Rob Grande's blog from Nepal 4
Meeting with Saroj
▪ Primary purpose of meeting was to talk about the culture in nepal in terms of startups and open source community and to get contacts who would be interested in developing for Looma.
▪ We were talking about our role with Three60 and I had mentioned that the technology that Three60 is developing is too advanced for the rural government schools and that it would be difficult to sell them on it. Saroj mentioned that actually Microsoft has been selling surface tablets to the government, so it's not so far fetched.
▪ Apparently, Microsoft has been selling tablets as part of the “microsoft innovation center” to government schools in Kathmandu
▪ Saroj mentioned he has contacts with startups, open source people, a user interface (UX) designer, database developers, and coding factories, so this should be everyting I need.
• Saroj said that since we are a volunteer group focusing on development, we can probably get the “nepali” rate of 3-4 dollars an hour. Otherwise, the typical rate they charge for foreigners is 7-10 dollars an hour. Considering most freelancers in the US charge 25+ dollars an hour, this is not bad
▪ He also mentioned that next week is the open education week, and that he would connect me with these people.
▪ Saroj mentioned that in order to maintain developers, we need to incentivize them either with certificates, recognition on the Looma, or some small monetary compensation.
▪ Saroj is also involved with localization projects, i.e. translating foreign media into nepali. He mentioned that within Kathmandu, most people are reasonably fluent with other languages and so don't see the point, but in the country side nobody speaks english.
▪ He talked about making an app in which the company pairs articles covering similar topics (such as news events or wiki articles), the app removes all nonimportant words (a, the, at , in, these, etc.) and then the words are presented to the user as a matching game. In this way, the person can match words, and build up a english nepali glossary.
• I thought this was an excellent idea, and agreed to help.
• This would be great to use in the Looma system, although the textbooks are not true pdf's but images, so they require recognition software. And apparently, there is no known Devanagari character recognition software available...