How Software can be used for Development in Cameroon the Cameroon Way.

My country Cameroon faces huge challenges at present and for the future. As a professional software engineer, I've always wished I could make a positive impact using my skill set in the development of my Country. Below is a collection of areas I believe software applications designed by Cameroonians can be effective in promoting positive development in our Nation. Note that I am stressing on 'designed by Cameroonians' as I believe that we as Cameroonians have a much better grasp of the problems we face and thence can provide a much more appropriate solution.

Software as a Service

In its basic form any piece of software that is built provides some kind of service. Software is not an accessory or status symbol. It's a programmed component residing within a computer that solves a specific problem within a specific domain. This concept is important to understand because the misuse of software can be a catastrophic waste of resources. There are three (3) main services that software applications provide:

  1. Improve process efficiency (reducing human intervention and errors);
  2. Increasing speed (computers are bloody fast!)
  3. Supporting Desicion Making (Trend Analysis & Decision Support Systems).

From data management systems to Aircraft positioning systems to Email software, each one provides one or more of the listed services above.

It's no surprise therefore that, there is a certain parallel between the services provided by software and Development. When we seek to develop our services we're seeking to make better decisions, improve our society's infrastructure, processes and systems. Sometimes, it's also important to reduce the time it takes for things to be done. So one can clearly see how some of the goals of development are similar to the services provided by software. This makes the perfect case for the use of software for development.

Application of Software for Development

As I said stated earlier, misuse of software can be a catastropic waste of resources. I will take a look at 2 areas where the application of software can make real difference in the life of the average Cameroonian. Education and Health.

Education
Education is key to development without wanting to state the obvious. However, the delivery of education is also key. Measuring and monitoring performance of schools, pupils, programmes and strategies is also key. without these measurements, it will be impossible to ascertain whether a particular school, pupil, programme or strategy is having positive results. The use of Data Storage and Management systems, statistical analysis tools will help in providing the required metrics for making assessments about perfomance. Software will encourage monitoring as this will be done automatically and consistently by Computer systems rather than error-prone/forgetful humans.

Health
The health sector also faces the same challenges and the same Computer systems will be required. However, there are issues relating to Patient Medical History and Drugs administration which are currently not managed properly using the right computer systems. There are examples of Doctors who use Microsoft Word for managing patient records. Though you might consider this as an application of software, it's clearly using the wrong software in the right place. A specialised sodftware for managing patient records will be more appropriate. In this instance the software is fulfulling two services (process efficiency & decision support). Currently in many hospitals, patients have to wait for hours before they're seen. Such long waits are usually due to burdening manual administration procedures that have to be performed by Doctors or their assistants before the patient is seen. An improvement in speed, as a result of the correct application of Software systems, can make the difference between life and Death.

The way forward

I would recommend that we actively seek new and beneficial ways of applying software to encourage development within Cameroon. The first step is for Cameroonian software developers to think out of the box.They need to take a look at their environment and ask the questions..."Would this process/system/method work better with Software?". If the answer is Yes, then we (as software developers) need to work with Marketing specialists to send the message out there about the benefits of using the software service.

Alot of excuses have been made in the past. It's too expensive, we do not have software developers, the people are not ready etc etc.. To me, these are irrelevant. The message has to be clear and followed up strongly. And I hope you reading this will be part of the Campaign to take the message out there.

Being based in the United Kingdom, I see daily how the application of software changes lives. Lives are being changed in cameroon too, the problem is, not at an acceptable rate. We can do more.

Published Tuesday, 01 May. 2007. 00:05

COMMENTS

 
Mon, 28 Jan. 2008. 14:01 by mambenanje

well I like the post and I realy want cameroon to sit up but the system in Cameroon is too poor such that they dont consider development of the country they prefer development of themselves and their families. Its not about your expertise its about your relatives

Mon, 18 Feb. 2008. 17:02 by Ekwoge Fritz

Hello, sorry I am reading this post only now. I am ekwoge fritz, a software engineer here in cameroon. I want to particularly support you in your first suggestion of using SaaS, i.e software as a service. Well I am myself a computer engineer, and I was thinking one of the main areas we could improve on development is by using free classified ads, a concept that has worked well in the US with craigslist.com and gumtree in london. I believe using free classified ads will help us find jobs, business opportunities etc. Well as an engineer, talking is not enough. I created kerawa.com to do just that: serve free classified ads. There is even a new beta version available, www.kerawa.com/beta/do.php?op=ShowHomePage, which emphasizes the concept of software as a service, since we aim to host ads for individuals and companies, and have them even embed their ads in their own sites. Check it out and tell me what you think.

Sun, 30 Mar. 2008. 14:03 by Grand Obos

In a Conference I attended, an issue raised was how to use the cameroonian way of beeping productively? Imagine cameroonians working on a software project that bills mobile subscribers based on the fraction of cost generated by that subscriber and not the time that subscriber talks over the network. It therefore means subcribers shall be charged for beeping, those cameroonians working on the project shall gross their earnings the Network operation process is being optimised, but would this be a development from the subscriber perspective the cameroonian way? If the cameroonian way of beeping is not addressed productively, network operators may incure latent costs which may in the long run ruin their business and the blame word in Cameroon is MISMANAGEMENT. As we all strive for development in our respective domains, it becomes difficult to define what development means in another domain.

Fri, 21 May. 2010. 12:05 by ESIMINDA HENRY

I WILL REALLY WANT THE CAMEROONIAN YOUTHS TO GET INTO SOFTWARE PROGRAMMING DEVELOPMENT SKILLS RATHER THAN LOOKING FOR WHIT COLOR JOB FROM THE GOVERNMENT.

computer are cheap now and there are free software development tools on the internet. I THINK THIS IS THE BEST WAY FOR CAMEROONIAN TO GET STARTED WITH THE TECHNOLOGY

MOST CAMEROONIAN THINK COMPUTER ARE MEANT ONLY FOR TYPING AND PRINTING OF DOCUMENTS AND THE MAINTENANCE OF THE HARDWARE.

THE WAY FORWARD IS EDUCATION AND THE YOUTHS OF CAMEROON SHOULD START the LEARNING COMPUTER PROGRAMMING

ESIMINDA HENRY UDIGE
SOFTWARE DEVELOPER IN BAMENDA
Email: udige2001@yahoo.com

Tue, 08 Nov. 2011. 07:11 by Daniel Herve Medjo Dreier

Recherche d'ingenieurs en informatic ou de programmeurs tout court.
Hi everybody,

I am a R&D engineer from CISCO.
I would to create a development team in Cameroun.
So if there is any programmer out there that want to be part of the project,
please step forward.
I would like to solve customer's issues, mostly from Europe.
Beside that, I would like to start a cloud computing project at the same time.
This will be in freelance base at the beginning as I will need to earn money in order to start hiring full time.
I could have done this in ASIA, but our continent is forgotten.
My emeail: hervemedjo@gmail.com
Tel:(0045)31123423

Mon, 10 Sep. 2012. 20:09 by I Am

Greetings to all,
The way forward is eliminating ignorance and feeding the population with all the ideas listed on this blog. Write a blog of thousands words about this topic and only those who are already in the industry will find your blog. I will appreciate if you prepare yourselves, go out there and preach about IT to the population instead of putting all this ideas on a blog.

All the same, I appreciate your efforts but also want to let you know that there is nothing like help when what you truly want is to make money out of the people.

 

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