The Movie is coming – thanks for your support

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As you probably know that we have been running a indiegogo campaign the last weeks to raise money to cover the production costs for the upcoming AfricaHackTrip Movie. – We need to turn the 30h of video material into a nice documentary.

Thank you so much for you interest and your support! You are awesome!

We have raised nearly 5000 USD. Which helps us a lot to cover for the production costs and we are very excited to get the movie published.
The movie will be released under a CC-BY-SA license and made available online.
We will keep posting updates about our progress here but do not yet know when we will be done.

For those who can not wait for the movie: have you already seen the interviews with some of the amazing women we have met? Or a some quotes of Eric Hersman?

Wait, what about the perks?
For all our supporters: Even though we have not reached the campaign goal you for sure will get your stickers, T-Shirts, etc. Just give us a little bit of time to print and send them to you. Let us know if you have any other questions.

AfricaHackTrip on TV

Deutsche Welle TV’s globalization magazine Global 3000 has produced an episode using some of the material we brought back from the AfricaHackTrip. So some of the African Hackers we met and their projects are being introduced to a wider audience – w00t w00t!!

Here are the full episodes in English and German.

Watch it on TV

If you are like me and want to also watch it on TV rather than only on your computer: There are various broadcast times, as the DW program is shown all over the world.

The German version premieres on TV tonight at 22:03 and is repeated five times over the next two days on German TV and again on DW Europe – check here for more info on that.
The first broadcast of the English version will be at 21:30 UTC, so 23:30 in Rwanda, 0:30 in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, 14:30 on the Pacific and 17:30 on the Atlantic Coast of America. There are repeat broadcasts every day of the week in English, German and (I think) French, and there should be subtitled editions in various languages soon.

The clips are also being syndicated, for example to German economic newspaper Handelsblatt.

More than just an episode: AfricaHackTrip. The Movie

We are super excited to be featured – but the episode is just a few minutes, and there are so many more stories to tell, places to see and people to meet! Which we can’t wait to do in our very own movie! So once more: Please support our campaign on Indiegogo!

Because Basti is awesome, he live hacked a Bitcoin App called Bitgogo yesterday during the Interactive Cologne, so now you can also donate in Bitcoins!!

 

AfricaHackTrip @ GIG_rp14

Last week, we were part of the Global Innovation Gathering GIG at re:publica, the biggest digital society conference in Europe. And it was a phantastic week filled with what we like best: meeting people, sharing experiences, building communities and starting projects!

The GIG. Photo by Brian Ndyaguma

What the hack is this GIG?

Actually, this video by Richard Schut (the man with the questionmark) sums it up real nice:

GIG with support from BMZ and GIZ offers the only opportunity (as of yet) for the people behind creative spaces and tech hubs from all over the world to come together, share, exchange and connect. GIG is a brainchild of Geraldine De Bastion - beautiful and creative connector of worlds, director of the film “Made in Africa” and a member of the AfricaHackTrip family! Thank you!

Geraldine De Bastion, heart of GIG

And the Global Innovation Gathering was exactly that: Over 40 people from 18 countries met, shared experiences and stories, started projects, built stuff at the Makerspace and a community of friends whereever they were. Many of the GIG 2014 were hub managers, community managers or founders of coworking spaces, but there were also the people who make the magic happen in the background, like Jörn & Tiemo from icehubs, Tayo from the AfriLabs network or Bill & Ben from VC4Africawho connect start-ups and investors, actors and mentors. And then there were the partners, people like us or our friends over at FounderBus and GeeksGoneGlobal.

Lounge & Makerspace & Stage

After a team-building Monday, the GIG program took place in and around our very own trailer a.k.a. the Home of Awesomeness (Thanks a million, Gary!), at a Makerspace inside the big hall of re:publica, and on Stage 6 which was dedicated to GIG on the last day of re:publica.

Gary Wright, in charge of the GIG lounge trailer

Gary Wright, in charge of the GIG lounge trailer

GIZ Management Board Member Cornelia Richter opened the GIG with a brief welcome message and long discussion on possible new forms of international collaboration to better respond to global challenges.

She sat down with the audience and really listened to the comments, like Jon from The Office in Rwanda asking international donors and investors to look for opportunities they can invest in rather than problems they can solve. That’s exactly what we set out to do, and we are super excited about how the discussions started will continue and shape global development cooperation.

