Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Global Neighbour Network

"NABUUR links you directly with people around the world who need your assistance now. All you need is a computer, a little free time, and the desire to make a difference."

Local communities tell people what they need and online volunteers dedicate time to trying to help them achieve their aims. There are a number of projects in Kenya and some of them are related to water issues.

It is not clear to what extent this approach has been successful.

Reflect and ICT Project

This DFID-funded project is exploring potential applications of ICTs for poor and marginalised people, linking to existing Reflect groups in Uganda, Burundi and India.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Big Picture: The digital gap

'Only 4% of Africans have access to the internet. They pay the most in the world, around $250-300 a month, for the slowest connection speeds.'

'Interfaces are being written in a number of African languages, but even the clearest instructions in Wolof or Yoruba as to how to use Windows presume a fair degree of literacy.'

from The Economist.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Invest in Africa

'Booming stock markets, bustling city centres, huge reserves of natural resources and soaring economic growth. Welcome to the new Africa. '

'Some of the best value companies are in Kenya, where Nairobi is a fast-growing business hub for East Africa.'

Details here.

Open Architecture Challenge

Empower the youth of Mukuru Kwa Njenga, an informal slum settlement of 250,000, to connect with other youth and create positive change in their community by building a technology media lab and library.

Details here.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Electricity in Africa: The dark continent

Few Africans in rural areas have access to electricity. Connecting them to national grids will be slow and expensive. Yet Lilliputian windmills, water mills, solar panels and biomass furnaces could have a big collective impact. The cost of lighting a shack takes 10% of income in the poorest households and the kerosene lamps are highly polluting. In response, the World Bank has rolled out “Lighting Africa”, an ambitious effort to get 250m of the poorest Africans on clean-energy lighting by 2030....

Aggreko, a company based in Scotland, is the world's biggest supplier of temporary electricity in the shape of back-up generators. It meets up to 50% of Uganda's power needs, and 10% of those of Kenya and Tanzania....

Other remedies for Africa's power shortages are more familiar but just as urgent: more efficient appliances, such as LED lighting

Source: Economist

What can you do? Give the gift of light.

Big picture: Agriculture grows in appeal

Global commodity prices have been rising to record highs, and some predict the beginning of a 20-year bull market driven by increasing world popularion, the changing diets of developed countries, and demand for biofuels. This according to the Financial Times.

High prices are also driven by shortages in supply, according to the Economist. 'After recent glitches to wheat supplies in North America and Europe, hopes were riding on the Australian crop, due for harvest by December, to help fill a gap in global demand. The hopes now seem forlorn.' Australia, one of the world's biggest wheat exporters, is in its worst drought in a century.

Climate change? One Aussie farmer is quoted stopped believing in it, 'because it hasn't rained in eight years.'

Katine: Improving income generating opportunities

Guardian series on development project in agricultural African village, includes information about dry land farming [video | article], good examples of dissemination/stories, and a comprehensive plan. Also good examples of maps.


Bicycle + DC motor + inverter. Details here.