Here Comes Campus Party

Since the TSG Summit, we've gotten to know Campus Party better and the more we know, the more impressed we have been.

I had the opportunity to attend Campus Party Mexico last month. I plan to write a fuller report, but for now let me share with you the H4SB project, which is a geekronym for Hacking For Something Better. Campus Party offered free registrations to Mexican geeks who would sign up to join teams addressing the technology needs of a set of social benefit organizations. 150 (of the 7000 attendees!) Campuseros applied and qualified.

My colleague, Eduardo Bejar, who directs Fundapi.org in Guayacil, Ecuador, compiled the summary of their projects below. You'll agree, I'm sure, that it is impressive but the most impressive element will not be apparent from the list, and that is that the teams bonded tightly and are committed to supporting and following up the projects, as is Campus Party. As anyone who has engaged with technology voluntarism in the States knows, this follow-up element is the most problematic part of the mix.

Campus Party U.S.A., co-chaired by Al Gore, Vint Cerf, Tim Berners-Lee is slated for summer 2013 in Bay Area. Here are the Mexican H4SB projects, as summarized by Eduardo. Note his interesting list of Campusero "motivations" at bottom.

 More to come.

Casa de las Mercedes

Casa de las Mercedes is a nonprofit organization based in Mexico DF that works with young children and teens with education and health issues.  Developers at Campus Party worked with them to create a database management system, a CRM to help track their beneficiaries and an internal repository for sharing information.

Voz a la Vida

Voz a la Vida is a project that aims to create an online blood donation information database.   People who need blood donation post their requirements on the website which then stores it as well as utilize social networks to find potential matching donors.

Agora

The idea of Agora is to create an employment website for disabled people.  Disabled candidates can post their resume and offer their services.   Companies looking to hire can search candidates and contact them for interviews.  This project is supported by Telefonica via their Wayra initiative which reaches cities throughout Mexico as well as other countries.

Ser Humano

Ser Humano is a nonprofit foundation based in Mexico that provides prevention services and assistance related to chronic illnesses especially HIV/AIDS.   At Something Better developers created a CRM and medical control system where patients’ statistical information as well as food and medical inventories are stored and tracked.   They also requested a widget for their website for donations.

Consejo de la Comunicación

Consejo de la Comunicación is a council that gathers companies, TV networks, media publishers, radio stations and banks to promote cultural initiatives. They recently launched a campaign called "Diviértete Leyendo" which aims to foster reading in Mexico. To support this initiative, developers at Campus Party created a bookcrossing webpage, where anyone can donate a book and later track its location.

Casa Hogar Madres Solteras

Casa Hogar Madres Solteras is a shelter for young single mothers.  They provide education to the children and job services to the mothers.   The developers created an administration system for the shelter to track the services they provide as well as the donations they receive.

Fundación San Judas Tadeo

Fundación San Judas Tadeo is a nonprofit organization that provides temporary shelter to poor children suffering from chronic diseases like leukemia and renal failure.  They also requested an administration system to track services and inventory.

Casa Betti

Casa Betti is a care home for elderly people that offers health services, food and clothing. Developers at Campus Party created an administration system to track their beneficiaries’ information.

Motivations:

From conversation with developers I and others’ have had, some of the common reasons cited for their participation are:

  • To learn from other volunteers that have expertise in other areas.
  • Make new contacts that might need work done in the future
  • Make new friends.
  • Give back to their communities
  • Get in the spotlight to show their work and potentially receive job offers.
  • Professional growth and development.
  • Create a project that others are going to use
  • Gain real experience not found in their universities
  • Do something to generate good news in their country as it seems that there is only bad news.
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