By John Agaba
Vision Group in partnership with the Centre for Innovations and Professional Skills Development of Makerere University (College of Computing and IS), is undertaking a series of projects to raise its online presence and increase the amount of digital content available to readers everywhere.
The internet has changed the economics of publishing, enabling readers to find stories, news and notices of interest almost instantly at small cost. It has also enabled content creators to reach their audiences around the world without the delay and expense of newsprint or television.
However, African content has been under-represented, so that local readers are subjected to news and views of Africa filtered through foreign eyes and freighted with foreign values.
African media has also been slow to exploit the “long tail” market for digital content. Local groups in this underserved segment include magazine readers, news junkies, university students, small farmers and traders, investors, sports fans, policy analysts, up-country local communities, single-issue followers, and small advertisers who can’t afford mass-market exposure.
Makerere University and Vision Group sign the MoU. Seated left is Robert Kabushenga and Ddumba Ssentamu (right)
To address these shortcomings is the mission of the partnership between Vision Group and the Makerere University College of Computing and Information Sciences.
During the partnership, the CoCIS students will have the chance to innovate in the real-world business environment with its challenges and opportunities.
Through their immersion in the Vision Group’s innovation units, they will also learn the effective use of media for creation of public awareness, branding and marketing.
Prof. Ddumba talks to Makerere University students who are under the supervision of Linus Wamanya (in glasses), the Vision Group innovations manager. All photos/Kennedy Oryema
Both parties wish to improve their impact through partnerships, collaboration and knowledge transfer.
Capacity, skills and mentorship Development
Vision Group shall be responsible for offering knowledge transfer to the Mak CoCIS staff and students in the varied domains of its expertise.
At the occasion of signing of the Memorandum of Understanding at Vision Group head office on July 1, 2014, Vision Group CEO Robert Kabushenga and Makerere University's Vice Chancellor John Ddumba, welcomed the partnership.
"This is something that can translate and impact skills to our local talent, " Kabushenga said.
Ddumba said Makerere believes in collaboration and skills development.
Prof. Ddumba (left) takes a tour of the printing press
The Collegeof Computing and IS pricincipal, Okello Oburu said he believed that the partnership was timely and that the skills the students have achieved will be put into practice using the best business models under Vision Group innovation desk. He said it was the beginning and pledged to implement the MoU.
New Vision Editor-in-chief Barbara Kaija said she was proud that the company was launching innovation with academia and pledged that it would be a continuos process towards improving new media content.
Vision Group innovation manager Linus Wamanya welcomed the initiative and assured full implementation of the collaboration, emphasising that the students wil be mentored, trained using the best business practices that Vision Group believes are scaleable, sustainable and are demand-driven solutions.
He thanked Makerere Univesity for accepting to jointly accelerate ideas and startups from the students.