For a second time, WiRED collaborated with the American Federation of Teachers (AFTs) on a computer project to assist educators who, because of war, were isolated from colleagues outside the country. Our first project was in Freetown, Sierra Leone (link to Archive story), and this second AFT project was in Baghdad, Iraq. With AFT support, we set up a computer training facility where officials at the Iraqi Teacher’s Union could learn computer basics, then instruct teachers in and around Baghdad how to operate computers and the Internet.
WiRED’s work in Montenegro, one of the former Yugoslavian countries, began in 1998, when we installed computer training centers in six high schools. That project was funded by the Tatjana Grgich Family Foundation and the Medtronic Foundation with coordination assistance from the U.S. Department of State.
2003 was a busy year for us. We were actively working on large programs in Kenya, Nicaragua and Honduras, Bosnia, Montenegro and Kosovo, and we just started a major program in Iraq to provide physicians and students with access to medical libraries. We had not yet begun arranging live teleconferences between Iraqi and American doctors, but that was in the active planning stage and would begin soon.
On November 24, 2003, in collaboration with the American Federation of Teachers, WiRED installed a computer training lab in the Ahmadiyya Muslim School in Sierra Leone.
WiRED’s work in the Balkans started in 1997 and picked up pace through the late nineties into the early 2000s. We followed our programs in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo with Internet access facilities in Montenegro, a country of truly stunning natural beauty from the forested mountains to its coast on the Adriatic Sea.
The following story describes how the Community Health Information Centers (CHICs) we installed throughout Kenya in the early 2000s evolved within the first year from a simple library, offering health information, into a more integrated resource providing a learning center serving the needs of physicians, patients, students and ordinary community members.
Twenty years ago to the month, WiRED opened a Community Health Information Center (CHIC) in a small Kenyan village, called Butula. Most of our other CHICs were in larger towns and cities, but Butula was different, and it presented an opportunity for us to test the range of our novel concept to use computers to present science-based, medical and health information.
Early in January 2002, WiRED joined with two other NGOs (non-governmental organizations or non-profits) to launch an Internet access facility in León, Nicaragua. The joint venture brought computers to this town in Northwestern Nicaragua, often referred to as the liberal political and intellectual center of Nicaragua. At this point in the evolution of Internet technology, most people had heard of the Internet, but most had not seen a computer or accessed the Web.
With funding support from the U.S. National Institutes of Health, WiRED set up 24 Community Health Information Centers across Kenya. In addition to those public access facilities, we installed the first Medical Information Center (MIC) at the University of Nairobi School of Medicine, the country’s largest medical school. At a time when few people had their own computers and no one owned smartphones, this first-of-a-kind computer facility opened doors to research and study never before available to medical professors and students at the university.
As we have described in previous stories posted from our archive, WiRED worked in Iraq at the request of the U.S. Department of State. The following two stories, from June 2003, describe the opening of WiRED’s first Medical Information Center (MIC) in the largest teaching hospital in Baghdad: Medical City Center.