If the next big thing doesn’t come out of Africa, …


The eLearning Africa 2013 report includes my interview with the title “Entrepreneurship Isn’t About Easy Money “. I re-blogged some of the questions with my answers. To read the full interview and report, click here. 

What do you think is the most significant change that needs to happen in order to tackle the education and training challenges that Africa faces?

The first and basic change that should occur is that Africans need to believe that if we don’t solve our problems, no one will. But I think I am too late to state this. Most Africans are already aware of that. The basic change is done.  Education is the key and it all starts at the family level.  Families have the highest responsibility in raising the next generation. I believe the biggest change should happen to tackle education and the challenges we face in Africa is to have a tight relationship between communities and educational institutions.

The Internet infrastructure should be improved. Schools need to be more equipped and open. I have noticed in the schools in Ethiopia that schools are only for the students. This attitude should be changed.  Higher education should work closely with the private sector; students need to get their hands dirty. If education is all about theories, we only need to teach people how to read and write. We need to learn but also practice what we learn. I know these are basic and elementary statements. But these are the essentials.

Education reforms and curriculum revision should be carried out at every level. We should stop teaching, we should start educating.

How do you think technologies can best help build sustainable human development across Africa? Read More

Disconnected Ethiopian Netizens

Ethiopians spend a great deal of time enjoying their coffee. No wonder there are so many cafés in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital. Cafés are more than just a place to hang out though; for many, they represent a dynamic public sphere in which to discuss the hottest issues facing the country. Meaningful conversations taking place in every corner of the cafés show how well-informed citizens are and how they enjoy exchanging their opinions about many things around them. But where do people get their information in the first place? Read More

Citizen Media and You – Part I

When the first time Internet was introduced to Ethiopia it was not actually planned for Ethiopians. The main goal was to reach the tourists and encourage Ethiopian tourism. Currently, less than 1% of the populations have access to the Internet, one of the least in the world.

As it was originally intended, Internet remained around foreigners, and foreign organizations. In early millinuem diaspora Ethiopians and college students start to use Yahoo! Mail services and pen pal sites (probably one of the first social media platforms in the world) as day to day Internet use. With 56kps modem connection, only the international organizations and universities were enjoying the relatively faster connection. Yahoo! Still remains the main email service in Ethiopia until now even the Ministers use it as an official email correspondence. Read More

Why SOPA will be a tragedy for Africa

By Frank Nyakairu

(This article is taken based on Create Common licence) – Thanks Endalk for sharing! 

A colleague of mine from Kenya highlighted in highly contextualized fashion about SOPA’s impact on Africa.Enjoy reading it and join the struggle againstStop Online Piracy Act

It’s been said that example is the school of mankind, and they will learn at no other. Perhaps the truth of this saying is attested in the infamous Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and “The PROTECT IP Act” (PIPA) are proposed laws in the United States. But Uncle Sam’s bill meant to stop online copyright infringements is bitterly opposed in what is probably the most detested legislation process beyond the United States. Debate is rife. Its contenders argue that, SOPA/PIPA will protect trademarks, especially entertainment giants by stopping online piracy of content such as music books and movies. To stop that, it grants the US Attorney General the right to inflict penalty on websites accused of hosting copyright content. It is also intended to crack down on offending websites operating outside the US. But prescribing SOPA/PIPA as a remedy for online piracy is way too strong that it will kill the ‘patient’. Africa, the world’s poorest continent, stands to be affected most. Read More

Ethiopian Blogosphere: the Smallest in the World?

Ethiopia is one of the least represented countries on the internet.  According to the ITU2009 report only 0.4% of the populations have access to the information on the internet. The traffic generated by Ethiopian sites has been limited. This makes the country less favorable to online businesses. Content is indeed king.

A few months ago Joern and I made a little research and we found out that Ethiopia had less than 20 bloggers in the country. Read More

How to Setup Online Radio Station

A few months ago I setup online radio streaming for EiABC FM which is running by students to the world.  The EiABC radio has many listeners online than inside the campus. Setting up the online radio is pretty straight forward and there are very cool open-source solutions for it. Sheger FM uses proprietary software. I don’t know how much they pay, but obviously it is expensive compare to $0.0 price what we get from a Linux world. Read More

Ethio telecom: The Internet Service Provider Which Doesn’t Use Internet

A lot of efforts have been made from the online community via different platforms and social networks for ethio telecom to enhance the internet service. Though from my personal experience, things are getting worse instead of getting better.

I created a facebook group called ETC sucks which has now nearly 600 members. I personally read many of the posts which is full of great suggestions and of course full of exhausted and frustrated customers.

In addition to that, the official ETC fan page doesn’t seem like owned by Ethio telecom anymore. One of the recent posts stated, Read More

Barcamp Ethiopia 2011: On Creation of a Dynamic Community

On September 2010 some 350 people got together and discussed different issues, collaborating on different areas of discipline, creating a strong network towards their profession, business and future projects. Happy faces all around. Inspired people and positive outcomes were expressions of the success. Young people, who also know how to have fun, make connections. Above all, gathering of positive people who can make a real and sustainable change. Read More

How Do You Increase Your Participation in (Tech) Communities?

45,000 views. 3 comments.

One of the most major problems in community organization in Ethiopia is participation. Events suffer with very few interested participants, online forums are without topics and topics are without discussions. Blogs can achieves high views, but less comments.

Recently, we prepared great event on Android, from 250 invitations only 65 registered. From the registered participants – even at the last minute confirmation – 45 came to the event. This is not my first experience with community events. In one occasion, from all confirmed 18 participants (Notably, University instructors), none of them came to the event. So what is the problem?

I want to address this issue from the participants side instead of the event organizers – since this problem mostly existed from confirmed participants – rather than poor marketing strategies

Here are few points how to increase your participation.

Find your interest: In most cases, participants want to go for every event available but at the end not sure where to go and what do afterwards. You can only be active participant if you have huge interest on the topic. Finding your interest is the basic concept to push you out of your bed and go to the event on Saturday morning. If you don’t find your interest, it is less likely that you will enjoy the event/community in the first place.

Understand the community: What is the set-up behind the community? what are the goals? what does your participation contributes? if you miss some days, what are you possibly losing? what do the community, online forum benefit from you? Trying to answer such questions help you to understand the community and how important your participation is.

Identify the Benefits: If you don’t see the benefit of the event, it is high likely that you will choose drinking coffee with a friend instead. Most people measure the benefits in terms of money and incentives (lunch, t-shirts, media coverage etc). In most cases, it is not possible to generate money just participating in the community or commenting on a blog entry. Your benefit is measured on how many network you can establish, contacts you make, and pushing your ideas. usually the benefit of participating in community has long term benefits – can even be money-wise.

Plan: Planning is very important to schedule your priorities. Last minute plan cancellation only shows your incompetence and unpunctuality. Event organizers only expect you to come after your confirmation. If you already not sure coming, you don’t need to confirm. If you are not sure of contributing something on the tech forum, don’t need to sign up.

Trust: Community event organizers most likely don’t get what you usually believe they do. Sponsors give limited amount of money and audit it afterwards. In most cases, the organizers are the one who usually pay the pit cash. Trusting the community you are in is very critical for your active participation. If you suspect, corruption or unfair personal recognition in the community, act upon it.

Increase your participation and create a strong community.