Digital Medenine (an initiative by OurGhema)

project-digital-medenine

#1

(These are some notes from a call with @zmorda and @yosser today, as we start to take small practical steps to make this a reality. For the original “Digital Medenine” idea and the initial discussion about it, see the discussion starting here.)

1. Insights from OurGhema

The first month of operations was quite good. There was an event for sharing exchange opportunities, an event for Africa Day, and others. Most visitors came to have a place to study as the it was exams time, and would organize their own meetings with their study group in the OurGhema space.

The pricing scheme is quite low-cost compared to other coworking spaces, but Yosser wants to overhaul the current scheme so that the membership fee would include more “benefits” such as coffee from the coffee corner etc… The current pricing scheme was calculated with Zmorda according to the costs that have to be covered.

So far there are “nearly no” entrepreneurs in the space – because there are very few in Medenine to begin with. Yosser is working on a mentoring program (for professional / skill development) with a friend that would bring people closer to the “mindset” of becoming an entrepreneur. It’s a rather long process. Also there are ideas for an entrepreneurship academy and incubator program in the space, but this is in idea stage so far.

In general the space needs more external expertise and tools to host more entrepreneurship classes and related activities.

Yosser: “The idea of the space is to help people see things, esp. in Medenine, from another perspective. That’s what entrepreneuring is about, and this is also how the Digital Medenine idea fits in. It is included in the vision of OurGhema.”

2. Initial outline for the Digital Medenine project

We discussed if Digital Medenine should start as a volunteer project or a business project, and decided for the former – because in the beginning, business owners will have a hard time to see why they should have their business information online, and will not want to pay for the service. However, the project might become a funded project lateron, for example with funding by NGOs or the city administration. To facilitate that potential transition to a financially self-sustaining project, the Digital Medenine web presence would be “standalone”, not integrated with the OurGhema website.

Potential contributions of OurGhema (to be discussed in detail with Yosser):

  • hosting sessions to define the goal and vision of Digital Medenine
  • helping find the “right people” as volunteers
  • events for skill training / mapping
  • hosting the meetings for the Digital Medenine project cost-free, as an in-kind contribution

Contributions by Edgeryders:

  • web hosting for free (it does not cost us extra to host more website on our server)
  • technical assistance by @matthias for tool selection and web development, but limited to consulting via Internet

Steps to start activity for the Digital Medenine project:

  1. Have another call to prepare the first meeting with Medenine youth. This call should clarify:

    • What do we want from people?
    • What are the inspirational cases we can show?
    • Creating a workspace category on edgeryders.eu.
    • Define a proposal for a first set of tools that we can bring to the first meeting. This will also determine if and how much web development would be needed for publishing the Digital Medenine content.
  2. Have a first meeting with youth in Medenine with the following purposes:

    • Present some inspirational cases of how digital representations look for other cities (@matthias will help finding that).
    • See what they want to include in the “Digital Medenine” project (what are their needs and focus areas). They have to be able to define / influence what the project should do – to be a “good volunteering project”, we have to do that.
    • Make it clear from the beginning about the potential that this can turn into a business, and how prior volunteer contributions will be treated then. Volunteers need to keep motivated and have transparency.
  3. Define what is the added value for people to join the community working on “Digital Medenine”?

  4. Collect a community of volunteers around the project. There would be calls for volunteers and calls for trainers. Volunteers should bring a set of basic computer skills and will learn the rest.

  5. Find out what foreigners (and maybe locals, too) are missing when trying to find information about Medenine. The volunteer teams should decide on their own focus areas according to their interests and map things according to that (education, health, arts / culture, tourism etc.).

  6. Set up the digital mapping tools which contributing volunteers can use. To involve high-schools students, we would prepare the tools as we cannot expect them to do that by themselves. They can totally enter data though…

Our main target group for volunteers would be students. University students are only in Medenine in summer holidays (as they dedicate the other holidays for reviewing their studies etc.). However, high-school students (16-18) are more available as they live in Medenine. They would be a great combination together: 4 high-school students and one university student will be the expected (and suitable) mix. The university students would be the mentors.

Volunteers will drop out, and new ones will join. Probably, people will join via personal networks and contribute more regularly, and other people will join because of them. This was the experience in OurGhema as well.

Zmorda thinks that the project should not be funded by businesses, but by organizations, city government etc…

Seems a good opportunity for OurGhema to make itself a name as caring for the city and caring for social entrepreneurship. But it’s important to stay focused on the most essential categories of information.


