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Kenya

SMS AS A TOOL FOR TRACKING AND COUNTERING MISINFORMATION IN THE TANA DELTA

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SMS AS A TOOL FOR TRACKING AND COUNTERING MISINFORMATION IN THE TANA DELTA

A free information service that seeks to counteract malicious misinformation which has been the trigger for recent outbreaks of violence in the region.

The Una Hakika initiative, supported by iHub and launched by the Sentinel Project, is a free information telecommunication service which seeks to counter misinformation that has contributed to recent outbreaks of violence in the Tana Delta region of Kenya. This region is prone to inter-communal violence and has recently seen a number of massacres due to the spreading of political rumors and misinformation. Often news does not reach this area until 3 days after an event has occurred and verifying information is close to impossible. The initiative was started by the Sentinel Project in hopes of defusing this rapid spread of misinformation and replacing it with unbiased and accurate information in a timely manner. Prior to Una Hakika, residents would quickly act on rumors but now they wait for and seek out accurate information before acting. 

The importance of the transmission of accurate information is vital for this conflict ridden region. In an interview with Project Coordinator Christina Mutisya, she states: “Sometimes the media does not portray what exactly is on the ground. So when you come to ground and talk to the people you understand the real issues and you find that they are very complicated and interlinked.” In fact, Una Hakika has been so effective that Mutisya claims, “There have even been several instances in which Una Hakika was the first to receive reports of violence even before local authorities and security forces did.” 

By reducing the prevalence of violence there is hope that NGOs and potential investors will be attracted to the area and thus development and other projects will be established. 

So far, it is reported that 1 in 50 adult mobile phone owners use the service in the region, thus leaving much room for expansion and improvement. All in all, “Una Hakika has made a notable and potentially long lasting difference in the region by reducing tension through the transformation of how information is used, transmitted and received.”

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How can smart phones make a social impact in East Africa?

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How can smart phones make a social impact in East Africa?

The Mobile Impact Ventures Program, created by M:lab East Africa in partnership with iHub, is a technology incubator and accelerator that mentors start up companies that have mobile applications with a social impact focus, meaning agriculture, education, or health. M:lab East Africa has a free testing facility in Nairobi, Kenya with over 200 phones so that those companies creating the social impact applications are able to test them on hundreds of devices. Once accepted to the program, startups are provided with business and technical classes as well as coaching for up to 6 months, thus giving them the tools to succeed. 

On December 9th, 2014, the Mobile Impact Ventures Program hosted a Demo Day that showcased 4 of their highest impact ventures from the accelerator program in order to present their products to investors, possible partners, and the like. One such application, Tumukaro, provides an “online service that enables parents and well wishers living in the diaspora to easily pay school fees for their dependents in Kenya in a fast, secure and convenient way.” Find out more about the MIV Program and the innovative social impact ventures it supports here.

Listen to an interview with Sheilah Birgen, the Community Leader at M:lab East Africa, as she delves further into the different programs M:lab offers.

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Vava Coffee: Sourcing Green Coffee in Kenya

Vava Coffee empowers coffee farmers around Kenya by sourcing the best beans, providing training to the farmers and helping the farmers transition to organic farming using best farming practices. As a social enterprise, Vava Coffee  provide employment and sustainable revenues with the various self help groups we work with that make some our packaging materials. Vava will be adding profiles of their projects to the map as part of Navvi beta!

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Empty Hospital Alleys: Kenyan Healthcare Workers on Strike

A health workers strike at public Kenyan hospitals entered its tenth day today and Nairobi-based Navvi.com users are voicing concerns. “The crisis affected public hospitals as the workers protest against devolution of health services, which will see their salaries paid by governors,” according to the Daily Nation.

Strathmore University graduate student Machanje Daniel wrote on Navvi.com:

How long this tussle will go on will remain a mystery, but the FACT is that its the Kenyan citizen is the one under the shackles to bear the brunt of poor health delivery. The hospitals’ alley will continue being lifeless until a resolution is made by responsible parties to settle Health Workers’ pleas. 

This is part of a series of blog posts highlighting Navvi.com contributors’ best entries.

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1 Cell Phone Connects Maasai Village to the World

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1 Cell Phone Connects Maasai Village to the World

The people of Lemongo Village in southeastern Kenya live in earthen huts made of branches, sticks, grass and mud. They live off the land as pastoralists in the Rift Valley and create fire by rubbing sticks together. But at least one mobile phone — and persistent 3G data service — connects this Maasai village to the rest of the world. This is how the Lemongo Maasai will bring their perspective to Navvi.com.

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       The Turkana Population depends on the same water table as the 150,000 strong, Kakuma Refugee Camp. Navvi.com (organizations pilot) will explore the microcosm as a platform for larger place-based dialog.

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The Turkana Population depends on the same water table as the 150,000 strong, Kakuma Refugee Camp. Navvi.com (organizations pilot) will explore the microcosm as a platform for larger place-based dialog.

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Kibera, Nairobi

We spent the day filming in Kibera - the largest urban ‘slum’ in Africa. The sense of community and connectedness was beautiful. Unlike the car-centric streets outside, Kibera feels like an interconnected city where people call each other by name, know thy neighbor and simply put, care. Slum is such an interesting word - often associated with crime, raw sewage, poverty, rape, need, etc, the unidyllic implications graffiti an image most wish to avoid.

Having spent years in the urban slums of South Asia, I’ve come to the following conclusions: people in-touch with their basic human needs (ie. food, energy, water, shelter) are connected with their surrounding environment by necessity. The resulting community is always refreshing. In an age of broken single families, ambition, and ‘modernity’, I ask what can we learn from communities like Kibera?

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