CRDF Global, Bunengi Foundation Partner to Train African Women in Science & Technology

Savannah Maziya, Chairman and CEO of The Bunengi Group
Savannah Maziya, Chairman and CEO of The Bunengi Group
Savannah Maziya, Chairman and CEO of The Bunengi Group

Popular nonprofit CRDF Global and Africa’s the Bunengi Foundation have launched a new African Women STEM Scholarship and Training Program to train African women students  in Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields.

The announcement was made during the 2nd Bunengi STEM African First Ladies Roundtable in New York during the UN General Assembly.
“The Bunengi Foundation and CRDF Global share a common commitment to bring about lasting, sustainable positive change in African countries,” CRDF Global President and CEO Cathy Campbell said. “We have chosen to concentrate on women scientists because we feel they hold the key to a great leap in Africa’s development.”

Advancement in STEM fields holds the greatest promise to boost Africa’s economic development and improve living standards, since most common development challenges all require science and technology solutions. Harnessing the human potential to meet these challenges requires educating an under-utilized source of human intellect: the girls and women of Africa, who have for years been under-represented in education.

Savannah Maziya, Chairperson, Bunengi Foundation said, “We are committed to working with public, private and philanthropic partners who share our mission to support the integration of girls and women in careers that support Africa’s development.”

The training and mentoring of African women scientists and engineers is expected to provide them the tools to transform the continent. The partners hope to increase the number of African women in STEM fields, who can then serve as role models and mentors to encourage girls to choose STEM careers.

At the start, this partnership will provide scholarships for top African women students to pursue STEM graduate degrees in U.S. universities but envisions setting up STEM research and education centers in Africa to train more African women in African universities. It also plans to have K-12 STEM Academies to attract girls to STEM careers from an early age and encompass technology entrepreneurship training and enlargement to other continents.

There have been several such initiatives on the continent. Do you think this initiative will achieve its target?

Big Data Set To Appeal To Women To Break The IT Barrier


Women in IT

New technology trends are set to make IT a very appealing career prospect for women in future, says IBM.

Ocea Garriock, Software Group Technical Leader of IBM South Africa, notes that women remain under-represented science, technology, engineering, math jobs.

In South Africa, the statistics show that at the post graduate level, the number of women has increased but women still represents less than 10% of enrolled students. In the workforce, women make up 18% of the core IT workforce while they represent 75% of the IT end users in the country.

In a recent research by the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Michigan exhibited that women may be less likely to want careers in science, technology engineering and maths because girls with high maths ability are also more likely to have a high verbal ability. This results in their having more career options, and they frequently elect to embark on careers investing their verbal ability.

The researchers concluded that attracting more women to these careers was not so much a case of boosting girls’ aptitude, but about making careers in these areas more welcoming, accessible and financially attractive.

We believe new technology trends – notably Big Data management and analysis – will do this,” says Garriock.

Enterprises are expected to invest in Big Data analysis skills in future, presenting moneymaking career opportunities for those with a combination of skills and personal strengths – including the ability to multi-task, understand business objectives, assess statistics and communicate findings at a high level.

In some fields, such as communications, product design, public sector service delivery, customer service and marketing, Big Data analysis experts and scientists will also need to possess some understanding of sociology or psychology in order to seek insights that are relevant within the vast data sources.

Because the skills shortage in the Big Data field will soon become critical, it is likely that businesses will go to great lengths to ensure that women see IT as an appealing career choice.

“At IBM, we have long had a culture and environment in which women feel welcomed and valued.  Indeed, since 1995, our global women executive population has increased 523% and represents 24.9% of the global executive population, while 65% of our global executive women are working mothers. We endeavor to get girls excited about IT careers through initiatives such as our global EX.I.T.E. (+Ex+ploring +I+nterests in +T+echnology and +E+ngineering) camps and Women in Technology (WIT) Schools. As a Big Data technology pioneer, we now see opportunities opening up that we believe will interest scores of young women who may previously not have considered careers in IT,” said Garriock 

Betty Mwangi And Two Other Kenyan Women Recognized In Top 20 Africa’s Most Powerful Women In Tech 2013


betty thuo

Three Kenyan women have their names in Africa’s twenty most influential women in technology this year, courtesy of IT News Africa.

Safaricom’s General Manger of Financial Service Betty Mwangi Thuo was on top of the list; along side the former InMobi’s Vice President and Managing Director for Africa Isis Nyong’o and the co-founder & executive director of Ushahidi, Ory Okollo.

South Africa celebrates National Women’s day annually,celebrating their role in the country as well as giving tribute to them.

IT News Africa celebrated the day by listing and paying tribute to twenty women in the continent who have significantly contributed to the development in Information Technology.

Safaricom’s General Manager of Financial Service had this to say: “I would like to thank ITNews for bestowing upon me this great honor. Being named one of Africa’s top 20 most influential women in technology is to me a great endorsement of the great impact that M-PESA continues to have in the lives of millions of people in Kenya and beyond.”

