Last week you discovered the second part of our Mozillians journey in Senegal…. You don’t have to wait any longer, here is the last part !
Day 8: Talk show at 2STV*
I had this great opportunity to talk to millions during this one-hour talk show that is watched in 30 countries or more across Africa and the world. Like last year during our localization event in Dakar, whenever I organize an event in Senegal, I am invited by radios, TVs and other media.
The Ngalu (Wealth in Fulah) talk show is a major weekend talk show that is hosted by journalist Hamet Ly, who also presents a News show twice a week. Hamet is curious and interested in Mozilla since the release of Firefox OS in Fulah 3 years ago. This year, he was excited about our talk because of the launching of Firefox OS in Senegal.
We talked about Mozilla in general, Firefox OS, the Orange Klif and also features of Firefox OS that are locally relevant, i.e Senegalese local languages that are available with the Orange Device. This was a good point to talk about because in Senegal, even Orange shops staff did not know two local languages are available with the Klif!
The show gave me a great opportunity to organize a photo challenge on my Facebook wall. People had to take a photo of their TV screen with me talking and post it on my wall. The “best” picture would win its author a Klif (at my own expense). First, I only had room for two more friends as I reached 5000 long ago. So many were frustrated they could not post on my wall because I was not on their friend’s list! But more than two thousand interactions were recorded on my wall where activity related to the TV show is still continuing the day after. I will buy the phone tomorrow and organize a small ceremony to hand it to the winner, a student at UCAD (Dakar University).
*Second Senegalese TV channel and most watched
Day 9: Meeting with former Education Minister Kalidou Diallo
William, David and I had the opportunity to meet Professor Diallo in his office. He is now back to his job as a lecturer at UCAD, the university of Dakar. The aim of the meeting was to talk to him about Mozilla and the educational part of Mozilla projects in Senegal. We also wanted to take advantage of his huge address book and connections both in Government and educational institutions.
Mr. Diallo wanted to know more about Mozilla projects and is ready to help in any way as he is himself involved in many educational projects. He advised us to connect with local partners such as the city or regional councils.
Day 10: Meeting with the APPEL, association of online press
The online press is very important in Senegal as many people just don’t buy newspapers. There are many news websites and some of them are visited by hundreds of thousands daily. People abroad can only consult these sites to keep updated on their country.
The Appel is the Association of online press whose members are struggling to find an economic model and make money with their business. Our meeting was attended by 11 major websites and was held at PressAfrik offices, one of these well-known websites.
Our meeting was first of all an opportunity to present Mozilla and its mission which was done by David Ascher. Then, I presented Firefox OS and also briefed them on the launch of the Orange Klif. We discussed on how we could collaborate with the online press in Senegal; what came up from that discussion was that they want to collaborate with us and wanted to find a way to get some ROI from that collaboration. We talked also about making their website available as Firefox OS apps and why not include them in Orange Klif homepages… We will keep exploring and exchanging.
Day 10: Meeting with USE-CAMG
We would like to work with USE because they are a youth training center and have been working for literacy and are connected to remote regions. I talked to them about Firefox OS and local languages and they confirmed that the thousands of people they trained in local languages through the years should feel really empowered to have a Firefox OS phone. USE president Aliou Ba who was absent that day was represented by the organization’s secretary general, they would like to experiment with Webmaker/Clubs or even include open web in their curriculums.
USE can also help make the Klif a very popular phone by adopting it officially for their employees and volunteers across the country. We are keeping in touch with them and I met Aliou Ba when he returned from a trip. He was stunned to see the Klif support local languages and is going to buy one.
Day 11: Meeting with University of Amadou Hampathé Ba
We met with teachers and the head computer science department at the Université Hampathé Ba. The meeting was very interesting as the university expressed a lot of interest in Mozilla mission and products. There is a lot that can be done with Mozilla especially including some Mozilla training in their curriculum and they were also interested in the training program for students that William talked about. It is feasible to have students register for the summer training even though exams are approaching. Nonetheless, the potential for involvement in Mozilla projects is very high in this private institution especially the training opportunities to get students contributing to Mozilla projects.
We agreed to follow up on participation/education points.
