On Drupal, Open Source and Moving to West Africa

As some of you already know my time as project lead and trainer at af83 came to an end last December. Their Drupal team will continue to be lead by the more than capable Damien Tournoud (@damz), one of the most prolific core Drupal contributors out there.

During my time in Paris I had a blast co-organizing DrupalCon Paris, helping grow the French community and being part of the team that founded l'association Drupal France et Francophonie, the French Drupal Association.

It's made me realize that community work is what makes me get up in the morning: the connecting, the building, the learning. It's awesome to witness and a privilege to take part in.

It won't come too much as a surprise then, that we decided to move to Senegal (West Africa) to continue the work started in Paris: to support the use and development of open source software (and Drupal in particular, of course) throughout West Africa.

This work will be funded through three channels:

  • Edulogos vzw, a Belgian educational non-profit my wife and I have been running since 2007
  • A Senegalese non-profit that's being set up as we speak
  • Bantalabs, a social profit start-up with offices in Paris and Saint-Louis (Senegal)

I'm particularly happy we can finally unveil Bantalabs. Co-founder Simon Elliott and I have been preparing this venture for months - defining the core goals, fleshing out the business plan, connecting with higher education institutions and building the site.

We're really excited about this new chapter in our lives. We have high hopes and ambitious plans. We're going to have a lot of fun.

Feel free to follow us on twitter: @bantalabs, @mrsimonelliott, @jpoesen.