Modern software development workshops at the UEM Maptuo

The ICT4DMZ project is now running quite a while and after three amazing weeks in Maputo we are one big step further to reach our goals. Philipp and I (Paul Spiesberger) tried to bring the students of the Universidade Eduardo Mondlane (UEM) in Maputo on the right track.

In more than eight workshops we gave them the tools and the knowledge to start programming for their projects. At the beginning we tried to find out on which level their skills are and what we can expect. From that point on we knew that we will have to give them a short introduction to modern software development in a team as well. Up to that day the students were exchanging code with Dropbox and they had almost no structure or/and organisation for their teamwork. At that time we were glad that Florian and Anders did great work a few months ago. They helped them with team roles and project documentation a lot. So it was not necessary to cover that important part too. In order to give them an easy tool to handle their code and the organisation of their projects, we introduced them to GIT and Bitbucket. The students were impressed by the GIT workshop and we were happy to see over the next days that some of them were porting their “Dropbox projects” to their new GIT repositories. Working with Bitbucket-Issues was not that successful at the beginning, but we are sure that this will change over time. From that point on we were ready for programming and we split up the group by the two projects:

Complaint Center

The goal of this project is to create a website which can handle complaints about a company or a product. It should gather information or feedback and help to improve their services. Philipp started with a short tutorial about the PlayFramework and helped to set everything up. After that he assisted with his expertise as much as he could.

Philipp with students

FindUEM

The other group is working on an Android app for students to find POI like lecture rooms, Wifi hotspots or public power plugs at the UEM campus. I started to teach them the basics of Android programming and helped them to set up the project. Since Java programming and developing for Android are quite different, it took a little bit longer to write the first line of code. I tried to explain step by step the important parts and assisted as much as I could.

Paul with students

In total we worked about 27 hours in three weeks with the students. We had some troubles finding the right time slots for all students, since they had different time schedules during their weeks. Especially at the beginning we did some workshops twice, so no one missed the introductions to the technologies. After that, not all students attended to our workshops all the time, but we were never alone.

From now on, we will assist via Skype and e-mail remotely from Austria. We have a good feeling for the outgoing of the projects and hopefully the students keep engaged in the next months as they were during our workshops.

Group picture UEM

During our stay we also helped the UEM to use Moodle for a first test run. We hope that in the future this modern way of IT supported teaching will be expanded to other lectures and faculties to strengthen the teaching abilities at the UEM.

In addition Philipp and I were working hard on our master thesis. Philipp is doing research on big data for emerging countries and for that he conducted some expert interviews. I am interested in user interface design for mobile devices in emerging countries like Mozambique. So I did a survey with students to find out their mobile phone usage and habits.

Of course we also found time to travel and to take a look at this beautiful country. When you talk to people in Mozambique, experience the beautiful landscape and take the time to look behind the curtain, then you get the feeling that this country is moving fast forward. The question is in which direction. The currently discovered massive resources (minerals, oil, gas) can have a positive or a negative impact to the society. There is also a new party growing really fast and it is gaining more and more influence. In the last few months the country was almost slipping into a new civil war. But one week before we arrived, they managed to find a compromise and elections are going to happen in the future. But I think that despite the fact of great poverty, corruption and the lack of education, Mozambique has the ability to find the way to a great and rich future.

3 women

Last but not least I would like to say thank you to Emilio Mosse and Andrei Shindyapin. We are lucky to have this partner and friends in Maputo, who are willing to share their valuable time and love with us. Also a big thank you to the students for their great effort and time!

Philipp and I are excited to continue the work and we are looking forward to meeting our friends in Maputo again.

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Modern software development workshops at the UEM Maptuo
was published on 03.03.2014 by Paul Spiesberger. It files under sub saharan africa
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LIFT @ Austria, day 2 – part 2

Notes from the first Lift @ Austria conference from 19. to 20. March 2010 in Vienna, Austria.

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Information on all the groups and speakers can be found at the Lift @ Austria conference program page. Abstracts of all talks can be read at the Lift @ Austria speakers page.

Pictures of the speaker are either shot by myself or taken from the website of the conference.

Notes from the first day and second day afternoon:

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After the workshop before noon on the second day the posters were exhibited and Kerstin Sailer presented the results of an analyze of the conference space which she carried out with the help of all participants during the conference.