GIZ at GIG

Claudia Richter from GIZ @ GIG lounge

And that was the beginning of 3 days of tinkering and talks. Among many others, Martha told the story of Nairobi Dev School, Fabian shared the experiences of the first FounderBus in Africa, and at the very end of Day 1 we told some Tales from the Road that AfricaHackTrip took in 2013 and beyond - here are our slides.

On Day 3, the GIG moved to Stage 6 and had some really inspiring sessions there. The one that moved and impressed me personally most was Bilal’s talk on makerspaces in the MENA region. The projects he presents are at the intersection of coding, tinkering, art, civil society and just humanity – like this “map for your ears” of car bombs that went off in Baghdad since the Americans left or Good For the Dead, where you can commemorate loved ones by good deeds. Bilal himself and the projects he works for show how a positive attitude can change even the most negative situations and how we can create a beautiful future together.

Another favourite was the discussion of some African Webmuses – namely, Clarisse from Hehe, Nanjira from the iHub and Martha from Nairobi Dev School – pointedly called “Don’t talk to Women in Tech about Women in Tech”. This is a really interactive, lively and informative discussion between the panel and the audience on all the issues that women in tech have to deal with, in Africa, Germany and everywhere.

And finally, last but not least, there was me sharing the big stage with Fabian and Faruq to talk about synergies of travel and innovation, of how it takes personal contact to really meet someone and start a great project. I could kick myself, but I forgot to mention our fundraising campaign – so to make up for that, here’s the link: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/africahacktrip-the-movie Please do support us! We all need more HackTrips, so more people can experience the magic of meeting like-minded hackers, makers and world changers!

See you soon – somewhere!

And then after re:publica had ended with another party, GIG continued with a day of touring the coworking spaces of Berlin with this group of great people. But at some point, it was really over. I was exhausted and energised at the same time by all the new ideas, thoughts and people, and the experience of connectedness. That was really the greatest thing about GIG: the people. Everybody got involved, everybody was part of the organisation, brought their ideas to the table, lent a hand when needed, we all had lots of fun and enjoyed some phantastic PartyMachen – while at the same time, we could discuss serious issues and come up with creative solutions for them. It was the most positive and constructive atmosphere I have ever encountered at a conference, very much like AfricaHackTrip actually..  And like on the trip I feel like I said Hello to strangers on Monday and Good-bye to friends on Friday.

So to sum it up, I’d like to quote Victor, one of the people who founded NairobiJS during AfricaHackTrip, who said “I didn’t know these people existed, and I’m so glad we met now.”

EuroHackTrip! #AHT15?
Be a part of AfricaHackTrip!

For us, it feels like a circle has closed – and like a spiral, a new and bigger circle has opened up. Last year, we pitched the idea of nine hackers travelling from Europe to Africa to 10 strangers at the Global Innovation Lounge, a small stand which the organisers of re:publica had built in the middle of the buzz of this big conference. This year, we gave a talk together with our now dear friend Martha from Nairobi, and we talked with 40 friends lounging in deck chairs in the sun. How will re:publica be in 2015? I personally hope that we will share the panel with the guys from EuroHackTrip and talk to 100 people about how HackTrips are the perfect way to connect communities all over the globe.

 AHT15

The last of our slides asks #AHT15? and we have heard some pretty good ideas already – let’s talk more, everybody! Be a part of AfricaHackTrip!

Be a part of AfricaHackTrip!

Today is a big day for us: We just launched the crowdfunding campaign for our movie on Indiegogo!! W00t w00t!! 

We returned from Africa with awesome new friends, lots of stories to tell, thousands of pictures, and 30 hours of video footage. We want to turn this footage into a great movie, so we can share our experiences with communities all over the world and motivate others to join the exchange between cultures. To do this, we need time and professional support.

And that’s where YOU come in! Please help us raise $7,000 to cover our production costs, so we can introduce you to exciting places and awesome people.

 

Be a part of AfricaHackTrip! Show us and the world that you love the idea of truly connecting hacker cultures!

 

In return, we signify our love and gratitude to you by mentioning every single backer in the credits of our movie. Yes, even if you donate just a dollar, we will thank you in the credits. But we also prepared some perks for those that give us more money – go check them all out here!

 

Some picks of the perks:

For just 25 bucks, you will be able to take awesome pictures like these. And if you tweet them adding #AHT13 they will even appear on our tumblr - we are super curious to see who/what/where will be tagged with our favorite logo!

