Monday, December 29, 2008

IoE links

Institute of Education connections.

Article in IoE Life magazine about International Development unit, Summer 2008.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

How to build a local phone network

Article about Dabba, which uses re-programmed wifi hubs, cheap wifi handsets, and pay-as-you-go cards.

Vodafone launches UK-Kenya money transfer service

Vodafone Group Plc, the world's largest mobile phone group by revenue, launched a mobile money transfer pilot scheme between Britain and Kenya, aiming to increase its role in the growing industry and potentially boost customer loyalty.


Whole Foods helps fund microfinancing in Kenya

Under the partnership with international nonprofit Unitus, the foundation will lend financial support to Jamii Bora Trust, a microfinance institution in Kenya.

Jamii Bora Trust will use the funding to extend its reach into small farming communities and develop new microfinance products for rural farmers, according to Whole Foods Planet.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Kenya Farmers Reap Profits Sown by Joined Hands

Efforts to improve agriculture in Kenya often miss the mark by targeting men instead of women. One woman spent 20 years organizing female farmers to share investments and training. Now men are joining too, and the women's work is paying off.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Photovoice event 4 Dec 08

Sale of PhotoVoice Photographs

London International Development Centre, 36 Gordon Square, London, WC1H 0PD

Thursday 4 December 2008

5pm-with wine and nibbles
You are invited to attend a sale of photographs by UK NGO, PhotoVoice currently exhibited at LIDC. Representatives from PhotoVoice will explain more about how their award-winning international charity ( empowers some of the most disadvantaged groups in the world with photographic skills and equipment. Through establishing in-field photojournalism workshops, its projects enable those who are traditionally the subjects of photography to become its creator. Through photography these individuals find confidence in their voices and are enabled to speak out about their challenges, concerns, hopes and fears.

PhotoVoice projects span four continents, assisting refugees, street children, orphans, HIV/ AIDS sufferers and special needs groups. Internationally the organisation provides the platform for these photographers to exhibit and market their work . It also provides long-term support for individuals to pursue careers in their local photographic industries.

Raffle prize
A 12"x 16" print of your choice from one of the images online at will be raffled off at the event (tickets £1 each).

Discounted photos
PhotoVoice will be selling heavily discounted copies of the pictures exhibited inside LIDC's building at 36 Gordon Square (pictures online at ). A couple of the pictures are also attached.
8" x 10": £25
12" x 16": £50 (usual price £125)
Framed 12"x 16" (as per exhibition): £85

PhotoVoice have guaranteed delivery in time for Christmas so we hope that these pictures may make good Christmas presents!

I hope you are able to join us.

Best wishes

Monday, November 10, 2008

UN using food aid as lever to lift African farmers

The U.N.'s World Food Program will spend $1 billion buying food for the hungry this year, up $230 million from 2007.

Now the organization is trying to reach beyond simply handing out sacks of Western grain to help feed emaciated children. It wants to stimulate farmers to produce more — and replace those shipments from U.S. and other agribusinesses — by providing a reliable market for their local crops.

The WFP is mounting this new effort in 21 countries, mostly in Africa, against the backdrop of a global food crisis with many causes, among them Africa's long-running failure to feed itself. But experts say still more will be needed for a turnaround in African agriculture.


Saturday, November 08, 2008

Human Centered Design toolkit

In collaboration with Gates Foundation and IDE, IDEO created a Human Centered Design toolkit. This resource was created to help organizations working with smallholder farmers better understand the needs of the farmers and design appropriate tools, technologies, programs, or services for and with them.