Kerstin – Space syntax

Analysis of events that took place in different locations

  • statistically, geographically
  • configuration of spaces – how do they connect
  • creating an alternative design out of that

Categorization works very well on a collective level

At this event

  • While discussions took place mostly in formal settings (workshop area), learning and rethinking new ideas took place rather in informal settings (cafe, lounge)
  • Learning took place potentially everywhere, whereas new ideas were quite limited to certain spaces

Q & A:

Any optimization ideas how to get more new ideas?

  • How many new ideas can you get? maybe there are already a lot of new ideas

Did you do this in a permanent setting?

  • Yes, in my PhD – it’s really interesting looking at organizations at different points of time

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Following this, the results of an interesting feedback mechanism were presented. The feedback mechanism allowed participants to give away plasticine balls to people who they thought were interesting. You could give away different coloured balls according to the following categories: (more…)

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LIFT @ Austria, day 2 – part 2
was published on 21.03.2010 by Florian Sturm. It files under global
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LIFT @ Austria – day 2, part 1

Notes from the first Lift @ Austria conference from 19. to 20. March 2010 in Vienna, Austria.

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After the first day of the Lift @ Austria conference (Lift @ Austria – day 1, part 1 & Lift @ Austria – day 1, part 2), the second day was also dedicated to discussions in small groups initiated by two short impulse talks. I joined the group on Enabling Ambiences meet Enabling Metamorphoses. Information on all the groups and speakers can be found at the Lift @ Austria conference program page. Abstracts of all talks can be read at the Lift @ Austria speakers page.

Pictures of the speaker are either shot by myself or taken from the website of the conference.

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Roland AltonosAlliance

Co-operative Settings that enable IT, Media and Social Businesses

Enabling spaces already created:

  • Spaces, materials, tools for students enabling them to build furniture and make exhibitions
  • Net Culture Lab – with Telekom Austria
  • Enabling a space takes time – process is too complex
  • Old Telekom building in Dornbirn

We need common values in these settings

  • Ethify
  • 8 virtues
  • Testing these values in various settings and adapting them
  • New value system – one answer to the “crisis”

Internationaler Medienverbund – Co-operative with the possibilities of running micro-co-operatives

  • Reduces bureaucracy for small projects
  • Splitting financial responsibility
  • “Structural enabling space”

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Oliver MarlowThe Hub, Tilt

Talking about ‘enabling’ spaces. How design is being used to transform the way people interact with each and their environment

Enabling is connected to space – but also to the interface between people and space

12 principles for The Hub – constraints which are necessary

Co-design workshop for complex problems

  • intuitive responses for questions that pop up
  • for all sorts of problems
  • individual vs. community

(more…)

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LIFT @ Austria – day 2, part 1
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LIFT @ Austria, day 1 – part 2

Notes from the first Lift @ Austria conference from 19. to 20. March 2010 in Vienna, Austria.

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After the framing talks (LIFT @ Austria, day 1 – part 1) and a delicious lunch, the participants of Lift @ Austria conference split in three groups to discuss certain aspects of “enabling” in depth. I joined the group on Enabling Structures meet Enabling Metamorphoses. The workshops were initiated by two short impulse talks. Information on all the groups and speakers can be found at the Lift @ Austria conference program page. Abstracts of all talks can be read at the Lift @ Austria speakers page.

Pictures of the speaker are either shot by myself or taken from the website of the conference.

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Sava Dalbokovgood.bee holding

Cross-pollinate! Financial and Support Platforms for Social Development

Good.bee holding:

  • Banking the unbanked
  • Microfinance (act), capacity building (teach & learn), community solution (orchestrate)
  • Economic sustainability
  • Changemaker initiative together with Ashoka
  • Enabling capacity: f(freedom + leverage)

Important attributes for projects which are supported in the social entrepreneurship sector:

  • Economically sustainable
  • Hard to measure social impact – one approach: is it scalable?
  • 20-50k support

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Jean-Henry MorinUniversity of Geneva, Dept. of Information Systems,
Switzerland

Social-Micro-Innovation : Leveraging the Crowds as co-Innovation Enabler

Wisdom of the tribesSeth Godin

  • self-organizing crowds gathering around a leader

(more…)

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LIFT @ Austria, day 1 – part 2
was published on by Florian Sturm. It files under global
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LIFT @ Austria, day 1 – part 1

Notes from the first Lift @ Austria conference from 19. to 20. March 2010 in Vienna, Austria.

