Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

iCow, and Other Apps for East Africa

BY Nancy Scola | Monday, October 4 2010

Remember "Apps 4 Africa," the contest being put on in East Africa by the U.S. State Department aimed at stimulating local developers to build apps that in some way improve the quality of life in Africa? The winners are being announced in Nairobi this week, and we've got a look at who came up big, which includes cow-calving apps, development work trackers, and SMS death announcements:

First Place: iCow is an app intended to help hundreds of thousands of E. African farmers and ranchers earn a living. It is a voice based mobile application that helps farmers track the oestrus stages of their cows that enables them to better manage the breeding periods as well as monitor cow nutrition leading up to the calving day.

The first place winners receive $5,000 and an Apple IPad.

Second Place: Kleptocracy Fighters Inc. allows citizens to record and report real time information on instances of corruption they are witnessing within government or ruling class officials. Reports can include: audio, video, text, and are meant to be both positive and negative. Reports with then be sent to legal and media partners to help publish incidents of corruption in an effort to help eradicate those issues.

The second place winners receive $3,000 USD and a Nokia N900.

Third Place Winner: Mamakiba a patient-facing SMS savings calculator and prepayment tracking tool specifically designed to help low-income women be able to save and prepay for their maternal health needs such as ante-natal care (ANC) and clinical delivery.

Third place winners receive $2,000 and a Sprint HTC Desire.

Honorable Mentions each receive $200 and are as follows:

1. Fogs Funeral Announcements: An application for generating death and funeral announcements via text message. Radio and newspaper are costly in the region, and this application addresses the unique habits of Kenyans to follow these announcements. Fog will allow users to cheaply and easily draft, edit and deploy these types of messages to ensure they reach friends, family, former schoolmates and colleagues .

2. Kenya Constituency Development Fund : Community Tracking and Mapping enables Kenyans to easily view both official and on-the-ground details of the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) projects that are ongoing in Kibera, a neighborhood of Nairobi and the world’s second largest slum. This application will review and map submitted reports on the real status of aid and development projects submitted on the ground, in contrast with officially reported government statuses as well as allocated amounts, contractor details, photographs, and geographic locations. This evidence based monitoring, combined with the communication power of maps and the web, serves as a powerful advocacy tool for improved accountability of devolved funds in Kenya.

3. Ujuzi Mobile Resource Locator that is intended to run on the lowest-end Java enabled mobile devices. The Ujuzi project uses the XML API provided by One Economy, an NGO which operates The Beehive website. The Beehive is a portal of important life topics specifically aimed at low-income Internet users, worldwide. One Economy maintains unique versions of its Beehive website for parts of Africa, including Kenya, Rwanda, Nigeria and more. Via the API, The Beehive provides a directory listing of social services that can easily be accessed by anyone connected to the Internet. One Economy maintains the back-end API and database, and through a series of on the ground partnerships, continues to compile its listing of service providers. Now, the Beehive content will be usable by an entire generation of mobile users -- and this tool can be scaled to other functions.

A note of disclosure: as we've pointed out a couple times already on the site, PdF (the publisher of techPresident, if you aren't familiar) is producing a one-day workshop for the State Department in Santiago, Chile, next month. The long and the short of it is that we maintain a wall between that work and what we do editorially on techPresident. There are more notes on disclosure here. At some point, the State Department disclosure in particular will drop down to a footnote appended to each post mentioning State, but it's worth putting it front and center at least in the early going.

News Briefs

RSS Feed tuesday >

With Vision of Internet Magna Carta, Web We Want Campaign Aims To Go Beyond Protest Mode

On Saturday, Tim Berners-Lee reiterated his call for an Internet Magna Carta to ensure the independence and openness of the World Wide Web and protection of user privacy. His remarks were part of the opening of the Web We Want Festival at the Southbank Centre in London, which the Web We Want campaign envisioned as only the start of a year long international process underlying his call to formulate concrete visions for the open web of the future, going beyond protests and the usual advocacy groups. GO

First POST: Lifestyles

Google's CEO on "work-life balance"; how CloudFlare just doubled the size of the encrypted web; Dems like Twitter; Reps like Pinterest; and much, much more. GO

monday >

First POST: Showdown

How demonstrators in Hong Kong are using mobile tech to route around government control; will the news penetrate mainland China?; dueling spin from Dems and Reps on which party's tech efforts will matter more in November; and much, much more. GO

friday >

Pirate MEP Crowdsources Internet Policy Questions For Designated EU Commissioners

While the Pirate Party within Germany was facing internal disputes over the last week, the German Pirate Party member in the European Parliament, Julia Reda, is seeking to make the European Commission appointment process more transparent by crowdsourcing questions for the designated Commissioner for Digital Economy & Society and the designated Vice President for the Digital Single Market. GO

First POST: Dogfood

What ethical social networking might look like; can the iPhone promise more privacy?; how Obama did on transparency; and much, much more. GO

thursday >

First POST: Sucks

How the FCC can't communicate; tech is getting more political; Facebook might see a lawsuit for its mood manipulation experiment; and much, much more. GO

wednesday >

First POST: Wartime

A bizarre online marketing effort targets actress Emma Watson; why the news media needs to defend the privacy of its online readers; Chicago's playbook for civic user testing; and much, much more. GO