Category Archives: Ushahidi

Idea Exchange: Scholarships, Fellowships to Apply For

Applications are open for Chevening Scholarships  2015/2016. The Scholarships offers the opportunity to study for a one-year Master’s degree at leading UK universities and are awarded to outstanding established or emerging leaders across a wide range of fields: including Public Policy/Governance, International Law, Energy/Environment, Human Rights and Journalism. The deadline is 15 November.

EDIT CGI U 2015 Application Now Open. The eighth Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) U meeting takes place between March 6-8 2015, at the University of Miami, and will bring together more than 1,000 innovative student leaders to make Commitments to Action that address some of the world’s most pressing challenges. More than $500,000 in funding will be available to select CGI U 2015 students to help them turn their ideas into action. If you are 18 years or older and enrolled in an institution of higher education, Apply Now to be one as the early decision and travel assistance deadline is October 17, 2014, and the final application deadline is December 1, 2014.

The Deloitte Technology Fast50 Africa Programme is the region’s most objective industry-ranking to focus on the technology field, recognising technology companies that have achieved the fastest rates of revenue growth in Africa over the past five years. The deadline is 29 August.

The International Reporting Project (IRP) has a Health reporting trip that sends journalists to Mozambique (new media journalists are encouraged to apply) for an all-expense-paid, two-week reporting trip this fall. Interested applicants must be citizens of France, Germany, India, Japan, South Africa, the United Kingdom or the United States. Deadline is Sept. 2.

Five  (5) Journalism (5) opportunities to apply for in August include:

  • AJ+ offers reporting fellowship. Deadline was Aug. 1
  • Free online course in slideshow storytelling Starts Aug. 4
  • ICFJ, UN Climate Change Fellowship Deadline Aug. 12
  • Knight-Mozilla OpenNews Fellowship Deadline Aug. 16
  • Thomson Foundation hosts journalism competition Deadline Aug. 29

Apply to become a 2015 Knight-Mozilla Fellow  which comes with an opportunity to work with various leading news organizations. The deadline for applications is August 16.

Kenya’s Maktaba Award (Library of the Year Award) 2014 will be awarded in September. The Award, modeled on the German Library of the Year Award, aims to recognize excellence in the provision of library and information services in Kenya. Read More

The 2014 Mo Ibrahim Foundation Leadership Fellowships Programme is now accepting applications and those selected will receive mentoring from leaders at key multilateral institutions, namely the African Development Bank (AfDB), the International Trade Centre (ITC), and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). To apply for this fellowship you must be a national of an African country,  have 7-10 years of relevant work experience, have a Master’s Degree, be under the age of 40 (or 45 for women with children) and the  deadline for submissions is 12 September.

The newly launched  Open and Collaborative Science in Development Network (OCSDNet) will provide funding support (of $50,000 to $80,000 CAD) to up to 15 case studies from eligible countries, mainly to researchers and practitioners affiliated with organizations based in countries that are eligible for support by the IDRC (these include within the Global South (Latin America, Middle East and North Africa, East and South Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa). The deadline for submissions is September 8.

The Orange African Social Venture Prize  2014 aims to promote social innovation by supporting development through information and communication technologies (ICT). In addition to funding of up to 25,000 euros, Orange will provide support to three projects for six months from its local subsidiaries as well as expert advice from business and telecoms professionals, and the winner will benefit from a patent application that will be submitted and paid by Orange. Also, a special prize of 10,000 euros will be awarded to a project which has used an Orange API. Deadline is September 19.

Pivot East’s Mobile Impact Ventures Program (“MIVP”). The Mlab, East Africa’s accelerator program for impact ventures with innovative solutions in agriculture, health & water and education, is currently seeking applications for its second cohort. The program is backed by the Rockefeller and Tony Elumelu Foundations, through the Global Impact Investment Network’s (“GIIN”) Africa Impact Economy Innovations Fund (“IEIF”). The deadline is 27 August.

