Oct. 8, 2009
WVU Parkersburg faculty assist with landmine removal project in Chad, Africa.
CONTACT: Doug Weaver, professor of computer information and technology, 304-424-8330.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
A West Virginia University at Parkersburg faculty member and his wife are continuing work in Africa related to the removal of land mines and the saving of lives.
Doug Weaver, professor of computer information and technology, and his wife Karen, an adjunct computer science instructor, recently were in Chad, Africa for three weeks at the request of the U.S. Department of Defense. The DOD contracted with the college's Workforce and Community Education division for assistance in a United States/United Nations co-sponsored landmine removal program.
Upon their arrival in Chad, Weaver was to take a team and go to a remote office in the eastern part of the country.
"The day we were to depart the capital of N'Djamena, a very large rebel attack took place in the very region I was headed for," Weaver said.
The U.S. Embassy warned him to cancel the trip that morning. He did. Instead, Weaver remained in the capital and worked in the main headquarters.
"We actually accomplished much more there than if I would have gone on the remote trip," Weaver, coordinator of the college's Computer and Information Technology program, said.
At the main headquarters, he trained Chadians to network computers, set up servers and install a wireless network. Mrs. Weaver trained Chadian headquarters staff on various software packages, including Word, Excel and Access.
Weaver noted that the overall project has several elements in which the U.S. is participating. The U.S. is sending medical personnel to train Chadians how to treat landmine victims. Other members of Weaver's team included U.S. military doctors and medics.
Another aspect of the U.S. participation -- which Weaver and his wife were involved in -- is providing computer training for headquarters personnel. This is designed to assist in coordination of the landmine removal program by making it more effective in locating, documenting and removing landmines from their country, Weaver noted. The demining work is managed, documented and planned in the main headquarters.
"Hundreds of innocent children and adults are killed each year in Chad due to the landmines left over from 30 years of civil wars," Weaver noted.
Weaver's involvement with Chad and its landmine project spans several years. He has been to Chad several times. He and a group of his students installed the first ever computer network in the U.S. Embassy of the Republic of Chad in Washington, D.C. Weaver was also involved in setting up the first Chadian wireless computer network as well as the first Chadian military wired computer network.
He will talk about his experiences in a different African country in a free presentation "Congo - A Country of Great Potential and Great Difficulties," at 11 a.m., Monday (Oct. 12) in Room 2209 at the college. The program is free.