by Balthas

Why Africa needs a local 3D printing industry and an ‘appropriate tech maker movement’ – Interview with Roy Mwangi Ombatti at re:publica 2015

May 26, 2015 in Freedom to innovate, Freedom to learn, Open Source & Africa by Balthas

Roy Mwangi Ombatti builds a 3D printer from waste materials at re:publica 2015

Roy Mwangi Ombatti builds a 3D printer from waste materials at re:publica 2015

Roy Mwangi Ombatti  started to tinker with 3D-printing in Nairobi, Kenya more than three years ago. He co-founded and led the Nairobi FabLab Robotics Outreach Program, he produces 3D printers from waste materials, became a Stanford Fablearn Fellow 2014 and he developed a successful low-cost solution to a pressing health problem (his project ‘Happy Feet’ aims at providing bespoke shoes for people with foot deformities as a result of the jigger sand flea in Kenya). I talked to him at re:publica 2015 about his future plans, the role of open source and open innovation and why Africa needs a local 3D printing industry.

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Q: Roy, you just had a workhop on “Motors, Circuits, Value Chains – Building a 3D Printer with E-Waste” here at re:publica 15.  Why is it important for Kenya, or for Africa at large to develop such a local 3D printing industry?

Roy: I am passionate about bringing technology to the less fortunate in my country to solve pressing problems.  I feel that local self-made technology is the thing that has most impact. For one, it is most easily adaptable to local circumstance, as shows for instance my approach of using available e-waste to build the printer. Also, such self-help in innovation is a perfect tool to promote real change: If you empower people to build their own tools to solve their own problems, you win. In fact, this might be the only way to have sustainable lasting impact.

 

Q: You are in the last stages of producing a 3D-printer out of locally available electronic waste. When will it be ready?

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by Balthas

Let’s talk about “Learning by Sharing”

July 2, 2014 in Freedom to innovate, Freedom to learn, News on publications, Open Source & Africa by Balthas

Source and Copyright: https://10innovations.alumniportal.com (GIZ)

Source and Copyright: https://10innovations.alumniportal.com (GIZ)

Today, I invite you to join the conversation on an article, which I just published on the issue of “Learning by sharing – how global communities cultivate skills and capacity through peer-production of knowledge“. I posit in this paper, that commons-based peer learning offers a trigger to enhance skills, competencies, connections, capacities, and the agency of people and their organisations on a global scale – from the global peer-to-peer university to a worldwide expert  community of biogas digesters producers. It provides the freedom to learn – by sharing the world’s wealth of knowledge.

What do you think? Do you know additional examples of global -based peer production for human development?  What are your thoughts on how to link sustainable human development to solutions that scale, empower, benefit, and increase ownership? Is peer-to-peer learning a potential game changer?

I cordially invite you to read the article and to join the conversation by posting your comment below the piece.

If you are part of the TLDR-community (Too long didn’t read …): Don’t worry, I will release selected subtopics of “learning by sharing” over the coming weeks here on www.knowledge-commons.de Stay tuned: You can subscribe the rss feeds of new posts or follow me on twitter.

by Balthas

Knowledge sharing in the informal economy in Africa & the knowledge commons – who „owns“ knowledge? (part I)

December 12, 2013 in Freedom to innovate, Freedom to learn, Open Source & Africa by Balthas

Here, I want to talk about one of the many interesting themes of the compendium „Innovation & Intellectual Property: Collaborative Dynamics in Africa“, which was just released (see also this blog post): Knowledge sharing in the informal economy in Africa and the knowledge commons. [Both links above link to content within the Alumniportal Germany (register or login first to access the link)]

For the first time, we find here some concrete answers to two key questions, that haunts people interested in the linkage between (open) innovation, commons-approaches and „intellectual property“ (IP): Who „owns“ knowledge in informal economy contexts in Africa?

Let us look at the informal automotive sector in Uganda, as described by Dick Kawooya.