The Safaricom Journalism Fellowship Program at Strathmore University is designed to provide skills which combine technology literacy with business literacy for journalists engaged in business writing across the media houses in Kenya. The program will admit 15 of the most promising candidates in the first year.

StyledByAfrica seeks a Kenyan designer who will have a chance to feature at Berlin’s Fashion Week 2015. Young African designers based in Kenya are encouraged to apply by submitting a portfolio of their work to FA254′s official website. The deadline is August 20.


Acumen:The Acumen East Africa Fellows Program is a one-year, fully-funded leadership development program that gives 20 individuals from across East Africa the training they need to accelerate their social impact and leadership potential. Applications are open until September 8.

Google RISE Awards are grants for organizations across the globe that promote Computer Science (CS) education or run initiatives that reach girls, underrepresented minorities, and students facing socio-economic barriers under age 18. Grants range from $15,000 to $50,000.

 Innovation Prize for Africa aims at mobilising leaders from all sectors to fuel African innovation in key sectors such as science, technology and engineering which contribute towards the sustainability of Africa. The IPA is becoming integral to facilitating ground-breaking thinking, creativity and driving awareness to the outstanding work being done in Africa by Africans. Entries for the Innovation Prize for Africa (IPA) 2015 are now open and the deadline for entries is 31 October 2014.  Note the IPA 2013 winner, AgriProtein went on to raise $11 million to build its first two commercial farms in Cape Town, South Africa.

Morland Writing Scholarships  are available for published works of between 2,000 to 5,000 words from anyone who has been born in Africa or both of whose parents were born in Africa. They are worth £18,000 and the application deadline is October 31.

TED Fellows: Apply now to be a 2015 TED Fellow. Deadline is September 21.

We look for different applicants than many other leadership-oriented programs. Instead of business people, professionals, policy wonks and government officials, the TED Fellows program focuses on doers, makers, inventors, advocates, filmmakers and photographers, musicians and artists, scientists, entrepreneurs, NGO heads, and human rights activists.

The inaugural East Africa Property Awards seek to bring together pioneers and leaders in real estate to showcase their products and who will be celebrated at a gala in Nairobi on November 27. There are 21 categories categories spanning across developers, real estate agents, interior design, telecommunications service providers and media. Apply before 11 November.

#TurnthePageonHateSpeech photo contest Are you a Journalist? Photographer? Filmmaker? Writer? Blogger? Cartoonist? Poet? Social Activist? Or simply an Engaged Citizen? Tell us What Hate Speech Means To You for a chance to win a free trip to the African Media Leaders’ Forum in Johannesburg! Deadline, October 15.

Ushahidi is launching a campaign dubbed Translators Power Ushahidi to help get 15 new languages translated to more than 80% completion by the end of 2014! Goodies and Schwag up for grabs.

See another EXTENSIVE list of online opportunities from Advance Africa.

What other opportunities are there for readers to apply for?

BRCK Launches in Nairobi

This week saw the formal launch of the BRCK with the first batch of 800 devices to be shipped to buyers in 45 countries from July 17. It also saw a funding announcement of $1.2 million by Invested Development towards the  production of the BRCK.
The BRCK is now able to provide affordable, reliable, and seamless internet and power in different, changing, or challenging working conditions such as connectivity at the 2014 Rhino Charge with the ability to provide stable internet and charge other devices and share internet with them for up to 8 hours. 
@whiteafrican traced the two year journey of the BRCK in this blog post as a solution that addresses many challenges of internet and electrical power around the world – through  a putting together a team supported by Ushahidi, gauging the interest via a Kickstarter initiative that raised $175,000 and fine-tuning the design and field testing the BRCK in conditions such as on a very tough journey chasing the Turkana Eclipse in November 2013.
BRCK devices can be ordered online at a cost of $199, but the final price will depend on the global delivery method chosen. From the web site, one can also manage their BRCK and do tasks like top-up credit, change Wi-Fi settings, and enter country APN’s (if they don’t pull automatically).