Day 12: Meeting with Jiguène Tech Hub
Jiguène means “woman” in Wolof, one of Senegalese national languages. Jiguène Tech Hub is a unique approach to women empowerment and training, especially in computers skills. We had a brilliant presentation of the “hub” by co-founder Awa Caba. Jiguène Tech Hub is dedicated to bridging the gap between women and computer science. They organize trainings at the hub but also in schools and other external institutions.
We talked about ways to collaborate with Mozilla and their potential needs as an organization. Jiguène Tech Hub are really interested in Mozilla although they have not had the opportunity to get involved yet. Developing apps for Firefox OS is probably one interesting aspect they are willing to look at and from what we have discussed with them, Mozilla has a lot to benefit from collaborating with this association.
Day 13: Meeting with ESP at Cheikh Anta Diop
The Ecole Supérieure Polytechnique de Dakar is a professional training college with an important computer engineering department. The meeting was brief but we talked to a teacher and student representatives about why we were here and about Mozilla in general. It appears that many students in the computer department already knew about Mozilla and Firefox. Some are programmers who are interested to learn more about Firefox OS development. Many of them are ‘Web development’ students, which is great as Firefox OS is based on Web technologies.
They also had a club called “Club Synapse”, which is an association of students who are mainly interested in programming. We have scheduled a work session with Synapse on Saturday 9th.
Day 14: Meeting/Workshop with Club Synapse
After meeting ESP staff and students, we immediately agreed upon a setting up a workshop with Club Synapse at the UCAD/ESP to present Mozilla, Firefox OS and the participation project initiated by William Quiviger. Again the role of Mouhamadou Moustapha Camara, Mozilla Senegal community manager has been crucial in organizing and making the event successful.
That was on Saturday 9th, the date I should have flown back home already if I hadn’t lost all my valuables including my passport. But to paraphrase the old saying, “every cloud has a silver lining” and it was rather a pleasure to attend this event.
There were about two dozen students in the amphitheater, most of them turned out to be interested in/learning Web Development. It was great, as Firefox OS uses standards of the Open Web, these students will find it quite an opportunity to learn more about Mozilla’s OS and the inner workings of the Firefox OS ecosystem.
First of all William presented Mozilla’s mission and what the Firefox OS ecosystem is all about. Camara explained the different layers of Firefox OS and how they interact with the hardware. Then he showed the methods for creating apps and publishing them to Marketplace before explaining how the Firefox OS simulator can be used to test and develop apps.
Then I presented the Mozilla support system SUMO and how it is organized and the possibilities for contributing as well as the tools within the help system.
The rest of the session was dedicated to questions and answers; many student expressed excitement about using the Web to develop for Firefox OS and they are delighted to be “at home” with Firefox OS as there were mainly developers for the Web.
Meeting Synapse was extremely interesting as we are here at the heart of ICT education in Senegal. Mozilla can benefit a great deal from training more students in these institutions and give them the opportunity and skills to apply their knowledge to the Firefox OS ecosystem and Mozilla products and projects as a whole.
Day 15: Mobile Monday at Jokkolabs
Mobile Monday is an event that took place in one of the most connected places in Dakar and West Africa. I discovered Jokkolabs in Bamako while on another mission for training localizers in African languages (for more details on Jokkolabs, see Day 6).
Again, here we had an audience of developers and also students and other tech people from the Dakar region. The purpose of the event was to have a good time in a cool place with all these awesome people, while presenting Firefox OS and Mozilla in a fun way, but also very professional. Again William Quiviger was there for Mozilla’s mission and the Firefox OS ecosystem, then Camara presented on developing apps for Firefox OS.
I presented the Orange Klif, which was just launched in Senegal less than a week before. A few people in the audience had already bought the device and that was cool in itself as it appears that they understood what the Klif represented, not “yet another phone”, but an ecosystem that invited them to be part of it and build apps that suit their local needs.
The specs of the Klif are not particularly impressive, which is not what they seemed to be looking for. But rather, they were looking at the possibilities for development within the local experience and for the local market. The number of questions asked after the presentations showed that.
The conversation went on during the “pot”, with refreshments and snacks actively taking part throughout most of the evening…