Well it’s been about six months since I joined the board of directors of BOSCO-USA, which is the organizing and fund raising arm of BOSCO-Uganda. BOSCO-Uganda is an NGO working in northern Uganda helping to deliver Information and Communications Technologies (ICT’s) to improve the livelihoods of those living in Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps after many years of war.
There are a number of close ties between BOSCO and the University of Notre Dame. Not the least of which the founder and several board members are ND Alumni. I was lucky enough to get involved by meeting another board member at a campus dinner party for some Ugandan guests, back in February 2010. Thomas Loughran, also with a strong interest in ICT4D, and I began talks last summer of how I may be able to assist – so I guess that’s what brought me here. I’m very humbled and honored to be able to help BOSCO in their mission, with my talents and passion for ICT for social good. Some of our initial conversations involved FrontlineSMS, an open source text messaging application used by NGO’s and non-profits around the world and how it may or may not help in BOSCO’s work.
The last few months we’ve spent a good deal of time preparing information for an upcoming short, intensive MBA course, offered through Notre Dame. Most of what we’ve been drafting amounts to a marketing and communications strategic plan for BOSCO, which will be the basis of the course materials. Generally this is more of the strategic marketing, big picture stuff…which I’ll admit, I’m not great at, but I certainly enjoy learning. The course and students will concentrate on the tactics of marketing and communications for BOSCO and when completed and executed, I believe this will go a very long way in helping with the maturation process of our organization. One of the former BOSCO employees had the foresight to put together a communications plan, which has provided some good foundational elements…some of this just needs to be implemented, or better yet, blended with the student recommendations.
As part of this strategic marketing plan, we were encouraged to look at similar NGO’s working in the same area of northern Uganda. So that led us to the big kahuna – Invisible Children. Invisible Children is very adept at promoting their work and cause, in all forms and media channels, from television (Oprah) to social media and even their roadies program. Now, let’s be honest, we’ll never be Invisible Children and that’s OK – as long as BOSCO is making a difference, that’s all that matters.