Another side of view with Drupal: Burkina Faso case in Africa
The statistics say that around 70% of African population is young. That is to say the average age of this population is between 5 to 45 years. Since the independence days many of African countries stay in a situation of underdevelopment until todays. With the Internet advent, many specialists find there an opportunity for Africa to grow quickly.
But how this would be possible if we take a look to the many problems affecting African continent?
Many problems are affecting Africa. We can talk about the problem of young unemployment, the problem of the education for all. The problem of health care. The problem of economic strategy for Africa development…etc.
Among these problems, one caught our attention; it is the access of young people to training and their problem of unemployment.
We are in a context where Africa need to find his place in the world but also in the Drupal community. The challenge here is to know how Africa can contribute to promote Drupal and how Drupal also can be useful for Africa.
Speaking about youth unemployment problem in Africa will be too long and more complex. Because we will have to speak about the situation of each countries.
So, to be more concrete we will take the case of Burkina Faso’ country.
In this session, we will see what we are doing in Burkina Faso to make that Africa continent find its place in the Drupal community. We will present Drupal Business opportunity in our country and by extension in the continent. We will also show in this session how we find through Drupal a better alternative to fight against the lack of training and youth unemployment in our country.
There is 3 points that we will talk about.
- the situation of the computerization in Burkina faso
- The problem of youth training and their access to employment
- Our action with Drupal's promotion to propose some solutions to these problems.
The situation in Burkina Faso
The Burkina Faso's population is about eighteen million people of which 5 million are living in Ouagadougou, the capital. and there is just about 1 million people who have access to the internet in Ouagadougou.
The advent of the Internet has brought a lot of needs and interests, including the computerization of the work system and exchanges.
However, computerization of the work system and exchanges is far from being a reality in Burkina Faso. Therefore, there is a need due to the exponential growth of creation of the provider companies for goods and services in almost all areas of the economic sector.
According to "la Maison de l'Entreprise", in Burkina Faso there are about 14,695 listed companies. Many companies do not appear on this list, for various reasons. The main reason is a problem of the companies’ file update. And one estimated that over 30,000 companies are not on this list.
This allows us to see clearly how the computerization of work system and the communication remains a top priority in our country. This also allows us to see the extent of the need in the area of information and communication Technologies. The need to be on the internet is a reality; the need to create a digital economy is even bigger. Companies have a need of modern tools for work and communication, in order to get a place into the New World economic Order. For this, they need adequate and secured services that meet their needs.
Digital government (especially for-State institutions) is far from being a reality. Financial transactions on the Internet practically not exist. For example, ordering a pizza online is quite a feat reserved for an elite, if it exists. And the web service is completely a virgin sector.
Companies and individuals have needs of, among other, websites to do their business; but all what is proposed to them are presentation web sites and Global Information portals, made by using a CMS such Joomla and WordPress.
this is not in itself a bad thing; but this does not suitable for specific needs satisfaction of such as online selling, online payment, make online communication campaign, follow his bank account ... etc. CMS are not the causes of the non-development of Internet industry in Burkina, absolutely not!
But if we have to develop the sector of the internet and web services in Burkina Faso, we believe that it will be useful to add another technologic policy and other technical of designing and implementation of web platforms and services.
Here is why we believe that Drupal can be an alternative which will accelerate the process of expansion of useful and functional web sites, and will kick the development of web services' sector in Burkina Faso.
The problem of youth training and their access to employment
Because of poverty young people don’t have access to training. The coast of training in IT sector is out of reach to them. So many young people don’t have skills in the IT domain because they cannot pay for training in IT sector.
Most people are learning computer science them self, like me. Therefore in the last five years we can notice that many school are opening in the area of computational studies. But the courses fee still be too expensive for most of young people. . And no school offers skills training ready for use in the field of web development and web services.
So for a long time I have been looking for a solution to meet the needs of young people in training and qualification for employment in IT area. This is why when I discover Drupal and the spirit behind the CMS, I knew that it was the magic formula and the new framework that we need to use in Burkina Faso in other to provide skills to the youth.
This is the main reason why we have created the Drupal Group in Burkina Faso.
To fix this problem we started to organize session of training in Drupal for the young people who want to learn Drupal.
The question is, regarding to the social and economic situation, is it possible to do business and charities at the same time? And the answer is yes!
It is true that access financing is very hard here; but when we take look to the situation of all these young people who are looking for a better being, by attending an employment, we think that is it useful to sacrifice something to help them.
And it is what we are doing with Burkina Faso’ Drupal group. We are sharing knowledge, we are giving opportunity to young people to get skills in IT area with Drupal.
Our action with Drupal
We are organized as Drupal group. And we have a strategies for Drupal promotion in our country and buy extension in Africa. Given the huge growth margin in terms of access to the Internet, and regarding to the growing need for IT platforms creation, and particularly for the web platforms’ creation, we believe that there is a great deal opportunities to promote Drupal in Burkina Faso and by extension in Africa.
Our action is based on an efficient promotional strategy around Drupal. This strategy include three components:
- The communication component;
- The technical component;
- The lobbying component.
