YES We Care 2! Kick-Off and first Study Trip

We recently started to work with mladiinfo from Macedonia, Risky Businesses from Romania and YoungAfrica from Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Namibia on our YES We Care 2 – Youth Empowerment through Social Entrepreneurship. We support our partners with our ICT know-how and contribute with our experiences from the field. The overall goal is to map social entrepreneurs in Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Namibia and offer them trainings, networking and guidance to further grow their businesses. ICT plays a vial role in establishing a successful business and needs to take local realities such as limited resources and different interface into consideration. Read more here about the current project and find here more information about the past first project implementation.

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Kick-Off in Harare

We started the project with a kick-off event in Harare, Zimbabwe where the consortium met for the first time in person. We discussed and planned the upcoming studies visits in the three African countries and how we will succeed in the implementation. The meeting was a lot of fun, surfaced many challenges within our planning and brought us all closer together.

First Study Trip to Beira in Mozambique

For the last few days the city of Beira in Mozambique was our working place. Although “working” is not quite the right term. It was a mix of study visits, cultural networking and enjoying the country. In total it was quite intense, we were visiting a lot of places, met a lot of interesting people and promising NGOs – even the mayor of the town gave us an official welcome.

Our goal within the project was to find local social entrepreneurs to invite them to a training session in Macedonia next year. Our project “YES We Care 2” aims to give those motivated people and their ideas an educational boost and a network to reach out to potential sponsors.

Yet it was not easy to find social entrepreneurs in the local scene since the term is relatively unknown in Mozambique. There might be already several well running businesses which fulfil the criteria of a social entrepreneurship but they are not on the radar of our local partner. Speaking of which: Our study visits and trips around Beira were organised by Young Africa Mozambique. They run a training centre in Beira and in Dondo, a nearby spot in the country side, where they provide education, vocational trainings and many other courses with very practical aspects for young students. In different franchises the students learn to become bike mechanics, farmers, electricians, cooks etc.

Young Africa introduced us to those franchises and we got more than a glimpse on the social impact of the organisation. They also arranged visits with local government officials and businesses and other NGOs. One of the first meetings was with the mayor of the town. Sitting in the mayor’s office, presenting our project, taking pictures – all that gave our trip a very official start and we felt honoured to be invited. The mayor mentioned that we need to try prawns and that supporting young citizens might be even more important after the big cyclone earlier this year.

We were very impressed by the rather quick recovery of the city. The damage of the cyclone is still visible in many places (e.g. many of the roofs are still gone) although the citizens did a great job in rebuilding the structures. As always, the ones who suffer the most are the poor inhabitants. And there are a lot. We passed by many slums when we were going around by car and it gave us yet another reminder how privileged we are to travel around the globe, sleeping in clean beds and having regular meals.

Our discussion cycled daily around the circumstances these people are living in. The question is: How can we help the motivated entrepreneurs and project leaders in the most sustainable way? We cannot solve their problems, but only support them in helping themselves. For us, it is obvious that we can achieve that by establishing strong networks which last longer than our short trips and most importantly providing tools to them to help themselves. Start a business, create jobs and rebuild the city.

The diverse members of our group were also quite colourful and it was a pleasure to work with all of them: Mhlonipeni from Zimbabwe, Constance from Mozambique, Shemo and Lulesa from Macedonia, Robert from Romania, Eric from Belgium, Paul and Georg from Austria. Finding topics to talk about wasn’t hard. Politics, cultural habits, sharing ideas and telling jokes only scratch the surface. There were always funny cultural differences and language barriers. We spent hours trying to bridge those gaps. Trying to count in the different languages was maybe the most hilarious part.

In the end, we shook a lot of hands, built up networks, led very interesting conversations and discussions about social entrepreneurship and how to improve the situation for young entrepreneurs in Beira.

One good example was 3R Mozambique. They create a clean environment for current and future generations through the transformation of the waste. Furthermore, 3R provide integrated waste management services for medium and large organizations and build waste treatment infrastructure across Mozambique.