She joined Safaricom in December 2007 as Head of Division charged with managing the New Products Division comprising M-PESA business and GSMA projects and was later promoted to Chief Officer New Products Division in October 2008 with the additional responsibility for Safaricom’s Value Added Service which championed product innovation and new product road map.

In December 2011, Betty was awarded the prestigious State honors “Moran Order of the Burning Spear” by the then president of Kenya his Excellency Hon. Mwai Kibaki in recognition of her contribution to Kenya’s Information Communications Technology (ICT) sector. In addition, she was featured by MCI (Mobile Communications International) as one of the top 10 women in mobile globally In June 2010.

African Governments To Reserve 100 Offensive & Sensitive .Africa Domain Names To Protect National Interests


dotAfrica_logoAfrican governments now have the right to reserve 100 sensitive or offensive .Africa domain names to protect their interests and the interests of their citizens said the ZA Central Registry (ZACR).

According to Alice Munyua, dotAfrica Reserve Name List (RNL) process lead,“From 15 September 2013, governments will be able to start reserving their identified domain names.”

Munyua was speaking on the launch of dotAfrica’s Reserve Name List policy which calls all African governments to reserve certain domain names so as the governments protect their national interests and those of their citizens.

Governments can reserve names such as names countries, capital cities and major towns or religious, cultural and linguistic names especially names for languages, tribes, peoples, religious groups and names which are used or linked to governmental agencies.

Governments also have a mandate to block offensive names that might cause prejudice or hatred based on race, ethnicity, political association, gender, sexuality, religion, conscience or culture. Such names will be blocked from registration by any one. The governments will nominate representatives to identify the names to reserve in collaboration with the African Union Commission.

Munyua said only a registered government representative will be able to submit names via the Reserve Name List Portal. These names can be redeemed within the timeframe set out in the RNL policy. The  .Africa) gTLD is the brainchild of African Internet pioneers and the African Union Commission and aims to establish a single domain name to promote Africa’s people, businesses and culture online.

Endorsed by African ICT ministers, the  dot Africa gTLD launches March 2014 but in the meantime African governments can restrict  100 names with 20 applications restricted as offensive at http://www.africainonespace.org/rnl



Yahoo! Shuts Down Mail Services In China | Hires Dawn Airey As SVP For EMEA

Dawn_Airey-012Yahoo! has shut down its Yahoo Mail services in China, after a four-month warning to users to shift their mails to alternative services such as Alibaba run Aliyun email Tencent’s QQ Mail or Netease’s 163 Mail.
In a move showing change of focus, the firm has today appointed Dawn Airey as senior vice president of the company’s Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) operation. Airey will report to COO Henrique de Castro.
According to de Castro, “Dawn is well known for her visionary thinking, operational discipline and leadership skills, and I can’t wait to work with her as we position Yahoo! for growth throughout the EMEA region.”
“Together with Dawn’s direction and energy, I’m confident that the future is bright for Yahoo! in EMEA,” de Castro added.
Airey has worked in television for 30 years and has held senior positions in the majority of the commercial broadcasters in the UK. Most recently, she was President of a unit of RTL Group.  She joined in September 2010 from the Broadcaster Five where, as Chairman and CEO, she oversaw all operations. Previously she was Managing Director of Global Content at ITV where she oversaw its UK and International production and content businesses. Prior to that she was Managing Director, Channels & Services, at BSkyB. She has also held senior posts at Channel 4.
Airey was awarded a fellowship by the Royal Television Society (RTS) in June 1998.  She is a Vice President of the RTS, a member of the Board of the British Library, a non-executive Director of Thomas Cook PLC and Chair of the Grierson Trust.  In December 2011, Airey was appointed Chair of the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain.
 Dawn joins Yahoo! during an exciting renaissance led by CEO Marissa Mayer. Dawn will be at the helm of driving change, innovation and growth for the EMEA region.”
She replaces Christophe Parcot, who has served as Yahoo!’s interim lead of EMEA from November 1. Parcot will take on a new role with Yahoo!

Nigeria’s Uju Doxa Launches Trofay.com To Change The We Live Our Lives Forever


trofA new online gospel community, Trofay.com has today launched in Nigeria to change the way we live our lives forever, and bring sanity to the internet, praise God!

Trofay wants to start a new revolution with Godly health, beauty, technology, sportsnews and much more. Trofay brings a marriage of religion and technology, demonstrating the impact technology can have on spreading of the gospel of Jesus.

“We are more than a blog/News website; we want to cause a revolution,” said Uju Doxa,a student Pastor and Trofay’s representative.

“On trofay, people will discover a life of Godly health, beauty, technology, sports and much more, openly discussing issues of interests both in local and world religion,” Doxa added.

