Webmaker Mentor Training Kampala

The Webmaker Mentor Training was an awesome event. Organized by Denis, San James, JB and Lawrence (me) helped by Martin Kasirye, Echodu and Louisa on 15th June, 2013 at Hive Colab, Kanjokya House, and the same day when the Global Mozilla Maker Parties were launching.

The Maker parties formerly known as “The Summer code Parties,” are being held to teach several people around the world how to make things on the web other than being mere consumers after all, “Making is Learning”. They also look to get more Webmaker mentors who can also help teach others after this learning.

Mozilla Uganda Organized the first ever Webmaker mentor training in Uganda at Hive Colab and taught people Webmaker tools like Thimble, Popcorn and Xray Goggles; how to join Mozilla, Webmaker, using etherpad, setting up an event, etc. We had over fifty attendants. We met with several new enthusiastic and passionate contributors, Martin, Baggio, Louisa, James, Ancel, Kelvin, Patricia, Carl and many others.

The training officially begun with me taking people through briefly what Mozilla Foundation is, it’s major objectives and how Mozillians help to spread the word and create several open source project, products under it. I gave the guests a brief insight on what it means to be a true Mozillian, the passion that defines us. Many raised interest in being Mozillians as I was still addressing through the introduction so I guided them through the most important Mozilla registration channels such as Mozilla Contribute page, mozillians.org, using persona and the community lists.


San James, the community lead took over and went through the session of how to use Thimble, create a page on Webmaker.org for your Webmaker event and using X-ray Goggles (Hackasaurus). This was mostly done through our popular “Hack the Dance” technique where someone comes up with a stroke matching to a track being played, in this case me and then taps another person who begins with my stroke and adds his own then taps another and it goes on. This watching, understanding then adopting and changing the predecessor’s stroke is quite similar to the web where you look at code, understand it, and change it thus hacking and bringing about something new. It is a great way to easily convey the message as everyone understands it practically.

JB held a session on how to use etherpad and the Mozilla wiki. The most interesting thing is, people loved the etherpad more than most of the tools we showed them how to use. They quickly grasped how to use and jumped right in to its chat feature. I think the reason why etherpad caught on was because of its multi-user capability, being lite, fast to load on the network and real time editing, they saw this as a great feature to chat together in real time, somewhat similar to the chat app whatsapp. We later provided them with the links to the brief survey, official event etherpad and other links that required their attention.

There was the hands-on group session where we left the participants to practice and take in all they had learned. They tried out Thimble and Hackasaurus, and they were later to post their links to etherpad and share with others all over the world having similar events.

We broke off for a lunch break during which time we tried to bond with the attendees.

We came back for the last session. I led the session on Event planning and management. I tried to engage the participants on what an event is, a successful event, objectives, naming, venue, location, time, target audience, how to setup one, resources, planning, SOPs (Standard Operation Procedures), expectations, metrics, reporting, blogging and so many others. The net had been slow at the time when we tried to teach Popcorn so we just gave them the links and how to go about it. I asked them to come up with any event idea, create an etherpad and apply all that they had learned about managing and setting up an event then link their etherpads too our official etherpad and we would look at them then award them badges. Time fitted in perfectly and event was done by 1700hrs.

So many participants turned up and they got to know through Facebook, Eventbrite, Brian and Lynn (Hive Colab) and many of them were interested in joining Mozilla. There was even a group of students from Kyambogo University who approached me about joining and representing our community in their university, I think this was really a great initiative and look forward to working with them. We got over thirty eight sign ups through our Google form alone and others on Mozillians.org. We collected several ideas through the Brief Survey for the Webmaker Mentor Training. This was really an awesome and fun event, can’t wait to dive into the Firefox Flicks Official Launch Event at Hive this Saturday.