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After a bus tour through various enabling and open spaces in Vienna at the day preceding the conference (detailed program at Lift @ Austria program page), the first day of the regular Lift @ Austria conference started with five framing talks to give impulses for thoughts and discussion about the topic “enable”.

The abstracts of all these talks can be read at the Lift @ Austria speakers page.

Pictures of the speaker are either shot by myself or taken from the website of the conference.

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Marcus F. PeschlUniversity of Vienna

Enabling – introduction

Trends to mechanise innovation and the desire to create new knowledge end up in a contradiction – as this just makes the implicit rules visible

Alternatives: enabling

  • facilitating framework
  • leave behind the “regime of control”
  • only moderation – give up the control

Important for such an approach

  • openness & the ability to reflect
  • listening and observing (weak signals & details)
  • wait & let come

Overall, a new humbleness and alternative attitudes and values with an application and mening for various contexts, domains and disciplines are required

The conference itself is an enabling space

  • location
  • design
  • frame (bus tour, talks)
  • concepts (workshops)
  • documentation

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Stefan WiltschnigCopenhagen Business School, Denmark

Enabling creative processes as framing between openness and rigidity

Concept of enabling in the context of creative processes / profound innovation

  • “insight” – seeing something and acting on it, new viewpoint
  • European / Greek vs. Chinese perspective of innovation: forcing vs. non-interventionist

(more…)

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LIFT @ Austria, day 1 – part 1
was published on by Florian Sturm. It files under global
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Lift@Austria

From coming Thursday to Saturday a local version (Lift @ home) of the Lift conference will take place in Vienna. The theme is “Enable! Profound Innovation in Society, Economy & Knowledge”.

From the website:

Mechanistic models and a deterministic worldview may have worked well for the last centuries, but are not apt for the upcoming challenges we are facing today. Rather, we need completely different concepts and attitudes, accepting that the underlying processes escape our control and are unpredictable. It seems that the concept of “Enabling” is the key to this shift of thinking. Enabling is the art of carefully configuring adequate levers (physical space, networks, resources, etc.) that best support specific innovation processes, such as idea generation, prototyping, market entry, etc..

I think ICT4D, with “empowerment” as one of its big goals fits in here really perfect and I’m particularly looking forward to hear more from Franz Nahrada’s project GIVE where he linked up several villages around the globe with visions gathering around ecology and sustainability to share experiences with each other. Also I’m really curious to find our about amazing and innovative projects around Vienna I haven’t known about to share experiences and network with.

If you want to follow the conference on Twitter, watch out for the hashtag #enable.

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Lift@Austria
was published on 15.03.2010 by Florian Sturm. It files under global
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e-STAS – Symposium on Technologies for Social Action – Day 1

Image CC by Fumero

Image CC by Fumero

Today was the first day of e-STAS Symposium on Technologies for Social Action. I arrived yesterday here in Malaga and was picked up from the airport and brought to the hotel where all the speakers are staying. In the evening we started socializing and I was introduced (in the real world) to Ken Banks, Christian Kreutz, Jack Dorsey just to name a few of all the interesting people. We had kind of an informal dinner and discussed the actions and topics for day 1 of e-STAS. Today we got up quite early and a bus took us to the venue. We got our name tags and the publication where a saw our article “ICTs for the empowerment of citizens” printed on paper. Very nice.

As Adrian Mangin promised, the event is highly interactive and everybodies voice is heard. As usual, Ismael Peña-López started taking notes and publish them in real time. It was very fascinating sitting next to him and watching him “power-blogging”. Here is his outcome chonologically:

The only missing piece was a workshop, where all the people split into groups and were trying to find a definition for the term “Empowerment”. I was apointed to be the moderator of the bunch of all English speaking guys and we brought up a lot of issues. This will be covered by a separate blog post ASAP.

