Gangsterism, Drug abuse and HIV/AIDS are all problems facing the developing world. This coupled with extremely poor bandwidth makes for an interesting challenge. The AVOIR project with the Chisimba framework and associated tools have created and deployed a number of tools that can help.
The popular mobile application MXit is a simple mobile Jabber client that is in very wide use across the country. This fact has been exploited to deliver social counselling for drug abusers, suicide cases and HIV/AIDS positive users. Users are able to contact a live human counsellor through the medium and ask questions and seek advice.
The web application that aggregates and organises the incoming messages was built on the Chisimba PHP5 framework, using a Python based XMPP message handling daemon. This application presents an easy to use and navigate web based interface for non-techie counsellors to interact with the patients in a quick and easy way.
The system has become extremely popular and has landed national media coverage and government interest. We see a number of other use cases, which we would like to share as well.
I am currently employed by the University of the Western Cape as Chief Software Architect for the AVOIR network (http://avoir.uwc.ac.za/), as well as the manager of the Free Software Innovation Unit based (http://fsiu.uwc.ac.za/) at UWC (http://www.uwc.ac.za/).
I hold a Bachelor of Science in Botany, from the University of Port Elizabeth. I have many interests including Geographical Information Systems, Botany, Computer Science and Free Software. I have created and contributed to many Free Software projects and at any one time, am working on around 10 different FOSS projects collaboratively with a global community.
I have a strong interest in e-learning and teaching, using Free Software, and have contributed greatly to the AVOIR network and projects. I have a passion for coding and a passion for capacity buiding and skills transfer.
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