 

A donation of $50 will get you one of our T-Shirts, which were only given to extra special people so far. All of you are beautiful, but you could look even better in one of these…

 

From $250 upwards, you get an invite to the premiere and also the premiere party, which will take place before we launch the movie. We plan on some serious PartyMachen! in Berlin and look forward to hosting all of you generous givers!

Those that support us with $1,000 humble us – you will from now on be known as a producer of our movie, which is the greatest gift we have to give. You also get a seat of honor at the premiere, which we will have to build once someone donates those big bucks. Challenge us!

 

We are very grateful for the experience AfricaHackTrip was for us. We met incredible people, learned about crazy cool projects, found out how Africans use  technology to solve social problems, and brought together European and African hacking culture. And most importantly we kicked off continuous exchange – like with our friends over at Nairobi Dev School and EuroHackTrip. Please help us tell you all about it!

Thank you all for your support!!!

HighFives, Hugs and lots of <3 from
Gregor, Alex, Emi, Bumi, Basti, Martin, Vicy, Jan and Tobi

Closing a circle: Talk at Berlin JavaScript User Group

Connecting communities is one of our goals. And we define ourselves as members of our local tech communities with the idea to share our experiences. So when I gave a talk about the AfricaHackTrip at this month’s BerlinJS meet up I felt I was closing a circle.

My personal highlight was that I could show videos of KampalaJS and NairobiJS greeting BerlinJS.

AfricaHackTrip helped founding these user groups so it’s great to hear from them. Of course BerlinJS answered:

Here’s my slides:

Reset.org Interview on AfricaHackTrip

The following interview with Gregor about the AfricaHackTrip was originally published on reset.org as part of their TIMES Pieces series – a monthly editorial series of interviews with people who use tech for social and environmental good. 

With kind permission we post it here.  

What led you to start AfricaHackTrip?

I’d read an article on BBC written by Erik Hersman in autumn 2012 and it fascinated me. I’ve worked with developers and designers with remote teams for a long time now, and I realised I’d never worked with someone from an African country – either for business or open source work. Then there was also this map of Hubs in Africa and I wondered: where are all these people working in these hubs? Why don’t we hear from them?

I tweeted the article and suggested – rather meant as a joke – that we should go and see for ourselves. I got four or five responses from friends that they were in, and the AfricaHackTrip was born.

How did the various African communities react to your project?

It was different from city to city but there was usually a lot of confusion at first. It took a long time to make people understand that we’re not backed by any corporation or non-profit organisation, and that we’re not a charity trip of any kind.

It was a private journey of developers and designers coming from Europe to meet the their colleagues in Africa. Once that was understood there was an overwhelming appreciation for what we did; for our interest in the people and their projects; what they are struggling with; and what their plans are. We weren’t trying to sell anything, teach our product, or find lucrative investment opportunities. It took a while to break the ice, but once we did it was really great.

What role do you think technology can play for an ecological and social change, and has your perception of this changed since returning to Europe?

Compared to other industries, I think IT technology can play a significant role in all aspects of the respective societies simply because it requires very little infrastructure. Once there is decent Internet and access to computers, there are very little costs when it comes to solving local problems or improving an existing system with IT. The governments of the countries we visited understood that and put ICT high on their priority list.

We tried not to come with any expectations but, in theory, the local developers in East Africa have access to the same knowledge as we do. They can train themselves in the same skills as we did. We learned all these skills with content freely available on the Internet, not in school. That is true – but the truth is also that the young creatives simply don’t have as much free time available as we do. The circumstances are harder: they often have to support their family who expect them to earn money for them because they had invested in their education.

Another factor is the comparably slow and expensive Internet. As a developer, when you face a problem with a programming language you google it. But if the internet is down or each page request takes minutes, you simply cannot make the same progress as you could do with fast internet. However, given the development of the past few years, I’m positive that the environment will continue to improve at a fast pace. The IT industries will thrive.

What was your biggest discovery about Africa’s tech scene?

Personally, it was the incredible support and smart policies from the Rwandan Government. I’ve never heard of a comparable support from any other country in the world. The amount of support offered by initiatives from the private sector is great. Women in tech (as in the entire society) also get a lot of support, and smart policies do the rest.

An example of this is mobile payment has not been accepted in Rwanda because of the lack of one dominant player, like Safaricom is in Kenya. There are three big players with their own solutions, all of which are incompatible to each other. But now the government ruled that all telecommunication providers have to comply to open standards. That means users can switch between providers and keep their money, as well as transfer across providers. Without any big investment, Rwanda has become a great market for mobile payment.

