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WeGov

Can Tech Solve African Agriculture's Four Big Problems?

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, April 15 2013

Screengrab from Kilimo Salama promotional video.

A recent BBC article highlighted three of the tech-heavy startups trying to change the game in Africa's agriculture sector, including a franchise that gives farmers access to higher quality products, a crop insurance scheme that makes it easier for farmers to get credit, and a SMS service through which farmers can check market prices and coordinate with other farmers to buy supplies in bulk. As observed in the article, these tech solutions try to leapfrog over basic infrastructure problems – like bad roads and inefficient communications. Considering the fact that 80 percent of the arable land in Africa is not being used, tech has an awful lot to make up for.

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WeGov

Why Were Kenya's Elections Peaceful? Technology Provides Only a Partial Explanation

BY Kelly Gilblom | Thursday, April 4 2013

Screenshot of the Uchaguzi map of election day events.

When Kenyan presidential candidate Raila Odinga graciously conceded to his opponent, incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta, during a Saturday television broadcast that followed a long court battle, the country breathed a sigh of relief. Fears that Kenya would spiral into crisis, as it did after the 2007 presidential elections, did not materialize. In marked contrast to the terrible violence of the last time, this post-electoral transfer of power was, with the exception of isolated incidents, peaceful. Read More

WeGov

Crowdscouring to Cut Traffic Congestion in Nairobi

BY Julia Wetherell | Wednesday, April 3 2013

Crowdsourced traffic updates, at Ma3Route (screengrab).

Traffic congestion is a major issue in many large African cities, with commuters spending hours a day on clogged thoroughfares. The Kenyan capital of Nairobi is home to some of the worst traffic not only on the continent, but also in the world, with gridlock so unmoving that you can, on occasion, sleep in the middle of the road.

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WeGov

Lessons from Kenya's Election

BY Julia Wetherell | Wednesday, March 13 2013

Uhuru Kenyatta was announced as the victor of Kenya's 2013 election last week (Instagram).

A week out from the Kenyan election, a contested victory for Uhuru Kenyatta has summoned comparisons to the country’s 2007 ballot.  But this time around, political violence has been largely absent in the public’s response to the results.  The 2013 election may be better known for its technical difficulties. 

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WeGov

#KenyaDecides, 140 Characters at a Time [Storify] -- UPDATED

BY Julia Wetherell | Wednesday, March 6 2013

Votes are still being tallied for the 2013 Kenya elections, a ballot that has been characterized far more by open and civil discourse than the violence that marred the fallout from the presidential race in 2007. Read More

WeGov

Will Mobile Banking Empower Women, or Just Telecoms?

BY Julia Wetherell | Friday, March 1 2013

The "virtuous circle" of MFS, according to GSMA's study.

In many developing economies, while men earn wages outside the household, women are often acting behind the scenes as the money managers at home.  Yet a recent study found that mobile banking and financial services, which have gotten a lot of press as solutions for bringing economic empowerment to citizens in developing nations, has largely passed over women who could be using them.  Could m-banking strengthen women’s financial practices and narrow the digital gender gap? Or will promoting it only line the pockets of telecom corporations?

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WeGov

For Kenyans Living Abroad, Election Season Brings Frustrations

BY Julia Wetherell | Thursday, February 14 2013

The first Kenyan presidential debate was held on Monday, February 11 in Nairobi (YouTube screenshot)

Kenya’s first-ever presidential debate reached a worldwide audience on Monday night, nearly eclipsing the Pope’s resignation as top Twitter trend as eight candidates for the country’s highest office addressed key issues at stake in the March 4 election. Among the most active participants in the online discussion were members of the 3.5 million-strong Kenyan diaspora. For Kenyans living abroad, the success of the debate is a point of great pride.  Yet as election season progresses, many diasporans remain frustrated at not having a voice in the political process – even as their activism benefits Kenyans at home. 

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WeGov

In the Digital Age, An Unmapped Place Becomes a Forgotten Place

BY Julia Wetherell | Wednesday, February 13 2013

Today’s digital maps can showcase a world of hyperlocal data and history; as of this past month, even North Korea has been meticulously cataloged by Google Maps volunteers.  Yet while some locations maintain a robust digital presence – with Wikipedia, Google, and other geolocational initiatives reinforcing their virtual existence – blank spots on the world map can fall behind exponentially, running the risk for digital obscurity. 

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WeGov

Kenya's First-Ever Presidential Debate Became a Significant Social Media Event

BY Sara Jerving | Wednesday, February 13 2013

Screenshot of debate organizers' Facebook page

Kenya held its first presidential debate in the country's history this Monday. Millions tuned in as candidates answered questions posed by moderators. In an interesting twist, the organizers selected both the moderators and the questions from suggestions submitted by ordinary citizens via social media platforms, SMS and email. Read More

WeGov

Can Technology and "Testimony" Prevent Violence in Kenyan Elections?

BY Sara Jerving | Wednesday, February 6 2013

Kenya's Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) campaigning in Kibera (credit: Sara Jerving)

Community organizers, activists and civil society workers are hoping a mix of technology and on-the-ground organizing can stave off political violence around Kenya's upcoming elections. Read More