Enticing Nepali Engineering Students with Sahana

Biplov Bhandari (Researcher and Sahana Developer @ AIT) and I (Nuwan) had the opportunity to present our Sahana work in Nepal. This was at the recently held 6th Mahotsav IT Festival hosted by the Gandaki College of Engineering and Science (GCES), in Pokhara, Nepal. The Honorable Minister of Information and Communications: Mr. Sherdan Rai inaugurated the event (MOIC).

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The opportunity for us to engage in the event was made possible by our friends from the Internet Society Nepal Chapter (ISOC-Nepal). This interaction, in January 2016, served as a prelude to ISOC-Nepal’s intended Conference on “ICT use in Disasters” in March 2016. The Sahana Foundation is keen in running a more intense, possibly 3-4 day, SahanaCamp in conjunction with the conference.

During the opening session, on January 8th, I presented an overview of Sahana from my desk in Kunming, China, over a skype feed.  Half way through we were disrupted by a scheduled power cut. Load-shedding for 8-16 hours a day, during the Nepali winters, is common due to the shortage of hydro-power. Moreover, with the current fuel crisis, driven by Indian Politics aiming to squeeze the Nepali economy to get the Indian way with Nepalis, adds to the disaster. Nevertheless, the Minister, listening to half of my talk was keen that the Sahana Software Foundation meet with him during a subsequent visit, possibly in March.

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On the second day (January 9th), Biplov conducted a half-day workshop, getting deeper into Sahana exposing the participants to deployments to-date, and showing them how the Sahana Eden framework responds to simple Web2Py code.

Biplov said – “Participant were excited to learn about existing features in Sahana. Most of them were techies so it was easy to get started. We started off by installing Sahana EDEN, playing with different templates and then actually started coding. The students were electrified to see the simplicity of Sahana Framework allowing them to make new modules, customizing the look-n-feel and integrating map for managing geospatial data. Some students also mentioned their interest to perform the final year project using Sahana EDEN.”

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The event had ablend of Engineering students, Lecturers and Professional from IT fields in Nepal. A key objective that Biplov was focusing on was building interest among the audience to form groups of students who could regularly contribute to Sahana and then continue to pass on that trend to the junior student.

Our proposition to Nepal was the following agenda:

Sahana Software Foundation, along with its partner organizations, is dedicated to helping Nepal build bigger and better in its post earthquake initiative!

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