Drones for Humanity and Drone User Group Network UK

rhinoOne liner summary: If you are interested in applying drone/UAV technology (or are already doing so) to humanitarian/social/conservation related problems, and you live in the UK. then get in touch.

I have worked with drones quite extensively in the past, including some work with the BBC, and still do in various ways now. I have to say, though, that I dislike the term drone and much prefer to use the term UAV or UAS. But that’s a different story.

I have also always had an interest in international development, social issues, and education. This has led to me running numerous Random Hacks of Kindness events, giving talks on ICT4D, and volunteering as a STEM Ambassador. I recently organized a NodeCopter event with the local Makerspace and have talked about UAV technology to groups as diverse as 11-13 year olds to The Ladies Luncheon Club where the average age is 65.

Inspired by the recent DroneConference in the US, a coffee with the founder of ShadowView, and the enthusiasm of the UAV guy at Doctors Without Borders, I am now looking to reach out to similar minded people and see if maybe we can set up a Drone User Group chapter here in the UK? Founded in the US by Timothy Reuter, their tagline is: Promoting the Use of Civilian Drone Technology for the Benefit of Humanity. They also recently announced a drone social impact award. I contacted Timothy and he was very supportive of the idea.

Continue reading

3rd RHoK from the South

rhoksoton211First we RHoKed it, then we RHoKed it again and now I’m happy to announce I will running the 3rd global RHoK in Southampton as well. Again with help from Alejandro Saucedo and HackaSoton.

During the weekend of 1-2 June 2013, The University of Southampton will be one of the satellite cities as part of the global Random Hacks of Kindness Event!

Click here for the detailed programme

Twitter hashtag: #rhoksoton

Eventbrite - Random Hacks of Kindness (RHoK) Southampton


* Updates:


Continue reading

Taarifa a SanHack Winner

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.

taarifasanhack

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!

–Dirk

ICT4D and me

3332044876_9c1866b997A 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.

RLabs, Creating Hope

Today I was lucky enough to attend a seminar by Marlon Parker, founder of RLabs. I had never heard of either before but my interest was sparked by the mention of ICT4D (something I have been into for a while) and a cursory browse on the website.

Organized by the kind folks of the Global South Forum it was well worth attending. From the RLabs website:

Reconstructed Living Lab (RLabs) is a global movement and registered Social Enterprise that provides innovative solutions to address various complex problems. It creates an environment where people are empowered to make a difference in the lives of others. The RLabs “main hub” is in Athlone, Cape Town but have activity in the United Kingdom, Europe, Asia and Central Africa with a goal of reaching all continents by 2012.

Continue reading

The RHoK FAQ

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.
Continue reading