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Cambodian community organizations making a difference with FONA

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Thanks to Rob for sending in this post! Check out more here.

We started the Maker Lab about a year ago to introduce a promising set of tools and approaches emerging from the maker movement to the developing world. These rapidly evolving and improving tools empower non-specialists to design electronic and mechanical devices, and to build them in quantities that are not economically viable under the traditional mass production model, upending some of the long-standing constraints around traditional manufacturing that have hindered developing countries’ access to transformative technologies.

Since then, we have applied this model in exciting ways. We have developed low-cost, open source flood early warning devices for municipalities in Honduras. We are promoting makerspaces as tools for inclusive economic growth in Jordan. We have designed programming to bring these new approaches—and a radically new way of learning them—to young people in El Salvador. But until this month, we had not applied the maker approach to governance and civil society programming, which is why I was so excited to run a three-day workshop—“Building Hardware for Civil Society”—at our Cambodia Development Innovations project in Phnom Penh.

At first blush, civil society may not seem an obvious home for bespoke technology, but in fact, it was some of the exciting things that civil society organizations (CSOs) around the world were doing with maker tools and approaches that first convinced us that this was an area we should be working in…

Read more.


Featured Adafruit Product!

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Adafruit FONA 808 – Mini Cellular GSM + GPS Breakout: Cellular + GPS tracking, all in one? Oh yes! Introducing Adafruit FONA 808 MiniGSM + GPS, an all-in-one cellular phone module with that lets you add location-tracking, voice, text, SMS and data to your project in an adorable little package. (It does not contain a drum machine, tho) Rad more.


Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.

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