Trofay this week  looked at Oprah Winfrey’s trip to Porters House “Megafest” and how it affects the view of Christianity in America and has profiled several Men of God, both in Nigeria and Africa. They are found on Facebook as Trofay Speaks and on twitter as @trofayspeaks, connecting to the world and to the people. If you need more info, drop them a mail at [email protected]

Njeri Rionge’s Ignite Consulting Wants To Scale Your Business Upwards


njeri riongeBuilding on the success of last year’s inaugural Summit, ‘Ignite Consulting and Investment Ltd’ is once again delighted to be organizing and hosting the innovative “Scaling your Business Upwards Summit” to be held on 17th-18th September at the Ole Sereni.

Nthenya Ndeti Ignite Summit Project Manager told TechMoran, “With a target of 300 delegates, the Scaling Your Business Upwards (SYBU) Summit offers local SMEs and upcoming entrepreneurs the opportunity to network with their peers, to have unprecedented access to well-recognized local business and industry leaders and their valuable insights, as a practical forum in which to learn the realities of how to expand and grow their companies.”

The Summit will be hosted by Njeri Rionge, Forbes list; Africa’s Most Successful Women. She will be  joined by a panel of high profile speakers such as Aly Khan Satchu, Martin Odour, Rose Kimotho, Sunny Bindra, John Ngumi, Godwin Wang’ong’u, Mike Macharia, Andrea Bohnstedt, Patricia Waruhiu, Joe Otin, Ross Van Horn, Dayvee Ngugi, Gituro Wainaina, Njeri Mucheru and    Eduardo Moreno among others as speakers.


The speakers will discuss offer expert advice essential for those looking to grow their businesses on:

1. Start- Up Financial Management and Fundraising

2. Business Development & IT as an Enabler

3. Operating Environment and Governance

4. Organisational Development Strategies

“The summit is designed as a way for Kenya’s new, and upcoming ‘business leaders of tomorrow’ to learn from the entrepreneurs and business mavericks who have succeeded before them,” added Ndeti.

“We gather again to discuss business related matters on Scaling Your Business Upwards. Discussions range from organization development, marketing, sales, governance, human resources, finance and audit. No matter what business development stage you’re in; we address business needs from start up, scaling and growth stages,” she said.

In attendance will be captains of industry in Technology, Manufacturing, Distribution, Property Development and Professionals from major fields.

Who should attend:
Business Owners & Traders
Professionals and Directors
C Level Managers
Middle Level Managers
Business Development
Project Managers
Customer Relationship Managers
Sales and Marketing Managers
Human Resource Managers

Register for Ignite Summit Here

Business Women In Kenya To Benefit From Ksh 6 Billion Fund


The Kenyan government through Uwezo Fund’ seeks to provide 6 billion shillings  in September in interest-free loans to support youth and women in businesses.

The fund dubbed Uwezo Fund’ will be channeled to beneficiaries through the Constituency Development Fund framework, under the administration of committees that have been set up at each constituency.

According to Devolution and Planning Cabinet Secretary Ms. Anne Waiguru , the Fund will enable eligible youth and women across the country  gain access to interest-free loans as start up capital for small and micro business of varying amounts not exceeding Ksh. 500,000. Only a 3% one-off administration fee will be payable for each loan.

UWEZO Fund additionally aims at supporting youth and women to leverage on the 30% government procurement preference for youth, women and Persons with Disabilities.

The Ksh. 6 Billion which was originally set aside by the government for use in case of an election run-off will now be re-channeled to support youth and women enterprises and currently preparations for launching the Fund are ongoing.

UWEZO Fund’ will take the model of Table banking to enable the poor who find credit difficult to obtain from banking institutions and who need an initial capital input  access finances in order to start their income generation scheme.

The Minster added that besides  the relevant Member of Parliament, the committee will comprise one youth and women representative each. In addition to assessing applicants’ business plans and granting loan approvals, the committee’s role will include monitoring use of the disbursed resources to ensure accountability.

The Ministry and the relevant government institutions will be spearheading capacity building efforts for prospective beneficiaries of the Fund once it is launched.

This post was first published by AfricanWomenNetwork.org, our Media Partner in Africa.

Nigerian First Lady’s Child Online Protection Role Appends Momentum To Initiatives


patience jonathan

The Communications Ministry of Nigerian has given its word of honor to give support to Nigeria’s First Lady, Patience Jonathan, in her role as ITU’s Child Online Protection champion; a role which was given to her by UN ITU.

ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré said in formalizing her role: “Under her guidance, the Government of Nigeria is now taking extensive steps to ensure a safer online environment for children. ITU is looking forward to collaborating even more closely with Nigeria to build a better future for our children.”

Among her responsibilities, Dame Patience Jonathan will work toward creating a safe environment for children while they are on the internet, as well as push for reforms not only in the Africa region but across the globe.