Greetings from Haykel
Twenty-Seven New Business Ideas for the Southern Mediterranean Region
#2

You said it all, so far we need to focus on getting the volunteers and introducing Digital Medenine idea to the public! for now I started speaking about it to my friends, but not communicating about it officially in OurGhema, and I plan to start it in the next month! and I already talke to @AnesB about it and he is excited :slight_smile:
but we still have a lot to do! Concerning the platform development, or the website, how will it be made? @matthias and I do offer having it in OurGhema website


#3

Hello ! I really liked the idea of putting Medenine into a digital network that could create positive change like giving the opportunity to Medenine’s youth to be active and to volunteer in a interesting project also a simple and easy way to get to know the area for tourists who wish to visit Medenine . Me and @Yosser we talked about it and I will be happy to work and to be a part of the group volunteering to make “Digital Medenine “ come true


#4

Excellent summary. If it works, it is potentially replicable. So, watching with interest here.


On the Tunisian social entrepreneurship ecosystem
#5

hey guys, great work, hope you are advancing steadily in the digital medenine project.
I was looking on some data about Medenine and thought it could be helpful to share them with you under the digital medenine thread.

Data from an official report on Medenine 2014 by stastique tunisie http://www.ins.nat.tn/
The Governorate has 9 delegations ( matmdia ) including northern and southern medenine.

1st of all generally, people are not migrating away from the region in high numbers, in fact in some parts like Northeren Medenine, and the other coastal areas like Houmet Souk, the number of people coming in exceeds the number of people leaving. A lot of people are leaving the southern part though like Ben Khedech and Ben Guerdane. Generally Medenine region’s internal migration sum is zero [ no of people leaving - no of people entering ].

I am not sure about the reasons on the ground, is it a normal pattern that people leave for a while to a bigger city just to be able financially to come back and settle in better living conditions ?

The biggest share of stated reasons for “leaving” in north Medenine are marriage, accompanying the family both reasons together form more than 50% then comes work with 23% ; needless to mention that reason of leaving for male residence is 36% work and marriage + accompanying the family together form 36%, in the female residence percentages are work 9% and marriage + accompanying the family together form 67% , interestingly leaving for study keeps a 12% in both male and female statistics.

As for external migration, people are coming back as well, Knowing that in the last years some Tunisians are coming back from Libya due to violence and Europe due to the economic crisis ( source world bank, 2013) I am not sure is this visible in Medenine on the ground ? did people came back to their hometown from outside of the country or coming back and how is this process affecting the town ?

Main reason for leaving is work with an average of 73% , reaching 89% in some regions. ( for female statistics it is work 32% and marriage 36%, in north medenine it reaches 61% marriage and 21% work )

As we already know Medenine is young, Average age is around 31 years old with more than 32% of the north and south Medenine’s population is from 20 till 39. But this comes with an unemployment rate of 18-21 % ( in north and south ) and Unemployment within people with higher degrees is 32-34%.

So entrepreneurship could come in handy here, I would argue that building a hyper local community in between the 9 delegations is needed and could catalyze better development, ( how do you guys think this could be done, you can leave a comment in this other post on tunisia )

More than 53 % of the people over 15 years old are married. Besides, 77% north and 83 % south of the families own their houses, and 83%, 87% built their houses.

So basically the openvillage model of coliving and reducing rent doesn’t work here, arguably in most small towns in the region.

Interestingly there is a 10-6 % vacant houses and 4% abandoned houses, which could be a nice activity to map as well as they could act as places for potential projects.

Only 44% of people above 10 years old use the internet. I believe that this number is increasing, and makes sense to start the mapping now so it can become beneficial for the rising local internet population and global tourism.

I am interested to know how are you going to drive this thing forward, are there any channels to propose this for the local municipality ? what are they ? and what are the authorities for the local municipality ? are they able to fund this ? how is the process ?

Schools, health units are relatively well located, youth buildings or facilities for youth are not as much almost 50 % more than 2 km away, this means there are still lot of potential for places like ourghema to start, how can people there replicate the model or make their own business model, it will be nice to put the practical info available for others to build on and use.

Finally, Most houses are connected with water and electricity but waste management system is lacking 50-29 % which could be a good business opportunity ( like Envitou Stas or even partner with it to expand its market to medenine )