Following up on the MEDIA & MAKERS ‘Open Knowledge and Sustainable Media’ Forum and the #OSJUBA discussions on the role of Open Source in South Sudan’s Post-Conflict Development r0g_team members Stephen Kovats and Clemens Lerche returned to South Sudan on a research and project development trip in November 2013. This continues a dialogue begun earlier in 2013 with H.E. the Governor of Warrap State, Nyandeng Malek Dielic on the #OSWARRAP Open Systems Strategies for Peace, Innovation and Development. r0g_ had the opportunity to engage in more precise discussions on open education, development, security and empowerment issues with a broad range of government officials, civil society organisations as well as students and other citizens.
The ‘Open Systems’ background documentation visit made to Warrap State by our partners in South Sudan, CEPO – the Community Empowerment for Progress Organisation and the Kapital Movie collective during summer 2013 provided an excellent foundation upon which to develop a range of new ‘open’ project ideas and work further on the original open solutions initiatives that emerged from MEDIA & MAKERS, or the UNESCO WSIS Review conference we participated at together with Governor Nyandeng and the German Foreign Office.
In particular our days spent in Kuajok, as guests of the Warrap government, were especially intense with top-level meetings, live radio interviews, visits around the area as well as a seminar with local students that included hands-on DIY, FOSS, and Open Hardware demos. This allowed us to engage in extremely challenging discussions, thoroughly convincing us and our local partners that NOW is indeed the crucial moment in which to seize and harness the vast potentials that open technologies and methodologies, open data and open educational resources hold.
Please refer to our travel report, where we discuss all the elements of the South Sudan Open Systems Initiative, including #OSBACK, the Self-Reliant Open Server Backbone, the #OSJUBA – Architecture of Peace project and the potential creation of an Open Cultures Resource Centre network (#OpenCRC). In conjunction with these the possibility to begin with a number of small scale and exploratory workshops that illustrate the power and potential of open resources in culture and education, such as the Warrap State Wikipedia Sprint or the Konyo Konyo Juba Market Data Expedition, are on their way to becoming reality.
As we work through our follow-up and continued project development, we look forward to continued feedback, interest, advice and collaboration in this initiative … which we hope will not stop at South Sudan’s borders!