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by Balthas

Knowledge sharing & community-based innovation models in Africa: Which knowledge governance in the future? (part II)

December 12, 2013 in Freedom to innovate, Freedom to learn, Open Source & Africa by Balthas

Source: source_knowledge_innovation_in_africa_scenarios_future / license: CC attribution share alike non-commercial

Source: source_knowledge_innovation_in_africa_scenarios_future / license: CC attribution share alike non-commercial

In part II of this blog series, I will link the current reality of knowledge sharing in Africa with appropriate knowledge governance systems for the future. For the future, the Open African Innovation Research and Training network has worked on Three Scenarios for the Future of Knowledge & Innovation in Africa.The current reality is described in the compendium „Innovation & Intellectual Property: Collaborative Dynamics in Africa“, which was just released and in my last blog entry on „knowledge sharing in the informal economy in Africa & the knowledge commons“.

This report grapples with the complex and dynamic forces shaping innovation systems over the next two decades. It distills three different but equally plausible future scenarios: one a world of “wireless engagement,” another where “informal is the new normal,” and a third that is “sincerely Africa.” Each scenario raises different issues for control and access to knowledge in Africa.

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by Balthas

Just out: Practical knowledge on “Open African Innovation” and stunning examples of the knowledge commons in Africa

December 11, 2013 in Freedom to innovate, Freedom to learn, News on publications, Open Source & Africa by Balthas

Openair-books-345Great start of the long-awaited conference of the Open African Innovation Research and Training Network: We just launched two really interesting compendia on “Open African Innovation” packed with practical examples of the knowledge commons in Africa – and with a tool that allows policy advisors to discuss the future of knowledge governance in Africa in three scenarios for 2035. Check the books out online (they are free knowledge of course, sharable under a cc licence) at:

http://www.openair.org.za/capetown2013

Again: congrats to the Open AIR network for pulling all of this together and pulling it off.

For live info on on the conference and the concurrent Global Congress on IP and the public interest, you might also follow #gcongress #openair13 on twitter – and this blog 🙂

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Note: This text was first published on the blog of Balthas Seibold at the Alumniportal Germany (www.alumniportal-deutschland.org/en/). Check the blog ( register or login first). All blog entries represent the personal views and ideas of Balthas Seibold.

by Balthas

Tanzanian IT experts in Germany on Linux-Learning-Tour / Afrikanische Computerexperten lernen Linux in Freiburg » Linux-Magazin

July 1, 2013 in Freedom to innovate, Open Source & Africa, Open Source IT business by Balthas

Interesting news coming from former training partner of it@ab, Mr. Hans-Peter Merkel. His organization “FreiOSS” is right now hosting Tanzanian IT experts in Germany on Linux-Learning-Tour. More in the news item (in German)…

Link: http://www.linux-magazin.de/NEWS/Afrikanische-Computerexperten-lernen-Linux-in-Freiburg

by Balthas

Open African Innovation Research at GIZ’s innovation lounge at re:publica in Berlin

May 28, 2013 in Freedom to innovate, Open Source & Africa, Open Source IT business by Balthas

republica-2013_copyright_re_publicare:publica is à priori a German blogger conference. Over the years it has however morphed into an international gathering of more than 5000 people from more than 50 countries with a common interest in the following themes: Digital business and innovation, social media, research & education in the Internet, campaigning, culture, media and ultimately, the “res publica”.

So re:publica 2013 was a good place to talk about the ‘Open African Innovation Research & Training Network’ and the upcoming ‘Global Congress on Intellectual Property and the Public Interest’ and interwoven ‘Open A.I.R conference on open innovation and intellectual property’ in Cape Town from 9 to 13 December.

