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Accept the Smartphone Reality in Development

Recently, Elvis Mushi of Twaweza, shared with me interesting mobile phone survey results from his Sauti za Wananchi program. I find them remarkable in two ways. First, he found that 80% of Tanzanian households own at least 1 mobile phone. Then he found that mobile phone coverage reached 88% of the population. One of the largest and poorest populations now has near-ubiquitous mobile phone access.

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How Smartphones are changing dermatology in Tanzania

Situated in the Mara region of Tanzania, in the northwest between Lake Victoria and the Kenyan Border, the rural village of Shirati is home to Read More

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Data and metrics essential for meeting future development goals

Guardian – Poverty Matters Blog, July 4: Our report outlines the need for sustainable development goals to be monitored and measured in real time to Read More

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Barcamp Nairobi 2014 Edition

Barcamp Nairobi 2014 is set to begin, seven years after the first one was held. It’s one of those events that brings people out of the woodwork around the city, where techies who don’t normally meet end up having great conversations, and relationships are formed. This Saturday, Aug 30th at 08:00, your chance to lead […]


A Taxonomy of Arguments in Favor of Bad Aid

As promised, what began as a compendium of arguments in favor of bad aid, but is now more of a taxonomy with non-exhaustive illustrative examples and discussion under each category. Just so there’s no confusion, and because by now I typically know how these arguments go before they’re even fully uttered, by “bad aid” I […]


Accept the Smartphone Reality in Development

Flag_of_Tanzania_(WFB_2004)

Recently, Elvis Mushi of Twaweza, shared with me interesting mobile phone survey results from his Sauti za Wananchi program. I find them remarkable in two ways. First, he found that 80% of Tanzanian households own at least 1 mobile phone. Then he found that mobile phone coverage reached 88% of the population. One of the largest and poorest populations now has near-ubiquitous mobile phone access.


DataDyne is now Magpi – and better than ever

You’ve probably noticed a big change around here. That’s right, it’s official: we have taken the plunge and formally reintroduced ourselves as Magpi. We’re still the same team, but consolidated under the Magpi name. We’re excited to announce this shift in identity as we strive to better serve our customers across the globe and make […] The post DataDyne is now Magpi – and better than ever appeared first on Magpi.


USAID Investing In Science, Technology Research In Africa

USAID’s “Impact”: The Power of Scientific Research Investment in Africa Andy Sisson, acting director of the U.S. Global Development Lab, writes, “…Building lasting partnerships with African leaders, thinkers, entrepreneurs and innovators is at the core of USAID’s approach, which seeks to end extreme poverty by investing in Africa’s greatest resource: its people. Many of our…More


Data Revolution from the Bottom-Up

Data revolutionaries around the world (myself included) are using every forum possible to call for more and better data that is disaggregated, produced more frequently, more open, and more useable. Recently, my colleague Alex Ezeh at the African Population and Health Research Centre wrote me: “We cannot address data system challenges in Tanzania or Nigeria by holding high level meetings in New York or London.” He’s right: The path to more, better, timely, and open data starts with strengthening country governments’ core data collection, analysis, and use, whether it’s routine economic statistics or sustainable development goals. Country action should drive the revolution, bottom-up not top-down.


Rethinking livelihoods.

This post appeared on the PopTech blog and has been republished with permission. You can read the original post here. This post is co-authored by PopTech president Leetha Filderman, and Ken Banks, founder of kiwanja.net and FrontlineSMS. Together they are co-facilitators of the 2014 Bellagio/PopTech Fellows program.  We are pleased to announce the 2014 class of Bellagio/PopTech Fellows, a diverse group of designers, social innovators, technologists and writers with expertise in technology, global health, poverty alleviation, environmental sustainability and informal sector economics. Sean Blagsvedt, Alexice Tô-Camier, Dominic Muren, Robtel Neajai Pailey, Solomon Prakash This year’s program is focused on rethinking livelihoods


GHTC Highlights Global Health Innovation Takeaways From U.S.-Africa Summit

Global Health Technology Coalition’s “Breakthroughs”: Four key takeaways from the Africa Leaders Summit Ashley Bennett, senior policy associate at the Global Health Technologies Coalition, discusses key takeaways from the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit around global health innovation (8/12).


