Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Travel the world, meet interesting people, and... network them.

So you don't know how to build a bridge, or irrigate a field, or drill a well.

Do you do Knowledge Management, Object-Oriented programming, C++, and Linux?

Do you have "professional experience implementing Knowledge Management (KM) systems in large multi-site organizations with disparate and disorganized intuitional organizational knowledge"? Or "3-5 years high-end PHP and object-oriented development, manipulating ASP/COM objects, and MySQL database experience, especially in 3-tier architecture"? Have you been a "C++ programmer for at least 3-5 years, especially with Open Office or audio/video/presentation tools", or "speak decent French and have at least 3-5 years of professional experience with advanced KDE/Gnome Linux, shell scripting, and PHP/MySQL"?

If you're geeky enough, the Geekcorps wants you... to go to Zambia, Kenya, or South Africa and help bring communication technology to developing regions.

This C|Net article talks about some of the interesting and creative work that's being done:

In Mali, the group brought over a wireless expert who disassembled Western-built antennas with locals. Through reverse-engineering, the locals and the expert figured out how to craft a cantenna out of an inner-tube valve, an old window screen and water bottles. In all, the cost came to about $1.

Once the design was complete, Geekcorps terminated the local apprenticeships. The next day one of them took the initiative and came back with a rate sheet for selling antennas to stations. The local antenna company now employs four people.

With a few minor tweaks, the current antennas--which still cost about a dollar and provide about the same performance as antennas sold in North America for around $40--could receive TV signals.

In general, locals adapt to technology quickly and in unexpected ways. In Mali, DJs at radio stations that installed PCs began to use them to answer listener questions using information found on Wikipedia or other Web sites. Digital technology also makes it easier to keep politicians publicly accountable for their promises.

Very cool. But... "Geekcorps"?

I'd have called it "Nerds Without Borders".