Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The tech side of African kids books

I don't blog much about my actual day job(s) because my employers don't endorse or approve (read: know about) my personal blog but rebuilding the puku.co.za website was a genuinely an awesome experience and one that was only made possible thanks to the amazing team at ThoughtWorks SA. I often say this but ThoughtWorks is a very different kind of IT company. I've worked in IT before. The IT industry I thought I knew was not as responsive to the client's needs, as interested in exploring new and creative ideas and technologies and definitely not keen to take on a CSI project that doesn't fit neatly into the tick-box exercise of corporate NGO funding.

ThoughtWorks wanted to be a part of getting African kids African books using technology (as opposed to wanting to build a cool/useful website). There's definitely still more work to be done on the site to take it to the lofty heights that I imagine but I really think ThoughtWorks is going to be part of that story too. They're not just our donor or service provider. At this point, they feel like our partner.

Anyway, Craig from ThoughtWorks recently blogged about the Puku project and some of the more techy aspects of it. This is some of what he shared:

Towards the end of last year ThoughtWorks South Africa began on some exciting work for the Puku project. Puku is an Organisation devoted to bringing native language books to children in Southern Africa. I had the privilege of working on the project from when it was first thought of until completion. Who am I? I’m Craig Wattrus a ThoughtWorker here in the South Africa office.

For the South African office of ThoughtWorks this project represented a number of firsts; our first foray into working for not for profit organisations, our first fully pro-bono project and our first project using .Net and C#.

We started with envisioning and then held an inception together with Bontle the CEO of Puku and a motley bunch of ThoughtWorkers. The amazing thing for me was during some of the work-shopping sessions when the whole team started getting their hands dirty and became really passionate about the cause; providing a way for Southern African's to find literature for their children. Everyone in the room was genuinely excited to be working together on the project.

Read all about it!

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