Please feel free to download the toolkit and share your comments about it here.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Kenya elephants text rangers

Elephants in Kenya are sending text messages to warn wildlife rangers that they are heading for the crops of neighbouring villages. more

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Organic farm blossoms in Kenya's largest slum

The unlikely story of Kibera's first "organic" farm - its only farm of any scale - has its roots in the chaos that gripped Kenya at the start of the year. more

Friday, September 12, 2008

Kenya’s third mobile operators gears up for November launch

Kenya’s third mobile operator, Econet Wireless Kenya is preparing to make its test run later this month as it seeks to beat the November deadline to launch its service. more

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Mt Kenya rivers disappear

Big horticultural farmers are accused of diverting river water for irrigation. details

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Kenya Snow Signals Climate Change

Scientists agreed that snow in Kenya, a humid, tropical country with an amazing diversity of fauna and flora is clear evidence of a climate change. details

Destruction of Kenya forest is national emergency

Destruction of the woodland by rampant illegal settlement, logging and charcoal burning threatens severe damage to Kenya's economy with an impact on energy, tourism, agriculture and water supply to cities and industry. more

Friday, August 01, 2008

Development Story from Kambu area

To read about how the kwa mukonza self-help group built a sand dam and
a demonstration shamba follow the link

Sunday, July 13, 2008

African Agriculture blog

African Agriculture is the first of several Africa-related websites
to be launched in early 2007 by Africa News Network. Each of them
will deal with a particular theme of African development or economic
activity. Trade, renewable energy and environmental issues in Africa
are just three examples of planned website themes. Links will be
made available to these other thematic websites as they are
launched. It is hoped that you will visit some of these other sites
and that you will find them interesting and useful to your keeping
up to date with news and analysis on issues important to the
development of Africa. It is planned that each of these websites
will have its own email update service for busy professionals who
prefer to keep up with the sites' contents this way rather than by
surfing the sites.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Google Cache for East Africa

Google is well known for snatching up top-level talent, this holds true in Kenya as well. ICT groundbreaker Joe Mucheru heads up the Kenya office, and he’s surrounded by a team of smart young technologists. I had the chance to meet Isis Nyong’o (Strategic Parter Development Manager) while getting ready for Barcamp Nairobi, and then Chris Kiagiri (Tech Lead) and Mark de Blois (Geographic Supervisor) last week before I left. more

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Microsoft supports women in Kenya

Microsoft has sponsored ICT and entrepreneurship training for 1,093 Kenyan women from six settlements under its Unlimited Potential program. Details here.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Bar Camp Nairobi

When: Saturday, June 21
Time: 10am - 5pm (of course, this goes later, and I would stick around for any evening fun and conversation...)
Where: Jacaranda Hotel -

"Barcamp Nairobi '08 is an unconference made up of of technical professionals, Internet enthusiasts, bloggers, designers and other clever people in the Nairobi area who wish to share and learn in an open environment.

Attendees don't just watch a set list of speakers. They give their own talks. Podcasting. Web standards. Microformats. Gum stick computers. Physical security. Robotics. Evolutionary algorithms. It can be anything. This event is not just for stuffy developer types - one of the best barcamp presentations ever given was about sandwiches. Barcamp is whatyou make of it."

Monday, June 02, 2008

Cross cultural partnerships

Includes template for partnerships, on open source model, drawn up by lawyer and anthropologist. Intended for nontraditional legal or commercial agreements.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Renewable energy in Kenya

The United Nations International Development Organisation (Unido) is calling on communities without access to electricity to submit renewable energy production proposals for funding. Details here.

Unido has also created 'energy kiosks,' one of which is on the slopes of Mt. Kenya, though there have been some problems with vandalism. Details here.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Mobile environmental monitoring

Goes both ways: In London you can receive air quality info by SMS. Or sensors embedded in mobiles can detect and send radiation or pollen levels. "Grassroots citizen science" work by Eric Paulos in Ghana attached sensors to taxi drivers' phones in Ghana to measure pollution levels. Details here.

See also Urban sensing: Out of the woods: "Services such as Google Earth have driven to nearly zero the cost of this visualization measured in terms of dollars, time-to-deploy, and technical sophistication required." (See an example of the scientific use of Google Earth here.)

