Saturday, January 12, 2013


 In 2010 a group of socially aware techies decided to start an organization that offers technical courses for in development, specifically internet and communication technology for development (ICT4D) courses. They called it TechChange and they chose Washington, DC, for their headquarters because they would work with governments, international organisations, and multilateral groups.

With the rise of crowdsourcing uses, mobile phones, and social media, many organisations wanted to harness these tools for their international work. Since many of the techies who understand and create these tools may not have been working in the social sector, the TechChange founders saw the educational gap as a space they could operate in.

I would guess that they have now taught over 700 students now and their students are from over 70 countries around the world. They have a nice list of courses that includes technology for emergency management, technology for conflict resolution and peace building, technology for governance, mHealth, mobiles for development, Ushahidi, social media and technology, and technology and social entrepreneurship. My wonderful intern and I took the emergency management course, and we really enjoyed it. It was fast paced and there were really good interviews, talks, forums, games, articles, and practica. They did a good job. It’s not revolutionary, though; in other words, you can learn and find the information yourself. The value comes from the fact that someone has already collated and consolidated the information in one place and you can just go through it. They also give me access to the materials up to 6 months afterwards.

My only supportive criticism is the cost. Due to the price of the courses, say around $500-600, it seems that only employees of international organisations, NGOs, and governments enroll and their organization pays the fee. It’s also the only reason I was able to take the course. But I got a lot out of it, and I was so happy to take it. It served as great research on a side project.

No comments: