FOKO: A successful Barcamp in Madagascar

On Saturday, October 4, 2008 the BarCamp Madagascar was held at Hotel IVOTEL, Ambohidahy in the capital Antananarivo. Organized by the Rising Voices Grantee FOKO this was the first event of such kind in Madagascar. The country's largest internet service provider Moov sponsored the BarCamp providing free internet access for all attendees at the event. Thanks to the sponsors the admission was free including coffee, meals and souvenir T-shirts for the participants.

Dago Tiako writes about Barcamp Madagascar:

The concept of Barcamp is to gather all people keen on computer, internet, open source technologies, including bloggers.
All the bloggers of Madagascar could meet on that special day. And one by one, they shared knowledge, experiences and advice.

Jogany writes about the challenges FOKO faced in organizing the event:

When we thought about organizing a Barcamp in Madagascar, we expected to get the best participants in town, in the country and in the world. It took us 3 months to convince….our own people to join.

One of our biggest surprise and achievement was to FINALLY meet the two greatest Open Source Communities in Madagascar : C3FL and AMUL.

She provides the context:

Starting a Barcamp was an opportunity to showcase our skills and potentialities to the world in the field of technology but also prove to ourselves, the very active but isolated Malagasy tech community, that we are taking part in the development of our country.

Jogany describes the lighter sides of the event:

Foko Bloggers
The Foko, supposedly, coordinators were un coordinating everything and doing their best not to get the discussions more heated than they are. Knowing Jogany's bad temper and Stéphane's smart mouth….you figured out that it was an impossible task.- “Iceman, hep, pssiiit, Iceman!!”, Jogany who is lost with ICE – “Who posted this french twit?”,…”No more batteries? This can't be!” yelled Diana.

She also provides a summary of the day's proceedings here. Around 75 participants attended the meeting.

Eduardo Ávila of Voces Bolivianas was present in the BarCamp. He assisted the young FOKO bloggers to “cover” the event. A table was set up with four laptops in the back of the room connected with high speed wifi, and many of them live – twitted the event.

The Barcamp Wiki has loads of information on the event. A Facebook group propagated the event. Photos of the event are here, here and here.

FOKO Bloggers are introducing themselves at Barcamp in this video:

Here is the rundown of the first session.

Sixthman at Madagascar Not The Movie describes his experience:

This was an opportunity for me to see some of them that I only knew by pictures through blogs like avylavitra, DotMg or Jentilisa.


The mood and atmosphere struck me the most. It was warm, relaxed and fun. Just like between old friends and family members – nothing really formal.

Pati gave a presentation about her trip to Brussels to attend the Global Interdependence summit.

Andry at The Malagasy Cyber Adventure reports:

Why the hell Madagascar has not got yet its IXP?” This is the question that Haja, the administrator of the .mg domain, member of AMUL…asked. IXP to make it brief, is a system which can enable internet connection through internal infrastructure. IXP will free our local internet providers from getting connection from abroad.

The presentation which stroke me the most was the one about lodjban, a new language, an alternative language which could be understood by human beings and computers!

We ended with Joan’s speech which was about the initiative of Creative Commons (CC) in Madagascar.

Actually, this is my only summary of the Barcamp: “I got new friends there”.

During the months of June, July and August the Foko bloggers were either on vacation or busy with their exams. They are back in September with more blogging. Here are some featured posts.


  • Plus they had great tshirts and stickers!

  • Thank you Rezwan for your update

  • […] presence during the first Barcamp in Madagascar held at Ivotel Tananarive was an honour to us. It was an opportunity to Foko members […]

  • I keep reading all these wonderful summaries from Barcamp and seeing big smiles on all the photos – an obvious success! Congratulations to all who participated. :)

  • yeah… the Barcamp was so great because I could get advice, meet a lot of new “blogger” friends, and … I got my FOKO t-shirt :-)


  • […] Foko bloggers were the real authors of the first Barcamp in Madagascar’s success. The coordinators wanted the tech communities to notice the existence of Foko network and mostly the members interests in other fields related to Citizen Media. In fact, very few associations, journalists and professionals knew about Foko-Madagascar and our outreach project the Foko Blog Club before this October 4th. Of course the event was wide open to anyone to participate and we only took the reporting task as an honour but not as a duty at all. Each blogger had the opportunity to interview, take videos and liveblog thanks to Moov, Malagasy first internet provider, free connexion. It is also a great opportunity to get noticed by sponsors, volunteers or other organisms. Foko bloggers presentations from Diana and Patricia were very applauded because of their spontaneity and of course hard work. Rondro and Lomelle from Majunga joined by Theo and Patrick from Tamatave were the proud representants of Foko network in the provinces. They proved to be more than interested to Open Source projects when asking very professional questions during the presentations. […]

  • […] the Rising Voices grantee FOKO Blog Club (FBC) project in Madagascar. After the completion of the Madagascar barcamp on October 4, 2008 the project did an evaluation noting what it had achieved from this successful […]

  • […] October 2008 FOKO blog camp Madagascar, a Rising Voices grantee successfully organized the first blog camp of the country. Earlier this month (on 4th of July) FOKO was instrumental in arranging a gathering […]

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