The EU is sponsoring a new two year project called <a href = FLOSSInclude to explore the use of FOSS as a development tool. In particular, the aim of FLOSSInclude is to study what is needed to "increase the deployment, development and societal impact of FOSS in Africa, Asia and Latin America". The project starts with the premise that FOSS provides a number of benefits to developing countries, such as low cost, adaptability, and a free-of-charge high quality training environment.
The project will identify and analyze key problem areas and areas of blocked potential in the target regions. Furthermore, pilot studies will be conducted to ensure that FOSS solutions, tools and services can be cost-effective and practical for each environment. At the end of the project, FLOSSInclude intends to develop a roadmap for future EU development research cooperation in order to "ensure that the impact of FLOSSInclude will be sustained far beyond the duration of the project". I think it's great that there is a research project now with the focus on including developing countries in FOSS and I hope this project will be very successful.
(Originally published on FOSSBazaar)