Business

Youth programme on mobile applications aims to boost Pacific Information Technology

By ELLEN STOLZ Youths from Fiji and across the Pacific were encouraged develop and localise mobile applications (apps) for the Fijian market at the Youth Tech Programme in Suva yesterday.
27 Nov 2012 10:55

By ELLEN STOLZ

Youths from Fiji and across the Pacific were encouraged develop and localise mobile applications (apps) for the Fijian market at the Youth Tech Programme in Suva yesterday.
Titled ‘Mobile App Development’ the four-day programme which began yesterday aims to train youths in the area of mobile development and information technology.
The programme is facilitated by the US State Department in collaboration with BrightPath Foudation and Pasifika Nexus and held at Novotel Suva Lami Bay.
The BrightPath foundation is a US-based non-profit organisation which provides values-based technology and digital content training to youth, communities, and governments.
BrightPath executive director Bevil Wooding said the programme was meant to support young people and equip them with useful information.
“One significant aspect of the workshop is not simply giving people new skills but also giving participants a sense of sensitivity, consciences as to why local content matters.
“What people can do in practical ways to develop indigenous content and how that content can create new opportunities for communities,” Mr Wooding said.
An example Mr Wooding used was with the increase in use of mobile phones now, there are applications you can download to find good coffee shops or restaurants in town.

Localise mobile apps
Youths participating in the programme have a chance to localise this and develop apps that satisfy the needs of Fijians and other Pacific Island countries.
“Mobile phone use has been on the rise for the past decade as a matter of fact it’s one of the fastest growing dimensions of the technology sector in the Pacific.
“These kinds of initiatives allows countries in the region to actually become producers of content, services that are more tailored to the environment that we live in here in the Pacific,” Mr Wooding said.

Mobile app development
Though this is the first time for such an islands initiative has been touched on in the Pacific Mr Wooding said it has great potential for young people to tap into.
“There is a danger that lies to just looking at models from Australia, New Zealand, America and all these countries we can see patterns that are not relevant to our societies.”
Mr Wooding said what participants are getting in this one week is the know-how to work together with various mobile companies who are also keenly supporting this to develop apps.
“One of the things that we emphasis is that this should not only be an event. It should spark a whole new wave of development activity, a wave of collaboration between players that right now may not necessarily find the same ground to collaborate.
“Apps can solve local needs, challenges and provide solutions and it can lead to a good strong industry,” he said.




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