BarCamp in Phnom Penh, Cambodia..and sustainable technology practices

posted on: March 19, 2008

BarCamp is an ad-hoc gathering born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment. It is an intense event with discussions, demos and interaction from participants.

(From barcamp.org)

A group of enthusiasts is now organizing a BarCamp in Phnom Penh, Capital of Cambodia. Check out the website and Google groups discussions. If you are using Twitter we have a channel #BarCampPhnomPenh which you can follow here (hashtags allow you to see at a glance all ‘tweets’ that contain that keyword).

http://barcampphnompenh.org/

Thanks to Beth Kanter and Tharum for hookup and helping us contribute, respectively!

InSTEDD’s support right now is around facilitating the conversation with technology firms who might want to sponsor the event, and finding attendees for the event. If you want to chip in contact us or jump straight into the discussion list above! Even if you can’t attend, useful computer materials and sponsorship are always welcome. And of course – Can you spell "swag"?

Cambodia has a quite energetic ICT community. And as InSTEDD ramps up its work in the region we hope to become a part of it.

barcamp-pp

InSTEDD will be building a small engineering team in Phnom Penh late this year (lots of details TBD, like how we’ll work with local partners in setting this up), so maybe we’ll meet some candidates in the process leading up to BarCamp, too. I think that will help us build technology with sustainability in mind.

.."Sustainable technology"?

The notion of sustainability – as in sustainable agriculture, sustainable manufacturing, sustainable architecture, etc – applies to technology as well.

It is possible to throw money at a problem with the best of intentions and have very little impact in the long term, or leave things even worse than at the beginning. But one can build a structure of skills, knowledge and capital that folks can use to grow initial efforts into greater, unexpected things. Sustainable technologies can continue to exist for a longer period of time beyond an initial flurry of activity without drawing more from its environment than it gives back.

Technology ventures have many ways of becoming sustainable. From the economic sustainability perspective, for example, one way is to become a commercial product which attracts enough revenue to maintain a team that keeps the product alive and relevant to its users for enough time. Another way is to ‘release’ the products into open source and allow an open community influence or take over the direction. At InSTEDD we are publishing our work as open source and free services because it makes sense as a long-term strategy to serve the regions we work in. I think there’s a knowledge base to be shared amongst non-profits and their beneficiaries about building and deploying technology with sustainability in mind, a library of patterns and case studies about what works and what doesn’t in the long run.

Map image

I believe that being a ‘good neighbor’ and participating in the local IT community helps create products that work better, accelerate discovery of related local work, and provide opportunities for folks to get involved with the systems that are being used to improve their own countrywide health.

We’ll be posting updates, and discussing topics that we expect will come up as BarCamp takes shape.

Hope to see you in Phnom Penh!

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