Beki Grinter

ICTD: The first post

In ICT4D, research on March 12, 2012 at 10:59 am

Just listened to the keynote by David Kobia from Ushahidi.

Lots to say about the keynote, but here are just a few thoughts. He began by talking about his time in Alabama, where he studied Computer Science. Along the way he pointed out that Alabama faces challenges, challenges that are sometimes attributed to the developing world as if they are not present in the developed world. Developed countries are economically uneven. Then he asked how people would feel if they heard One Laptop Per Child people talk about deploying these machines to Alabama. He left it unsaid, but I presumed that the question was how would we feel if we were talked about in those terms. He also reminded me of the curious artificial split that this conference itself makes, D does not stand for Developed but rather Developing, so not Alabama then.

If I understand the history correctly, Ushahidi (and other things like it) have been very influential in creating a tech innovation culture in Kenya. This has morphed into things like the iHub, a space in Nairobi where people can come together to build systems and share ideas and so forth. iHub has spawned research @ ihub promoting African based African focused research. And he said, several times, that it was going to be important. I believe him. All their sponsors are technical companies from the Developed world, and I wondered how that worked.

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