United States Brings First TechCamp to Zambia “Enhancing Democracy and Transparency”

Lusaka, Zambia— The Embassy of the United States of America to the Republic of Zambia, in partnership with YALI Zambia and BongoHive, organized the first TechCamp in Zambia funded by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of International Information Programs (IIP) with a $100,000 grant.  Initiated by the U.S. government in 2010, TechCamps connect key groups around the world, such as civil society organizations, journalists, and human rights activists with technology experts and resources to increase the groups’ organizational capacities.  Using a proven workshop model, the groups and technology trainers collaborate to explore tech solutions to real-world issues.

TechCamp Zambia will focus on five common challenges as identified by regional participants:  transparency, elections, civic education, corruption, and government accountability.  A total of 60 participants — 30 Zambian, 10 Namibian, 10 Zimbabwean, and 10 Malawian – who are youth leaders, civil society members, and U.S. YALI network participants will engage with U.S. IIP TechCamp experts, BongoHive tech staff, and 11 local and international trainers.

During his remarks at TechCamp Zambia, U.S. Ambassador to Zambia Eric Schultz said, “One of our Mission goals is to empower young African leaders, like the 60 participating in our TechCamp, with resources and tools to promote civic participation.  This is part of the U.S. government’s ultimate objective in upholding democratic and good governance values throughout southern Africa.”

Visiting U.S. Department of State IIP Acting Coordinator Jonathan Henick and Guest of Honor Zambian Minister of Youth, Sport and Child Development The Honorable Moses Maware also gave brief remarks during TechCamp Zambia, and accompanied Ambassador Schultz in observing participants develop technology solutions.

TechCamp Zambia will culminate in a pitching competition on April 28 and the U.S. government, through IIP grants, will award seed-funding to the top three technology ideas presented.  The U.S. Embassy will announce winners on Facebook at www.facebook.com/usembassyzambia and Twitter twitter.com/usembassyzambia.