Today I visited Nairobi's iHub. To my mind it's the poster-child for everything encouraging about tech for development in the global South.
- Savvy local developers, some novices and some with loads of experience.
- International techies with a development background and comparative experience around the world.
- A welcoming, open space that encourages collaboration.
- Events that pull together the tech community with development groups and venture capitalists.
- A coffee shop.
- With delicious, delicious Kenyan coffee.
Seriously, what else do you need?
iHub is only about a year old; it's the brainchild of a group of local technologists including Erik Hersman. I was shown around by Tosh Juma, iHub's extremely welcoming community manager. The initial impetus for the creation of the space came from the Ushahidi and FrontlineSMS projects; both needed space to work and came up with this great way to do so with a funding lift from the forward-looking Omidyar Network.
Our team is really looking forward to working with iHub in a couple ways. First, they're an ideal place to throw an idea that needs coding and have a group of experienced developers consider whether they might be able to do something with it. Second, iHub is going to be coming up with a lot of creative ideas. With work in about 70 countries around the world, NDI's likely to have places that will make great guinea pigs for their new ideas.
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