Zanzicode update – courses running already

After all the new years celebrations and post-ICTD2010 work, here’s some news on our Zanzicode projects.

Since the end of last year the new course with twelve new students is running. They are introduced on the Zanzicode blog with a picture and a statement. My favourite one here by Aboud:

I hope to be able to learn this technology that moves the world to another stage.

Well, let’s hope it moves at least the career possibilities of our students to another stage. Of course we are looking forward to learn about their progress and wish Salum, our teacher the best of luck.

Chembe Ventures

Also our second course in Zanzibar, the Zanzicode Business Incubator which we have initiated together with Chembe Ventures has started with five participants. Martin and Salum are both teaching (and learning by doing) about web entrepreneurship in Zanzibar. After the course ideally the students will have created a business themselves and will be operating it. We’re curious how this will turn out.

If there’s an interested organisation out there which is active in Zanzibar and might achieve their goals better with IT we’d be happy to know more and maybe collaborate. Contact info can be found here.

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Zanzicode update – courses running already
was published on 14.01.2011 by Florian Sturm. It files under global
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Zanzicode Incubator Course to be started beginning of 2011 is happy to announce that we are about to start a second course within our Zanzicode project. The Incubator Course – a joint venture of with Chembe Ventures – will run in parallel to our initial initiative, which we will refer to as Basic Course from now on.

The aim of the program is to provide talented young would-be entrepreneurs with the
tools they need to launch and maintain their own web ventures.

Here is the Incubator Course description as stated on the Zanzicode website:

The 12 month Incubator Course measures up to the entrepreneurial spirit of graduates of the Basic Course. Strong programming skills and the goal to set up an own real world online business are prerequisites for this course.
Students are guided through the process of realizing a business, from the idea to the running software and the working micro enterprise. We also stick to Open Source Software, but we optionally switch to Java and Google technologies as industrial standards. After the course the students will be owners of their own business. The course hosts 4 students.

Having conversations with our graduates and students, we got excellent feedback about their progress within the web development community in Zanzibar. The most rewarding statements for us are that graduates are working in the software industry and are keen to move on with their skills. They are searching for ways to educate themselves further. So the idea of an advanced course came up. We proposed approaches and got the commitment from possible future students.

After the experiences we gained so far, we agreed that the students should work on one big ongoing project during the course. The discussion with Sean Murphy (We got to know him at Africa Gathering April 2009 in London) led to the resolution that the best idea would be that students should not only develop plain software solutions, but also business models around the software and then eventually – at the end of the course – become business owners and run their venture. Sean offered to substantially fund this course through the company he is running, Chembe Ventures, which is specialized in seed funding and organizing tech events for African IT startups.

So after successfully acquiring complementary funding, the budget is set and the agreement with Chembe Ventures is signed. We are hereby going to the public and are very happy to announce this.

We are open for applications for this course via office (AT) and are happy to send out detailed informations upon request. Applicants should not hesitate to call Salum Rashid (Zanzicode Lecturer) on his Zantel line: +255 777 755443 to get the details in Swahili.

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Zanzicode Incubator Course to be started beginning of 2011
was published on 03.11.2010 by Florian Sturm. It files under east africa
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Social Marketing Organization – PSI

In the current issue of brand eins (already mentioned in an article on design in and for LDCs) the social marketing organization PSI is portrayed.

PSI (Population Services International) is

a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. that harnesses the vitality of the private sector to address the health problems of low-income and vulnerable populations in more than 60 developing countries [from the PSI homepage].

The organization especially tries to tackle health issues in less developed countries – e.g. malaria, HIV or tuberculosis, but also tries to operate as economically successful as possible. Depending on the most effective way of business, PSI cooperates with local entrepreneurs or health institutions to market their products and promote a lifestyle avoiding diseases (e.g. hygienic measures or contraception).

One very innovative approach of the organization is how the success of their business is measured. By collecting statistical data and utilizing internationally accepted measures such as DALY (Disability-Adjusted Life Years = life-years that sick persons would lose without treatment), the outcome of their actions can be displayed in a comprehensive way.

The “Annual Health Impact Report” of PSI shows these numbers in several graphs and is definitely worth taking a look at.

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Social Marketing Organization – PSI
was published on 28.01.2009 by Florian Sturm. It files under global
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Business fights poverty

After reading through several reviews and blog posts on the PopTech 2008 conference, it struck me that one focus of the conference this year was on development through enterprise.

There were several examples of companies offering products for the bottom of the pyramid, generating income out of it. For example Husk Power Systems generating electricity for Indian villages from rice husks or PNFC (Por Fin, Nuestra Casa), offering houses from ship containers for Mexican factory workers.

Economic sustainability is one of the key criterion for successful development products – as several scholars already identified. Entrepreneurs with knowledge of local problems and innovative solutions can foster more changes in a countries’ society and economy than any other well-meaning donators.

Now recently a social network platform focusing on people in the business sphere involved in development has been created – Business Fights Poverty.

I like the approach to use Web 2.0 tools to connect interested people – I just ask myself why these solutions always have to produce brand-new platforms and not try to connect existing ones. It would be a great thing to approach the user base of Kiva or Facebook and build something upon those systems.

Anyway, BFP seems to gain in members quickly and I wish them all the best.

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Business fights poverty
was published on 30.10.2008 by Florian Sturm. It files under global
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Electricity prepaid

We where previously discussing prepay versus subscription in the cellular network business. Now we want to go into prepaid electricity supply. Niti Bhan is reporting about the benefits of prepaying by example of John Lumbe out of Blantyre, Malawi. I spent myself 3 month down in Blantyre, and a was not a friend of topping up my electricity counter. As i grew up in Austria, electricity was always there. You just plug a device in, and it is lighting up and working. Prepaying therefor is just overhead. Why should you prepay, when you have electricity at almost no cost and the supplying company is just charging your account?

In lesser developed countries the situation is different. Companies don’t trust their customers. They want the money in advance. The consumption behavior is different. People want to spend small amounts of money to services and want to get a short experience. E.g. people spent this affordable small amount of money to plug in their TV an watch the news 5 minutes a day. On the other hand business owners can benefit from the prepaid system:

– No writing off of bad debts
– Cost decrease
– Simplifying management information
– Help companies to cope with uncertainty

    [bullets taken from here]

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    Electricity prepaid
    was published on 21.09.2008 by Martin Konzett. It files under global
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