BarCamp Cameroon 2010 – What a Success!
Limbe Labs was proud to once again help organise and sponsor the second edition of BarCamp Cameroon. Approximately 200 mainly young technologists attended this unique event in the Djeuga Palace Hotel in YaoundÃ© and many more followed online through twitter and the live blog.
A BarCamp is an “unconference” and has been described as:
“an ad-hoc gathering born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment. It is an intense event with discussions, demos, and interaction from attendees.”
For those of you not familiar with the BarCamp format and concept here is a good video that explains it.
This year the organisers of the BarCamp tried to make the event more interactive and give more time and space for participants to present. With three conference rooms available for the whole day talks were organised in three loosely grouped tracks. ICT4D, open source and developers, this meant that there was plenty to suit all the participants of the event.
Due to this increased focus on participation by the audience the event was a runaway success with so much participation from the attendees that not everyone who wanted to present was able to by the end of the day, in fact even after the official end of the barcamp presentations were still going on!
It was particularly exciting to see some new Cameroonian grown ventures being launched at BarCamp, Churchill from Afrovision Group presented on his new social network for Cameroonians – Camerborn, Gaston presented on his new venture sawa market and the Limbe Labs funded Fritz talked about his innovative new mobile sms app store iYam.mobi. It was also great to see the guys behind real estate and rental site Koutchoumi.com presenting on some of the technology behind their site. It’s still very early days for the Cameroonian Internet market but the level of innovation and creativity sprouting up is very exciting and these young entrepreneurs should be encouraged as much as possible. Hopefully many more will follow their lead over the coming years.
Google also participated and one of their product managers did a workshop on Google App Engine. It was very exciting for many of the participants and the fact that a company like Google would care to attend and even sponsor gave many people a sense of excitement and pride.
Once again this year Ringo provided super fast wireless Internet. Most of the participants were addicted to it during the day and the Ringo logs we looked at later proved it was maxed out over the course of the day. Due to the bandwidth available there was a live blog and a fair bit of coverage via twitter during the event that was followed by Cameroonians in the diaspora all over the world, from the US, France and even in places as far flung as Nepal! Some following online complained that there weren’t enough tweets coming out of the event but as one of participants noted “people were too busy participating at the event to be on twitter constantly!” This was definitely true with a large amount of audience participation in all the talks and workshops. The outside areas were also always full with participants networking and sharing their ideas.
BarCamp Cameroon is growing and gaining maturity and popularity in Cameroon and the participants are inspiring each other to even greater heights. This has definitely become the premier event for grass roots Information Technology and a must attend event for all technologists in Cameroon.