A few weeks ago I was contacted by somebody from Google who asked if I was interested in running a demo booth at their upcoming Zeitgeist Europe conference in London. This was triggered by my involvement in Random Hacks of Kindness (RHoK) and the plan was to showcase some of the work that came out of RHoK events.
It being an internal event there is little information about it online. But its invite-only, high profile nature made it a unique opportunity to show the tech elite what can be achieved when applying technology to social, humanitarian, and environmental problems.
Not quite hot off the press any more but definitely worth mentioning as I was fortunate to be part of the founding team at the London WaterHackathon. Last week Taarifa was lucky enough to be named as one of the three Grand Prize Winners from the Sanitation App Challenge which took place last December. We even made The New York Times and the BBC.
We were already honoured to be selected as one of the 10 finalists and the news that we were also one of the 3 final winners was fabulous. Congratulations for those of the team that put in all the hard work to get us here. Congratulations also to the two other grand finalists: mSchool and SunClean. Members of each of the three teams were given tours around Silicon Valley last week.
So great news for Taarfia and its nice to feel the momentum. The road ahead is still long and challenging but its been amazing to see how much has been achieved already.
As Mark Iliffe always so aptly says, Onwards!
A couple of months ago I was asked by somebody at the Global South Forum to give a talk about some technology related topic. My initial idea was to talk about Taarifa but after some thought I decided to open it up more and talk about the wider ICT4D field. In particular related to my own experiences and assumptions.
I have been wrestling with the whole concept of ICT4D for some time and thought it would be a good opportunity to engage with “the experts”.
My slides are below. Though they contain very little text the narrative should be clear from the pictures. As background reading I strongly suggest Can Technology end Poverty from Kentaro Toyama and The Subtle Condescension of “ICT4D” by Erik Hersman.
The past weekend saw the 4th edition of the global Random Hacks of Kindess (RHoK) event where 30+ cities and 3000+ participants all over the world dedicated a weekend of their time to work on problems related to humanity and the environment.
I organized the first Southampton edition in June which was so well received I organized the December edition this past weekend as well. This time with some great help from Alejandro of HackaSoton. For more information on the concept of a RHoK event see the FAQ I wrote earlier.
Footage of the event can be found on Flickr (here and here), Instagram, and Youtube.
Its 8:44 am and after 5 hours of sleep on my trusty Thermarest I feel quite refreshed, which is more than I can say about the people around me. Some have capitulated and lay scattered around the brightly lit room under their coats in front of their MacBook Air’s. Others are still in exactly the same position I left them 5 hours ago but the intensity has gone and eyes have glazed over. At least one person confirmed the geek stereotype and didn’t manage to hold his beer.
Update: Apparently Parlycloud won a special mention during the judging, thanks!
With the next Random Hacks of Kindness event looming and me organizing a satellite event here in Southampton, UK I found I have been writing a lot of similar emails and violating the DRY principle at every turn.
The purpose of this post is to put a stop to that. Eventually this should merge into an official FAQ on the rhok.org site (as far as I know there isn’t one currently).
Please let me know if there is stuff I should add/improve.