Unlocking an Inclusive Society for Persons with Disabilities in Southern Africa

On 8th July 2016, one of the key potential local partners of the At-Info-Map Project, the Botswana Institute for Technology Research and Innovation (BITRI), hosted a CommCare Workshop at the University of Botswana for its ICT Associates, which was facilitated by Dimagi, a technology partner in the project which it is jointly implementing with three other partners, namely SAFOD, University of Washington, and AfriNEAD.

The BITRI Youth Associate ICT Programme (ICTAssociate@BITRI) is part of the Botswana Government’s plan to empower youth through ICT. The programme is aimed at developing ICT, entrepreneurial, critical thinking and problem-solving skills of the a least 60 participants through an internship.The mandate of  BITRI in this programme is to identify and/or develop appropriate technology solutions in line with national priorities and needs of Botswana.

As a potential strategic partner of the At-Info-Map Project in Botswana – the country in which the three-year project is being piloted before it can be scaled up to nine other countries in Southern Africa – BITRI expressed interest to host the half-day CommCare Workshop at the University of Botswana for some of its ICT Associates, mainly those who are currently on a two-year research programmes where they will learn to start small ICT businesses by February next year.

According to Dimagi, who are the innovators of the App, the CommCare is an open source mobile health platform which consists of two main technology components: CommCare Mobile and CommCareHQ. CommCare enables easy electronic data collection, decision support, and patient/case management

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Lucia: Commcare is really interesting, and very easy to learn and use

The orientation workshop, facilitated by Dimagi, was organised to provide BITRI and its ICT youth associates an opportunity to appreciate At-Info-Map in general and the CommCare App in particular, while discussions are underway to explore how best BITRI could potentially become an effective and strategic partner of the At-Info-Map.

One of the workshop participants, Lucia Otsetswe, said as an aspiring entrepreneur, she was always excited to keep up to date on the latest industry trends in mobile applications technologies, and was eager to learn different softwares or tools used to develop mobile applications.

“When I heard about CommCare training, I was really looking forward to learning about it, and how I can use it to develop my mobile applications. Commcare is really interesting, and very easy to learn and easy to use,” she said.

Lucia, however, noted that even though they managed to create their simple mobile applications using Commcare during the training, she wished the workshop had ran beyond half-day.

She added: “I wish we had more time so we also learn about developing databases and connecting it to the user interfaces we built. Just a few days, I believe we could be launching our mobile applications by now! But from what we learnt at the training, I am confident to say I can develop a full application and I am working on it. It is really easy to learn.”

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