Preparations, preparations, preparations

Since the continuation of of our efforts in Zanzibar has been decided a couple of weeks ago, we’ve been working hard to organise and prepare for the classes of 2010. Here’s a list of some of things that kept us busy lately:

Classroom and Teaching-related:

  • Rent a classroom at Al-Riyami School.
  • Have the power lines rewired to use Zanzibits’ powermeter and UPS.
  • Have the room painted, it’s a mess!
  • Rent furniture for the class of 2009 until we get our own (see next item).
  • Find a cheap, skilled and reliable carpenter; order tables and chairs.
  • Get shutters for our windows to keep out the noise, dust, rain and heat.
  • Find a cheap second-hand projector in Europe (thanks, Carina!).
  • Find suitable computer hardware. We had a look at and, but we think we’ll go with some more of those cheap laptops instead.
  • Test all available options for high-speed internet (result: both suck).

Going public:

  • Spread the word to the streets to find students for 2010.
  • Organize an application process for interested students: application exam, personal interviews.
  • Create a simple website at
  • Start a blog at (you’re reading it!).
  • Put some pictures online at


  • Do a lot of boring budgeting work; most importantly have a proper estimation of the one-off preparational costs (which turned out to be more than we expected) and the monthly recurring costs for 2010 (which turned out to be less than we expected).
  • Find a good way to  handle money transfers from Austria to Zanzibar.
  • … and do a thousand more small errands: create certificates for the 2009 graduates, get a rubber stamp with the all new Zanzicode logo, find whiteboards, …

It’s not very hard work, but it’s still tiring, because everything needs a lot of personal interaction and therefore, time and effort. In case you plan to start a project in Zanzibar, my tip (which is doubtlessly biased and based only on my personal experience) is to not want too much in too little time, at least in the beginning. Better take it easy until you find the right people to work with, and even then, don’t push too hard: it will happen, just not in the way you thought it will, or in the time, or at the agreed price — but it will. Hakuna matata :-)

best, Fritz Grabo

ps: here are some pictures from our “Classrooms Preparations” Set on flickr to illustrate our current work. We’ll add more pictures to the set during the next 2 weeks!


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Zanzicode Logo

Welcome to Zanzicode

Zanzicode is a project lead by the Austria based NGO We provide free education in the field of Web Development to a small number of talented and motivated students of poor background in Zanzibar, Tanzania.

Our goal is to help build the personal careers of our graduates as well as to kickstart a local web development community.

Want to know more?


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