(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:
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.
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.
Define what is the added value for people to join the community working on “Digital Medenine”?
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.
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.).
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.