Global Nomads Group Launches “Project Uganda” with Polycom Video Systems

Project Uganda is a 10-part videoconferencing series connecting more than 25 schools throughout the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom to interact with students in Uganda. 6/06/2007 12:26 PM Eastern

Global Nomads Group Launches “Project Uganda” with Polycom Video Systems

Jun 6, 2007 4:26 PM

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Global Nomads Group (GNG), an organization dedicated to fostering cross-cultural dialogue and understanding among youth, and Polycom recently launched Project Uganda. This project is a 10-part videoconferencing series connecting more than 25 schools throughout the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom to interact with students in Uganda over videoconferencing to increase awareness and understanding of Ugandan culture and examine the challenges youth face living in a conflict zone. Project Uganda is made possible through a challenge grant from Polycom, a new campaign to challenge corporations, individuals, and foundations to match Polycom’s commitment to the program.

The videoconferencing event took place May 21-25; the Project Uganda interactive sessions included cultural overviews on a number of topics including African village life; child rights and issues; Acholi tribe women; and the story of the night commuters, thousands of children who, for generations, have at times been forced to walk for miles each evening from their villages to the city of Gulu to seek refuge and protection from abductions by the rebel LRA guerillas.

Beyond simply learning of the Uganda lifestyle, Project Uganda provided the opportunity for U.S., U.K., and Canadian students to impact the lives of Ugandan youth through a new “Agents of Change” initiative. Introduced to participating classes prior to the video conferences, the Agents of Change initiative gives students the opportunity to send goods and donate money to their counterparts in Uganda through a fundraising campaign to support community projects and funds to leading nongovernmental organizations working to support relief efforts in the region. The initiative is supported by GuluWalk, a global one-day event focused on raising awareness and funds for education, rehabilitation and youth support programs for the terrorized children of northern Uganda.

The Agents of Change initiative will offer various new projects to benefit the youth in Gulu and Padibe. These projects include a new soccer field and school fence all made possible through the generosity of their fellow, more fortunate students participating in the program. “This program provides the unique opportunity for students to learn about the culture of one of Eastern Africa’s most beautiful countries while exploring the conflict that has taken place in Northern Uganda for 20 years,” says Chris Plutte, co-founder of GNG. “However, the awareness from this project is just the beginning. With Polycom’s help, we will encourage students to take action and discover new ways to support their counterparts through our ‘Agents of Change’ initiative.”

The interactive connection of these videoconferencing sessions is made possible with the Polycom Mobile Responder, a rugged and compact videoconferencing system with a built-in display, camera, microphone and speaker, and the Polycom PVX, a secure PC application developed to enable video communications through a PC and USB Web camera. Both Polycom videoconferencing solutions enable collaboration and conferencing through satellite transmission that enables GNG to connect with students around the world across rural geographic barriers. In addition, all Uganda Project sessions will be recorded and stored using the Polycom Readi Streaming Server (RSS) 2000, a network server that enables the content to be easily recorded, streamed, and archived for future distribution.

“The power of videoconferencing has enabled Polycom and the Global Nomads Group to cultivate learning and enrich the lives of students around the world,” says Bob Hagerty, chairman and CEO of Polycom. “The Agents of Change initiative encourages students to become active members of the global society by giving back and implementing positive change for those who need it most. Polycom has supported Global Nomads for many years. The Challenge Grant for this project supports our unremitting commitment to GNG and we hope Project Uganda and the Agents of Change initiative will inspire other corporations, individuals and foundations to become involved in Global Nomads Group’s international education programs.”

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