… was the name of the challenge The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation presented to the world earlier this year. This was the name even though the foundation dedicates an enormous amount of resources to the eradication of poverty. A great deal of the total fund of thirty billion dollars is designated of that effort; a fund that has recently been doubled by Warren Buffet. However, given all the global challenges we are facing at this moment, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation expresses a deep worry for the diminishing support of development assistance by the general public all over the world. Cutbacks in the developmental aid budgets recently took place in numerous countries, among them the USA and the Netherlands.
How do we achieve a turn of tide then? According to Tom Scott, you first need to find the top ten ideas that will contribute to just that: a mind shift in the way we perceive the global challenges and our respective roles in them. Since good ideas on their own are not enough, you need to combine them with the top ten creative brains the world has to offer.In this case, no less than the Cannes Lions. Yes indeed, Cannes Lions are the winners of the top end global creatives competition. And what do you get when you combine them with all these different ideas? The Cannes Chimera project!
The AmLab idea was one of the lucky few that will get the unique opportunity to evolve into what will hopefully become a mind shift generator. A quick reminder: AmLab is a group of several organizations: 1%CLUB. Akvo and Text to Change. All three of us are pioneers in mobile reporting and the engagement of the international crowd when it comes to international development causes.
And the winning idea? To us, the creators, it was rather simple; to create a real-time mobile reporting system that will translate all the developmental efforts in to easily consumable data. From first person stories on how alocal clinic directly affects people’s lives to an extensive overview of the impact on a whole region. This is possible because we can combine the data from mobile reporting and mobile surveys with the data that is currently available from governments and NGO’s. It is no surprise that the idea was merely confusing to the chimera lions; in two days they drilled us on how to simplify our concept so we can talk about it in such a way the world will listen.
And that is where we are right now! The 360 Transparency project is born (with special thanks to our top Chimera Adrian and about to be executed in the first region, Kenya.
We will keep you posted on the progress!
Below you can find Bart’s (co-founder 1%CLUB) pitch!
“The thing is” says Stephen Musyoka at the end of his keynote speech: “Are you gonna let your idea become a white elephant or are you taking it to the next level?”
Ten ‘o clock. In Amsterdam the main stage is filling up. On the screens we see Nairobi, Cape Town, Kampala, Buea, Ramallah, London, Cairo. The idea for running with the Cheetahs originated from a Ted Talk were the cheetah generation was labeled as the young people seen in cafes in Nairobi who had things going and put into movement instead of the so called hippo’s who are slow and have no idea what is going on. We are gonna catch up with them for one day.
One of the Cheetahs is a very fast running guy from Nailab in Nairobi Stephen Musyoka. Stephen also known as the ‘King of Facebook’, The guy who reads only one book: Facebook
“Facebook”, says Stephen “can be used to connect with everyone in the world. You can use it for family but you can take it a step further and use it to solve problems in the world. You have a problem and someone far away has the solution. Almost everybody has Facebook. We use it in Kenya to solve all kind of problems. Kenya for Kenyans for example was to get money together for famine. We brought together 5 million euro’s in one month. Now how did we get the money? We use our mobile phones to transfer money. This was another example of bringing stuff together. I didn’t invent mobile money. A Cheetah did. I read the idea in the Nailab in Nairobi. I thought: what can we do about the crisis. It is about being at the right time at the right place.
Mobile payments are easy and can be used anywhere as long as you have connection. Just imagine the Masai are using it. I used it last night transferring money from Amsterdam. Cheetahs always take your message somewhere.“The thing is: Change starts with you. You see something while you run around town and you think: what can I do? Ask people to do things back. Hey I got on your bus for years. What do you do for me ?
Africa can be the world’s tech playground for mobile applications. If you are targeting a product for Africa, go mobile. Here in Kenya a tel-com company Safaricom recently started aggressively marketing its mobile internet platform Pepea with Safaricom Live. Safaricom controls 78 percent of the market share and is encouraging its thirteen million subscribers to take advantage of opportunities online using their mobile phones.
One problem. There is very limited mobile content on offer. There is only E-mail and Social networking platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace, that are taking advantage of this space. I therefore encourage as well as challenge Kenyans and the world at large to fill this tech-gap with life-changing content. The mobile internet space should be utilized to resolve everyday issues. Whether its news, shopping, banking or even development projects, we need more mobile content in Kenya so as to drive the mobile culture to new frontiers
Mobile money transfer services is an innovation out of Africa with MPESA and ZAP becoming a part of everyday life. This further goes to showcase the potential of this untapped resource to better human life. We have a pool of technologically competent developers at the naiLab (www.ilab.co.ke) and ihub (www.ihub.co.ke) who are capable of designing and implementing mobile platforms to resolve issues that affect Kenyans and the world at large.
Let’s get our thinking caps on and share our problems here and solve them here for the mobile phone has become the world that can fit in your pocket.
SMS is becoming more and more an integral part of communication among Kenyans. With Telcom companies offering good rates on SMS and free bundles, I find myself asking, “how can we use SMS to bridge the digital divide between the rural and urban population to communicate effectively?”
One may ask “Offers? What offers?”
1. Safaricom (78 percent market share)
SMS Go Crazy allows Safaricom subscribers to get SMS messages for as low as KES.1 but it has a limit of 15 SMS messages.
2. Zain (14 percent market share)
Zain subscribers enjoy unlimited sms’s all day and calls at 50 cents per minute from 8pm to 6am for only Kshs 20/=. This is the preferred SMS “bonus package” that is popular among the masses. It is characterized by effective marketing that involved mainstream media as well as SMS broadcasts, activations at roundabouts as well as posters, fliers and peps.
3. Orange (4 percent market share)
Orange package their Free SMS around their Bunda campaign. This campaigns subscribers to commit KES. 100, 500 or 1000 monthly to receive a bundle with specialized call rates, free SMS and free Megabytes of data. It is characterized by an intensive marketing campaign that involved mainstream media as well as SMS broadcasts, activations at roundabouts as well as posters, fliers and peps.
4. Yu (1 percent market share)
On YU’s Amua Tarriff, a YU subscriber gets to SMS from a YU line to another YU line at a cost of KES. 1.00. This product has been packaged around their KES. 6.00 per minute call to any network in Kenya. Marketing collateral was mainly focussed on mainstream media that included billboards, TV and Radio Commercials as well as newspaper Ads.
The possibilities are endless but let’s start simple. An SMS based communication channel that allows people from everywhere to share news. www.whive.mobi is a good start…Anyone else with ideas?
17 minutes and 52 seconds. That’s all it takes to watch this video. Trust me: do it!
Economist George Ayittey sees Africa’s future as a fight between Hippos — complacent, greedy bureaucrats wallowing in the muck — and Cheetahs, the fast-moving, entrepreneurial leaders and citizens who will rebuild Africa.