Sep 04, 2009
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.
Sep 25, 2007
On Wednesday September 19 th 2007 I attended the first Dutch Plone users day in Amsterdam. One of the presentations was abou...
On Wednesday September 19th 2007 I attended the first Dutch Plone users day in Amsterdam. One of the presentations was about the new features of Plone 3.0, which is, amongst other things, OpenID compatible!
The first time I heard about OpenID was about 2,5 years ago. A colleague of mine, who helps keeping me up to date on all sorts of things including web developments, showed this movie during a break in the web2.0 writeshop held at IICD.
OpenID is a sort of online passport. If you’re registered there, any other website which is compatible with OpenID, allows you to sign in with the OpenID profile. You don’t have to create another username and password combination for that specific website! For all the people like me, making use of web services like blogger, flickr, facebook, linkedIn, gmail, surveymonkey, etc. on top of your official accounts like email, network, ftp, cms’es, etc. it is such a hassle to have to remember all of those unique combinations of different usernames and passwords. Thank goodness someone out there is trying to find a solution to this problem, and thank goodness it seems to be catching on!
It was truly a feeling of “the future is here”, sitting there listening to the presentation, and seeing that Plone has now become OpenID compatible, something I had heard about once within the context of “this is what the future will bring”.
Another fun thing of that day was learning that Plone is becoming more Web 2.0. For example, without being a programmer, you can ensure that the content in your website is automatically pushed towards web 2.0 tools like delicious and reddit. Also, users can design their own member profile pages with widget-like portlets filled with content or RSS feeds of their choice. Besides the increased web 2.0 characteristics, Plone 3.0 also has great improvements in user interface functionalities and easing the task of content management through inline editing, OpenID, and link integrity. And of course, all the strengths of 2.5 remain, such as the use of resolveUID, RSS feeds and smart folders remains.
I also learned about Bungeni: “ It is a Parliamentary and Legislative Information System that aims at making Parliaments more open and accessible to citizens ... virtually allowing them "inside Parliament" or "Bungeni" the Kiswahili word for "inside Parliament". (Source: http://www.bungeni.org/)
It is based on open source standards and applications including Plone and is being developed in collaboration with eight national parliaments in Africa, including three countries IICD works in, namely Ghana, Tanzania and Uganda. I hadn’t heard of Plone being applied in such a high profile project in Africa before.
It just goes to show, days like this Plone users day can lead to many unexpected new sources of inspiration and possibilities for finding synergies! Thank you to the “Stichting Zope & Plone” for organizing this day!