Tag Archives: Uganda

Sneak peak: Meet Florence

12 Aug

Meet Florence.

Florence lives near Busia in west Kenya. She is the Vice Secretary of Upendo III, a group of women farmers who have been working together since 1989.

I asked Florence how having a moible phone had affected her day to day life as a farmer.

You can hear her response here:

NB. A ‘boda’ or ‘boda boda’ is a bicycle or motorbike taxi. Interesting fact: The name orignates from Florence’s home town of Busia which lies on the border between Uganda and Kenya. Bikes would transport local people from Kenya to Uganda. ‘Border border’ became ‘boda boda’ and the name is now used in many other African countries.

Applab connecting Uganda

20 Apr

Original video: Applab, Grameen Foundation

Grameen Foundation work with communities in the developing world, increasing access to technology and micro-finance initiatives, aiming to help people make their way out of poverty.

Like Question Box , when it comes to connecting people, Applab‘s philosophy is a simple one. Community knowledge workers work with farmers, bridging the gaps that can’t yet be connected by the internet. Farmer’s questions get answers. Knowledge is shared.

Their flickr page and blog are also worth a look.

Why agriculture?

17 Apr

linkTV: Meeting Food Needs – Solutions from Africa

70% of the population of Sub-Sahran Africa are employed in agriculture. 80% of Uganda’s population of 31 million are involved in agriculture and as you can see from this list, agriculture in Ethiopia provides a whole host of valuable exports. The Gates Foundation has lots of similar facts and figures, all of which emphasise how important agirculture is to the economies of many developing countries, in particular African countries.

In accordance with an African Union programme, many African governments are investing more money into strengthening agriculture. But there is still work to be done.

There’s the problem of waste shown in linkTV’s video above. There’s also the plight of the ‘Middleman’ who take a share of the money that would otherwise go to the food producers. There are cultural aspects too. In Ethiopia I saw farmers driving huge herds of skinny cows along the road. I was told that these farmers see the size of their herd as more valuable than the productivity of the individual cow. Even though a smaller herd of better nourished, productive cows would really be far more cost efficient.

These are some of the reasons why agriculture is being targeted by the mobile market. As Danielle Nierenberg says huge numbers of farmers have access to mobile phones. If information can be distributed via them and farmers can connect to each other using them it could have global implications.

MobileActive.org: Mobile phones in rural development and agriculture

Africa online?

10 Apr

Image: Jon Gosier

Africa’s ccTLDs. (Country code top level domains) On the map they’re scaled to represent the number of millions of internet users in each country. 

Before Egypt’s so called ‘Day of Anger’ on the 25th January 2011, when in retaliation to widespread protests, the government shut down the internet, Egypt was number 1. According to internetworldstats.com there were just over 17 million internet users in Egypt in February 2010. (Read more about Egypt and it’s ‘moment of silence’  on Appfrica’s blog )

Other big players are Nigeria and Morocco, numbers 2 and 3 . Kenya and Uganda are also up there at numbers 7 and 9 respectively.

But what about the others, as the map shows there are many of them. In June 2010, Ethiopia had 450 thousand internet users. Only 0.5% of the country’s population. In comparison, 33.4% of Moroccan people were using the internet in December 2009. 

Of course, these figures are changing all the time, and with constantly increasing speed. But huge disparities remain and the reality is that even in countries with higher stats, many people are living without internet. – Difficult for us to grasp, glued to our monitors, blogging and tweeting away.

Connecting people is powerful. So in places that the internet can’t reach, projects like FrontlineSMS see mobile phones as having an important role to play.

Founder and National Geographic Emerging Explorer Ken Banks explains…

Video by NationalGeographic. Ken’s blogpost: Mobile as exploration Follow Ken on Twitter

For more on mobiles take a look at this proposal by blogger Erik Hersman on White African