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Free and Open Source Software Development Mentor's Training at the University of the Western Cape

Free and Open Source Software Development Mentor's Training at the University of the Western Cape.

This week, free and open source software (FOSS) mentors from five African countries are being trained at the University of the Western Cape, under the auspices of a project titled "Coding FOSS  in Africa - the mentored internship programme (MIP) of AVOIR & ict@innovation". MIP is a flagship project bringing together partners: the Africa Virtual Online Initiative and Resources (AVOIR) and the ICT@Innovation project. AVOIR is a partnership of 16 African Universities whose aim is to build capacity in software engineering in Africa using FOSS. ICT@Innovation is a partnership between the Free and Open Source Software Foundation for Africa (FOSSFA), and the Capacity Building International, Germany (InWEnt). Together, these partners have seen the need to join efforts and host an internship programme to support programming skills development and strengthen capacities in small and medium enterprises (SME), and contribute to business development with FOSS in African IT sectors.

James Njenga, the MIP manager based at the UWC, says this training is the first in a series that will see a number of mentors trained, and also assigned mentees/proteges. James adds that “currently all the 14 participating mentors have been paired with potential proteges/mentees who they will work with for the next six months. The mentor and mentees have worked on very exciting and detailed project plans for free and open source software development.”

According to the lead trainer Paul Scott, who is also the manager of the Free and Software Innovation Unit at UWC, as well as the Chief Software Architect for the AVOIR network “ICT@Innovation has enabled us to bring together some of the most talented and well respected software developers in Africa in order to strengthen the African Free and Open Source ecosystem making use of the pan African AVOIR network. It is through initiatives like this, that we, as a continent can create the next generation of ICT and networked business opportunities by working together! I am extremely excited about this training workshop and personally cannot wait to see the fruits of it in all of the participating institutions”.

The FOSSFA Executive treasurer Mr. Milton Aineruhanga commended the trainers and the trainees and stated that “We are looking to you as pioneers in this project and it's success and future expansion depends on your success. FOSSFA will support you in anyway it can and I invite you to formally join FOSSFA to build this and other initiatives that we are involved in with regard to extending the development, deployment and use of FOSS across Africa”.

Frank Tilugulilwa a mentor from the University of Dar es Salaam (UDSM) exudes a lot of confidence with the project: “I am very excited with this collaboration between ICT@Innovation and AVOIR as it is the only way we can move forward towards building capacity to African developers and at the same time trying to develop solutions to the society around them. UDSM is looking forward to be an East /Central African hub for this collaboration interms of support and community existence”.

Dr. Sunday Adewumi from the University of Jos Nigeria the mentorship project is a step in the right directions because “Africans and Africa stand to gain from this type of initiative”.

On his part, Mr. Enver Ravat, co-ordinator for AVOIR, sees the MIP mentorship training workshop ia the last major step in constituting the complete MiP program which kickstarts in October.

The MIP program is the result of months of collaboration between primarily UWC and Ict@innovation to shape the program. The mentorship training workshop also follows on the planning workshop held in June 2010. Participating nodes within AVOIR need to be commended on their commitment in getting the program off the ground and to ensuring its ultimate success.

The training ends on Friday 1st October 2010.

For further information, please contact James Njenga on 0219593243

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how can i join?

How can we access the mentor-ship program  so  that our students can be able to code using FOSS?

Steven, please contact me on jkariuki(at)gmail(dot)com for details on joining the MIP and other opportunities.

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