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Microscope Enables Disease Diagnosis with a Cell Phone

A research team at UC Berkeley is developing a technology that will enable anyone, anywhere in the world, to diagnose malaria with just a cell phone and a special microscope. more

Monday, April 28, 2008

Universal Science Bench

Portable teaching tool using solar and wind for powering local experiments. Details here

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Stanford-Ericsson mobile learning collaboration

Stockholm (SE), July 2007 - Ericsson announced at the UN Global Compact Leaders Summit in Geneva (05-06 July) that it is collaborating with Stanford University to explore the innovative use of mobile technologies in distance eLearning. Ericsson will work with Stanford University's International Outreach Program to bring distance learning to countries in Africa.

The program offers students on different continents the opportunity to learn from researchers in environmental sciences from several countries and perspectives, as well as contribute to lively discourse and debate through Internet and mobile phone interaction.

Further details here.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Food Futures Now

"How organic agriculture and localised food (and energy) systems can potentially compensate for all greenhouse gas emissions due to human activities and free us from fossil fuels"

Int'l report compiled by geneticist and int'l group of scientists and agriculturalists, it is optimistic in asserting that existing proven, practical techniques can solve many problems.

This report and the recent UN one come down against GM crops and high-tech, high-yield agriculture in favour of integrated, locally based organic farming systems.

Biovision/IAASTD World Agricultural Report

The IAASTD World Agricultural Report documents that around 2.6 billion
people worldwide depend on agriculture for survival. The great majority of
the poorest people live in rural areas and are predominantly farmers. “The
fact that in the past, less and less has been done for small farmers in
developing countries, is fatal”, says Dr. Herren, “we must promote training,
access to information, small loans and land for farmers, and also create
market structures which give these people the chance to feed and support
their families!” The IAASTD report proves that enough food is produced
According to the World Agricultural Advisory Board, the main problems are dissemination and sustainability. The report documents that increasing use of chemicals and industrialisation, as well as lack of training and research into sustainable agricultural methods have lead to an increase in the overuse of natural resources and soil infertility “If we do not improve the soil and methods of cultivation, then even the best seeds and most modern techniques will be of no use
whatsoever,” – Dr. Hans Rudolf Herren comes to the point, and adds that a
trend reversal is urgently needed. “Agriculture must become more humane
and more sustainable”, says the Swiss recipient of the World Food Prize “and
we have good examples in Africa already, which show that adaptive
techniques and applied research lead to solutions which help both the
environment and small farmers”. more

Sunday, March 30, 2008

A bag full of sunshine

Energy: A combination of flexible solar cells and low-energy lighting provides a way to bring electric light to isolated communities


Friday, March 21, 2008

See-saw to power African schools

A young inventor is hoping to tap the unbounded energy of children in a playground to power schools in Africa.


Thursday, March 13, 2008

Voiping the outback

Communications in the remote Australian outback are getting a boost following the development of a system that links the internet to amateur radio technology. more

Friday, March 07, 2008

Google Activity in Kenya

Report on first 'skunkworks' meeting hosted by Google in Nairobi including some
information on Google's work to map Kenya, work with Safaricom etc...

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


An example of Indian Agricultural Extension videos being shared through you tube. is a "global initiative to enhance sustainable agricultural development and food security by improving the use of information, communication, and associated technologies in the sector."

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Open Source Data Entry Software for Mobiles

"EpiSurveyor is a free, open source tool enabling anyone to very easily create a handheld data entry form, collect data on a mobile device, and then transfer the data back to a desktop or laptop for analysis -- without expensive consultants, software subscriptions, or long-term contracts.

Coming soon: EpiSurveyor running on Windows Mobile, Symbian phones (and other Java-enabled devices)."

Potentially adaptable for agricultural field data capture?

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Web desktop targets 'cybernomads'

A virtual desktop aimed at users who access the web via cybercafes is attracting interest from organisations set up to bridge the digital divide more

Friday, January 18, 2008

International Direct Money to Kenyan Phone Credit

Some options for sending money direct to a phone in Kenya available at:

Could be a way of doing direct person-to-person business?

Tuesday, January 01, 2008


Mobile Planet provided up-to-the-minute results by text message.