There are a million challenges to web development here in West Africa, not the least of which are poor and/ or expensive internet connections, a general ignorance of what the web can do (this is actually true all over the world, including the States), and computer illiteracy.
What do you do when someone who’s never sat down in front of a computer wants a website? And what do you do when they’re standard for professionalism is yahoo.fr? “Lots of zoom,” they tell us. Zoom = “moving flashing things like on yahoo.” And how do we teach these people how to update their websites?
starting this blog taking this blog in a new direction so that I can explore some of these questions. People Online has a French-language blog, but it’s hard to write in French, and I’m lazy. And that blog doesn’t really have a direction yet. That is, we’re busy publishing articles, but we haven’t quite figured out what we want. This blog will be more focused. And hopefully, as I find my voice in English, I’ll find it that much easier to reproduce the effort in French.
So who am I?
I’m an American, working with a small NGO here in Cotonou, Benin. Our goal is to make technology more accessible to small and medium sized businesses. We set out to change the way the IT services sector, and specifically web development, works here. People Online’s motto is “Getting Benin Online” (La mise en ligne du Bénin), and so far, it’s working.
I do make websites. I also do a lot of book keeping, managing freelancers, and keeping the business side of the non-profit running correctly. Mostly, I work with WordPress. I’m a fan girl, which is embarrassing (for a web application? who falls in love with a web application?!?!). And I like to play.
Anyway. We’ll see where this goes. Professional blogging is probably harder than it looks.
Wish me luck!