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Equipping engineers in African NRENs key to management and operation of UbuntuNet

According to an article published in ‘NUANCE: Newsletter of the UbuntuNet Alliance: Networks, Collaboration, Education’, having a well-trained technical team is paramount to operating and maintaining the high speed UbuntuNet Network. So far, the Alliance has trained about 40 network engineers from almost all NREN Members in Eastern and Southern Africa. The trainings are a result of a multi-partner capacity building programme and the focus has primarily been on advanced routing and campus network design and management.

The goal of UbuntuNet Alliance capacity building program is to ensure that there is enough human resource capacity in Member NRENs to be able to plan, implement and operate advanced data networks. Also the Alliance would like to ensure that NREN networks are properly designed and configured in time for connection to the regional UbuntuNet backbone being built under the AfricaConnect project; and to provide technical support to the Alliance in the running of UbuntuNet.


NUANCE caught up with Joe Kimaili, Technical Manager for UbuntuNet Alliance who had this to say:

“Well, we are running a network and if you want this network to be good you need to sort out the campus networks, then the NRENs. If we have a perfect campus network, we will have a perfect NREN and a perfect regional network,” said Kimaili.

The capacity building program is implemented through a number of formats including: training workshops; secondment of expert personnel from NRENs with advanced networks to those whose network are under development; and internships. The Alliance is responsible for training workshops, whereas secondments and attachments are coordinated by the NRENs. 

A highly successful five day Train the Trainers workshop was held in Kigali ahead of the UbuntuNet-Connect 2013. As part of the plan, the trained engineers were asked to organise workshops at home to trickle down the skills to their peers. As a result, five workshops have been successfully held in Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia in the first four months of the year. More workshops have been planned in other countries as the year progresses.

The capacity building program is a partnership between the Network Startup Resource Center (NSRC), the International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications (INASP), the Internet Society (ISOC), the Association of African Universities (AAU) and the AfricaConnect project.

This article was originally published in ‘NUANCE: Newsletter of the UbuntuNet Alliance: Networks, Collaboration, Education’,

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EuropeLogo eInfastructure This project has received funding from the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 313203
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