How do you bring the Internet to countries like Mali, where more than 70 percent of the population is illiterate and the telecommunications infrastructure barely exists?
You use the radio.
Equipped with dust-resistant PCs, digital audio broadcasting equipment and antennas assembled from salvage, local radio broadcasters are emerging as ersatz Internet service providers in the West African nation, thanks in part to a program initiated by Geekcorps, a U.S.-based not-for-profit organization dedicated to cultivating high-tech skills and businesses in the world's emerging nations.
Although the organization would love it if volunteers could stay four months or longer, one-month stints are common. Geekcorps pays the travel expenses and housing and tries to make it easy for family members to come along.
"The people we are targeting to volunteer are employed, might be mid-career and have families," Vota said. The median age is 32.
The organization will make a recruiting pitch in San Francisco on March 2 at Jillian's Billiards in the Sony Metreon entertainment complex. Currently, according to the Geekcorps Web site, the organization needs experts in Knowledge Management, object-oriented programming, C++, and Linux for spring and summer 2006 assignments in Zambia, Kenya, and South Africa.
Geekcorps: A Peace Corps for techies | CNET News.com