You visited some of the fastest growing countries for ICT. What sustainable initiatives were you seeing come out of this growth, if any?

Good question. Right now, the most important initiatives are the ones that create and improve the infrastructure – like continuing to bring fast internet from the sea cables to the inner country. Rwanda is building a 4G network across the country. Once the infrastructure is good enough, growth will come by itself. I predict a bright future because of the lack of legacy, the lack of competing industries, and the opportunity to compete on a global market with very little barriers on one side and very little costs on the other.

What will you do with all the knowledge you’ve gained from the AfricaHackTrip and EuroHackTrip?

We will collaborate when it comes to details. For example, one lesson was that the AfricaHackTrip went “too fast.” One week per location, including a 2-day event didn’t provide enough free time to build deeper relationships, or start working on projects and so on. I hope to be able to participate on the EuroHackTrip myself.

African WebMuses and AfricaHackTrip featured on bild.de

Today, AfricaHackTrip and especially Emi’s wonderful African WebMuses movie and four of the protagonists, were featured on the website of BILD Zeitung. Bild is a German tabloid and apparently, the newspaper with the sixth-largest circulation worldwide.

Its motto is “Form your own opinion”. In order for you all to do exactly that, here is a quick translation of the original article:

 

Young. Female. Computer Professionals. These are Africa’s Hacker Princesses.

They are young, female – and can program a PC like a pro! In Africa, ever more young women discover the tech business – and become true hacker princesses.

The video „Africa Web Muses“, which was produced during the Africa Hack Trip, gives an insight into this scene.

The journey was organized by eight tech professionals from Europe. In Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania, they searched for African hacker spaces – places where computers are being programmed, new websites are being built and IT projects are being pushed. They met many committed women in the tech scene.

http://www.bild.de/geld/wirtschaft/afrika/afrikanische-hacker-prinzessinnen-34316104.bild.html

BILD introduces four amazing hacker princesses:

Martha Chumo (19) from Nairobi had already raised several thousand dollars on the crowdfunding platform “indigogo” to attend „Hacker School New York“ in the USA, where coding is being tought in workshops, amongst other things. But her visa was denied. Reason: Too young, no children, unmarried. Instead of despairing, the tough Kenyan started a new crowdfunding campaign – for an own Hacker School in Nairobi! Her project succeeded: She founded “Nairobi Dev School”.

There, she wants to enhance enthusiasm for tech. Martha: ‘It works better than I thought. I hope it will be a starting point for the development in Africa.’ To further improve her school, she continues raising money on indigogo.

Jessica Colaco is a founding member of „iHub“, a Coworking and Hacker Space in Nairobi. When she happens to not be programming, she plays the bass guitar and rides horses. Her goal: Put Kenya on the map for tech! To reach it, she organizes Bootcamps and TED events. Jessica: ‘I specifically try to get women to study tech and remain in the field later on.’

Jamie Mayombwe from Uganda studies IT and Software Engineering. She helps organizing the “Girl Geek Camp” in Kampala. ‘It started as a meeting, then we shared it on Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus’, Jamie says. More and more girls started attending the female tech bootcamp. Jamie: ‘It’s mostly between 10 and 15 girls. They get a laptop, software, and we show them what to do with it.’

Akaliza Keza Gara (22) specifically came to Rwanda to start her own business. Her uncle had advised her to do so, saying that Kigali was the best place to be ‘female, young and technically skilled’. The young woman is now the CEO of “Shaking Sun” in Kigali,a company that produces graphics and internet games. Akaliza is involved with the “Girls ICT Rwanda” association. Together with other women she visits schools and tries to get female students excited about IT jobs. Akaliza: ‘In the past, I found being the only girl in a computer group cool. Nowadays, I hope that this is changing.’

African WebMuses

“African WebMuses” presents portraits of women that our team met during a journey in November 2013. We wanted to show powerful females from the IT industry, working as programmers, teachers, tech events organizers and managers supporting technology development. It was a great pleasure to meet and learn from all of you. Martha Chumo, Julliet Zoe Wanyiri, Jessica Colaco, Miriam Wambui, Jamie Mayombwe, Akaliza Keza Gara, Clarisse Iribagiza, Carolyne Ekyarisiima, Fatma Meawad – thank you for being an inspiration!

The movie was made by WebMuses and AfricaHackTrip, with financial support of Women’s WorldWide Web and WMIAfrica. Thank you! Asante!

African WebMuses from WebMuses on Vimeo.