Ms. Jonathan, who is also President of the African First Ladies Peace Mission, pledged to “join hands with ITU to secure the children of the world from the dangers of cybercrime.”

Minister Omobola Johnson believed that the ITU had chosen the First Lady of Nigeria to be its Child Online Protection champion for her passion in championing the cause of women and children in Nigeria and Africa. She said that Nigeria is already doing a number of things to protect children online but the installation of the First Lady would add impulsion to the delivery and success of the initiative.


No Quick-fix Solution To Bonus Question – Accsys

Teryl Schroenn, CEO of Accsys
Teryl Schroenn, CEO of Accsys
Teryl Schroenn, CEO of Accsys

Guest Post by Teryl Schroenn, CEO of Accsys

Amid a climate of increasing economic pressure companies have had to become more pragmatic in their approach to the management of year-end bonuses. HR specialists say that more awareness of the variables involved in this process would clear up much of the general misperception that exists.

Media reports about the issuing of bonuses to executives of top corporations, even within those businesses that have posted less than impressive results or are rumoured to be in financial difficulty, is an example of why this misunderstanding does exist.

Whilst a subject of constant speculation, the truth about bonuses is that there are different kinds of structures, related policies and dynamics involved say human resource management experts.

Bonuses can come in different forms – some are conditional in terms of contractual (such as sign-up bonuses) and others purely at the discretion of decision makers. They may be direct financial contributions or issued on a profit share basis, for example.

For the most part bonuses are dependent on performance and in the case of a perpetual bonus system, for example, can form part of the broader staff recruitment and retention strategy.

They may be included in a service contract as an incentive-based structure with specific deliverables.

“As an example, an employee is offered a bonus of ten thousand Rand based on specific targets or deliverables such as generating more revenue, or improving operational efficiency. This could be given in specific stages within the calendar year,” says Teryl Schroenn, CEO at Accsys.

Accsys is a national supplier of management solutions within HR, payroll administration, time & attendance and access control, and member of the Business Connexion Group (BCX).

According to Schroenn bonuses are primarily given to acknowledge and recognise the contribution made by employees towards a goal or several goals of a business.

People are often rewarded for the contribution they have made in addressing particular issues and steadying a business through turbulent market conditions.

It has to be remembered, however, that there are also sign-up bonuses that kick-in, irrespective of how the business is progressing says Schroenn. These are contractual, she says, and, rightly or wrongly, are automatically applicable.   There are also bonuses based on improving the situation, even if the company remains in the red.

“But, white knights and silver bullets are rare in business. It is unusual to hear of anyone being able to enter into a company and almost immediately turn things around. It takes time. So whether or not the amounts of these bonuses and the reasons behind their approval is justified, it is important to remember that bonuses should be aligned to either performance or success in business or both,” adds Schroenn.

South Africa’s Hands-On Treatment Training More Mobile On-site Attendants


Hands On Treatment - Therapists ready for the assignment 2010Sponsored Content:Hands on Treatment, a Mobile Massage Company based in Johannesburg is ongoing Training and Skills Development Programme in a move to make a meaningful difference to the country’s socio-economic development by focusing on the plight of unskilled, urban women.

Running alongside its core operation of mobile on-site massages targeting the corporate marketplace, Hands On Treatment has lived up to its name and taken a proactive stance to the development of skills sets that make individuals more employable.

The company has had in-house training programme for ten years and have a partnership in place with the Services SETA (Sector Education and Training Authority). According to the terms of the partnership the Authority pays a portion of their salary per intern and Hands on Treatment takes in four candidates as trainee therapists per six-month period.

Applicants are predominantly urban women living in informal settlements located within a 20km radius of Craighall, Johannesburg, as well as city centre and Braamfontein.

“The availability of skills is a huge problem,” states Martina Laurie, Chief Executive Officer, Hands on Treatment. “However, we are working on this and to date, we have helped over five hundred women secure an income.”

Although Hands on Treatment would like to accommodate as many people as possible, the company is forced to lay down criteria for would-be applicants and relies heavily on referrals concerning new applicants.

“Most of the interns come via word-of-mouth, referrals is a must. Candidates must have matriculated and a beauty school qualification would be a plus,” Laurie adds.

The strategy does work and to illustrate, Laurie speaks of one candidate, called Aida, who worked as a cleaner at the company in 2005 and has worked hard to secure a position as the guest house assistant manager.

CEO Weekends: Passiontoprofit.co’s Frida Owinga Wants To Turn Your Passion Into Profit


passionfor profitBy Frida Owinga

Three Tips on Finding a Good Mentor

A good business mentor can have an enormous impact in the early stages of your business. Their connections can open doors that would otherwise be closed and their experiences can save you from suffering from the same start-up mistakes they’ve already made. So how do we go about looking for a mentor?

Before I answer that, please note that a mentor is not a fairy God mother who will make all your problems go away or a baby sitter who will make all decisions for you. A mentor guides you but you the business owner decides.

