Archive | June, 2011

The plan cont’d…

29 Jun

Where was I? Ah yes, Back in Nairobi…

After a week in Kenya I will fly on to Addis Ababa for a week which will be a little more familiar for me after spending nine weeks there in 2010.

No more flights in Ethiopia. I will drive down to Kofele…

…on to Zeway

Then it’s back to base in Addis Ababa and on home.

Hopefully with my first documentary under my belt!

10 little days!..

All maps from lovely Google

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Inequality?

20 Jun
My last blog post makes access to online and the availability of social media sound as if we’re all on an equal footing, we’re all involved in this big global discussion. But perhaps that’s not quite the case.
 
I was inspired by a tweet from Guardian Development today. They were also live tweeting from Africa Gathering in London today. They tweeted
 
“We must act to ensure digital access & literacy doesn’t become a new source of inequality @claremelamed#aglondon
 
Are mobile phones considered a luxury? Or a practical tool? Or can they be both? In the UK they are widely regarded as a tool I suppose. But this does not strip the iPhone of it’s allure.
 
Whilst I was in Ethiopia last year, I noticed that many people who owned a mobile phone, had more than one. My host mother had three. Why, was unbeknown to me. But she enjoyed having three mobile phones. Three more than some people that she knew I suspect. Is this inequality?
 
What about the huge regional disparities between the frequency of mobile connections?
 
Or do these inequalities just mean nothing in the grand scheme of things? The M-Ubuntu Project has brought mobile phones into the classroom in two South African schools.
 
Whilst in Kenya I hope to meet the thinkers behind M-Farm They have created a system which uses SMS to allow farmers to access accurate market prices whilst selling their crops. Mobile phones for good? ICT4D? I hope to find out.
 
I wonder whether mobile phones may be a complication and a solution to the problem of inequality. Or maybe this is just progress and development and continuity towards the future.
 

Africa Gathering

20 Jun

Image by Africa Gathering

As I plugged away with emails and enquiries for my forthcoming trip (less than three weeks now!) I whiled away my afternoon reading the ferevent stream of tweets coming from the Africa Gathering in London. #AgLondon for anyone who wants a refresh.

In their own words, Africa Gathering…

“provides a space to bring technophiles, thinkers, entrepreneurs, innovators and everybody else together to talk about positive change in sustainable development, technology, social networking, health, education, environment and good governance in Africa.”

Now I know that I only scraped the very surface of the gathering by reading the tweets. It sounds like a fascinating day, packed with important and insightful presentations which following online I wasn’t fortunate enough to see. But it felt rather apt to be part of the event via twitter. Scrolling down the stream of tweets from today’s gathering I found another place to bring ideas, thoughts, questions and information together.  

When I travel to Nairobi I will visit the iHub and I’ve been learning more about it today. Another centre, another space to share ideas enrich, engage and enable.

It’s strength in numbers I suppose.

The plan…

19 Jun

So. I have a plan.

Come July, I will be flying from Heathrow

to Jomo Kenyatta airport, Nairobi. 

(I Google Map-ped it and it would take me six days and twenty one hours to go by car. So it’s a good job I’m flying.)

From Nairobi I’ll be travelling to Kisumu…

and on to Mumias…

…and Kakamega.

Then it’s back to Nairobi and onward to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. (more on the next leg soon.)

All maps from lovely Google