band, the marching ended up at GRTS' new building in Kanifing, where speeches were made, in observance of the day.
The theme for this year's celebration was "Connecting people with disabilities: ICT opportunities for all".
Speaking on the occasion, Karim Sonko, permanent secretary, department of state for communication and information technology, on behalf of Fatim Badjie, secretary of state for communication, information and Technology, dilated on the importance of the day, with special emphasis on the theme.
According to Mr Sonko, The Gambia government is poised to give every child the opportunity to attain a high quality education, including education on information technology. He added that it was for these reasons that President Jammeh had introduced the Silicon Valley initiative to make sure that every individual, it disable or not, benefit from the present day ICT opportunities.
He called on companies, institutions and government departments, to consider the disabled persons in terms of employment.
For his part, Mr Rein Zwolsman, CEO Gamtel/Gamcel, also called on managing directors and stakeholders of the various institutions to consider disable people in terms of employment.
He said that disabled people should not be called "disabled", rather, they should be referred to as physically challenged. These, he said, are also capable of doing so many things.
Ida Jallow, acting director of PURA, and Gaira Lamin, from The Gambia Federation of the disabled, expressed similar sentiments. As part of activities marking the day, Karim Sonko, permanent secretary at the department of state for communication, information and technology, officially inaugurated a new computer lab sponsored by the information technology association of The Gambia (ITAG). The computer lab is situated at the St. John's school for the deaf in kanifing.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony, Papa Yusupha Njie, CEO of unique solution, who also doubles as the president of ITAG, said ITAG has a genuine resolve to partner with government, the private sector, civil society organizations (CSOs) and development partners, to develop a vibrant ICT industry in The Gambia.
Mr Njie said that in achieving this goal, the objective of supporting ICT education was of primary importance to ITAG.
"Our assistance to St. John's school for the deaf in setting up an ICT lab for the children of the school is a direct result of our partnership with government, the Gambian private sector and the CSOs. Through a sponsorship drive to raise funds about two years ago, the sum of D393,000.00 was raised from the benevolent private sector to support the setting up of this computer lab.
We would take this opportunity to thank the institutions that contributed to the realization of this dream in providing funds, equipment and services. They are Gacem, Maerskline, Trust Bank Ltd, AGIB, Interstate Shipping, TKM Group, Gambia Shipping, Emkay Stores, General Engineering, Unique Solutions and Netpage, as well as the entire membership of ITAG", Mr Njie noted.
"Overall St. John's School for the deaf has purchased seven brand new computers, one multimedia projector and a laser printer. The computer lab has also been fitted with a functional local area network envisaged to take up to 12 computers. A wireless internet service called "school net" has also been installed and it provides a charge free unique solutions, making sure that all computers in the lab have access to the internet", the unique solutions boss revealed.
He expressed hope that in the near future, more can be done to procure more computers, in order to increase access for the students.
Daniel Mendy, principal of St. John's school for the deaf, thanked ITAG and all those who supported the school. He promised that they would make good use of the lab.
Author: by Kemo Cham