I was also participating in a round table on Empowerment (see Ismaels link above and the picture) with Bárbara Navarro, Google.es, Luis Millán Vázquez, FUNDECYT and expert at UN-GAID and Fernando Bothelo, Literacy Bridge which was moderated by Idelfonso Mayorgas. Everybody was introduced and had a 2 minutes pitch before we got into medias res. I was the only one speaking English, so I had to stick to my headset with the transation. We brought up our visions and sights on empowerment and I tried to put the focus on the developing world and proposed that we have to educate the people there and let them empower themself. A second topic was cloud computing, where I brought up the lack of computing power and storage capability of mobile devices which are so much growing and cloud computing as a natural result of this. I said that there is open source software for building a cloud system and everybody is able to build it’s own cloud and sticking to e.g. Google is in the long run just a matter of cost (big clouds shoud be cheaper). Another argument we had was on the “information / knowledge / innovation society” which was put into the spotlight by Luis. I said: The problem with this is, that all the information and knowledge is mostly available in written form and in English, so all the illiterate people are not part of it, so it is matter of accessibility. But I insisted later, that this is just a matter of time and the problem should be solved sooner or later.

I will get the video of the round table tomorrow and will push it on youtube.

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e-STAS – Symposium on Technologies for Social Action – Day 1
was published on 26.03.2009 by Martin Konzett. It files under global
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Village Pay Phone Project

As I am basically finished writing my Master thesis (hopefully my supervisor thinks like that too), I would like to introduce some papers that I found interesting and insightful.

This first on is “Village Pay Phones and Poverty Reduction: Insights from a Grameen Bank Initiative in Bangladesh” and is actually a classic.  It was written by Abdul Bayes (Professor of Economics, Jahangimagar University, Dhaka, Bangladesh), Joachim von Braun (Director at the Center for Development Research, Bonn, Germany) and Rasheda Akhter (Researcher, Jahangirnagar University, Dhaka, Bangladesh) in 1999 for the Center for Development Research (ZEF) in Bonn.

I deals with the impact of the Village Pay Phone project of the Grameen Bank on the social and economic situation in the villages in Bangladesh where the project was implemented.

In the following a short summary of the paper:

The situation in Bangladesh 1999:

Village Pay Phone Lady - picture taken from Jeevs Sinclair

Village Pay Phone Lady - picture taken by Jeevs Sinclair

  • 80% of the population live in rural areas
  • 47% of the population live below the poverty line
  • Overall there is only few basic infrastructure

The telecom sector in Bangladesh:

  • 0.26 fixed lines per 100 people
  • Calls are expensive
  • Only 20% of calls are completed successfully
  • There are many complaints

Mobile phone operators entered the market some years ago and leapfrogged the fixed-line subscriptions almost immediately. The reason for this was also the competition between seven operators.

Village Pay Phones:

  • Based on an idea of the Grameen Bank
  • Provide mobile phones to the rural poor
  • Four international partners built an NGO and acquired the license for GSM
  • VPPs were only given to women with certain attributes
  • Call fees and the overall procedure were fixed

Phone owners were usually found to be poorer but socially more conscient than the phone users. Most of the people that made phone calls were non-poor (three-quarters) and male (two-third). Problems were for a lot of users the low connection quality which resulted in a wish for lower rates

The effects of Village Pay Phones:

Economic effects:

  • The VPP owners  gain a net profit of ~270 which accounts for about 1/5 to 1/4 of total income
  • The profit was mostly spent to installment payments, education and saving
  • The alternatives for VPPs would have involved transport costs
  • The consumer surplus is therefore quite high and for the poor it is higher than the not-poor
  • Farmers gain more money because they know about market prices
  • Supply of goods became smoother as the market can be better analysed with more information
  • Foreign exchange has been made more transparent
  • Livestock keepers are better informed of possible diseases and how to cure them
  • Poverty was reduced and people have more to eat
  • Dealing with disasters was made easier due to more communication

Socio-cultural effects:

  • Empowerment of women – more decisions are taken by women alone, mobility was raised
  • The owners of VPPs gain higher social status
  • Phone owners have more knowledge and confidence

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So overall it can be said, that the whole project was a big success story and this guy has really earned his Nobel Prize. For the whole article I may refer to Google Scholar.

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Village Pay Phone Project
was published on 28.11.2008 by Florian Sturm. It files under south asia
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