We also met Baisikeli who import second-hand bikes from Denmark supported by their sponsor. They repair the bikes, sell them in local shops and promote eco-friendly transport in Beira. If this wasn’t already enough, they work with Young Africa in Beira to train young students to become bike mechanics and also create bikes for handicapped people. Many still loose their ability to walk due to a still existing mine problem in the surrounding area. Recently they also built bikes with a pizza oven included, they plan start new businesses with mobile pizza bikes!

We also used the opportunity to connect with local universities. Paul met colleague from the Universidade Zambeze. The local public university which suffered badly from the cyclone. Almost all of their computers were destroyed and they now face the challenge to teach computer science for 500 students with only 20 computers. We talked about how we can support them and explored possible collaborations.

Overall, we simply had a lot of fun. Mozambicans are very friendly people and we are very grateful for the opportunity to learn more about the Mozambican culture. Therefore, we want to thank Young Africa and our project partners for the wonderful collaboration: Mladiinfo and Risky Business.

Written by: Paul Spiesberger and Georg Steinfelder

Yes We Care 2 Partners

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YES We Care 2! Kick-Off and first Study Trip
was published on 16.07.2019 by Paul Spiesberger. It files under sub saharan africa
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Guest Lecture at the Universidade Eduardo Mondlane (UEM) in Maputo, Mozambique

I got lucky to be part of the delegation we sent to Mozambique to participate in the YES We Care 2 project. We implemented our project in Beira and a blog post will soon be published about our work there.

Several years ago, I was teaching in Maputo at the Universidade Eduardo Mondlane (UEM) within our ICT4DMZ project. I worked with students from the DMI and gave a one semester course about Android development. I managed to add a few days to my stay here in Mozambique and stopped by the UEM to visit old friends and connect again with the department. I offered to give a guest lecture at the DMI for Master students and I chose to give them once again an introduction to Android programming. Five years have passed since my last Android lecture at the DMI and the way I would now implement a modern Android application fundamentally changed since then.

I am big fan of practical teaching. So I only had 11 slides prepared, which were mostly about who I am, what I do and why I was here. I prefer to simply programmed live in front of the students and explain the code and why I implement it in a certain way. That might be a bit risky, but also gives me the chance to fix bugs and errors in front of the students, since they will probably also encounter the same in the future. I tried to cover the latest standards and illustrate how I would now start a new Android project. I covered the following in my lecture:

  • GIT and GitHub – because I would never start a project without it
  • Project setup and overall architecture of an Android Studio project
  • Jetpack Navigation – single Activity architecture and Fragments
  • Data Binding – Interaction with UI Elements
  • ViewModel and LifeCycle Handling

The lecture was well accepted, although hard to follow, since I only scratched the surface of all these topics in only 2,5 hours. This was intended, since I wanted to show them the tools they should use, give them a direction where to look and then at the end simply remember what is out there. So if they start a new Android project in the future, they then should think: “oh yeah right, there is something called Jetpack Navigation, ViewModels and Databinding… and I should probably use GIT to organize my work”. For the rest, they will have to teach it themselves, which is in my opinion the best way to learn programming anyway.

You can find my Android project I created during the lecture here on GitHub. Feedback is more than welcome.

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Guest Lecture at the Universidade Eduardo Mondlane (UEM) in Maputo, Mozambique
was published on 09.07.2019 by Paul Spiesberger. It files under sub saharan africa
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Consequences of Mobile ICT4D Constraints

A Research Study on Information and Communication Technologies for Development: Mobile Phones & Empowerment

The past two years I worked on my Master’s Thesis which was part of our ICT4DMZ project in Mozambique. I had the pleasure to work with local students and develop an Android application with them. FindUEM is an application which helps students to find PIOs (Point of Interest) at their campus, you can download it from the Play Store. During my stay I conducted my research on if this Android application is usable by the students. Not in terms of usability, but rather if they have access to the technology. So I conducted a survey regarding students’ mobile hardware and on how they use their phones. Back then, only one third was capable of using the Android application regarding hardware and Internet connectivity. So I started to develop a concept of a SMS based FindUEM, which grants access to everyone in possession of a mobile phone. During my research SMSSync was published, which does similar a things and underlines the importance of my research. Out of 451 students, only one did not have a mobile phone. This shows once again the exceptional potential of mobile hardware in the field of ICT4D. My work got recently published as a book and you can buy it here. If you want to know me about this topic, then do not hesitate to drop me a mail or comment below.

