Much more than an app developers camp…

Ohrid is located on the shore of a big lake with crystal clear water in the south west of Macedonia. It bears a diverse ecological system and is millions of years old. The UNESCO accepted Lake Ohrid as Natural World Heritage Site. Tiny fish tickle your body when you keep still for a while. It is a holiday paradise and i wonder why i’ve never heard of it before.

There we met last weekend to choose the 3 winning projects of an international app development project called mYouth 2.0 which provides space for youth that is already in the field of new technologies in order to develop further their potentials and ideas.

4 participants from Asia, 4 from Africa and 4 from Europe pitched in front of a 12 member expert jury.
The jury chose one winner of each continent.
The 3 winners are invited to the European Youth Award festival in Graz in November 2018.

 

photo (c) Mladiinfo

It took me several days to write this recap. Why? Cause it was such a valuable experience that i didn’t want to cut it down to a few words. Nor would some pictures show what really fascinated me about this event. I’ll give it a shot…

We spent 5 days together. More than 30 people from 3 different continents: East African Region (Kenya and Tanzania), West African Region (Senegal and Ghana), North Asian Region (Vietnam and Hong Kong) and South Asian Region (Singapore and Philippines) as well as the European Region that involves Poland, Germany, Austria, Macedonia and Romania  – I thought of justing naming a few exemplary countries but it is so impressive if you make yourself aware of this diversity. Just being in the middle of this vibrant community was already worth travelling to Ohrid. I felt an excitement that i experience seldomly these days. A feeling that there is a vibrant and positive world beneath frightening news and fascist governments. That there are people who are actually making a change by helping their local communities and therefore bringing valuable ideas to the global society.

And the contestants do exactly that. Some of them experienced hard times in their young lifes and decided to protect people in the future from those experiences. Some of them observe problems in their communites and decide to do something about it. Some have a smart idea and want to develop it further. They get creative and use mobile technologies to help for example pupils who want to learn more about the world but simply don’t have learning material. Or to make dental service affordable for people who can’t rely on a health care system. Or to give an effective tool to people who want to make music but have no idea where to start – Spoiler: Those are the winners 😉

Jurying and choosing those 3 winning projects was tough. Many of the presentations where very convincing, several of the pitches where brillant, all of the projects are worth to be supported. It took us hours to discuss and decide. Sometimes i ask myself if competitions like this one are just wrong when all of them deserve to win. But then again it is a big boost for your motivation if you strive towards a goal.

The competion itself tough was just one aspect of the whole event. We coached the contestants and their projects and we learned a lot from them as well. So it was in fact a win-win situation. And we had time to spare. Some of the most interesting and deepest conversations emerge while you have lunch together or enjoy the sunset on a hill in Ohrid.

There would be so much more to say about the event, about technological aspects, about how important a proper design process is for an app project and so on but i think i already implied what was most important for me:
People from different cultures, of various ages, with different backgrounds came together in a peaceful, respectful and joyful way. We worked together, supported each other and simply had fun. It was organised by a careful and dedicated team (thanks so much Mladiinfo!). Jumping into this intercultural experience was one of the best things i did recently.

To be fair: It was an almost perfect setting and it is not easy to organise such intercultural events. But i think you can scale it down to your daily life as well. Even short contacts between persons with different cultural backgrounds can be interesting and authentic if you kick yourself in the butt and step our of your comfort zone. Give it a try! You won’t be disappointed. And it doen’t matter if you speak the same language or not.


Much more than an app developers camp…
was published on 30.09.2018 by Georg Steinfelder. It files under east africa, east asia, eastern and central europe, Europe, global, middle east and north africa, south asia
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mayworld – video blog

May van Gent is an independent video journalist who initially put us in touch with the Zanzibits project – of which our web development school project Zanzicode developed.

She is also currently on Zanzibar, shooting at Sauti za Busara (Sounds of Wisdom) East African music festival and creating a short movie of Zanzicode.

On her blog mayworld she frequently publishes videos of her travels, right now:

You can follow the first steps in my life as a video journalist.

The journey starts in Tanzania, East Africa.
Where the road will take me I don’t know yet.

I just arrived in Zanzibar. After Sauti za Busara (Sounds of Wisdom) an international festival celebrating East African music from 11-16 February I will continue the trip. Probably I’ll go from Malawi to Mozambique to be in South Africa for the world cup 2010 .

You can see video’s on different events, people, days, party’s, mornings etc etc. [from May’s blog mayworld]

She also has a Flickr account, so if you want to get some impressions on East Africa – and especially of the amazing music festival which just took place in Zanzibar, check her out.

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mayworld – video blog
was published on 02.03.2010 by Florian Sturm. It files under east asia, sub saharan africa
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Mobile phones in rural areas of Zanzibar

I’m back to Vienna and left my colleagues Martin and Anders behind in Zanzibar, where they’re doing more interviews with people in and around Jambiani to cover the use of mobile phones in rural areas.

In towns almost everybody owns a mobile phone. This is still different in rural areas. Local people working at resorts usually have a mobile phone, since they need it for their work. Some of the people we spoke to also told us that they receive airtime from their employers. A quite impressive experience was to see Masaai performing traditional dances, still wearing their traditional dresses and living according to their cultural customs, but at the same time being on the mobile phone all the time.

Mobile phones had a huge impact in rural areas, since it is relatively easy to set up a network antenna. In contrast, Internet is still hard to find in those areas. That’s also why Martin and Anders aren’t able to post any news at the moment. They’ll report from their experiences once they’re back to Stone Town.

Antennas at the beach of Jambiani

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Mobile phones in rural areas of Zanzibar
was published on 27.10.2008 by Martin Tomitsch. It files under east asia
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Bruce Sterling on the impacts of money digitization

Lift Asia 08 took place again in Korea this September and features an excellent program. I was waiting for the video of Jan Chipchase’s talk on nomadic work/life enabled by mobile technologies to go online, but so far only a few videos are available. However, as a matter of fact, the first video featuring Bruce Sterling’s talk is highly relevant for the ICT4D movement.

Bruce Sterling is a brilliant writer, blogger, and futurist. At Lift Asia 08 he talked about the implications of cell phones for the poor. He says that in earlier times the poor people were peasants, living in the country, but now the poor are urban, and own a cell phone. He makes the point that, while there certainly is a computer divide, there is no cell phone divide, meaning even people, who are illiterate are using cell phones. People, who never really owned money, now have sudden access to electronic money thanks to cell phone based payment systems.

In the last part of his talk he talks about the “electronic contrast” between North and South Korea. He predicts a fall of the North Korean regime and that South Korea will eventually own it together with all its problems. The North Korean, who never owned cell phones, will get cell phones and move into the cities. Bruce Sterling argues that giving them money won’t be a solution and encourages South Korea to work on an “electronic Korean solution for poverty”.

The talk is brilliant. It also strikes me that he didn’t use any slides, which I only noticed after watching the talk half-way through. I’ve seen other speakers doing this and failing. This talk is therefore really inspiring.

Watch the talk on Google Video.

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Bruce Sterling on the impacts of money digitization
was published on 06.10.2008 by Martin Tomitsch. It files under east asia
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