Last Saturday we had an intense community call discussing the latest updates of Ourghema with Yosser, here are the documentation of the call so we can continue the discussion.
hazem : coordinating these calls as a community manager in edgeryders , interested in city development, informality, and online communities.
zmorda : from tunisia part of the edgeryders community , basically I am an engineer and now converting my career to data science.
hugi : I live in Stockholm and starting a space here and edgeryders will be part of this space and starting the project participio on edgeryders
yosser : from medenine , currenrtly working in my space Ourghema.
Matthias : I am right now in the call from a mobile home in a truck, early edgeryders cofounder back in 2012 , I visited medenine end of last year for the social innovation camp organized by yosser and zmorda and was interested to know how the space developed
khawla El-Behey : from tunisia a cofounder of Elspace in Tunis doing my PhD in Germany on entrepreneurship innovation system in north Attica
OurGhema, an introduction
yosser : This ourghema space was launched 4 month ago, I have been working on it from 1 or 2 years, the idea came from the fact that in the south of Tunisia we don’t have such spaces, and was kinda a risk to start it, working on the cultural aspect and entrepreneurship aspect as well.
we organized social innovation camp, and african rising event in Tunisia, different sets of events and training.
currently I don’t have a structured team its me and someone working on the coffee shop in the space as I need it to maintain the financial stability for the space.
Hugi : I would love to know how big is it ? how many people come during the day ?
Yosser: speaking about the community and how many people are coming, you can’t really measure it as in Medenine we don’t have universities here so some month it is completely full we need more chairs, and sometimes it is just 10 -20.
It is hard to define a community in Medenine , its a different set of community , now with the school is on and university begins, I have to work on high school students, and then summer the high school students are not in the space but the university people came back home and are using it.
it is very exhausting as every 3 month different people come to the space.
hugi : What are people working on in the space ?
For univirsity students, some working as freelancer or on their final projects. For high school students, they will be mainly studying or discussing just high school events.
you can work,study or just relax in the space.
khawla I would love to know Why people come to the space ? not who comes then.
Yosser : because you don’t have a space that you can just sit and work or study , you only have coffee shops for men and the new ones for men and women are very noisy , so people who come want to run away from the noise and work and discuss project.
Khawla and where exaclty is the space located ?
Yosser : It is in the city , about 15 minutes walking from the center.
How to move forward, learning from Elspace
Khwala : I want to share with you how we approach stuff in our community, there are mainly 2 approaches.
mainstream activities that we need to have all the time specially for the freelancer …… so when we are talking about freelancer I recommend to see for the 4 month you have the useers and make a profile for your own freelancer profile and start crafting the service based on their needs. You can approach the freelancers and ask them what they need and highlight it as a services, this is the 1st mainstream for your space.
The high school and NGOs I would recommend to come from your mission and value for your space , what do you want and what character you want to build and start making activities around this.
Yosser : I wanted to share with you , I was in the 1st coworking space launched in Medenine ,and both of us are facing the same problem , the concept of freelancing is not known , everything is centralized in Tunis and people after a certain age they choose to go to Tunis or migrate.
I am now in the phase of introducing the concept and looking for freelancers, the ones that we have here are university students and then they go to university and then I find my self collaborating with the new people coming to the space.
Khawla: we are facing the same in [Nabeul ?] and you need to know who are the interesting people in Medenine, who will be interested in several activities in your space, you need to provide a service with permanent beneficiaries or clients.
Yosser : how do you suggest this ?
Kahwala : Itt is about service design, you need to come up with a road map and make a needs-assessment first, what is the big deal in Medenine, for example in Mehdia , people are interested in arts, so spaces are focusing on arts and fabrication.
In [Nabeul ?] the community is focusing on recruiting and partnership with universities, now they are a partner with a university [ missing univesity name ]
I worked in 2015 in Medenine there is a lot of community within social orientation, the association of halof and several working with empowering women, Jebra as well are interested in the non profit
you are from there and you know more about better and then you can build your service design around.
Yosser : how long did you stay in Medenine ?
Khawla : Almost one year but was working 3 weeks in Tunis one week in Medenine.
Yosser : if you stay in Medenine for longer, it is not easy when you go deeply, the youth are divided between going to Tunis or going to Europe even illegally
I had someone working with me in the cafe, but still he wanted to migrate to Europe even after trying to talk and coneince him to stay and continue with the job.
the youth in Medenine are not focused but the only thing that they think about is to go out of Medenine to get a decent job even with the association that you worked with, you will find a lot of the leaders if thy find a chance to leave, the go.
