Updates on the Zanzicode Basic Course

Updates on the Zanzicode Basic Course by our assistant Fereji N. Fereji – taken from the official Zanzicode blog.

The Zanzicode Basic Course, where students learn how to program for the web, is getting underway at the Zanzicode class in Stonetown, Zanzibar. It begun in November 2011 and will last for at least six months.

The course started at a very basic level with lessons about HTML, followed by lessons about CSS to help those students who did not have any knowledge of building websites before. This helped all students of the class to be at a suitable level for learning web programming. On February 24, all students were already capable of creating professional static web pages.

Next, the web programming lessons – the main topic of the Zanzicode course – begun. The first scripting language to be taught was JavaScript. This language was a little bit complicated for the students probably because it was their first programming language, but the more they understand, the more they become enthusiastic about it.

On March 23, students were aware about variable program flow and such. Following that, they have turned to the PHP language have been showing good progress. However, according to the lecturer they still need to show even more effort if they want to be successful programmers.

The students seems to be very serious about their lessons due to the fact that some of them spend their extra time working with computers in the class room even after the lesson hours, and they ask different questions to each other and to the lecturer. Some of them ask questions about more advanced technologies like Ajax at their extra time. This indicates that they take their time to learn and that they like what they do.

The students now have shown improved discipline as they clean the classroom in every morning and when they leave the classroom they put laptops at a suitable place in a proper way.

General attendance has been very good in the past couple of months despite the fact that some individual students have shown poor attendance which resulted into the dropping out of one of them who was absent in the class for many days without any specific reason. On the other hand, the rain season, which has just begun, to some extent increases the number of absent students in the classroom. The most poor students attendance day was Wednesday, April 13, where only five students were in the class room. This is because of heavy rainfall in that morning.

To sum up, the Zanzicode Basic Course is running smoothly and we don’t have any serious problems. Nearly everything has been under control and we expect to see more development in terms of program understanding, in terms of discipline and in terms of students attendance.

Stay tuned for more news!

Fereji N. Fereji.

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Updates on the Zanzicode Basic Course
was published on 30.04.2011 by Florian Sturm. It files under global
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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

ICT4D.at is happy to announce that we are about to start a second course within our Zanzicode project. The Incubator Course – a joint venture of ICT4D.at 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) zanzicode.com 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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First funding for Zanzicode!

Our project Zanzicode is a course on web application programming for the urban youth of Stone Town, Zanzibar. Our aim is to strengthen the local IT capacities and provide young people who might not be able to afford it otherwise with additional education.

It is the successor of our Zanzibits Support project, which four motivated young finished successfully at the end of last year.

One of these alumni – Salum – already had some additional experience and showed so much talent in teaching himself that we decided that we would hand over the teaching to him and concentrate on organizational issues and applications for funding. Furthermore we searched for organizations in the area to improve the project and better adapt it to local conditions, and have found a promising partner with Aidnet Zanzibar.

Now we have started the course with twelve new students and are happy to announce the first funding we received – the Austria Development Agency (ADA) is taking over more than half of the project costs for the first year.

We are very happy and we’ll do our best to make this project a success.

For Zanzicode itself, we are always looking for partnerships and collaborations with NGOs and the private and public sector – so if you happen to reside in the area, our project description sounds interesting for you and you think you can contribute something, just contact us!

Also, if you too want to support the project financially, please donate here. Thank you!

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First funding for Zanzicode!
was published on 06.05.2010 by Florian Sturm. It files under sub saharan africa
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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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Zanzicode online

Since yesterday, ICT4D.at’s Zanzibits support project is now browsable at Zanzicode.com.

You can find information and contact data there, and Fritz, our teacher who is currently there shares his experiences on the Zanzicode blog:

There is also a Zanzicode FlickR account with pictures.

So what is Zanzicode actually?

We provide free education in the field of Web Development to a small number of talented and motivated students of poor background in Zanzibar, Tanzania.

Our goal is to help build the personal careers of our graduates as well as to kickstart a local web development community. After getting to know the place and the people during a support project for the Zanzibits School for Film and Multimedia in 2009, we firmly believe that there is both talent and demand for professional web work in Zanzibar.[from the Zanzicode page]

We are currently preparing the second round of classes for 12 more students, starting in January 2010.

If you are interested in getting involved the project – as sponsor or guest lecturer or if you are in the area and just want to say hello – please contact us.

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Zanzicode online
was published on 09.12.2009 by Florian Sturm. It files under global
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ZIFF Zanzibar International Film Festival 2009

ZIFF is the Zanzibar International Film Festival, and was (almost) in full swing when I arrived here. It is a magnificently (dis)organised event which brings film makers, entrepreneurs, NGOs and chancers from all over East Africa and beyond. Martin (of whom more later), as well as running an NGO which brings sustainable technology to local people, made a film about the growing use of mobile phone technology in Africa. It is well worth watching (will publish the web version sometime). More below. It is an acknowledged fact that in Africa, the mobile phone has leaprfrogged land-line phone technology; almost all people here have a mobile – a SIM card costs £0.50, and calls are cheap. More of this later.

