Category Archives: Expert Talks

ExpertTalks Liverpool – Transformative Impact: Sustained Change through Volunteering in Bangladesh

Software development is all about creating software solutions, to change and transform people’s lives for the better. By taking real-world problems, and applying technological solutions that are practical, this helps to enhance the lives of underprivileged people, through sustainable change.

Last month, I attended a talk organised by Equal Experts in Liverpool. Held at Avenue HQ, this event looked at a project undertaken, to transform a rural community of farmers in Bangladesh, by enabling them to use technology to access modern agricultural and other services. Delivered by Matt McGuire and Patrick Birchall, this talk was not only about applying software development in poorer countries, but also by using a joined-up and collaborate approach to complete the project.

Both Matt and Patrick talked about the inception, development and production of the project. From working with small-hold farmers, dealing with technological and extreme locational conditions, there were different challenges to be overcome, including low quality of data, the local and patchy technical infrastructure, and understanding that few people have access to the Internet. Along with facing tight deadlines, this was not only technically complex, but also needed to be done in a short space of time.

Matt and Patrick explained how this was achieved, through a variety of technical and practical methods. This included facing the reality on the ground and getting to know the users, through surveys, interviews and video recordings, to collect information, build engagement and trust, in order to understand their needs and requirements. From a technical perspective, the project also involved a combination of remote working and developing the software by using React, which is a lightweight JavaScript language used for developing the user interface. For data storage of farming location and other data, the interface was complimented with Amazon Web Services, as the selected cloud database for storing information.

The result was that the project was successful, as it allowed farmers to interact and access local agricultural services. As a successful project, this is a classic example of using technology to help benefit others, and I would like to thank Matt and Patrick for sharing their experiences. My thanks also go to Equal Experts for organising the event, and to Avenue HQ for hosting it.