To find a good mentor you’ll need to be able to recognize what makes a great mentor based on the stage of your business and your business needs, know how to approach one and then how to maximize the relationship:

Here are three steps for finding a great mentor:

1.Recognize what makes a great mentor. 

A great mentor will ask a lot of tough questions and challenge you to exceed your goals. They share their own experiences and help you uncover new opportunities without telling you what to do because they understand that the company is yours to run. Define what help you are looking for – Are you having trouble with the numbers, understanding your market or operations? Are you ready to ramp up production or still playing with concepts?

2. Find a good fit. 

Avoid finding a mentor based on their visibility. Analyze your own close network and look locally for mentors whom you respect with relevant experience. Think about approaching the founders and key executives of companies in your space who you admire. Those people are usually more likely to invest time in your business than those who are totally strangers.

To make that first connection, you can send a short email explaining what your start-up is doing and why you are reaching out. Make it relevant and easy for the prospective mentor to help. Avoid attaching a CV or profile unless they asked for one.  Make your email conversational, brief and to the point. Take a few minutes to find out about them by reading their website, blog or twitter accounts to learn about his or her background so you can personalize your note.

3. Optimize the mentor relationship. 

Once you’ve established a connection, and there is interest from both sides, it’s important to build a relationship over time. Relationships are not automatic, don’t expect that and you will not be disappointed. One way to build the relationship is to check in regularly by email. Mentors should love to see your progress and take pride in knowing that their input has been helpful. Send a monthly email that reminds them of your past conversations and updates them on your progress. Ask one new question in these emails to ensure the conversation continues. It’s important to keep these check-in emails short and to the point and not ask for too much at a time.

If you would like to attend a Passion Profit talk for employees and entrepreneurs that will help you grow your startup, consider joining us on August 9th at Intercontinental Hotel.

Here is a video that will inspire you


Registration to turn your passion into profit.


CEO Weekends:19-Year-Old Kenyan Girl Raising Money To Start Nairobi Developer School


7jrYimXMartha Chumo, a 19 year old developer from Nairobi, Kenya has four days to end an Indiegogo campaign she has been running to raise funds to start Nairobi Developer School.

Chumo also known as Njeri Chelimo wants to get the funds to start Nairobi Developer School to encourage women and other minority groups to join the tech world in order to reduce the gender imbalance in the industry. Chumo believes everyone has the right to be good programmer even with denial to attend the best schools in the world.

Earlier, Chumo ran an campaign on the same platform to attend New York’s Hacker School. She raised  $4200  but was denied a US tourist even after gaining admission to the New York Hacker School.

The failure to join Hacker School did not deter her from pursuing her dreams but has been a motivation to the 19 year old girl who is now set to start the Nairobi Developer School no matter what happens, in the end she will help other women in a similar like hers.

 The Nairobi Developer school‘s aim is to make sure  that there are equal chances for all especially women, to be good programmers by giving numerous young East Africans a chance to learn, improve their programming skills, and build awesome technology for Africa. Classes at the school will be offered for free for the first three months for business oriented and the needy. So far, she has raised $12,640 of  the $50,000 target goal, She only has four days left to meet the target.

She also needs voluntary campaigners of the same to help in coming up with ideas and launch discussions on how they would love to see the school be like and also share the idea loud and wide.

For the donors, there will be wonderful humble packages, depending on how much you would wish to donate as listed: For those who will donate;

1. $10  you will receive a big thank you in Swahili

2.  $25You will get an awesome Nairobi Dev school sticker for your laptop

3. $   50: You will get priority membership by joining the list of members who have a privilege to know all that the school builds.

4. $   100: Your name shall appear on one of the founding supporters

5. $ 250: You will be listed in their website which is currently under construction

6: $ 500: You will be sent a T-shirt design

7: $ 1000: You will be sent a T-shirt of Dev School

8: $ 1500: Your name will be affixed to a chair specifically bought for  Nairobi Dev school

9: $ 2000: Your name will be affixed to a desk specifically purchased for Nairobi Dev school

10: $2500: Your name will be made on a sticker together with a big heart, which will be stuck on a computer bought for Nairobi Dev School.

Support the good cause, make Africa be tech savvy by starting small. And that small is beginning from the Nairobi Dev School!

Safaricom Business Wins Awards For Its Maternal Health Platform



Safaricom is not just good at mobile money transfer, having launched M-PESA March 2007 and now over 15 million customers and over 37,000 Agent outlets countrywide.

Friday July 12 Safaricom Business won top honours at the 3rd CIO Awards held in Kigali, Rwanda for its maternal and child health care mobile-based platform.

The platform dubbed Kenya Integrated Mobile Maternal, Newborn & Child Health Information Platform (KIMMNCHIP Initiative), was launched in August 2011 to help reduce infant and maternal mortality rate.

