The Association of University Students for Cooperation (AUCOOP) is an association formed by members of the community of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC) and of the UPC Alumni community. AUCOOP's objective is to cooperate for the development of the technological field. One of the projects in which it is currently participating is called Origine and is proposed by the non-governmental organization Open Arms.
The Origine project struggles to defend the right to migrate. This fight pursues that the decision to migrate is made in freedom, as well as that there are real alternatives to the current migration routes, where the rights of those who undertake them are systematically violated and do not give any type of protection or guarantee.
Origine is developing in its pilot phase in West Africa, specifically in Senegal, the starting point of a great migratory route. There, trainers, associations and schools work together as DuniaKato o DIADEM, Centre Keur Mame Fatim Konte.
There are three main axes that are:
- The formation
- The promotion of quality job opportunities.
The ICT world plays an important role in all three axes and it is here that AUCOOP finds its place in the Origine project. On this occasion, a team made up of 2 telecommunications engineers, 3 computer engineering students and members of the inLab FIB and led by a doctoral student in telecommunications engineering.
How have the technical challenges been faced?
Without a doubt, the training axis has brought us good technical challenges. This axis promotes the creation of Community Knowledge Centers, places where the people of the area could enhance their knowledge, expand it and undertake initiatives as a project incubator. Both training centers involved in this pilot phase agreed on the importance of reducing the digital divide. Thus, the classrooms, of between 15 and 20 students each, were equipped with the aim of being suitable for training courses with a high technological component.
What material is it about?
The material in each classroom consists of 20 laptops, a router, a wireless access point, a switch and a low-performance server.
What software is in the classrooms?
The software that has the most presence in classrooms is the operating system that each and every laptop carries. This is a Linux distribution, based on Ubuntu and developed by the Labdoo association. Designed for mainly educational use, it makes the most of the device's resources. It also incorporates a large amount of information in course format allowing the user to deepen the use of applications such as the spreadsheet. This distribution is also designed so that the computer can be integrated into a classroom together with other devices, facilitating user management and maintenance.
The software available to the server expands the sources of information found on laptops. It also offers center trainers the ability to create and customize their courses. This software consists of an integration, developed by AUCOOP members, in which very powerful platforms such as Moodle together with Wikipedia Ofline i Khan Academy. It has been deployed in a good part of the projects carried out in schools and is in constant improvement. The most recent addition, the result of her stay in the center of DuniaKato, consists of a captive portal that allows to track the number of users who have used the network. All these tools and the community that develops them is accessible in the same repository of the association in Github.
How do we value the experience?
From the evaluations made by the team members, a very positive trend can be seen. In essence, the project is valued as an enriching experience in both the technical and human aspects, and it pushes to fight so that the project can have the expected impact both on the local community and on future AUCOOP projects.
Hopefully in the not too distant future, initiatives like this will not be used from the campaign of the 0,7% and that they are the same activities proposed in the curricula that, reaching the training objectives, cooperate for development. Finally, give special thanks to all those people who work or collaborate with the Centre de Cooperació pel Desenvolupament de la UPC (CCD), since they have been a fundamental element for the realization of the project.
If you want to know more about the initiative, visit:
Open Arms: https://www.openarms.es/es/misiones/africa
Other collaborating entities:
Tecnologia per a tothom: https://txt.upc.edu/