I get a decent number of emails asking for opportunities to travel to Africa and work on technology projects. Since I haven’t worked with Geekcorps since September 2004, my advice on this topic is usually pretty generic – look at the UNITES program run by the UN Volunteers program, and if you’re a Canadian, look at Netcorps/Cyberjeune.
But occasionally specific opportunities come up and I’m able to offer a more direct recommendation. A few days ago, I heard from my friend Mark Davies. Mark is a British entrepreneur who founded the remarkable BusyInternet, the cybercafe and business center that serves as the heart of Ghana’s online business community. Mark has a new company, BusyLab, which is developing software relevant to the challenges of Africa, from software designed to allow trade of goods via SMS and the internet, to money transfer software, to automated systems to run cybercafes.
Mark’s got a great team of developers in Ghana, but they lack formal development experience. So Mark’s inviting experienced developers to come to Ghana, live in his (beautiful, comfortable) house in Accra and spend six months helping the team understand writing and following specifications, managing bugs and software versions, release management, testing, and all the other good stuff associated with professional software development.
If you’ve worked for several years in a production environment (in other words, if your code lived in a CVS… :-) and you’re competent to manage development in C++ or PHP… and if you’re interested in a job that will be a blast but won’t pay a salary… check out what Mark’s got to offer. He’s an amazing guy and, for the right person, this would be a lifechanging opportunity.