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Geekcorps: A Peace Corps for Techies

Started by Jerry, 2006-03-03T13:34:14-06:00 (Friday)

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Looking for the toughest IT job you'll ever love?

Looking for a fully paid vacation in a third world country?

Read on....

Geekcorps: A Peace Corps for Techies
CNet (02/28/06) Kanellos, Michael

The U.S.-based not-for-profit Geekcorps is looking for volunteers to develop the telecommunications infrastructure in Africa and bridge the technological divide by equipping local radio DJs with PCs, digital broadcasting equipment, and salvaged antennas that will enable them to function as ersatz Internet service providers. In Mali, with a 70 percent illiteracy rate and a virtually non-existent infrastructure, Geekcorps is providing the equipment for citizens to relay messages to friends in other parts of the country by giving a message to a radio DJ, who sends it to a station located closer to the recipient, where a second DJ then broadcasts the recipient's name and tells him to come to the station to receive his message. Radio stations collect fees and earn advertising revenue from the service. "The underlying goal with every implementation is: how can you make sure this is a money maker for the community?" said Wayan Vota, director of Geekcorps. Geekcorps has had operations in West Africa and other areas for more than five years, and has provided some of the technology that powers Via's durable, energy-efficient PCs that it designed for emerging markets. Geekcorps typically sends its volunteers for one-month deployments, and it is currently seeking experts in C++, Linux, knowledge management, and object-oriented programming. Geekcorps' long-term mission is to help develop a middle class and further social mobility through technology, though immediate results can be seen in providing the locals with access to information about vaccines and coordinating transportation. Geekcorps has introduced publishing software and digital printing to Ghana, and helped create a West African agricultural database. The antennas in Mali were created through reverse engineering Western-built devices that the group brought over, and ended up costing around $1 each.

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on a similar note, the PeaceCorp actually has a very nice "techie" side.  You develop systems in 3rd world countries.  It's much like the stereotypical peacecorp, only you're doing actually systems work.  I was going to be doing it before I got hired by Perficient.
Bryan Grubaugh
Quickly aging alumni with too much time on his hands
Business Systems Analyst, Scripps Networks.