We just returned from the Apps4Africa Climate Challenge brainstorming session that was being held today in Harare. The event is part of the US sponsored 2011 climate change app development contest that’s now running for the Southern Africa region from 1 February to 30 March. The brainstorming session was held to help participants share and consider the various climate change issues especially from people and organisations that are actively involved in the work.
The event was also an opportunity for developers to bounce ideas off each other and also, more importantly for non-developers – that deal with these issues every day and already have ideas as a result – to partner developers to come up with app solutions for the challenge. Developers also got the opportunity of being taken through the challenge entry procedures on the Apps4Africa web platform.
The brainstorming session was facilitated by Apps4Africa representative Mariéme Jamme, the SpotOne Global Solutions CEO.
As usual, we found this opportunity for developers and entrepreneurs to meet quite exciting. But this wasn’t just developers here; in fact the non-developers constituted about 80% of the 60 something people at the event. And this made it so much more enriching. There were officials from City of Harare, NGO representatives, journalists, , climate change specialists and other such individuals who don’t look at the issues from the strictly tech angle that tends to blinker geeks sometimes. It was easy to see that because of this, the ideas that were thrown around were practical solutions that just needed the tech side to implement.
Solutions ranged from SMS-based apps, USSD solutions for disseminating information, suggestions to implement games as a way of making it participatory and interesting, radio-based programs, podcasts for people that can’t access Zimbabwe radio signals, mobile based quizzes awarding points to individuals that participate, connecting agriculture specialists to people needing information about climate change via mobile and other things.
Jamme also explained at the event that developers and non-developers with ideas can also be connected by Apss4Africa to specialist developers outside the country if they needed any additional skills to enhance the basic prototypes that they submit for the challenge.
We took a few photos of the proceedings. Here below:
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