I have never been to Jinja, Uganda where Aida lives but of course we can Google it and look at it on maps. ( See short History at the end of this article NB the connection between the U.K. and India ) I do know that it is to the North West of Lake Victoria at the source of the Nile. I first came across Aida on Facebook. Now many of you reading this will have been approached by numerous people from Africa and other countries on Facebook and your first reaction is ” This is probably not who they say they are ” and ” They are going to rip me off or at the very least ask for money ” . With Aida it was different. She had some mutual friends and this helped and when she messaged she was calm and friendly and not pushy.
After chatting for some time on Facebook she let me know that she wanted to get a website established for Support the African Child and would I help ??? I said that I would do my best and kept her in mind when I was talking to various business connections that I had.
There are 3 places where Aida can access the Internet – her mobile phone, the local Internet Cafe and her University. Using these locations, mobile phone and computers, her intelligence and belief that God would provide a solution to the needs of the African Children that she supported, Aida went onto the Internet and started a journey that I think will one day lead to her being one of the most experienced social media marketers in Central Africa.
The vision I have is of Aida using her mobile phone when at home and the computer at her University when she is there and the Internet Cafe when she is not. Often she said to me that she needed to get to the Internet Cafe or University in order to provide certain information.
When we first chatted I explained to her the Internet Marketing Ecosystem, which was probably a bit ambitious but she understood most of it by getting her to draw a picture on a piece of A4 paper of a WordPress web/blogsite at the centre, a Twylah page alongside and surrounded by various social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. I explained how you would post on the WordPress website and then distribute that post around the social networks sites. This ensures maximum awareness and also helps to drive the website to the top of Google for selected keywords and phrases.
I duly talked to a number of contacts and Costa Rica Headquartered BeachCherry Software Corporation, headed by Vick Gandhi, volunteered to provide the website ( this was very kind of them ). BeachCherry have wide – ranging software development skills which include WordPress web/blogsite design. Aida provided Headings and Content in Microsoft Word. BeachCherry’s WordPress designer in India did an amazing job of building a WordPress website that captured the theme of STAC perfectly despite having no design guidance at all ( I have actually seen this done by BeachCherry a number of times ).
So this website was being built across the globe with me co-ordinating from the U.K., Aida and STAC, being the customer, in Uganda and Vick and some of his team being based in Costa Rica – the others in India. Sounds like a recipe for disaster ???? Not if you are BeachCherry Corporation who took the whole thing in their stride !! We organised a domain using GoDaddy ( www.supporttheafricanchild.com ) and hosting with Wiser Hosting in Devon, England.
Initially the website was built on the BeachCherry.com website and then it was moved across to it’s own domain.
Aida was able to access the website while it was being developed and she sent in regular check lists of things to be done which were actioned by BeachCherry developers.
Mainly the communication was by Facebook Message and email. Aida had to report progress to her Board Members and Executive Committee.
The website has only just gone live and there is much work to be done but Aida has provided the Testimonial below:
Thank you very much for your kindness and love that has brought
abundant joy and hope in the world’s neglected and disadvantaged
children more so in Uganda. Words can neither say it all nor action
express my gratefulness because at this point I know that you are
aware of the challenges we face at Support the African Child (STAC) but
you chose to stand in and go all way with us. I do not take you for
granted but live to cherish and treasure every MINUTE you take to
think about us and consider us.
From my very first contact with BeachCherry to the final website
launch, I found they provided an outstanding service and were an excellent
company to work with. The process, from contacting you to receive the
information to be posted, proposed concept designs through
finalization of design and the launch of the website was TIMELY and
EFFICIENT. Every question was answered quickly and they went above and
beyond what was asked of them.The website and logo they designed for
STAC is exactly what we want and their service made every step of the
The support and help that was given to STAC is first class,and I am
thankful to have such a great relationship with Chris Windley ( U.K. BeachCherry Strategy Advisor ) and Vick
Gandhi (CEO BeachCherry). We look forward to the continued
relationship between STAC and BeachCherry and wish to thank you for a
job well done.
Thank you for your willingness to help STAC make a difference in the
lives of these children and I would not hesitate to recommend BeachCherry
to anyone looking for a professional website design
CEO, Support The African Child.
History of Jinja ( extract from Wikepedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jinja,_Uganda )
Before 1906, Jinja was a fishing village that benefited from being located on long-distance trade routes. The origin of the name “Jinja” comes from the language of the two peoples (the Baganda and the Basoga) that lived on either side of the River Nile in the area. In both languages “Jinja” means “Rock”. In most of Africa, rivers like the Nile hindered migration, this explains the ethnic boundaries along the Nile as one moves north from the river’s source on the northern shores of Lake Victoria.
However the area around Jinja was one place where the river could be breached due to the large rocks near the Ripon Falls. Here, on either bank of the river, were large flat rocks where small boats could be launched to cross the river. These rock formations were also accredited with providing a natural moderator for the water flow out of Lake Victoria. For the original local inhabitants, the location was a crossing point, for trade, migration and as a fishing post.
This might explain why, despite this barrier, the two tribes have very similar languages, and the more powerful Baganda had an enormous influence on the Basoga. The area was called the ‘Place of Rocks’ or ‘The Place of Flat Rocks’. The word for stones or rocks in the language of the Baganda is ‘Ejjinja (Plural Amayinja), and in the Basoga dialect this became Edinda. The British used this reference to name the town they established – “Jinja”
In 1954,with the building of the Owen Falls Dam, (later renamed Nalubaale Power Station, the Ripon Falls were submerged. Most of the ‘Flat Rocks’ that gave the area its name disappeared under water as well. However a description of what the area looked like can be found in the notes of John Hanning Speke, the first European to lay eyes on the Source of the Nile:
- “Though beautiful, the scene was not exactly what I expected, for the broad surface of the lake was shut out from view by a spur of hill, and the falls, about twelve feet deep and four to five hundred feet broad, were broken by rocks; still it was a sight that attracted one to it for hours. The roar of the waters, the thousands of passenger fish leaping at the falls with all their might, the fishermen coming out in boats, and taking post on all the rocks with rod and hook, hippopotami and crocodiles lying sleepily on the water, the ferry at work above the falls, and cattle driven down to drink at the margin of the lake, made in all, with the pretty nature of the country—small grassy-topped hills, with trees in the intervening valleys and on the lower slopes—as interesting a picture as one could wish to see.”
Cotton-packing, nearby sugar estates, and railway access all enabled Jinja to grow in size. By 1906 a street pattern had been laid out, and Indian traders moved in starting around 1910. The Indians were Catholic Christians and English-speaking, and originated in the former Portuguese colony of Goa on the west coast of India.
The town was founded in 1907 by the British, as an administrative centre for the Provincial Government Headquarters for Busoga region. This was around the time that Lake Victoria’s importance in transport rose due to the Uganda Railway linking Kisumu, a Kenyan town on the lake, with Mombasa on the Indian Ocean, 900 miles (1,400 km) away. British-American Tobacco Uganda (BATU) established a tobacco processing factory in Jinja in 1928.