SFCG Nigeria uses FrontlineSMS to create a conflict Early Warning System

After successfully using FrontlineSMS in the Tomorrow is a New Day (TND) project to monitor and improve radio dramas in the Niger Delta, SFCG Nigeria chose to use the platform in a completely different capacity in Jos, a city in Northern Nigeria.  SFCG Nigeria is part of Search for Common Ground, one of the first and largest conflict resolution focused NGOs.  In Northern Nigeria, SFCG partnered with Community Action for Popular Participation (CAPP) to develop an Early Warning System (EWS) funded by the US Institute for Peace (USIP). SMS and emails have been used to spread rumors and inflammatory messages at terrifying speeds in Nigeria, exacerbating tensions. In order to empower local communities to respond, an EWS was developed to provide timely and accurate information to the Plateau Peace Practitioners Network (PPPN)[1] and Operation Rainbow, using FrontlineSMS, Ushahidi’s CrowdMap, and 109 focal points drawn from eight Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Plateau State.[2] The 109 focal points were chosen from a group of trusted community leaders and representatives, and were then trained in using SMS to submit reports on peace and violence in their areas as part of a bounded-crowd approach to crowdsourcing.  These SMS reports were collected using FrontlineSMS, which were used to create bulletins and monthly reports and to inform SFCG’s Voices of Peace Radio Program, in order to discredit inflammatory rumors.


Obstetric First Responders in Chiapas: innovative trainings by PACE-MD

We have been following PACE-MD with great interest. They focus on Obstetrical First Responders as the first link in the chain of survival in Mexico. We have long believed that the analogy to an EMT might be a better way to get beyond the long-standing disputes over what traditional birth attendants versus midwives versus others, including community health workers, can handle as far as maternal health emergencies. PACE-MD focuses on handling obstetric emergencies starting at the first contact with a health worker.


FrontlineSMS transforms Community Radio in Malawi

Thank you to John Kisewe Mpakani for writing this post about his experience using FrontlineSMS as a producer and presenter at the Nkhotakota Community Radio Station in Malawi. Background Information Nkhotakota Community Radio Station, along Lake Malawi, is a Malawi Communication Regulatory Authority (MACRA) recognized broadcaster and has been in operation for eleven years. More than 500,000 people live within our coverage area- transmissions reach Nkhotakota and Ntchisi districts and parts of Nkhatabay, Salima, Dowa, Mzimbaand Kasungu


SFCG Nigeria uses FrontlineSMS to Improve Radio Dramas

ARDA recording Day Don Break SFCG Nigeria is part of Search for Common Ground, one of the first and largest conflict resolution focused NGOs.  To support the reconciliation and reintegration of ex-militants in the Niger Delta, the Tomorrow is a New Day (TND) project was implemented with the support of the European Union from December 2011- June 2013.  The project was carried out with five local partners,[1] who were instrumental in SFCG Nigeria’s ability to work directly with seven local communities in the Delta. One of TND’s major activities was to develop radio dramas to address rumors and misinformation, to provide community members with relatable characters and scenarios, and to support SFCG’s conflict resolution training and advocacy work.


Kazi ya Mkono

Entrepreneurs who succeed are hungrier, and the get their hands dirty. A couple stories: The Coffee Man Pete Owiti is a coffee connoisseur, he learned the trade back in the late 90′s as on of Java House Nairobi’s earliest baristas, became one of the best in Kenya, winning global barista competitions and then went to […]


U.S. Using Mobile Technology To Improve Health In Africa

Politico: Mobile tech on the Africa health frontier “Billions have been spent to bring AIDS medicines to patients in Africa, but a technology with just as much lifesaving potential can be had for pennies: the text message. As African leaders gather for a summit with President Barack Obama this week, U.S. health agencies are beginning…More


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