By: Zandria Johnson
The core of CodeToHope’s mission centers around technology; however, as a volunteer, I have learned that there is very little “coding” on the volunteer side. Instead, volunteers focus on the children in the villages that don’t have access to technology or even electricity. The coding is managed by developers in Benin. We talked to the lead Android developer, Sebastien Hounsa, and CodeToHope founder, Philemon Padonou, to get the inside scoop.
How did you get associated with CodeToHope?
Sebastien: We heard about CodeToHope from our relatives and friends. After the vision was shared with us, motivated as we are, we decided to join the team and here we are today.
What applications are the team working on and what are do they do?
Sebastien: PINTCHE is a digital prescription book that serves as an interface between a patient and the pharmacy whereby the patient can manage their medical prescriptions, have more information about the drugs prescribed and even buy them. Moreover, the patients can see the closest pharmacies in which the drugs are available. This application is available in web and mobile version.
FEUVERT is an application that informs users what’s happening on the road: traffic, construction, police, crashes, and more in real-time.
KOPOPRO is a service provider web and mobile application where users can either provide or look for a specific service and read ratings and reviews on the service. Contractors, carpenters, architects, etc. will now have a digitized platform to spread their services.
AGROCONNECT is an E-commerce application ordered by a Cameroonian customer. It allows anyone to be engaged in the agricultural sector by selling or buying online.
The apps Kopopro and Pintche have been released for use but are not yet officially launched. Feuvert and Agroconnect are in a test version.
What is the overall goal for these projects?
Sebastien: The overall goal of these projects is to provide concrete solutions to some of the various problems we face daily to simplify our lives.
The team has been successful so far. Volunteers visited the developers and saw demos and the UI landscape for some of the applications listed above. We wanted to dig a little deeper to learn more about the team itself and what brought them to this point.
What contributes to the team’s experience & success?
Sebastien: Motivation, determination, devotion, and the desire to learn. We have developed a bi-weekly meeting combined with short daily meetings and we are using other communication channels to give out information when necessary. Plus, we get along well.
“We highly encourage the future supporters because being with CodeToHope is an enriching experience, full of challenges, innovation and many opportunities to learn and meet people.”
– Sebastien Hounsa
Now, we turn to CodeToHope founder Philemon Padonou for his thoughts on the talented developers and their work.
How was the team of developers picked? Did they know how to build applications prior to CodeToHope?
Philemon: Yes, the people on the team went to school for Computer Science but the education system doesn’t adequately prepare them with the skills needed, so a lot of the skills were self-taught. After testing his [Sebastien’s] skills, witnessing his hunger, drive and good character, he was brought onto the team.
How much are you involved in the development & direction of the applications?
Philemon: Not a lot. I try to stay away as much as possible as it is about and for them. I used to be heavily involved at the beginning but now I am allowing them to run it themselves. If creative direction is needed, I bring in people that are creative for app naming and UI design.
Now that we know a little about the team and the work they are doing, what can we look forward to? What are some upcoming goals?
Philemon: There are a couple of apps in development that I would like to see pushed to the app store. The pharmacy app is making a lot of noise. I am also looking forward to seeing Feuvert soon.
“We wanted to create an incubator space with internet access for young talent to be productive and bring their technology focused ideas to fruition.”
– Philemon Padonou, Founder of CodeToHope