The abstract

This book analyses and challenges the fast and dynamic movement of new mobile technologies, particularly in developing countries like Mozambique. The work places itself in the research field of Information and Communication Technologies for Development. The focus lies in the context of mobile technologies in developing countries and on how people can access information on these devices properly. An Android prototype application designed to navigate people around the campus was developed in a lecture with Mozambican students at the Maputo Universidade Eduardo Mondlane. A survey carried out as part of the research indicated that the Android application is not accessible to certain students due to a lack of technology and connectivity. Therefore, an alternative SMS based interface is introduced to meet the criteria of Human Computer Interaction for Development and Universal Design. The new solution uses already existing and cheap infrastructure, focuses on low-end hardware, works along with future-proof alternatives and does, in comparison with the Android application, not exclude potential users.

 

Book Cover - Consequences of Mobile ICT4D Constraints – a Case Study of Mozambique





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Consequences of Mobile ICT4D Constraints
was published on 25.03.2017 by Paul Spiesberger. It files under east africa, sub saharan africa
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OurMoz wins World Bank’s #APPS4MAPUTO

We are proud to announce that two of our former student who worked with us in our last ICT4DMZ project were part of the OurMoz (Mauro Banze, Alfredo Muchanga and Félix Barros) team which won the World Bank’s #APPS4MAPUTO contest in Mozambique. Mauro and Alfredo gained in our lecture at the Universidade Eduardo Mondlane (UEM) a better understanding for mobile software development and design. Mauro said that in our courses he learned a lot about software design which also partly enabled their success. He describes their work as a

crowdsourcing Android app that would allow citizens to report problems in their communities and share relevant information with others.

They worked together with the Associação Fraunhofer Portugal Research (Fraunhofer Portugal) and they describe their cooperative output as follows:

The Android App developed within the scope of this competition allows the community supervisors to report situations detected on the field more rapidly; to consult geotagged events, according to a specific category or location; to validate the information submitted by citizens, as well as to give feedback about each situation’s resolution status, assuring that all information is integrated with participatory monitoring platform ntxuv.

The Application’s stability and usability, the reliability of the information communication, the App’s positive response to the needs of the Participatory Urban Service Monitoring for Maputo Municipality, as well as its capacity to motivate the supervisory workers, were among the qualities acknowledged to the group of young research students Mauro Banze, Félix Barros e Alfredo Muchanga, from the OurMoz team. Moreover, these were the evaluation criteria applied to all solutions submitted to the contest and assessed by judges a panel, which comprehended representatives from several major organizations, such as the World Bank, the Swedish Embassy in Maputo, the mobile communications company mCel, the startup Ideario, and the company UX.

We are very happy and wish them all the best for their future. Keep up your awesome work!

OurMoz Team





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OurMoz wins World Bank’s #APPS4MAPUTO
was published on 06.09.2015 by Paul Spiesberger. It files under sub saharan africa
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ICT4DMZ – PhD student from Mozambique – Welcome!

In the course of our joint program with University Eduardo Mondlane Maputo and Vienna University of TechnologyICT4DMZ – we have also managed to get funding for a Mozambiquan student to come to Austria for a joint PhD program in informatics.

Two weeks ago Marcia has finally arrived in Vienna and is starting her studies now. Welcome Marcia, we wish you a productice and enjoyable time here.

