Fresh solutions to old problems

Fresh solutions to old problems

Own Correspondent

ROMA – AMOHELANG Thoabala, a National University of Lesotho (NUL) Computer Science student, is at it again.
He is creating an online blog in which all of Lesotho’s creative minds, in and outside the NUL, will share brilliant ideas and solve problems about anything.
“I have been holed up for some time, focusing on using different programming languages to develop this platform,” Thoabala says.
“I hope it will benefit all of us.”

Have you ever felt like you have a problem that you know can be solved but you don’t know who can solve it? Do you think that NUL teachers and students work so much in silos, or that they are yet to merge their different thinking lines to create viable projects?
A solution is on the way.

So you want to know how to make toothpaste or polish; the thinkers will let you know on the blog.
Suppose you now know how they are made, but you still want to know if it is possible to make them in Lesotho.
The thinkers will inform you about that as well.

Can there be an electronic version as an alternative to having security guards manning the NUL main gate? They will answer.
“It can be any topic that will help us move forward,” Thoabala says.
What if you want to know what to do with the present drought and its effect in Lesotho? You will post that concern on the blog.
Perhaps, you may ask, should we be using millions of maloti on lifato-fato (making lines with stones) if we could be using the same amount of money to make lasting small dams for irrigation or huge fruit plantations?
The blog will be such that one can post a question and a solution and the rest can provide answers to the problem. Of course the posts will be sent to the admin first and the comments may be moderated.

How did the idea take form in Thoabala’s mind?
“I attended one fourth year presentations at the university and I was struck by a general reluctance to solve real problems out there.”
“As students, I think we should move away from being too casual about life. Rather we should start to solve real problems while we are still here at school. We can’t afford to be serious only after graduation. Life doesn’t start there.” But why did he not just create a Facebook page to discuss the same things?
It is not the right platform, he insists.  “Think about this; you post a solution on job creation and you get two “likes,” only two! Another guy posts about seeing a beautiful girl and he gets a mammoth 190 “likes!”
“So Facebook is what it is: a social group.”

He adds: “People go there to socialise and only a few for serious issues. However, in this platform, people will only come if they want to discuss serious issues.”
His idea is by no means unique. In fact, it may not be wholly unique in Lesotho. But it may be the first to be dedicated to discussing issues that will help NUL students, teachers and others off campus to be more innovative in problem solving.
It is not a “gossip” platform.

Take a page from a similar Nigerian blog called Nairaland Forum. Here Nigerians share everything. The topics range from “Art, Graphics & Video,” to “Tips, Tricks & Tools.”
Ponder over these topics in the said Forum: “How to create a locally made inverter with ease,” “Why do some people dream and others don’t?” “Recovery of MS backup data”, “How my inverter is saving me in this poor power supply and no-fuel situation.” The topics are many and the discussions are brilliant!
Is it not about time to start solving serious local problems and sharing our experiences as well?
There is no doubt Thoabala is not about to start another Facebook.
“However, I am partly inspired by Facebook. It started as students trying to share a number of issues and grew into a worldwide phenomenon. In our case, we just want to solve problems unique to our university and to our country.”
The man behind the idea is a doer, “I have been working for months on this project. I have been using a plenty of programming languages including the basic html, Css (bootstrap), php and other languages.”

The first is the basis, he said. The second is selected because it is continually updated and leads to good interfaces and the third will make it very easy to update blogs and it is very compatible with most computers. Young people, they say, are the embodiment of innovation. By their nature, they are skeptical of the “things as usual 1970 mentality.”
They are ever willing to challenge the norms and ideals long-held by previous generations. Thoabala is, obviously, one among those!

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