Sunday, June 24, 2007 is an online community and a wiki for sharing ideas on how to use mobile communications for social and environmental benefits.

" was created with support from Nokia and Vodafone, but belongs to the growing global network of individuals and organizations that use this virtual gathering place to communicate - and collaborate.

The idea for came from Ndidi Nwuneli, founder and CEO of LEAP Africa, a Nigerian NGO dedicated to nurturing a new generation of African leaders.

"Groups like ours would really benefit from a resource that shows us how to use mobile technology to carry out our work more effectively," said Ndidi at a Nokia stakeholder event of NGO and corporate leaders. was created in response to Ndidi’s request.˝

Includes sections on Education & Environment

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Big picture: Kenya

This recent article provides a good overview of the current state of Kenya.


Anthropology is commonly used in HCI (for example by Bonnie Nardi). Here is an example of its use re: mobile phones.

Kenyan blogs

Kenyan Pundit
Mental Acrobatics
Steve Ntwiga Mugiri

White African

Interesting blog by a white guy who grew up in Kenya and Sudan, with some good info on technology, mobile and otherwise.

What Does Africa Need Most: Technology or Aid?

Interesting article on the recent TED conference in Tanzania. Normally stands for 'technology, entertainment, design' but in this case should be 'technology, education, development' or similar.


Part of the DEEP project, eRanger is a mobile multimedia classroom

Hole in the Wall

Here is a description of this project, which introduced ICT into an Indian village in an interesting way.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Google Hires First African Employee

"Joseph Mucheru has been named the new site lead for Google Kenya. This was whispered to be happening, but at today’s Google lunch at TEDGlobal the..." more

See also - Plans For Google Kenya Kick Into High Gear


"NGO-in-a-box provides bespoke box-sets of tools and materials aggregated around specific themes... an inter-related set of tools, materials and guides around a given theme or in relation to a specific region."

Example boxes include:

  • Audio Video Edition ... a compilation of tools for NGOs, activists, independent media and community groups with particular emphasis on their application in transition or developing countries where broadband internet access and computing power are often limited.
  • Open Publishing Edition ... a toolkit of free and open source software, tutorials and guides for producing, publishing and distributing content... aimed at small to medium sized non-profits
  • Mobile phone box coming soon... see mobile advocacy toolkit wiki

Friday, June 08, 2007

Les usages ruraux de l'internet

French initiative has rural communities setting up their own wifi networks.

Beyond the technical aspects, this solution brings some interesting side effects. The RAN Group notes that its members became more involved in the social life of their areas. The network requires regular meetings to plan periodic maintenance operations. The decision to establish their own Internet service has required the RAN Group to contact municipalities, negotiate with local farmers to plant antennas in fields, calculate costs with potential new members, share technical information among the different RAN members of several regions, etc. In this way, the network generates social links instead of isolating people.

From this article.

Precision Agriculture

NASA initiative extols the benefits of remote sensing, mapping, satellite imagery for improving crop yields, reducing fertilizer use, keeping records, increasing profits, reducing pollution.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Radio hardware

Ramsey FM30B - Digital FM Stereo Transmitter Kit This looks to have 25mW; a diode could be cut to get full power, or there is another more powerful version.

Other sources:
Broadcast Warehouse, Progressive Concepts and PCS Electronics

WiFi with mileage

Intel Research working on long-range wifi using standard hardware. Details here.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Data to audio

Given the prominence of radio, and literacy levels, in the communities we're working with, this article may be of interest. Listen to your crops grow?

Monday, June 04, 2007

Mobiles and market prices

For many years, anecdotes have abounded about the ways in which mobile phones promote more efficient markets and encourage economic activity. One particularly popular tale is that of the fisherman who is able to call several nearby markets from his boat to establish where his catch will fetch the highest price.

A new paper, described here, fills in the details of this story.

Drying up and flooding out

Temperatures in Africa are expected to increase by at least 2.5 degrees Celsius by 2030, according to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It places Kenya in the area most at risk from climate change.

Mount Kenya, near Kiangwachi (one of the villages VeSeL is working with) may disappear as its glaciers melt; only 7 of the 18 recorded in 1900 still remain.

The World Meteorological Organisation says that the collection of weather data in Africa has gotten worse as many of the automatic weather stations it helped set up have fallen into disrepair.

Source: Economist story, 12 May 2007

African e-schools initiative

African children do better with digital details an initiative by New Partnership for Africa's Development, supported by various technology companies, announced at e-Learning Africa conference.

Nature's Benefits in Kenya: An Atlas of Ecosystems and Human Well-Being

This report provides a new approach to integrating spatial data on poverty and ecosystems in Kenya. It is endorsed by five Permanent Secretaries in Kenya and with a Foreword by Wangari Maathai (recipient of the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize).

Science and Development Network

Web site: News, views and information about science, technology and the developing world

Mobiles and Development

Report from recent UK workshop on this topic.