March 08, 2015
The Cambodia Development Innovations project, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), recently hosted a mobile application-building event that brought together youth and staff members of Cambodian civil society organizations (CSOs).
The program was created by the DAI-led Development Innovations, the Mozilla Foundation, and Souktel Mobile Solutions to teach organizations working in their communities how to build simple mobile apps for social good using the AppMaker tool. Participants did not need any previous training or technology skills.
The event, held February 7–8, was attended by 30 participants. After learning the basics of the platform, trainees were divided into groups and given roughly 24 hours to design a Webmaker app that tackled a social challenge. By the end of the event, 10 apps were created and presented.
The winning app was education focused: Teaching kids the alphabet and basic reading skills. In a country where close to a third of women are illiterate, but where basic smart phone use grew at a rate of approximately 31 percent last year, this app can help close a key education gap, said its makers. According to a 2014 study by the Asia Foundation, 26.1 percent of Cambodians have at least one smart phone (20.7 percent in rural areas). “Feeling blessed while spending the next 10 hours building my mobile app,” wrote Rethiya Khan, the leader of the winning group, on his Facebook page before the judging kicked off.
“Our goal is more than just delivering training,” said Ihab Asafrah of Souktel. “By democratizing app-building, we’re hoping our new colleagues in Cambodia can leverage their skills to tackle real-world problems.”
Nine organizations have been chosen as finalists for the DAI Innovation into Action Challenge, a global competition designed to find and support products and services that will help people in developing nations tackle social and economic development problems.Read More