Three cheers for new media projects in the Sunshine Continent

Does this mean I won't need a good novel when I am surfing in Kampala?

I’m really excited about all the African new media sites I keep stumbling upon, from projects to blogs to new tools, or combos of all three.  Everything from open street maps that map Kenyan slums to Google Earth workshops in Kampala.  As I get ready to launch my own site (it’s not up yet) on November 30th (12 days and counting) with Emmanuel, I can’t help but be inspired by the exciting things I keep finding on the web.  I thought I would share with you things that are related to Africa and new media that I enjoy on the web…

1) I really like White African, a site that has introduced me to a lot of exciting new stuff on the web.  It’s run by Erik Hersman, who grew up in Kenya and the Sudan, and lives in the U.S. now with three daughters.  He has a personal blog, White African, and AfriGadget, which is about micro-entrepreneurs and tech ingenuity on the continent.  He consults for Ushaidi, which crowdsources crisis information, and his site is full of interesting links and info, to everything from African iphone games to Appfrica and remitting money through cell phones.  He tweets here (I’m addicted to Twitter these days– trying to say interesting things out, without being a twit! but I still like facebook status updates better).  Whenever I need inspiration, I check out his blog, or see what Clay Shirky and Jeff Jarvis are writing about.

2) Stop Stock-outs.  This is a project from Ushaidi that I think is pretty neat, using online maps.  The maps show stock-outs of essential medicines in Uganda, Kenya, Malawi, and Zambia collected via SMS during the pill check week. Use the zoom scroller on the left side of the map to have a closer look and move the map around by clicking and dragging. Selecting a red “hotspot” will show you more detail. Larger dots represent a greater number of stock-outs.

3) Appfrica.net. Whoa, now this site blows my mind! I love apps (applications for google, facebook, iphones, blackberries, etc.), so this site was a must-visit for me.  So yum- Appfrica Labs! (This is coming from a girl who salivates over whatever Google comes out with next, especially if it’s related to Gmail.)  Also, yay– the CEO of Appfrica Labs live in Kampala! Check out Appfrica’s state of infotech, which has some really great graphics.

Underseas cables around the continent

Appfrica is how I learned about OpenStreetMaps mapping slum neighborhoods in Kenya.  I am working on a story right now that has about 3-4 graphs on Kibera, so this is pretty exciting.

Twelve young residents of Kibera will first be trained on current mapping techniques during a two-day workshop. Individuals from the growing Nairobi technology scene will help train and network with the larger community. The group will then map all of Kibera over a two-week period in mid-November and share the results through OpenStreetMap, joining a growing global community of tech-savvy grassroots mapmakers. “The project will provide open-source data that will help illustrate the living conditions in Kibera. Without basic knowledge of the geography of Kibera it is impossible to have an informed discussion on how to improve the lives of residents of Kibera,” said Mikel Maron.


Check out:

-Google Earth workshops that happened in Kampala and Nairobi

-Pricing web development services in an African market

-Google Trader

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2 responses to “Three cheers for new media projects in the Sunshine Continent

  1. did you go to kenya for the story

  2. Nope, did the reporting at the U.N., closer to home! But I’d love to be back in East Africa asap.

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