Sep 04, 2009
Quito, is nestled in a long, narrow valley between Volcano Pichincha to the west and the precipitous canyon of the river Mach...
Quito, is nestled in a long, narrow valley between Volcano Pichincha to the west and the precipitous canyon of the river Machángara to the east. From this contrasting river ManchagaraSoft borrowed its name to create a technological park in the heart of the Andes.
MachangaraSoft (www.machangarasoft.com) is a technological park, created by the initiative of a small group of people some 7 years ago. Through their history they have counted an average of 10 enterprises each with 3 to 12 people, totaling 90. Some of them depart, and new ones come continuing with an organic flux. Where resides the success of this umbrella organization? It is hard to pin-point a single success factor but I can mention some attitudes that certainly are important. First of all their independence, they decided to go the hard way, and build up their prestige on the basis of their professional performance. In the long run this has become key to their sustainability. Another key element was its diversity; each company masters a different technology and all of these companies are certified in their field of expertise (Java, Oracle, Microsoft, Cisco, Red Hat, etc.). Their expertise goes hand to hand with their innovative spirit, MachangaraSoft came into being by de-facto in an incubator experience, where coaching was given horizontally, peer-to-peer. And last but not least, their solidarian spirit, on one hand by taking into account the economy of scales, saving by sharing. But it is not only a matter of economy; it is the ideal of being a real collective.
This combination of diversity and togetherness has many advantages; among them the possibility to cover with the help of their sister companies the whole production chain, from infrastructure to software development, project management and training. Togetherness, diversity AND commitment towards development are conscious components when they look for new partners.
Among their latest success we can mention rolling out the whole IT component of the National Assembly in Open Source. A new project is the digitalization of the payroll system for the whole Ecuadorian public administration. Since the government requested the use of the Open Source in the government agencies, they have develop a successfully approach on migrating, for example, to Open Office. At the present they are working with universities and the government in different fields. And their services are been exported to other countries. In order to improve their chances they are piloting certification in a new methodology of developing software. Traditional methodologies (like the Waterfall) are too heavy for the economy of developing countries. Beside all this, they have contributed with Libre Software products, mostly in document management and project management tools.
MachangaraSoft might join us in the Associated Trainer Program of Ecuador, I am very much optimistic that this partnership will be a rich experience.
Davy, from SEND foundation, would pick me up on Saturday morning 1st August at 06.00 and he was there on the dot. In clean w...
Davy, from SEND foundation, would pick me up on Saturday morning 1st August at 06.00 and he was there on the dot. In clean white he thought that we would only go to Salaga to visit the field office. You could see the flooding along the road. In Salaga we picked up Wumpini, the senior officer of SEND at Salaga, to visit three farmer communities who tested a solar charger for mobile phones in the ECAMIC project. In February A-Solar, a Dutch company, donated 5 solar chargers to test in Ghana in 5 farmer groups.
ECAMIC is a project where farmers have access to market information through a mixture of channels: notice boards, field staff and mobile phone. All these communities have no access to electricity, although in one community the electricity cable was passing the village! The first community was a very big community with 700 families. 25 of them participated in the SEND farm cooperative. The ECAMIC project provided them with 2 subsidized phones, but now already 20 of them have phones. Mobile phones are booming in the Kalende community, but there is no electricity. No one else has solar power and there are no phone shops where they can buy credits. They are 6 km from Salaga, where everything is available, but that consumes a lot of time and commercial charging is expensive. The solar charger was a huge success. But it was not enough to even charge the phones in the group. With sunny weather the charger could charge 3 phones a day, with clouds only 2.
They would like to charge 30 a day. Now they have seen the advantages of phones all of them would like to have one. They not only use it for accessing market information, but all their crops (yams, maize, ground nuts, vegetables, etc) are in the system. If market traders visit the village they have a better negotiating position. They also have contact with market traders in Accra and Kumasi by phone.
The phone is also used to contact people in Salaga to bring goods if they will come to the village or to contact relatives in case of a funeral. The other two communities were smaller. Sogon 1 and Bondando had groups of 20 farm families. In both groups there were 8 phones. They both would like to be able to charge 6 phones a day and more phones for the group for a subsidized rate. All three groups would like to set up a small shop to charge mobiles. They would also charge other phones in the community for a small fee for the benefit of the cooperative, though the small chargers more are meant for personal use than for commercial use. But all have seen the benefits of the mobile phone and the impact it can make on their lives.