During my last trip to Mali, fellow technologists and I decided to create an adapted computer named Afribox, based on a single-board microcontroller such as Arduino or Raspberry pi, to bring digital educational content and games to kids. Indeed, access to education is still a big issue in West Africa and we saw the promise of inventing a kind of « old school » Nintendo Entertainment System for rural Africa. This computer could be played with pads, and used on a TV screen or a pico-projector. Below is the concept note of the AfriBox Initiative.
I spent two years working for Geekcorps in Mali, from 2005 to 2007, a Washington DC based NGO specialized in ICT for development. I was the Country Director and I had to manage an exiting one-year project named the Community Mobilization through Radio Technology Program funded by USAID. It aimed to set up five renewable energy community-based radio stations in the north of Mali and I spent my first year managing the program, building with my team OpenFM transmitters, building local solar panels, designing mast antennas and organizing training sessions for northern Mali communities.
I have been involved in building the first photovoltaic central in Casablanca. It was at the Technopark which supports the creation and development of businesses in the Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) areas. The Casablanca’s Technopark hosts about 180 companies and they started to turn green with this first public/private partnership focus on sustainable development. The consortium was composed of EnRafrique, ISEEP, Technopark and Sunset Solar. We spent five months building the 50Kw photovoltaic central on the roof of the Technopark. I also participated in giving workshops on smart energy and legal frameworks to government officers.
I spent three months working for Internews in Haiti just after the January 12th, 2010 earthquake and it was a tough experience. Continue reading
I spent two years in Mali from 2005 to 2007 such as the Country Director of Geekcorps which is a non-profit organization that sends people with technical skills to developing countries to assist in ICT infrastructure development. At Geekcorps, we built a couple of innovative technical solutions such as an open FM transmitter, a CanTV, an offline wikipedia, a bottleNet, DIY solar panels, a rural information center named Cybertigi or a digital kiosk named la Source. We had a nice office located in the Bamako hippodrome district with a lab and six rooms to welcome fellow geeks. I was lucky enough to run the office after Ian Howard and Matt Berg who had already built amazing adapted ICT solutions for Mali. Continue reading