Swift River 101

On June 16 at the iHub in Nairobi, a talk was given by Jon Gosier the director of Swift River which I first heard of Swift River following its use with Ushahidi following the Haiti earthquake early in 2010 when crisis rescue & response teams faced a challenges of processing 200,000 SMS messages a day. So the question was how do you filter that information to get help to the people (i.e. earthquake victim) who need it?

Jon said Swift River is an open source platform that uses algorithms and crowd sourcing to filter and validate information. He gave a quote from the book the ‘The Long Tail about with such vast amounts of data in the world, there is need for filters to filter. Swift River helps by pulling out data and he mentioned some of the tools used. In his guide titled Swift River in plain English Jon lists the arms of Swift River which include:

SiLCC pulls keywords from any Text (including SMS and Twitter) and automatically sorts related text ( a natural language processor)
SULSa automatically detects location of incoming content/reports
SiCDS automatically filters out duplicate content (re-tweets, blogs, text messages)
Reverberations detects how influential/popular content is online
RiverID allows Swift users to carry their Swift score and reputation with them across the web

All these enable an organization facing a challenge of too much data to among other things, pick out what’s important, save time, suppress noise, filter & curate the information. This is more so at time of urgency or crisis

Swift River can also be used by newsroom to manage & curate very large information in a crisis, for online brand monitoring, or for election monitoring. It runs on a free and open source platform. It’s still in development, with more features & improvements being added to the beta (now at Version 0.2.1 Batuque) over the rest of the year by the development team who are based in Uganda.

IHub Launch

My A to Z notes from two days later;

thanks to @ushahidi, @ihubNairobi @whiteafrican @kenyanpundit @jessicacolaco @wanjiku, Conrad

Access thanks to @wanjiku gave me the iHub password and introduced me to Dorothy Ooko of Nokia

Comments you get fewer of these at blog, the more active you are on twitter

Developers filled the launch. did not meet @iddsalim who on the same day published a nice piece on when Safaricom met developers on possible improving times & relations for developers wishing to partner with mobile giant safaricom.

Forests – chat with @ngeny and @swmaina on the danger of man-made forests – don’t support ecology (crops around them die forest die) no animals inhabit them,

F1 – Formula one about to start, will be watching with @moseskemibaro and anyone else welcome to join and chat

Funding is the next step to work on at iHub according to Eric

Gatecrashers 250+ attendees according to iHub launch tweet, (was supposed to be 50) many had to cool off with Tusker on the balcony

Geeks are Cool – phrase coined by Mrs M

ICT board CEO Paul Kukubo spoke and they will be represented at iHub in future by @kaburo

iPub open bar was flowing, until the people switched to Yoghurt

KTN anchor Larry Madowo uses his TV platform to highlight tech happenings better than anyone else in Kenya – his news piece about the launch.

Mamamikes makes friends – Segeni’s roommate was Moses and one of their good US customers is now back in Kenya as an art gallery boss.

Management stress; talked with @kaboro on the fatigue of management (being strangled by neck ties)

Museum for technology was my pitch to Google’s Joe Mucheru to remind people how far things have progressed in a short time. Put up a display with a 28.8 modem (one day a developer will ask what’s a modem?), Ericsson flip phone or cupboard TV set that only works from 5 PM to 11PM.

Photos event galleries at Kenyan Poet and Africa Knows

Sevilla, Mr. Joe an icon of the Strathmore University institution, tech before there was tech (IDPM)

Shirts to mark the iHub launch ran out, got a small size which is fine.

