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Google Launches Mobile Micropayments in Africa

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, April 30 2013

A Nairobi matatu (bus) (Wikipedia)

Google just announced the launch of rebranded electronic payment system BebaPay in Kenya, home to the popular and successful mobile money system M-Pesa. With the BebaPay card, Google tackles the notoriously chaotic bus system in Kenya. The BebaPay card standardizes fares and provides riders with receipts, protecting them from unscrupulous conductors charging hiked up fares or not providing change. And it costs consumers next to nothing: the card is free and there are no transaction fees, although cell phone operators can charge to transfer money to the card. With all those perks, many are asking, “What’s the catch?”

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Hi-Tech Pooper Scoopers: Sanitation Hackathon Winners Announced

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, April 29 2013

Not enough pit latrines to go around (Wikipedia)

The World Bank has announced the three winners of the Sanitation Hackathon and App Challenge, which techPresident covered last December when the Hackathon took place in cities across the globe. The sanitation crisis affects approximately 2.5 billion people who live without access to toilets. That statistic is all the more staggering when compared to the number of people who do not have access to a cell phone – only one billion. That statistic in part inspired the decision to leverage mobile technology towards helping alleviate the global sanitation crisis.

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To Protest Judge's Sentence, Iranians Launch Viral Feminist Campaign on Facebook

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, April 26 2013

A collage of photos from the Kurdish Men For Equality Facebook page

On April 15, police paraded a convicted criminal dressed in traditional Kurdish women’s clothing through the streets of Marivan, Iran, in accordance with a judge’s sentence. A local feminist organization, the Marivan Women’s Community, found the sentence humiliating to Kurdish women, and organized a protest. The protest moved online to a Facebook page with the tagline: “Being a woman is not humiliating and should not be considered punishment.” Overnight, the page garnered 3,800 fans. One week later, it now has more than 10,000 fans. The protest has prompted 17 members of Iran’s parliament to sign a letter to the Justice Ministry calling the punishment “humiliating to Muslim women.”

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Bassem Youssef Returns to Daily Show After Being Honored As Pioneer in the ‘Time 100’

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, April 25 2013

Screengrab from Bassem Youssef's appearance on The Daily Show

The Egyptian political satirist and TV personality Bassem Youssef returned to The Daily Show as Jon Stewart’s guest last night. Youssef hosts his own mock news show in Cairo, often compared to The Daily Show, which he started filming in a laundry room during Egypt’s revolution in early 2011, posting the videos to YouTube. The show was then picked up by an Egyptian satellite channel and now reaches some 30 million viewers.

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Measuring Net Freedom and “Outrage” to Predict Next Arab Spring

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, April 17 2013

Screengrab from Freedom House map of Freedom on the Net 2012

While many have extolled the use of the Internet and social media in particular as a positive, democratic, organizing force in recent revolutions and turned to the web as both a tool for revolution and for predicting revolution, others say repressive regimes can effectively squash online activism. The ICT (Information and Communications Technology) for Development blog tried to predict where the next major revolution might take place by using indexes that measure Internet freedoms, autocracy and repression, and ICT development. They pitted constraint against outrage using the Freedom House’s Freedom on the Net score, The Economist Democracy Index, and the ITU’s ICT Development Index, and came up with two versions of The Revolution 2.0 Index.

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How Open Data Is Changing The Way Vancouver Shelters Its Homeless

BY David Eaves | Monday, March 4 2013

Vancouver SRO (image: Megaphone Mag/Flickr)

Last month, seemingly out of nowhere, the Province of British Columbia announced it would spend $1 million (in Canadian dollars) to address health and safety violations in a number of the single resident occupancy (SRO) buildings it owns in Vancouver. The reason...? Open data. Read More


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

Netanyahu Chooses Actor Who Satirizes Him as Doppelganger in Facebook Meme

BY Lisa Goldman | Monday, February 4 2013

While thousands are celebrating International Doppelganger Week by replacing their Facebook avatars with a photo of celebrities they resemble, the prime minister of Israel chose a photo of a comedian who plays him as a bumbling pompous fool on a popular political satire television show. Read More


A New Map Aims to Show Where the Well Runs Dry and Who's to Blame

BY Julia Wetherell | Friday, February 1 2013

The WRI's Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas.

One out of six people worldwide do not have stable access to safe water sources. With the global population projected to reach 9 billion in the next few decades, the water crisis may soon be named the most pressing issue of the 21st century. A new mapping tool hopes to give a clear picture of worldwide water risk by highlighting the stresses that cause it. Read More


Weekly Global Readings: Transparency

BY Lisa Goldman and Antonella Napolitano | Wednesday, January 30 2013

The theme of this week's global readings is transparency, whether it be government initiatives or dissident code words. Read More