Creating an open source app store customized for MENA region users
Zanga, is an Arabic-speaking third-party app store facilitating access to circumvention, privacy and digital security tools. Available as a website and an Android app, Zanga is a platform for everyday Internet users to explore, download, use and rate tools. Zanga prioritizes open-source tools and those that are tried and trusted by the digital rights and civic tech communities.
The Zanga team translates tool descriptions and FAQs to Arabic in one place. They make these tools available for direct download, or via an email auto-responder and a Telegram bot. They also provide user support in Arabic for anyone who needs it when using any tool of their choice. User requests can range from simple usability challenges, bugs in new tool editions, to unusual difficulties in user experience that may be related to new information controls.
Zanga aspires to bridge the gap between tool developers and end-users in the MENA in order to improve the responsiveness of tools to growing global needs, in the absence of resources for dedicated user-support targeted for each language or region/country.
Slang for “Alleyway” in some Arabic dialects, “Zanga” is a space for Arabic-speaking users to safely share experiences and to interact with the tools that work for them in their digital contexts. The “Zanga” is a pathway for Arabic-speaking users to overcome technical and language barriers, and defy surveillance and state censorship.