Clement, welcome back! How did the trip go? I'm sure the IT professionals on
this list would like to hear the exciting things you've found out.
This message is in reply to an appeal:
> The organization in distress is the National Voluntary
>Workcamps Association of Ghana (VOLU), one of the most powerful, persistent
>instruments of self-help community development, at the grassroots level, in
>Ghana these past decades.
Now my idea is this, and I'm sorry it's of no immediate help to anyone as
the next competition is not until 1996/97, but it's just an idea that may be
useful in future. The Irish Computer Society recently ran a one-day Software
Development competition. The client organisation was an Irish charity for
disabled children. 20 teams signed up and we got five good finalists and one
excellent winner to produce an application to help them manage their
door-to-door collections. You can read about this on the Web at
Now can the same thing work here? I imagine that many agencies could do
with a a database to track their work, their success rates, to exchange
information, to report on progress, to look good to donor agencies, whatever.
The main challenge is Distance.
1) Developing software in the First world (although some economists would
question Ireland's somewhat ambiguous position there) for the Third world is
usually a recipe for disaster. If a specification were to be agreed, we
would need VERY good communications with the client organisation to produce
2) Installation and maintenance would be a problem. There would have to be
an element of training, skills transfer and localisation to give the
Ghanaian (or whoever) staff the skills to keep the software up-to-date.
Maybe we need a link with some Aid agency with people on the ground such as
Concern. But maybe they are more concerned about life-and-death issues like
famine and refugees, and computers are pretty low on their priorities. On
the other hand, it could be argued that desperate situations need good
information systems all the more as there is less margin for error.
I think I've just argued myself out of the idea, but I'm putting this up in
case someone else sees anything they can use.
Patrick O'Beirne B.Sc. M.A. MICS, Systems Consultant, Author, Lecturer
Trainer and Developer in Clipper TickIT trained ISO 9000 Auditor
Compuserve: 100023,1304 WWWeb: http://www.iol.ie/~pobeirne/index.html
Systems Modelling Ltd, Gorey, Co. Wexford, IRELAND. VAT NO. IE4625958Q