Today I visited Nairobi's iHub. To my mind it's the poster-child for everything encouraging about tech for development in the global South.
- Savvy local developers, some novices and some with loads of experience.
- International techies with a development background and comparative experience around the world.
- A welcoming, open space that encourages collaboration.
- Events that pull together the tech community with development groups and venture capitalists.
- A coffee shop.
- With delicious, delicious Kenyan coffee.
Seriously, what else do you need?
iHub is only about a year old; it's the brainchild of a group of local technologists including Erik Hersman. I was shown around by Tosh Juma, iHub's extremely welcoming community manager. The initial impetus for the creation of the space came from the Ushahidi and FrontlineSMS projects; both needed space to work and came up with this great way to do so with a funding lift from the forward-looking Omidyar Network.
Our team is really looking forward to working with iHub in a couple ways. First, they're an ideal place to throw an idea that needs coding and have a group of experienced developers consider whether they might be able to do something with it. Second, iHub is going to be coming up with a lot of creative ideas. With work in about 70 countries around the world, NDI's likely to have places that will make great guinea pigs for their new ideas.
Democratic activists and human rights organizers aren't computer geeks — and now they don't have to be.
Open Source - Download it. Use it. Fork it. Improve it. Share it. Do what you want - it's yours.
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