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WeGov

Weekly Readings: Decoy Data

BY Antonella Napolitano and Rebecca Chao | Monday, June 16 2014

An app the emits false data; Burkina Faso, poor but data rich?; Social media bans in Iraq; and much much more Read More

WeGov

In Lebanon, Dark Humor Has Practical Use

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, January 29 2014

Screenshot of the Google Play app

An application that began as a dark joke has actually found quite a bit of traction in troubled Lebanon. After a suicide bombing rocked part of Beirut January 21, Sandra Hassan uploaded “I Am Alive” to Google Play, an application that lets you send an alert to Twitter saying you survived.

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WeGov

In the Congo, War and Embargo Complicate World Bank Project

BY Rebecca Chao | Monday, December 16 2013

The provincial budget minister talks to the press after a generally assembly and budget vote (Credit: World Bank)

The war-ravaged province of South Kivu sits at the eastern border of the DRC, beside the stem of Tanganyika, an African Great Lake. Boris Weber, team leader for the World Bank's ICT4Gov, explains to techPresident that after years of conflict and violence in the province, the provincial government was simply not sending the money allocated to local governments. “Partly, they just didn’t have any incentive to send it. Also, they had no way of knowing and tracking how their money was going to be spent.” The World Bank’s participatory budgeting program, piloted in 2012, aimed to resolve that dilemma by giving those in Bukavu a direct say in how they wanted to see their budget spent; therefore creating the accountability needed to incentivize the provincial government to send money down the line. But locals view the program with a skeptic eye and ask, is it enough? Read More

WeGov

In Abu Dhabi, A Government-Led "Civic" App Is Surprisingly Popular

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, September 12 2013

A simple, free smartphone application called CityGuard has given thousands of Abu Dhabi residents the opportunity to be more involved in maintaining their communities. The government-developed mobile application allows citizens to report civic issues with just a few swipes on their smartphones. According to FutureGov Asia, the crowdsourcing initiative is surprising popular and successful. The app is the “cornerstone” of the Abu Dhabi government's initiative to empower and engage citizens through technology.

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WeGov

Getting Social About Water To Save Lives

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, September 5 2013

Every year more than 750,000 children under the age of five die after contracting diarrheal disease. Many of those deaths could be prevented if only the children had access to safe drinking water. A new smartphone app called mWater will try to tackle that problem through what they call social water monitoring. USAID thinks there's something to the idea: they just invested US$100,000 in their pilot project in Tanzania.

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WeGov

Lebanese Army Tries to Stem Tide of Violence With New Smartphone App

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, September 3 2013

Fireworks or gunshots? Who knows--check Way to Safety (baron valium/Flickr)

Tech-savvy entrepreneurs in Lebanon are making the streets safer to walk by warning users of gunfights, roadblocks and other hazards. The smartphone app Ma2too3a takes crowdsourced information about protests, traffic and conflict and maps it. Another app analyzes sounds and can tell you if what you're hearing is gunfire or something less threatening, like fireworks. Taking their cues from the public demand for this kind of tool, the Lebanese army last week released their own security app called LAF Shield.

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WeGov

A Hackday For Teen Girls Tries to Close Gender Gap in India's Tech Sector

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, August 26 2013

More than 200 bright young girls came together at the Satvika 2013 technology conference last week for a hackday created just for them. It is one way entrepreneur Deepak Ravindran is pushing to close the gender gap in India's technology sector.

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WeGov

Can Better User Experience Reboot Kenya's App Economy?

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, July 17 2013

Mark Kamau (Flickr/Whiteafrican)

African bloggers have bemoaned the failure rate of mobile apps in Kenya, in particular those that win competitions and then disappear. While many factors could contribute to the phenomenon, at the iHub UX Lab in Nairobi, Kenyan web solution expert Mark Kamau shows developers how to put the user at the center of the design. UX is short for User Experience, and Kamau advocates for it as a way of sharing the “cognitive load” between mobile app developers and users.

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WeGov

Ugandan Program to Promote Safe Sex Makes Things Worse

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, July 1 2013

Even after Google told them to, some Ugandans did not want to wrap it up (robertelyov/Flickr)

A mobile health initiative meant to encourage safe sex practices in Uganda failed to effect positive change. In fact, researchers found it made the community, on average, even more promiscuous. Read More

WeGov

Mapping Technology Helps Pakistan Track and Prevent Epidemics

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, June 3 2013

The map that changed epidemiology and paved the way, eventually, for data visualization via smartphone

By mapping an 1854 cholera outbreak in London, Doctor John Snow changed epidemiology forever. He discovered the source of contamination was in the water from a pump on Broad Street, not from 'bad air' as previously believed. He also pioneered the field of data journalism and data visualizations, now a staple for public health organizations. In Pakistan, data collected on smartphones by city employees has been mapped and used to target sources of the potentially deadly dengue fever and is possibly keeping infection and mortality rates down. The same technology was repurposed to combat corruption in the Pakistan election this May.

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