Drupal Camp Tunis 2015
Speaking to Willie Seabrook took me back to 2011-2012 when a few of us were trying to get Drupalists in Pakistan to morph into a local community, connect with the regional and global Drupal community and reap the benefits that come from the wisdom of the crowd. Willie is doing for Tunisian Drupal community what I did for the Pakistani Drupal community 3 odd years ago. I empathise with Willie's, he's got a task and a half ahead of him and we cannot not lend a hand... right!
Growing an OS community in any ecosystem leads to growth, opportunities, creation of jobs and wealth. Simply put it leads to socioeconomic transformation of the landscape be it a niche at a time. Such transformations are much needed in developing economies with high rates of youth unemployment, demographics skewed on the younger side and a shed load of socioeconomic challenges, simply put these are states for whom the stakes are very high.
Tunisia is one such ecosystem, with a high rate of unemployment amongst youth and women, economic grievances festering and successive caretaker governments busy fire fighting as opposed to nation building.
As activists, technologists and OS evangelists we can help! Willie's motivations for establishing a vibrant Drupal community in Tunisia and North Africa are aligned with my own and with those of Peace Through Prosperity's though targeted at a different category of entrepreneurs.
Tunisia produces more than 65,000 multilingual graduates a year, 61% of whom are women, 30% of these graduates are majoring in engineering, imagine the possibilities for transformation in Tunisia with significant uptake of Drupal and OS platforms. Uptake of OS platforms by the Tunisian government could mean reduced cost of ownership of systems, more money to invest in public facing services, hopefully more digital governmental services, increased transparency, accountability.... and more... eventually.
As for why North Africa or Tunisia matters? because its part of our wider ecosystem, there is economic and political strife there that we should empathise with at some level and contribute what ever we can to support agents of change in that part of the 3rd rock.
What the nascent local community has achieved in the last 3 years arguably in isolation is phenomenal! Willie and a few local enthusiasts have taken this enormous task upon themselves and have to date:
Run 17 small events & offering free Drupal workshops in 6 cities, training over 300 students,
Launched a trilingual Tunisian Drupal community website
Hired a full time trainer Ward Marzouki to run workshops
Are busy establishing a formal legal entity with a proper governance structure
Built an active Facebook community of 1300 members
Drupal Camp Tunis is being held on the 30th of May 2015 and the asks from the global community are: DC Tunis needs speakers, you can skype in, hangout or fly in for a short break in Tunis, as with any nascent community they need financial support to grow the community and beyond the camp itself, perhaps virtual mentors. My call to action for friends, acquaintances and absolute strangers from the Drupal communities on the third rock is to extend whatever support you comfortably can; be it a speaking slot on Saturday 30th May, sponsor the event or a part of... if we all give a little push we can get the transformational wheels rolling a lot faster in Tunis and the region... and won't that be nice.