KIMMNCHIP offers pregnant women in Kenya more choice, control and care during their pregnancy, and improved medical care for them and their babies during and after delivery. It also allows mothers to use feature phones to receive ‘push’ SMS” banking on the fact that Kenya’s mobile phone penetration stands at 75 percent according to the CCK, the country’s telecom regulator.

The panel of judges praised KIMMNCHIP platform as a timely given the few medical care providers in local hospitals.

The platform provides an advisory service to expectant women who register and provide their due date. It then goes further to provide them access to call-in advisory hotlines and information databases for maternal newborn child healthcare issues for free.

“We are very honoured to be receiving the recognition for the KIMMNCHIP platform. We are still in the process of developing it to make more robust so that it can offer end-to-end solutions for all maternal healthcare issues. Among the new features we intend to add, is one that links the expectant women to transport to the nearest hospital,” said  Sylvia Mulinge the General Manager of Safaricom Business.

She added that the KIMMNCHIP platform is in line Safaricom’s overall goal, to Transform Lives and integrates information from various medical databases, and stores it in the Safaricom Cloud from where it is easily retrieved by the mothers and community health workers.

Safaricom Business is an internet service and enterprise solutions provider and an enterprise business arm of Safaricom Ltd.

Kenya’s Juliana Rotich Receives Impact Award for Humanitarian Internet Project

DLDwomen13: Kenyan Juliana Rotich Receives Impact Award for Humanitarian Internet ProjectHadworking Juliana Rotich was on Monday July 15 honored with an Impact Award at the DLDwomen 2013 conference in Munich.
Rotich co-founded and is the executive director of Ushahidi.com, an online crisis mapping platform helping people in crisis regions around the world to connect, warn each other of dangers and get aid organizations involved when incidences of violence and/or disasters occur.
 The Impact Award has been initiated to recognize women whose outstanding commitment makes changes in society happen.

“We are proud to present this award to strong women who, using digital technologies, improve, enrich and even save people’s lives by showing braveness and commitment,” DLDwomen founder Steffi Czerny comments on the award, which was presented by Gabriele Zedlmayer, Vice President Global Social Innovation at Hewlett-Packard. Zedlmayer: “Juliana Rotich is an exceptional individual – technologist, creator, innovator and an optimist who actually turns her visions into reality.”

Juliana Rotich grew up in Kenya and later moved to the United States to study Information Technology and has worked in the US IT industry with strong ties with her African roots. Very early on, she understood the need of the people in Africa not only to use, but also to develop digital technologies.

When, in 2008, Kenya experienced violent confrontations between the rivaling parties following the national elections, Rotich founded the Internet platform Ushahidi, which means ‘witness’ in Swahili, the Bantu language.

Ushahidi allows people to report a violent incident or disaster via text message or email and request help and/or medical supplies immediately. If possible, the reports are checked right away and depicted on a map on the website, detailing information on time and place. International relief organizations also use the platform, whose open source technology has meanwhile been applied in countries such as Haiti, Chile and Palestine.

Rotich is at the moment involved in the making of BRCK, an internet modem for off-grid communities.

Nigeria’s Bukola Akinfaderin Introduces Jandus Radio, A Mobile Phone Radio Station Streaming Service


bukola techmoranJandus Radio is a mobile application that allows you to listen to Nigerian radio and other African radio stations on your mobile phone anywhere in the world..  The name originates from JAND (Which is what Nigerian’s call the United Kingdom) and US, the United States.

Lagos born Bukola Akinfaderin, moved to the US since when she was 12. She earned herself a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Wesleyan University, Connecticut  and a Masters in Science in Information Systems from New Jersey Institute of Technology. It was while in the diaspora that she build Jandus Radio.

Akinfaderin told TechMoran that she originally created it for diasporans in the UK and US to be able to easily access to live news, music, entertainment and current affairs in Nigeria.

She said the prototype was a mobile web version which was released in the US in November 2010.  The first version was released in April, 2011 and things have never been the same again.

Fasten your seat best and listen to the whole story as Akinfaderin narrated to TechMoran with joy!

What does it do? Is there any specific problem Jandus is solving?
Jandus Radio expands communication of local media internationally.  It is also allows radio stations to maintain a 2 way dialogue with their listeners through social media integration in the app thereby enhancing their  listener retention and loyalty as well as building their social media capital which is now being utilized as digital advertising revenue streams.


jandus radio 1How does it work? How many platforms is it available to date?

Jandus Radio is a directory of African radio stations.  It enables listeners to easy access their favorite radio stations on a single platform.  It is currently available on Blackberry, Nokia Asha, Windows Phone, IOS and Android.


How many artists/ radios/ songs on the platform so far? Any competition?

We have over 250 radio stations on the platform.  We have a number of DJ’s and musicians that regularly send us music to upload to the platform.  There are several radio apps but none that focus on African radio specifically.


jandus radio oneHow unique are you from the competition?

