190: Drupal: Helping NGOs & Civil Society in Myanmar and beyond

When Tom Feichter told me he only gets to one Drupal event a year, I wanted to know why. When he told me it's because he runs a Drupal shop–mspiral creative media–in Yangon, Myanmar, I had to know more! We talked about Tom's history in Drupal, how Drupal's multilingual capabilities have helped him, how excited he is about Drupal 8's architecture, his history working with NGOs on the Thai/Burmese border and how that has flowed into ethical digital agency work, and more.

Drupal really is everywhere

It is so exciting to find out that the promise of open source–free to use for anyone, anywhere–really does empower people everywhere to take their destiny in their own hands. Until I met Tom, I would not have guessed that there was a flourishing Drupal economy and landscape in Myanmar. Tom says, "80% of the new sites developed in Burma are running on Drupal." I asked if that was thanks to his company, "No, that's not all me, it's most of the other agencies have started to work with Drupal as well. Some of them already did Drupal work before, but now it seems nearly all of the agencies are going for Drupal." He also cited security concerns (and a perception that Drupal is less risky even when set up my less-advanced teams) and better multilingual support in Drupal over Joomla! as reasons why the Burmese have moved to Drupal.

Open source, helping civil society

"Technology can help civil society a lot, especially in being able to get a message across. We have seen that in many cases already in the past. Even Facebook can help a lot in spreading a message. And that's going to be easier in the future in Myanmar ... it's already becoming much easier because now the country has been opening up. The Internet is more affordable, people now have mobile access and so on. This kind of technology can help people to get their message across. And also some people can make a living out of that." :-)

Guest dossier

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