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by Balthas

Interesting OpEd by ICT association: ‘Should Industry Support LDCs’ Request For Unlimited Time To Implement The TRIPS Agreement? Absolutely

March 4, 2013 in Freedom to innovate, Freedom to learn, Open Source & Africa, Open Source IT business by Balthas

Just found a good Opinion Editorial on ‘Intellectual Property Watch’ on the question, whether LDCs should have Unlimited Time To Implement The TRIPS Agreement: The ‘Computer and Communication Industry Association (CCIA)’ thinks so and has endorsed a bid by the world’s Least Developed Countries (LDC’s) to remove any specific deadline for full compliance with the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement. Read more in the opEd.

Link to OpEd on http://www.ip-watch.org/2013/03/04/should-industry-support-ldcs-request-for-unlimited-time-to-implement-the-trips-agreement-absolutely/

by Balthas

ict@innovation featured in UNCTAD’s new Information Economy Report – Africa Launch with FOSSFA

November 29, 2012 in Freedom to innovate, News on publications, Open Source & Africa, Open Source IT business by Balthas

informationeconomyreportcover2012Great news: Yesterday, UNCTAD launched its latest Information Economy Report. Free and Open Source Software is discussed extensively in this years’ edition, which has a focus on “The Software Industry and Developing Countries”. Also great news: the FOSSFA/GIZ capacity building programme ict@innovation is featured prominently, both in the report and at its Africa launch, which was held yesterday at the United Nations Conference Center in Addis, at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. The embargo has been lifted on the document and I recommend its reading to all FOSS activists and businesses.

Congrats to everyone, who has been steering those processes in the past year! Cheers, Balthas

Excerpts of the report and its press release, which I liked (among others):

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by Balthas

Interview on Ethiopian blogging: “Blogging puts Ethiopian life on the Internet – and opens rooms for debates”

May 5, 2012 in Freedom to innovate, Freedom to learn, Open Source & Africa, Open Source IT business by Balthas

Markos interviewed by Balthas Seibold  / Picture: Balthas Seibold, Licence: see this website's license

Markos interviewed by Balthas Seibold / Picture: Balthas Seibold, Licence: see this website’s license

[Please note: This blog post is a preview of the interview to be published soon on the Alumniportal Deutschland (APD) – subject to further editing].

Last week saw ‘re:publica 2012’ in Berlin, Germany’s largerst conference on blogging, social online networking and internet community. This years edition went global and put Africa on the map of social media. One of the speakers from the continent was Markos Lemma, an Ethiopian blogger, GIZ alumnus and innovation project coordinator for GIZ’s labour-market education programme in Ethiopia (former ecbp).

In this interview first published on the Alumniportal Deutschland, Markos gives us his reasons to be a  blogger in Ethiopia, reports on the latest developments of the blogging scene in his country and tells why he is betting on social media to tackle protracted development challenges in his country. He also gives us his vision for knowledge sharing within German international corporation programmes. Markos is blogging both on the Internet and on the Alumniportal Deutschland (APD).

APD: When did you write your first blog and why ?

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by Balthas

Homegrown advancements drive Africa’s tech revolution: TV show on Africa’s (open) innovation drive

March 23, 2012 in Freedom to innovate, Open Source & Africa by Balthas

Just found an interesting TV show on “African Innovation” aired by Al Jazeera three days ago.  They make several points e.g: ” Across Africa, developers and programmers are coming up with new technologies from mobile banking to mapping software and medical tablets to cloud storage. Now the continent is increasingly relying on its own homegrown innovations.”

In the show, Eric Osiakwan, director of the African Internet Service Providers Association, and Juliana Rotich (@afromusing), co-founder and executive director of Ushahidi provide their insights on many issues around African innovation. Check e.g. Minute 34:10 for good points on “informal open innovation”, “Open Spaces as second university”, Open Source as a driving force for Africa and more.