We partner and work closely with local radio stations to get their input on what features they would like available on the app.  This feedback ensures that we are delivering a unique experience to the listeners.

How do you make money?
We are currently in the stage of building our userbase through marketing efforts.  We currently have over 200 thousand users.


Who are your target users?
Our target audience is between ages 16 -35.  Our product is suitable for radio enthusiasts which is reportedly 70% of the African population.


jandus23Any funding yet? How much? From who?
We have received some interest from investors however we cannot disclose any specific information at this time.


Challenges on building it, how did you solve them?
As a developer, you will always face challenges when developing a solution.  We  had some issues with our social media integration as twitter started blocking some of our traffic.  We had to disable some of our twitter features. We are still working to re-integrate that into the app on our next release.

As the founder of Jandus Radio, what else have you done?
I developed another application called Caban.  It’s a property search application.  Property search is quite a frustrating process in Nigeria and we are hoping to resolve some of those issues with the introduction of Caban to the market.


Any great partnerships ?
We are partnered with 8 radio stations in Lagos as well as Nokia.  We are working on partnerships with other OEMs as well as some Telcos.


Any upcoming features, developments, expansion plans to all of Africa?
Jandus Radio is set to release version 3 of the app by the end of the Year.  We plan to explore opportunities in Ghana and South Africa as we have quite a following in those countries already.

Juliana Rotich, Jason Njoku, Alex Okosi, Sophia Bekele & Barrack Obama Named Top “50 African Trailblazers” By UK’s NewAfrican Magazine

Ms Sophia Bekele, the DCA Executive DirectorThe “New African Magazine, a member of the IC Publications group has listed US President Barrack Obama who is of Kenyan descent,  iHub’s Juliana Rotich, DotConnnectAfrica’s Sophia Bekele iROKO TV’s Jason Chukwuma Njoku and Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) Africa Alex Okosi among “50 African Trailblazers under 50”.
The “50 Trailblazers Under 50” includes people “who are realizing significant achievements in their specific field of endeavour” and features individuals who are “breaking ground, making Africa proud and propelling it into a future of great hope.”
The special “Collector’s Edition” of New African magazine, published in May 2013, was put together by the editors of the magazine to coincide with the continent’s 50th anniversary celebrations since the founding of the Organisation of Africa Unity (OAU) now the African Union (AU).
The AU – the inter-governmental organization that draws its membership from the African countries – held its 50th anniversary celebrations in Addis Ababa, during the Heads of State Summit.
The NewAfrican cites Sophia Bekele, Executive Director of DotConnectAfrica Trust (DCA Trust), as: “A business and corporate executive, an entrepreneur, ICT activist, and international policy adviser on ICT to public and private enterprise, Sophia Bekele is at the forefront of using technology for good change in Africa. She is the founder and CEO of CBS International. She is also the executive director of DotConnectAfrica Trust and DotConnectAfrica Registry Services Limited, which is well-known for its successful six-year Yes2dotAfrica global awareness campaign for the Africa Top Level Domain Name, an initiative for which Bekele has positioned herself as a champion.”
Sophia Bekele said she felt greatly humbled by the acknowledgement of her contributions by New African magazine especially within the context of the hope and achievement that is expected from an emerging class of the new Africans that are taking charge of Africa’s future.
When asked to comment on her journey so far as a recognized African Trailblazer, Sophia Bekele said: During my first stint on the ICANN gNSO Council I saw that the .Africa project was not implemented, and questioned why Africa was not allowed to have its own domain nameI asked a few people that I met at ICANN, and discovered that there was no reason to justify the non-implementation of .Africa against the backdrop that Europe already had the .eu domain name, and Asia had .asia. I thought Africa should also have its own .Africa domain name. My vision was simple: initiate the project, build a viable governance structure for it; involve key stake-holders to support it, then promote the domain name globally in order to create awareness and support. I decided to follow this plan of action, and started approaching organizations such as the AUC and the UNECA, the Corporate Council for Africa (CCA), various diplomatic organizations and embassies, and different African country governments. We received key endorsements from these, and many African governments were also starting to endorse us.”
In continuing, Sophia said: “As our Yes2DotAfrica Campaign picked up steam, we created the DCA Trust and defined the charitable objects for it, which is to “(a) for the advancement of education in information technology to the African society; and (b) in connection with (a) to provide the African society with a continental Internet domain name to have access to Internet services for the people of Africa as a purpose beneficial to the public in general.”
Kenya’s Juliana Rotich co-founded Ushahidi and iHub. She is also TED Senior Fellow and MIT Media Lab Director’s Fellow. She is at the moment working with the Ushahidi team on the BRCK, an internet backup generator.



GSMA mWomen: Kenya’s Safaricom Leads In Involving Women In Mobile Financial Services



GSMA mWomen

GSMA together with other mobile service providers in Kenya, Tanzania, Bangladesh, and Pakistani have come together in unlocking women’s potential through mobile financial services.