Twitter folk: @egmphotos thanks for tip on how to use a binoculars as a zoom lens for a camera, @jwanyama and @sheilaafrica taught me photo edit tips and how to send photo submissions to Africa knows, but also (ate) my plate of nyama choma, @sportinkenya – clock is ticking, @edobie- first time meeting this
– People did not see but saw them in photos: @pesapal, @afrinnovator @kachwanya, Vincent Wangombe (KDN), @gotissuez, @creditsms.
– People I saw but did not get proper chat with – Isis Nyongo (Google), @kenyanpundit (made a future date), @pkukubo, @mato74, Denis Gikunda, @ToneeNdungu (a very busy MC),

Uchumi is across the street for foods & stuff @jmugambi and I passed there to try and keep it profitable

Vandalism of fibre cable is not a bad as some people claim and seems to affect some companies more than others according to Riyaz

Yoghurt Kahenya’s presentation on natural yoghurt was the highlight of the evening, despite him having a car accident that day.

Tech Moment: Nairobi iHub for Innovation and more

iHub Nairobi: Our fabulous friends at Ushahidi are in the news for their recent technological endeavors which have been used in earthquakes rescue & relief in Haiti and Chile. But back here in Kenya, is something even more momentous, which is the unveiling & launch of the Nairobi iHub on March 3 2010.

It’s the culmination of many months of talks, visualizing the concept to plan, searching for appropriate buildings and finally the hard work of transforming an empty room to an innovation hub via teams of volunteers, advisers, and technicians while side-stepping others who were already hogging the free internet. Congratulations!

Other Tech Events in Nairobi this month:

The Pan Africa Media Conference from18-19 March 2010, a rather top heavy conference (lots of Current & Ex African presidents and leaders) but which has interesting speakers and panelists like Dr. Mo Ibrahim, H.H. the Aga Khan, Chris Kabwato (Highway Africa) Guy Berger (Rhodes University SA), Rose Kimotho (MD Kameme FM), Ory Okolloh (Ushahidi) Matthew Buckland (Media 24), Patrick Quarcoo (Radio Africa) and a talk on New Media – the possibilities, limits, and risks offered by blogs, SMS, MMS, social networks.

The Kenya ICT Board has
– A meeting for mobile developers (follow up from #MWEA10) on March 2
– BPO/ITES Centre of Excellence on March 4
– Tandaa Symposium on Local Digital Content on March 8

The ICANN Nairobi conference takes place from 7-12 March 2010.

The Nairobi 1% event takes place on March 12.

The Institute of Software Technologies launch their new brand, IT training center, and premises on March 11.

E-Fraud News: The Business Daily has a write up today about Kenyan banks combating fraud to protect their customers even as they roll out new technology channels for their customers to access more convenienct services from the banks.

In the blog world there have been some recent tales of e-fraud and bank fraud:

Room Thinker received the latest 411 letter from Tim Geithner at the US Department of Treasury
Wanjiku lost some money through old fashioned inter bank transfer
Idd Salim warned of the dangers of SMS banking fraud as a ticking time bomb warning that SMS can be intercepted on its way from your phone to telecom, changed & edited, delayed, deflected & even deleted before it ever gets to bank.
Gmeltdown writes about a recent mpesa fraud> and there’s even a related facebrook group but thankfully this is very rare occurrence among the millions of Mpesa customers.

You don’t know my name: Seems I spoke to soon in lamenting registrars mistreating retail investors in a bid to clean up their records, cut fraud, and authenticate investor information. My own stockbroker CFCStanbic (formerly CFCFS) wants the same of me, asking via an ominous warning letter, about Know Your Customer requirements, that (after about 5 years of trading through them) to confirm my identity as an individual. I’m as an individual supposed to provide copies my documents (CDS account opening form, my ID, 2 colour photos, PIN copy, utility bill, bank statement or pay/slip which will be certified by their panel of lawyers). There are also additional requirements for partnerships, informal groups, trust accounts, accounts for minors (birth certificate & parents ID’s) sole proprietors, foreign corporate, companies and Diaspora investors (certified passports, photos, utility bills, bank/c.card statement)

Compliance with the new KYC will enable me to continue transactions with them after March 31, but there’s’ no mention of what will happen if there’s no compliance by the March 26 2010 deadline.