Heres the show: http://stream.aljazeera.com/story/african-innovations-0022111

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Note: This text was first published on the blog of Balthas Seibold at the Alumniportal Germany (www.alumniportal-deutschland.org/en/). Check the blog ( register or login first). All blog entries represent the personal views and ideas of Balthas Seibold.

by Balthas

ITU promotes Linux Certification in Arab countries – links to Africa’s ict@innovation

March 13, 2012 in Freedom to innovate, Open Source & Africa, Open Source IT business by Balthas

The Linux penguin - by Nemo, licensed under a Public Domain CC0 license, source: http://pixabay.com/de/tux-pinguin-linux-symbol-zeichnung-36838/

The Linux penguin – by Nemo, licensed under a Public Domain CC0 license, source: http://pixabay.com/de/tux-pinguin-linux-symbol-zeichnung-36838/

Last week, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU)  announced a new LPI certification and training project throughout the 22 countries in the League of Arab States.

This is certainly good news for ICT capacity building in general and even more interesting for the community of ict@innovation, which has been building training capacities around Linux Administration in Africa since 4 years. It looks like there is a lot to share between the pan-African community of 200+ Linux Admin trainers of ict@innovation and the new Linux training partnership in the Arab world. According to the Linux Professional Institute (LPI), which is partnering with ITU in the Arab region, the new programme aims at establishing 132 Linux “Train the trainer” centers on all three levels of Linux professional Institute Certification.

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by Balthas

African meeting on digital commons ahead: Idlelo5, The 5th African Conference on FOSS and the Digital Commons | ict@innovation

February 6, 2012 in Freedom to innovate, Open Source & Africa, Open Source IT business by Balthas

Only one month to go before the “5th African Conference on FOSS and the Digital Commons” will start in Abuja, Nigeria. Idlelo is a conference organized by GIZ partner FOSSFA every two years to bring together the Open Source Community in Africa to share experiences and to network.

Link: http://www.ict-innovation.fossfa.net/event/idlelo-5-5th-african-conference-open-source-and-digital-commons

by Balthas

UNCTAD Information Economy Report 2011 mentions ict@innovation

November 24, 2011 in Freedom to innovate, Open Source & Africa, Open Source IT business by Balthas

UNCTAD just released their Information Economy Report 2011 focusing on the link between ICTs and private sector development. It also mentions our programm ict@innovation with FOSSFA (see section on “developing human resources” page 59).

Check the: Information Economy Report 2011 – ICTs as an Enabler for Private Sector Development

More Info on the site here:

by Balthas

IT Sector Promotion in developing and emerging countries – Manual & Toolbox released

November 22, 2011 in Freedom to innovate, Freedom to learn, Open Source & Africa, Open Source IT business by Balthas

Titel_IT_sectorpromotioinJust released: an IT sector promotion manual and toolbox with many examples and tools pertaining to OpenIT@giz – Open Innovation for Development such as capacity building, open innovation methods, training-of-trainer networks in IT, Open Source etc. Check it out! BTW: It is drawing on the ict@innovation programme and other programmes described here). And for archival reasons, please find below the reprint of the news item published on the German ICT4D Blog.

The Sector Project ICT4D on behalf of BMZ and with the support of GIZ’s ict@innovation team has just released it’s IT Sector Promotion Toolbox. The Toolbox, together with its explanatory Manual, introduces a methodology and a set of practical tools to promote the IT industry in developing and emerging countries. Relying on German Development Cooperation’s instruments and project experience, the Manual and the Toolbox provide a strategic “roadmap” for IT sector promotion which can be flexibly adapted to accommodate future changes in resources, global markets and technologies. They have primarily been designed for the staff of ministries and agencies involved in economic development, for managers and staff members of IT clusters, associations, networks, communities of practice and chambers of commerce. They should serve as orientation for staff of donor organisations involved in private sector development, economic development, and employment promotion as well as in information and communication technologies for development (ICT4D)/development informatics.

The Manual and the Toolbox could be found on this blog as topic 7 of the course section. They were also available at the “IT Sector Promotion Tools” page of the German ICT4D Blog..