We spent several convivial evenings at ZIFF, which is held in the old fort, a double-chambered structure, open to the air. One chamber has a sort of amphitheatre, where the films are shown; the other is an open area with a stage at which concerts took place into the small hours. There is a well-stocked bar in each. Entry was a problem (”residents” get charged £0.50, foreigners £5 or £10).

The first evening passed pleasantly enough – we finally joined up with a group of Belgian film makers who, like many others here, are involved in the general East African cultural scene, which seems to be thriving. Subsequent evenings were quieter, but we were constantly bumping into Martin’s endless contacts, some local, some European – one who came to Uganda/Kenya/Mozambique 5 years ago, and forgot to leave. All manage to make a living, sometimes precarious, but I’m slowly (quite rapidly, actually) realising that you do not need a lot in the way of material goods. It helps, and I know that I am leaving (I hope not for ever) in a few weeks, so a slightly disingenuous thought.

Apart from a few “big” movies, most of the them were sparsely attended. There was an endless cycle of films about AIDS, mostly well-meaning, but I wonder if they ever reach their target audience. Another cycle with harrowing stories of young women in traditional societies, mainly Moslem, who had a relationship, got pregnant, were abandoned and then had to face the most appalling consequences. (While predominantly Sunni Moslem, Zanzibar does not go in for that sort of thing.) One charming film from Cameroun about a couple of friends who compete for a girl (a beautifully choreographed picture of village life); the father wants to marry the girl off to a corrupt politician; she finally succumbs for the good of her family. Her erstwhile fiancée, meanwhile, is in jail after being stitched up by the politician. In the final scene, reminscent of The Graduate (Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft – remember?), the boy is released from jail by an honest policemen and, reconciled with his friend, they race up to the church just as the bride is about to say “I do”. They charge into the church, the girl runs off with her boy, after they have barred the door of the church with a giant pole through the door handles.

The last evening was a gala event, and we went down with the Zanzibits students, who were in a mood of ebullient effervescence. It is hard to exaggerate this; they were absoultely fizzng with good humour. They had made a short film in their class – a series of folk tales and fables, engagingly animated and making liberal use of local children. Another upload for sometime. Finally, Madame Karoume (the mother of the current president of Zanzibar; his father was the first president after indepence, so she is a double first lady) made an endless speech, in Swahili but, like the actor reading the telephone book, never boring. The guest of honour was Danny Glover (Colour Purple), who had previously been driven through the streets in a convoy of Unicef jeeps with blaring sirens. He was rather the worse for wear (or, as they say, tired and emotional but without the emotion), and made a rather uninspiring speech. Then the winning film was shown (an excellent, if violent, film about modern South Africa) and, true to form, everybody (or at least the bigwigs and a sizeable proportion of the audience) left as it started and migrated to the bars and music for more networking.

As a sort of postscript, there was an extra day on Sunday at which Martin’s film – Hello Africal – a cinema verité film about mobile phone usage in Zanzibar was screened to the normal sparse audience. This will also be posted in due course. The streets are now much quieter, and the nightly street market (inter alia, excellent Zanzibarian Pizza, which is not a pizza at all, for £0.75) has migrated to Africa House, which I have not yet visited.

Dan Hamm, our member on site wrote this wonderful review of ZIFF 2009 here: http://hamm.co.uk/zanziblog

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ZIFF Zanzibar International Film Festival 2009
was published on 30.07.2009 by Martin Konzett. It files under east africa
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Soon to a theatre near you:

The documentary project about the emerging use of mobile phones in Africa, which we recorded in Zanzibar last fall, has now got an official premiere date. It will be screened at the fine old (100 yrs) cinema of Schikaneder in Vienna, the 8th of May, 19:30.

But this is actually just the kick-off of a world tour; we will also show the movie in Kampala/Uganda with the help of Jon Gosier and in Nairobi/Kenya with help of Ugo Vallauri. Also Florian Sturm will organize a screening in Ghana when he is teaching there this summer. We are as well working hard on getting it showed at the international film festival in Stone Town, Zanzibar, ZIFF.

So here’s a finished segment out of the video I just finished editing, buckle your belts & enjoy the ride.

