Outstanding Technologies in Africa

By: Sidee Dlamini

To the unaware, Africa is still known as the Dark Continent; however, numerous trends continue to show how much progress has been made on the African continent. More importantly, there has been a lot of technological advancement that the majority of the world is unaware of. It is my belief that most of the issues faced by the continent will be solved through the use of technology. I envision technology being deeply implemented in government procedures such that efficiency is increased ten fold and corruption is greatly. Of course, technology isn’t the answer to all problems, but it has the capability to solve a few if not most. How might these visions be accomplished you might ask? Well, I myself am in pursuit of that answer, but for now, I would like to explore a few outstanding technologies on the African continent.

AirJaldi - Bringing affordable internet connectivity to rural India


By Priya Iyer


About AirJaldi
AirJaldi is a social enterprise currently operational mostly in North India aimed at providing affordable broadband connectivity to the remote parts of the country where internet access is a rarity. Establishing the infrastructure in the rural hilly areas of India is a tedious process owing to difficult terrains, unfavorable weather, lack of uninterrupted power, supply and transport costs and lack of awareness about Internet usage among the rural residents. 

Lean ICTD: Applying the principles of the lean startup entrepreneurship model to ICTD projects

By Seema Puthyapurayil (@seemahari)

Last week, I stumbled upon an inspiring article about the Indian sanitary pad revolutionary: Arunachalam Muruganantham, who has developed a simple machine that can make low-cost sanitary pads. Arunachalam’s invention was aimed to help the 88% of Indian women, who were using dirty cloth, leaves and even ash during their menstrual cycles. Not only do these machines have the potential to improve women’s health and hygiene, but they can also empower women in small communities to become entrepreneurs and create and distribute their own brand of sanitary napkins. If you google his name you can find a ton of articles about this man and his great story (there is even a documentary film made about him!), so my focus in this blog is to highlight what I think is a big factor in Arunachalam’s success: applying the lean startup principles of customer validation and minimum viable product (MVP) to a development project.


Blogs: The Perils of Posts and Posting

By An Anonymous Blogger

Blogging came about in the 1990s and, unlike other contemporary tech crazes like Mini CDs and Tamagotchis, has continued to catch the attention and interest of new users.  Beyond personal journals, blogs are used to review products, advertise cottage industries, provide organization updates, and give additional perspectives on news and political events.  Because of the difficulty of censoring blogs and other social media, these forms of communications have become instrumental in expressing political dissidence in regions with limited free speech.  

Despite the acknowledged benefits of blogging, it is a form of communication that has significant drawbacks.  As you peruse blogs and write your own, consider these warnings:

  1. Do not believe everything you read.
  2. Be very mindful of what you post.
  3. Be just as mindful of what you repost.

Development Myths and Direct Health Care through ICT4D: The Medical Concierge Group

By Chalenge Masekera

The jury still out on whether developmental work and aid money given to developing countries is useful. To address this concern, Bill Gates released his annual letter during the DAVOS World Economic Forum titled ‘3 Myths That Block Progress For The Poor’. Of particular importance are the first two ‘myths’:

Myth 1: Poor countries are doomed to stay poor.

Myth 2: Foreign Aid is a big waste

Argentina ICTD Initiatives Review

By Gustavo Pereyra (@heroedelmate)

Context

At the turn of the millennium Argentina faced one of the worst crises in its history: roughly 25% of its population was unemployed, and the economy had been in recession for most of the late share of the 90’s [1]. 
Call it funky timing, but it was only a couple of months before the president had to resign that the government passed legislation that encouraged –among other major reforms– the strategic inclusion of ICTs in the various administrative bodies of government [2]. Later on, and not without undergoing heavy circumstances some of which remain unsolved today, the country crawled out of the hole it had fallen in and entered a period of economic bonanza, so it became a much fertile ground for ICT initiatives. Those conditions led by 2005 to the National eGovernment Plan (“Plan Nacional de Gobierno Electrónico”) [3], which empowered the Undersecretary of Public Service as the main federal government organ to lead ICT initiatives.