The communication component
This is to establish a good communication strategy around Drupal:
- We are organizing an informative communication campaign that highlighted the advantages of working with Drupal via the media (posters, social networking, television, internet in general ...) or via sessions and working meetings or dinner parties;
- We are contacting the IT higher schools to talk about Drupal and to propose them a training collaborations;
- We also take a focused approach to the state structures, NGOs, companies, associations, to show them the benefits of using Drupal.
- We are sensitizing companies to support our local Drupal group and buy extension the Drupal association (Drupal group Burkina), as a partners companies.
The technical component
The technical component has two aspects:
- Strengthen our own capacities by training our members .This is for us to make proof of mastery of the Drupal Content Management System, as a Drupal users. this will allow us to respond efficiently to the customer’s request in terms of websites creating or in web platforms development, by really delivering secured an functional web sites and to customers and companies.
- Allow anyone who wishes to use Drupal to be able to be formed locally in Burkina Faso. Especially for the professionals of the internet field (webmaster, web developer, website designer, , etc ...). For this we need to set ourselves up as a training center specializing in Drupal.
The first Drupal center in Burkina Faso
To be concrete in our action of training we have created the first Drupal Training center in Ouagadougou. It is the first time that a user group of a CMS create a center to form his member and other persons who are interested by the CMS.
This center is financed by myself and my company (Elan technology) for the moment. It’s true that I have not enough means to support this center for a long time; that make with the Drupal group member’s we are looking for financial support and other sponsorship.
The center impact
In Burkina Faso there is a need of training in the IT field. Then, considering our will to promote Drupal, we thing that with the Drupal Training Center we will succeed our vision to train people in all aspects of Drupal, locally: development, design, etc.
The following activities are or will be conducted:
- regular training session for Drupal users and for our Drupal group members;
- Serving as a training center for Drupal Universities;
- Serve as a meeting place for our group.
- Serve as a landing place for all Drupal user who is visiting our country;
This make we need to put a reel plane of lobbying
The lobbying component
We have to convince the majority of our leaders and the political leaders on the advantage that Drupal bring then other CMS.
The need in IT know-how is more than ever crucial in a country such as Burkina Faso, where promoting digital economy is the will of the Government.
Thus, among initiatives, Burkina Faso for his Administration dematerialization procedures policy has initiated some actions which contributes to the e-government implementation. This implementation will be done through the development of many online services such as websites, web applications, web services, etc. for the benefit of the government and State institutions, including ministries and various ministerial departments and State projects.
The department in charge of the digital economy development and the post office is conducting reflections in order to adopt a most secured Content Management System: more stable and offering a maximum of potentiality for the e-government goals fulfillment.
That is why it is appropriate for us to facilitate the promotion of Drupal for a total appropriation by the government.
The challenge is for us to implement proper strategies corresponding to the Burkina Faso dematerialization programs.
A big lobbying strategy is needed here: that it why we have make the proposal of the “Drupal University in Africa”, project.
The project will strongly contribute to the “promotion of Drupal among policy makers and big businesses in Burkina Faso”.
The Drupal University training project is going to be a lobbying strategy and also a Drupal promotion action.
That will allow us to:
- Train three time a year (Drupal Universities in Africa), developers and designers by making theme work on concrete projects. In our case the projects will be some witness websites for government departments and State institutions.
- Have at least thirty (30) Drupal developer and designer ready to deliver Drupal trainings in Burkina Faso by a year;
- Sensitize policy makers for a broad support to Drupal;
- Open the path to supporting the government and the e-government actions and projects with Drupal as main framework.
- Duplicate this model everywhere in Africa in order to get a strong, dynamic and well trained communities acting for Drupal promotion.
To succeed we will solicited the support of International Drupal experts for these practical training (Drupal Universities in Africa). The Ouagadougou training will result to online posting of at least two (02) witness websites in favor of State Administration;
An after each “Drupal University” we will organize a ceremony for reporting the training results and officially delivering the websites built during the training to the Burkina Faso authorities. That ceremony will be also an opportunity to sensitize government, big businesses and NGOs IT department’s managers in Burkina Faso.
Processing like this will permit us to achieve our goal on lobbying for Drupal adoption in Burkina Faso in all the African Continent.
The major obstacles to our strategy are:
- : Burkina Faso is a poor country and creating a website is not something accessible to everyone at a cost perspective. The services in the field of IT do not get paid at their real value (they are undervalued);
- : the internet have not yet covered all the Burkina Faso's territory; and even in the Capital we have enormous difficulty to access the high speed internet (High Speed is not yet a reality in Burkina Faso). Infrastructure and information highway remain to be developed. The mastery of technology are also superficial.
- On the political level: we have to convince the majority of our leaders and the political leaders who have a lack of knowledge on Computing in general. Indeed many of our leaders have discovered the computing very lately; this creates mistrust and a resistance to the advancement of computerization of the work system in our country. Also, since a long time IT was seen, as a tool that will sweep away all the old class of the Burkinabe intellectuals who do not have the mastery of new technologies.