Thanks to APPEAR, the Austrian Partnership Programme in Higher Education & Research for Development and of course our project team to make this happen!





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ICT4DMZ – PhD student from Mozambique – Welcome!
was published on 28.04.2014 by Florian Sturm. It files under global
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ICT4DMZ – Course Finished

Anders and me are back in Austria now after an exciting month in Mozambique, working for the project ICT4DMZ at the Universidade Eduardo Mondlane in Maputo. We had a great time and would like to thank our partners on the spot, Emilio Mosse and Andrei Shindiapin. Below there’s a group picture with them and Marcia, a future PhD student in Maputo and Vienna. We are very happy that we can offer her this opportunity together with APPEAR and TU Wien.

All in all we have had quite some time in several lessons with the students to bring forward the concepts for the two applications they were interested in creating. In this blog post you can find some pictures of how we worked together. Of course after three weeks we could only touch some things and the use case diagrams, list of system components, UML diagrams and mockups we created are a first draft only. However, I’m proud of everything we produced and it gives a good impression what the applications should do. Now it’s up to the students and their supervisors to work on the projects until February, when two colleagues, Paul and Philipp will come to Maputo to deal with implementation of the two applications. We will try to keep in touch with the students and hopefully they will find time besides their many duties at university to continue their efforts with “Safe Maputo” and “Complaint Center”.

Additionally to the course, Anders and me held two presentations for students of informatics and journalism about current developments in media. We dealt with topics as diverse as the Raspberry Pi or PRISM and received a good deal of interest.

Finally I can only express my hopes that what we’ve said and done has helped the students broaden their horizon in general and increase their insights into software creation. I had a good time working with the students and am looking forward to keep in touch and observe the development of the applications.





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ICT4DMZ – Course Finished
was published on 23.09.2013 by Florian Sturm. It files under sub saharan africa
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ICT4DMZ – course updates & pictures

After two weeks course with the interested and motivated students at Universidaded Eduardo Mondlane the two applications take shape.

We have identified users, use cases and system components and have been working to define these system components in detail. For this we haven’t worked with computers but mainly with moderation cards – a method I prefer to give the students something real to touch and move around.

For the Complaint Center we’ve already had an interview with the president of the consumer rights organisation DECOM (Associação de Defesa do Consumidor) where the students could present their idea for the website and receive valuable feedback.

Also we have worked a lot in smaller groups – focusing on frontend, backend and geographical information systems.

Below you find some pictures of the courses so far.

The next step for this week is now to join the work of the different groups and create a first prototpye for the projects. Afterwards, the next months the students will mainly work on their own – with supervision via mail.

In February two colleagues – Paul and Philipp, both working on their Masters at TU Wien will come and carry on with the implementation of the applications. I’m curious if the application won’t already be finished to a large part by then – as the students show so much interest and dedication to make the two applications reality.





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ICT4DMZ – course updates & pictures
was published on 02.09.2013 by Florian Sturm. It files under global
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ICT4DMZ – Course with students about software concept development

After the project ICT4DMZ started in July 2012 – we wrote about it in an older blogpost – we are still on it and right now; Anders and Florian are on the spot for another work package.

This work package is about planning projects that meet the demand of the broader population, while at the same time offering a practical guide to students how to get from a project idea to a software concept. The two software concepts developed in this course will be implemented in the coming work package – in February 2014.

So the course started on Monday with 12 students from 2nd and 3rd year informatics and 2 people from 3rd and 4th year geograpy studies with GIS background. This is a group picture of the students and Florian.

So far we’ve initiated two great ideas which we will develop into a concept:

– Safe/Beautiful Maputo
A service which provides information for places in Maputo. Users and officials from different institutions can share information if places are dangerous, safe, interesting for tourists or have any other special characteristic and how they can be reached. Tourists and citizens of Maputo can use this information to plan activities or their daily trips.

– Complaint Center
This application should provide an interface between customers that have bought a product and want to place a complaint and companies that should care for this complaint. Finally the rating of companies due to their response to complaints will also help future customers decide where to buy a product.

