WOUGNET & Pamoya

Since inception in 2000, WOUGNET has hosted its websites and mailing lists with Kabissa, A network of African civil society organisations. However, in April 2009, Kabissa changed their mode of operation. They streamlined their Internet services to focus on being a trusted Domain Registrar for organizations in the Kabissa network. This means that while they will continue to register and help manage domain names for their member organizations, they will no longer offer website and email hosting services.
 
Therefore, just like other Kabissa members in Uganda and around Africa, WOUGNET had to find an alternative host for our email, website and mailing lists. We have found a new partner to host our mailing lists, the brand new Pamoya website. Pamoya is the first fully Ugandan Social Network, hosted and run inside Uganda. Currently in active beta, but steadily expanding to become the No #1 Ugandan website.
 
WOUGNET saw this as an opportunity for two major changes. The first change involves hosting the WOUGNET websites in Uganda which should improve the surfing experience for those in Uganda. The second is to enhance the information sharing and networking via WOUGNET mailing lists using web-technology and web 2.0 approaches.
 
So far we have done the following:

  • all WOUGNET mailing lists have been created as Pamoya Groups
  • all user accounts have been re-created on Pamoya, and every account received a new password
  • all user accounts have been subscribed to the Pamoya Groups that correspond to the original mailing lists
  • all emails to the original WOUGNET mailing list email addresses are now imported into pamoya.com, and linked to the user account of the poster.
  • all members of the Pamoya Groups/mailing list that the original message was posted to will receive a notification of the post in their mailbox.
  • all members can reply to the original email using their email-client.
  • all responses will be added to the original post (in a nice 'threaded' order.
  • all of the above, can also be achieved by using the website.

 
As the website is hosted inside Uganda, using the website to create, read and respond to emails is much faster for those who are using a Ugandan Internet connection. The speed can be up to 20 times faster than using gmail or yahoo.
 
There are 2 major differences between the old and the new mailing lists.
 
The first one is the way Pamoya handles attachments. Attachments are never sent by email again, and will only be available as a download from the mailing list host website, Pamoya. A link to the location of the attachments (if there are any) is provided in the emails that are sent out. The reason we do not send the attachments along with the emails is that the Pamoya servers are located in Uganda. If someone sends an email with a 600K Word file attached to it, this will result in sending out about 1 full CD of data to all recipients (multiply the attachment by the number of recipients). Even worse, all Ugandan readers would have to download the attachment from their yahoo and gmail accounts again, into Uganda. This way, we would be wasting the little amount of bandwidth that Uganda has, twice. This is very similar to the way DGroups is handling attachments.
 
Secondly, Pamoya sends all emails with the sender as <webmaster@pamoya.com>. There is a very good reason for this, which is privacy. Every time you share your email address with a group of 1700 people (the size of the wougnet-l mailing-list), there is a chance a spammer might find it, and start sending you a lot of spam in return. We have also noticed that some companies in Uganda have picked up the habit to directly send spam messages to people who are active on mailing lists. Just like on facebook, linkedin and all the other sites, we think your email address should be private. However, there will still be a provision for members to contact each other off-list, soon.
 
A few people have raised issues about this, and we have increased the visibility of the originator of emails on the mailing lists, by added their username to the subject and header of the emails we send. All messages on the Pamoya website also have a clear link to the profile of the person who sent the email.
 
So, having an updated profile helps your visibility on Pamoya. Updating your name, picture and optionally username will look much better!
 
We are currently tuning the website to optimize the usefulness as much as possible. There are 2 main issues that have our full attention:
 

  • Messages to Pamoya that are sent in HTML format (the full color, formatted etc ones) are sent out to members with strange characters and weird formatting. Especially messages sent with Microsoft Outlook and Word suffer from this. The technical team at Pamoya is trying their utmost best to fix this, as soon as possible.
  • Members who are based outside of Uganda or are using a VSAT connection will have a somewhat slower connection to the Pamoya server. They are working on a few improvements that should give you a better experience.

 
We apologize for any disruptions you might experience, in accessing our email, websites (www.wougnet.org and www.kic.wougnet.org) or mailing lists during this initial phase.
 
In the meantime, we would like to invite everybody to update his or her Pamoya user profile. You can login and access your profile at http://www.pamoya.com/user. Also, for a short period, you will be able to change your username. This is because the technical team at Pamoya had to generate automatic usernames based on your email address, but we would like to give you the opportunity to input your preferred username. Please note that Pamoya will disable this feature at the end of July 2009.
 
If you did not receive your username & password, then you can request your password through: http://www.pamoya.com/user/password. Just fill in your email address and we will send you a new password.
 
For further information or for queries, you may read the Pamoya FAQ page or contact techsupport [at] wougnet [dot] org.
 
Regards,
 
Milton Aineruhanga
Sr. Program Officer - Technical Support
Women of Uganda Network - WOUGNET

You can find this same article on the WOUGNET website.