Where Africa and Technology Collide!

Outlining the Mobile Toolkit

Day 1 of the Mobile Toolkit Workshop had about 20 people in it, mainly technical people, but with a smattering of non-techies to keep us on track. These two days are being led by Tactical Tech, the company that puts together these software toolboxes for use by NGO’s worldwide. Marek Tuszynski has a great deal of experience running these types of meetings and channeling the workgroup’s energies towards a specific goal.

Mobile Toolkit Workgroup

Our first order of the day was to declare what the Mobile Toolkit would NOT be, followed by defining who the target user should be, say what we hope to achieve and finally come up with a vision statement. The results were surprisingly good, I think this can be attributed to there being some incredibly smart people present, as well as the fact that people came from all different backgrounds.

Here are some of the results.

“It’s not all about technology”

“It’s not about the best technology, it’s about the most appropriate technology”

“It’s not about science fiction, but it is about the future”

What we hope the toolbox will achieve:

  • That it will help people select the right tool for their campaign
  • Inspire creativity and imagination
  • That it will cut operational costs
  • As a catalyst for positive change

What we hope to achieve

Joe Kasonde, from Zambia, came up with what I thought was a brilliant vision statement:

“That all communities have access to information and tools, which enables them to use mobile technology to achieve their goals”

He was in my small group, so we had a chance to discuss some of the reasons behind the terms used. My primary goal was to make sure that people realized that it was beyond our control to say what the Mobile Toolkit would be used for. Just like any other basic application (examples being Google Apps, Gmail or Microsoft Word), all types of organizations and people will use it for whatever their needs are if they find value in it. With that in mind, we shouldn’t concern ourselves with whether it is only used by advocates, but provide a tool that can be used by them.

I’m looking forward to when the final product is completed. With the individuals present in the room working on it, I’m convinced that the final Mobile Toolkit will be exceptional.


  1. Hey White African?

    Great post. I recently acquired (through means best kept secret) the Adobe CS3 suite and Flash has great support for mobile content, even though it bends towards delivering RIAs onto the mobile web as opposed to stand alone mobile applications – but the tools are great and one can come up with great interfaces and powerful solutions.

    Clearly the project’s goal is a software solution in the form of a mobile app or collection of mobile apps. I’d just like clarification on what the project hopes to achieve, because the growing cooperative culture in the African IT sector is the way foward, much like the Americans with their GNU project and Apache foundation which have led to great things.

    Is it an open source venture? Any requirements, analysis, scope documentation we could peek at … white papers please!

  2. Hash, you have to tell me more about this next week when we meet. looks really interesting.

  3. Thanks so much for the write up and for your great contributions to the meeting.

    For those who are interested you can learn more about the toolkit on the Tactical Tech site at http://tacticaltech.org/node/345 and on the project wiki at http://wiki.mobiles.tacticaltech.org/index.php/Main_Page

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