Additionally, we introduced the students to a voluntary excercise called “MyMaputo”, which is an introduction to open source web filmmaking. It could later be applied for client demos of the finalized software concept.

Of course we were also heartly welcomed by our project partners at UEM. We met with the professors Emilio Mosse and Andrei Shindyapin and their staff and they already showed us around in this beautiful city.

We were positively surprised to find out that just across our office is the Centro de Informatica – CAICC (http://www.caicc.org.mz) which includes an ICT4D department. We got in contact with Polly Gaster and Luís Neves, who were kind enough to brief us on their mision and current activities.





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ICT4DMZ – Course with students about software concept development
was published on 21.08.2013 by Florian Sturm. It files under global
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New project: Academic Partnership with Vienna University of Technology and University Maputo

Another new project of ICT4D.at has already started officially and will be running for a while now.

It’s a partnership with the Vienna University of Technology and the Universidade Eduardo Mondlane in Maputo – Mozambique (UEM) and the official title is

Strengthening universities’ capacities for improved access, use and application of ICT for social development and economic growth in Mozambique“.

The project is funded by the APPEAR-program of the Austrian Development Agency and we’re very happy about that! It officially started this July and will go on for two years until June 2014.

Here’s an abstract about the project objectives from the application:

This proposed project is designed to strengthen capacity and infrastructure at the partner institution, the Department of Mathematics and Informatics of the Eduardo Mondlane University (UEM), while Vienna University of Technology (TUW) in Austria will provide specialist competency as a research partner in this effort. The not-for-profit organisation ICT4D.at will support as a subcontractor of TUW. The expected results are a higher quality of education offered by the department of Mathematics and Informatics at UEM and a strengthening of the research capacities to produce research outputs of relevance to the Mozambique strategic economic sectors for rural development and poverty reduction. The improvement of the information technology programmes and infrastructure, coupled with a sustainable research partnership between UEM and TUW, is the main development goal to be achieved by the establishment of this project, so that the practical results can be made sustainable for the process of teaching, research and contribution to the Mozambican private sector, civil sector and economy as a whole.

The project supports the thematic focus of this call with four specific objectives. […]

Improving university infrastructure to provide the basis for a high quality study programme and research activities” […]

Developing educational programmes by improving the quality of teaching, learning, research and gender equality” […]

Establishing a sustainable partnership between UEM & TUW to collaborate on projects and research outputs relevant to the needs of the university and strategic economic sectors in Mozambique for rural development and poverty reduction with ICT” […]

Enhancing the local intellectual property transfer office at UEM to guarantee the application of research findings to the society and economy, leading to sustainable social development and economic growth after the project period

It’s an ambitious project and we have a motivated project team with Prof. Mosse, Prof. Shindyapin and Ms. Mara from UEM, Prof. Grechenig and Paul Pöltner from TUW and ICT4D.at members Joanna Knueppel, Isabella Wagner, Margarete Grimus, Fritz Grabo and myself, Florian Sturm.

We’ll start a project blog shortly where we will post updates and preliminary results of the project. When it’s ready we’ll make an announcement here. Of course we’ll also cross-post relevant content on this blog.

Right now we are mainly planning the first visits to Mozambique – Isabella Wagner will write the first main report on the spot and later, together with Paul Pöltner and Prof. Grechenig and UEM officials there will be the first big in-person meeting in Maputo.

We’re excited that this project – our biggest so far – has started now and we’re looking forward to a fruitful partnership with UEM and TUW! Hopefully our contribution will help UEM to make better use of the countries ICT capacity and let the people of Mozambique benefit.

If you know about any initiatives in Mozambique and especially around Maputo making use of ICT please let us know – either in the comments, on Twitter or write us a mail. Thanks!





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New project: Academic Partnership with Vienna University of Technology and University Maputo
was published on 17.08.2012 by Florian Sturm. It files under global
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