By Sander van Vugt, Founder & Santos Chibenga Co-Founder Living Open Source Foundation
Technology companies around the world have embraced open source software, helping them drive profits and improvements to the bottom line. The current trend is that the well paying jobs in open source are concentrated in developed countries with good educational systems in place. However, open source is meant to be truly open to anyone in the world, but to do so, open source education must be available to everyone.
With that idea in mind, we started the Living Open Source Foundation. Before COVID struck the planet, we regularly organized successful events in various African countries, providing education in open source software for free. Linux Foundation Training & Certification has been a kind sponsor of our efforts, donating vouchers for the Linux Foundation Certified System Administrator (LFCS) exam. Thanks to these joint efforts and support, we have been able to assist hundreds of promising individuals in Zambia, Malawi, Kenya, Ethiopia and other countries to build a future in open source software.
Then COVID came, and our efforts to provide in-person education came to a halt. While it is possible to provide online education, in countries like Malawi, internet access is extremely expensive, which would only allow those who already are in a comfortable situation to join our training programs. Additionally, even in areas where the internet is accessible and affordable, the quality of the connection often is simply not stable enough to offer a good learning experience.
So how can Living Open Source Foundation deal with this situation? At the moment we engage in outreach to individuals throughout the African continent and beyond to provide individual support. That is not as efficient and more expensive, but it at least allows us to move forward slowly, and continue assisting people in building a future in open source. So more than ever, we welcome help from our sponsors like The Linux Foundation.
Special attention also goes to providing hardware to promising talent in Africa. Too often, within a family only one computer is available, which has to be shared between all the members in a household. To help in these situations, we are collecting used hardware, and shipping it to the individuals who need it. To continue these efforts, more support is needed. If you want to help, please reach out to us directly.