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March 13, 2016 AT 3:00 am

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.


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