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Soon to a theatre near you:
was published on 13.04.2009 by Anders Bolin. It files under east africa, global
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Swahili Course – Lesson 5

As Daniela Wolf unfortunately quit the entire Zanzibits Support project, I attended the Swahili course lesson 5 alone today. Elisabeth taught me how to negate verbs and we practiced all possible tenses and persons.
In Swahili, negation is somewhat tricky as some verbs’ negations are radically shortened and have very little in common with the original form. Here are two very drastic examples:

  • ninakuja = I come; siji = I don’t come
  • ninakula = I eat; sili = I don’t eat

Afterwards we read and translated some dialouges Elisabeth had prepared:

A Unataka kula? Do you want something to eat?
B Hapana, ninataka kunywa chai. No, I would like tea.
A Unakunwya na maziwa Do you drink it with milk?
B Hapana sinwyi na maziwa, ninakunywa na sukari tu No, I drink it without milk, I drink it with sugar only.
A Utakwenda sokoni leo? Are you going to go to the markeet today?
B Hapana sitakwenda, nitakaa nyumbani. No, i wont go, i will stay at home.
A Utafanya kazi? Are you going to (do) work?
B Hapana, nitapata wageni. No, i will receive guests.
A Mambo, je kuna mambo mazuri? Hi, is there a good message?
B Mambo simazuri, ni mabaya. The message is not good, it is bad.
A Pole, una matatizo? Sorry, do u have problems?
B Hapana sina matatizo makubwa lakini madogo. No, I don’t have big problems, but smaller ones.
A Unakwenda kazini? Are you going to work?
B Siendi leo. I don’t go today.
A Na mimi sitaki kwenda leo, sikuandaa vizuri. I don’t want to go today either, I’m not properly prepared.
B Na pia sikulala vizuri leo usiku. I haven’t slept well today night.
A Unataka pilao? Do u want pilao (Tanzanian meal)?
B Hapana, sina njaa, nimeshiba. No, I’m not hungry, I’m full.
A Lakini utakunywa chai sio? But you will drink tea, wont you?
B Hapana, sitaki, nimeshiba kabisa kabisa. No, I am really really full.
A Utakuja lini tena? When are you going to come again?
B Sijuii. Labda baada ya weki moja. I don’t know. maybe in one week.
A Usinisahau. Don’t forget me.
B Sawa, sitakusahau. Kwa heri. Ok, i won’t forget you. Bye.
Ali Mambo vipi mchumba. Hello, fiancé.
Sarah Wewe! mimi sio mchumba wako, toka! You! I’m not your fiancé, piss off!
Ali Lakini na kupenda. But I love you.
Sarah Lakini mimi sikupendi, nampenda mwingine. But I don’t love you, I love someone else.
Ali Kwa nini hunipendi? Why don’t you love me?
Sarah Kwa sababu wewe ni mwongo, unasema vitu vibaya. Because you are a liar, you say bad things.
Ali Nimesema nini? What did i saiy?
Sarah Unasema maneno mabaya na una mpenzi, nimewaona. You’re telling bad things, and you have a lover, I have seen you.
Ali Mimi na nani? Me and whom?
Sarah Wewe na mpenzi wako. You and your lover.
Ali Sio kweli. wongo. That is not true. Lie.
Sarah Labda wongo, labda sio. Maybe a lie, maybe not.
Ali Mimi sina mpenzi, na kutaka wewe tu. I don’t have a lover, I only want you.
Sarah Haya bwana, niache niende, nina kazi nyingine nyumbani. Alright now, let me go, I have other things to do at home.

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Swahili Course – Lesson 5
was published on 02.04.2009 by admin. It files under east africa
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Zanzibits Support – teacher wanted

ICT4D.at is organizing a comprehensive IT course in Stone Town, Zanzibar, Tanzania, from the beginning of July until the end of September 2009.
The basic idea is to teach a group of 3 – 5 students with basic skills in web design to build solid web applications using PHP and Java as well as setting up diverse Web applications like wiki (MediaWiki), CMS (Joomla!) and blog software (WordPress). Also, basic Linux (Ubuntu) skills should be mediated, not only by using Linux throughout the whole course.
For complete information on the course itself please refer to the project wiki page.

Unfortunately, the teacher that intended to go there for the first six weeks, so from beginning of July until mid of August, quit completely so we are currently searching for someone who is interested and fulfills the requirements stated below.

ICT4D.at supports possible teachers as follows:

  • 50% of the airfare to Zanzibar and retour is paid (so approx. € 400 are to be paid by yourself).
  • The visa is paid.
  • Accommodation near the location of the IT course is provided (single bed room).
  • Spending money to cover expenses for victuals is provided.
  • A Swahili course with altogether 15 units to 1,5 hours each held weekly in Vienna is paid.
  • Martin Konzett who has been in Stone Town several times will travel to Stone Town with you and introduce you to the local habits and culture as well as to the students and anyone you need to know in Zanzibar.

What we require from a possible teacher:

  • Necessary skills: PHP (object oriented and using a framework like CodeIgniter or equal), Linux basics & administration (Ubuntu), Java basics (OOP basics).
  • Skills in setting up wiki, CMS or blog software are advantageous but not required.
  • The ability to teach a group of 3 – 5 people around 20 years old 3 hours a day, 5 times a week, 6 weeks altogether and to prepare for the course independently (which can be done on-site in Stone Town every day for the following day’s lesson, of course).
  • The motivation to learn Swahili as well as possible before departure and to lead the course in English and Swahili.
  • The ability to tailor the education in the course to the student’s needs individually as student’s education and skills may vary.

Anyone interested please contact Martin Konzett (see here).

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Zanzibits Support – teacher wanted
was published on by admin. It files under east africa
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