I am being honest, but it is hard here.
Khawla :I understand and agree with you , we are as human we are seeking our own comfortable situation and lifestyle.
people who have their bachelor and university degree, and want to go abroad and make their own future, we can gain from them but not giving them a service to stay in the space, we can include them as an online community to serve the interest of the Medenine community
it is about digging in the shit, you have a challenges , ok you want to go abroad, come build this with me and work for 4 month in ourghema, and you will get a chance to apply for scholarships…
2nd reflection, don’t’ focus on this people, now you are working with high school people, did you check if there is an existing clubs.
Yosser : a good part is that these clubs come and hang out in the space. So yes currently I am focusing on this community right now.
I actually started on it, I decided on it and starting some soft skills training as no one work on this in here, started with a small training on public speaking, it is a training that I was asked by a university to deliver
I am starting with the soft skills as basics for now.
Khwala : please make it fixed training like one hour a week, this is very helpful and you create informal ambassadors for your space
Yosser : working on it , each Saturday we have an event on the space. If we say a soft training series/kit, what do you suggest ?
Khawla: The hard answer s
invite every association and club that are working in Medenine and come up with a need assessment for the community. After that you will have a clear overview of a strategic plan of what kind of training from soft or hard , that youth in Medenine need.
Yosser : When u started the space building a community in there how was it like ?
Khawla : El space was different, but it is in the 2 first question that I aske you, why people should come to you ?
[Building community and everything about social innovation and agile concepts, we started with this concept and then started learning labs which is tackling trends related to crowdfunding and collaborative economy and people get to know us, and know what is our vision . It is hard but after that we learn from them how, after you get to know your community needs and design the services needed. ……]
##Future Collaboration, Particip.io, OurGhema, Elspace
hugi : about participio we are organizing hackathons and weeks for developers to work together and this will be in different spaces, Tunisia was in my radar for this, it is hard to get to Medenine in the weekend events but may be for a longer event it could be interesting then I would be happy to hear from yosser if this could be interesting for the people inside the space ?
They are one in a weekend events and it is for people who know about software development and can contribute and learn. Then the week long events, and it is for experienced developers working together on the ideas that came on the hackathons.
When I looked in Medenine I see it is hard to do for a weekend , but for a week it could work, but do you have people working on software in the space ?
Yosser : Yes I have a developers club, I work as well in development the market of software developers is in Medenine, I see it as a feasible thing to do. we already organized as social innovation camp and people were excited.
This could work but depending on the timing it should be in the summer holidays
Hugi : there is one in November 16-19 and then a week following that from the 19-25
Yosser I need to check, there is a holiday during November but need to check the dates.
Hazem : will it be feasible to have the weekend in Tunis and then go for the week in Medenine ?
Khawla : yes , we organize each year 2 hackathons with Paris[…] , so yes you are welcome and tell me how we can organize it and we can even support ourghema if needed.
Hugi : if we make it in november so the weekend should be in Tunis, if they are flying from outside.
Zmorda : Jebra airport is just 30 minutes from medenine but you should have some early bookings to have cheap flights.
Hugi : The Hackathon is very specific for a specific application, people should read before about the idea and will be focused on making this idea work, so it is quite focused hackathon but not a general theme one.
We can set up the time after the call.
Digital Medenine front
Hazem : what about the Digital Medenine initiative ? Is it still going on, how are the updates?
Yosser : it is going on, and some people started to collect the info with Hykal he is on the platfrom right now . The reason that we were not working on it because I was traveling and will be working on it for the next months if Matthias is also still available
Matthias : I am still interested in the project and available for remote tech support. I will be in Nepal and will be working on something similar so the tools could be done and used and we can coordinate about that
zmorda : matthias when are going to start in working on this project in Nepal and for how long ? And can we start both projects at the same time ?
Matthias : It will be more low key project starting may be February next year, it will not be an official project but usually when I am in a place I start collecting this data and publish it and this always starts other projects
doesn’t have to start in the same time, I can propose tools to be used in Medenine, will start as a wiki on the platform and take the discussion there.
Last question: OurGhema Meaning ?
Hazem: what does Ourghema means ?
Yosser: they are the Tribes that built Medenine, so lets rebuild Medenine with our vision again that we inherited from our ancestors, and logo is the Tatoos that the old women had on their faces and hands holding the meanings of harmony and hard working.