Ethan Zuckerman has an interesting post on, among other things, a project called EPROM that is trying to encourage people in developing nations to learn how to build applications for mobile phones. The project currently has a program running in Kenya (Kilifi and University of Nairobi).
Some slides from classes they run , including Python for mobile apps, are available here. (An aside this could be a great topic for the next Bar Camp…).
This is great stuff not just from a skills building perspective, but also because the program will provide seed funding to assist with the commercialization of programs. It’s one thing to develop a cool app, but that doesn’t put food on the table (progress will be getting to a stage where young Kenyans are motivated by more than just the hope that they’ll make money). Skunkworks guys – are you familiar with this program? What’s your take on it?
Apparently Safaricom is holding competitions with a similar kind of motivation – the development of local mobile apps.
And in somewhat related good news, I can report Fab Lab is finally coming to Kenya. I’ve been excited about the Fab Lab concept ever since I heard Neil Gershenfeld speak at Poptech. The first lab will be launched either late this year or early next year in ARC-Kenya just outside of Kisumu. It is anticipated that the second lab will be based in the University of Nairobi.
AOB: Mama news – baby doing well, growing fast and going through a phase where she can only sleep if I’m holding her at night…right now I’m blogging with her on deep asleep on my lap…now that’s skills development