In the GSMA findings, they appreciated that the women in developing markets are an important potential customer base for mobile financial services providers. It stated the women are more active than men because the supplement what their husbands income. Therefore, they engage in small scale businesses or engaged in large volume of small transactions.

Safaricom’s Director of Corporate affairs, Nzioka Waita affirmed this finding when he comparing some of Safaricom’s services which are mostly used by the women in Kenya. The Mshwari, he said, was one of the services that women embraced. They use this to start their small businesses as well as helping them pay the children’s school fees.

Another service that the director mentioned was the M-kopa – solar. In this service people get loans to acquire solar power in homes. Women being the majority have taken up loan to facilitate the electricity in their houses as opposed to using kerosene lamps which have negative effects on the family.

This among other services has made Safaricom a champion for mWomen which is set out to improve the Kenyan women. Waita added that women happen to be good loan payers compared to men and that is why most of the service are more suitable for them.

Yaya Njore, the product manager of Tigo Tanzania said that in their country the percentage of people with mobile phones in country currently stands at 53 percent men and 36 percent for women.  This is no different from the percentage in Africa.

Njore said that Tigo’s intention is to work with the NGO’s in data sharing so as to find the way forward to create many opportunities for women. He said the first step is to ensure that more women in Tanzania have access to a mobile phone.





IFC & Development Bank Of Austria Inject $580,000 To Expand Mobile Banking In Rwanda

The-Nyamata-branch-of-the-Urwego-Opportunity-Bank-UOB-of-Rwanda.World Bank Group member, IFC has today announced it will provide advisory services to Urwego Opportunity Bank to help it expand low-cost mobile financial services in Rwanda, especially to women and small businesses.
The project is supported by a grant of $580,000 from Oesterreichische Entwicklungsbank, OeEB, the Development Bank of Austria.


According to IFC , only 12 percent of working adults in Sub-Saharan Africa  have access to banking services, compared to 22 percent in South Asia and 50 per cent in Latin America and Eastern Europe. In Rwanda only 23 per cent of adults use formal financial services.

The project aims to scale up the provision of low-cost financial services through the development of mobile delivery channels and new products in addition to the banks loan, business training, savings accounts and other services to its over 118,000 customers, four fifths of whom are women and small business owners.

Jeffrey Lee, CEO of UOB confirmed that Rwanda still has millions unbanked and added that the mobile banking solutions and a cost-effective agent network will help reach them and the funding will help the do so.

IFC will help UOB develop an agent network for branchless banking, with staff training and customer education, market research and product development, and in the establishment of a call centre.

David Crush, IFC Manager for Access to Finance Advisory Services in Sub-Saharan Africa said, “Access to finance is a key tool in fighting poverty. UOB has already been able to provide finance for many small-scale entrepreneurs to expand their businesses and hire people, creating jobs and contributing to economic growth in Rwanda. There is scope to do so much more.”

The project is part of the Partnership for Financial Inclusion with The MasterCard Foundation, which aims to scale up microfinance and accelerate the development of mobile financial services in Sub-Saharan Africa to reach a total of 5.3 million previously unbanked customers on the continent by 2017.

Use Technology To Network, Not Burn Bridges

Teryl Schroenn, CEO of Accsys
Teryl Schroenn, CEO of Accsys

In the fiercely competitive business arena, the acquisition and retention of skilled workers is paramount. The demand for skills, especially technical skills, and the need for job seekers to acquire practical experience, means that business relationships forged have to be effectively managed.

Experts in Human Resource development and management technology believe that building long term relationships with each employer and employee is becoming ever more critical.
This is because technology has advanced and created platforms for instant and cost-effective communication.

“The emphasis today is on maintaining steady relationships, nurturing networks and value-add to relationships in both the public and private sector,” says Teryl Schroenn, CEO of Accsys. “At the heart of this is work/life balance, a desired objective that technology could help us to achieve. One only has to consider the advent of mobile technology and mobile applications that make mobile work a reality today.”

Accsys is a member of the Business Connexion Group (BCX) and national supplier of people management software and hardware solutions within the HR, payroll and time & attendance space.

Africa is widely acknowledged to have the second fastest growing mobile market globally and is home to seven of the ten fastest growing markets worldwide.

Schroenn says the advent of mobile technology and the influence of social media have significantly changed the workplace environment – as well as processes and procedures that govern professional relations.

Schroenn adds that it is important for managers to recognise these changes and adapt their approach accordingly. This means that, for example, should an employee decide to leave to pursue other interests, in the event this does not prove successful, there would be the opportunity for that person to return and rejoin their former workplace.

“Alliances and professional relationships forged in the workplace are usually strong and there is now more effort being made to ensure that bonds are not broken if there is a parting of ways. It often happens that former work colleagues network and actually end up reuniting in a sustainable working relationship,” adds Schroenn.