Exploring initiatives and projects from Kenya’s digital ecosystem | #speakup barometer | Kenya | DW | 18.01.2019
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#speakup barometer | Kenya

Exploring initiatives and projects from Kenya’s digital ecosystem

Kenya is home to one of Africa’s most thriving innovation ecosystems. We take a look at some of the organizations, projects, and tools shaping Kenya’s digital society.

IT, coding, design and business programs:

AkiraChix is a Nairobi-based organization that aims to provide young women and girls from poor social and economic backgrounds with training in technology and entrepreneurship. AkiraChix is addressing the underrepresentation of women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects. Website: http://akirachix.com/

Andela trains Africa’s tech talents on its campuses in Lagos, Nairobi, and Kampala. Andela builds high-performing engineering teams and connects them with employers looking to grow. It runs a four-year fellowship in software development aiming to provide the skills needed for Africa’s digital economies. Website:https://andela.com/ 

Moringa is a Nairobi-based coding school that develops African tech talent. It offers coding classes simulating the workplace environment. Since 2014, Moringa has been expanding with offices in Hong Kong, Ghana, and Pakistan. Website: https://www.moringaschool.com

Tunapanda Institute aims to bring technological, design, and entrepreneurial skills to students from the Kibera slum in Nairobi. Its three-month training program also seeks to connect graduates with local employers.  The institute hosts e-learning and school management platforms through its own unique data center. Website: http://www.tunapanda.org/

Kenia Mobile Money M-Pesa

The mobile money service M-Pesa from Kenya

Digital media projects and initiatives from Kenya:

Afroes is a mobile-first enterprise designing educational games for young Kenyans. Their products address issues such as child protection, environmental rights, and gender violence. Website: http://afroes.com/about/ 

Africa 118 aims to help close the critical information gap by helping customers to find local small and medium business and services. Africa 118 offers the business directories “Infomoby” through local websites, mobile apps and call-in solutions. It also offers complete digital marketing solutions to small and medium enterprises in Africa. Website: https://africa118.com/

BitPesa is a digital foreign exchange and payment platform that aims to make money transfers faster and easier.  Founded by Elizabeth Rossiello, it uses the cryptocurrency BitCoin for international money transfers across Africa, Europe, and Asia. BitPesa was among the 2018 World Economic Forum Technology Pioneer Cohort. Website:https://www.bitpesa.co/ 

Code for Kenya is an initiative promoting data journalism and civic innovation. The goal is to strengthen public engagement through data, so people can make better-informed decisions. Their activities include skill building in local communities and building tools that empower citizens. Website: https://codeforkenya.org

Habari Kibra is a citizen reporting project from Kibera, the largest slum in Africa. Habari Kibra offers journalism training to local youths. The program also aims to fill the reporting gap on issues relevant to the citizens of Kibera – issues that are often ignored by mainstream media. Website: http://habarikibra.co.ke/ 

Read more: Sources and data on digital participation in Kenya

Map Kibera: Map Kibera Trust started in 2009 with the aim of mapping Africa’s biggest slum, but has developed into a community action project. Through the use of creative digital tools, Map Kibera is enhancing the influence and representation of marginalized communities. The project uses mapping, SMS reporting, and citizen media to give voice to local people – and make the invisible visible. Source: http://akademie.dw.com/innovationlibrary?p=29

Mawingu Networks connects communities in rural and unconnected areas in Africa to the Internet. It uses low-cost wireless technology and solar power to meet its goal of connecting communities to an affordable and reliable Wifi connection, solving the last-mile connectivity problem. Mawingu offers access to affordable Internet in specific hotspots in rural areas. Website: http://www.mawingunetworks.com 

M-Kopa Solar is a Kenyan solar energy company. The company tackles Kenya’s electricity problem by selling home solar systems. Customers can get solar power and will slowly pay the cost of the device by paying a daily amount through M-Pesa. As of January 2018, the company has connected 600,000 homes to affordable solar power. Website: http://solar.m-kopa.com 

M-Pesa is a mobile phone based money transfer, financing and micro financing service that was launched in 20017 by Safaricom. It allows users to deposit money in an account on their cellphones and send it to others via SMS or PIN. It closes the gap for millions of people in Kenya and around the world who previously had no access to financial services. Website: https://www.mpesa.in/

Mzalendo is a parliamentary watchdog initiative, which provides online access to fact-checked information about MP’s and politicians in Kenya. Set up as a Wordpress blog in 2005, today it includes activities and campaigns on social media. Its mission is to increase public participation by providing relevant and accurate information. Website: http://info.mzalendo.com

OKHi is a mobile application that provides a physical address to people in order for those with no fixed abode to prove where they live, who they are, and enable businesses to connect with them. For some services, like getting an ambulance, banking, or using online delivery services, having a fixed address is essential. Website: http://www.okhi.com/

Open Schools Kenya is a project by Map Kibera that seeks to provide open data about schools across Kenya. It focuses on informal schools with the aim of better incorporating them into the public education system. With the mantra that citizen data is public data, it encourages, parents, students, and teachers to submit feedback to help measure and improve education. Website: http://openschoolskenya.org/ 

Sun Culture offers an agricultural system that uses solar-powered irrigation systems. It offers a complete value-chain solution from the technical product of the pump and drip irrigation system, together with services offering crop analysis as well as finance and technical support. Website: http://sunculture.com/

Ushahidi was set up to collect eyewitness reports of violence in the wake of the 2007 election. The general public could supply details, evidence and testimony via email and text message that were then geo-located on Google Maps. Ushahidi has developed into one of the most significant tools for crowdsourcing information, especially in disaster zones such as the Haitian earthquake of 2010 and the tropical storms sweeping the US and Caribbean.Website: https://www.ushahidi.com/

Pesa Check is an initiative by Code for Africa to fact check the often confusing numbers quoted by public figures across East Africa. PesaCheck also tracks promises made by politicians and collaborates with watchdog media and NGOs with fact-checking support. Website: https://pesacheck.org/ 

Savannah Fund is a seed capital fund specializing in investments in early stage, high growth technology start-ups. Based out of Nairobi, the fund offers mentorship and investment to new businesses – especially mobile – across sub-Saharan Africa. It aims to bridge the early stage venture capital investment gap in Africa. Website: http://savannah.vc/

Well Told Story is offering strategic communication in order to create social and economic value in Kenya and Tanzania. Well Told Story produces the multimedia youth communication platform Shujaaz, which comprises free monthly comic books, FM radio programs, TV, shows, social media, as well as SMS content. The main character of Shujaaz is an anonymous radio DJ that motivates young people with ideas on how to improve their lives. Website: http://www.welltoldstory.com/

#speakup barometer Kenya

The office spaces of Nairobi Garage

List of tech hubs, incubators and co-working spaces in Kenya

In Nairobi 

Nairobi Garage
C4D Lab
Villgro Kenya
iLab Africa

Outside of Nairobi

SwahiliBox (Mombasa)
LakeHub (Kisumu)
Dlab Hub (Eldoret)
Sote Hub (Voi)
Machakos (Ubunifu)
Mt Kenya Hub, DeHub (Nyeri)

Have we missed something or someone shaping Kenya’s digital future?
Email us at barometer@dw.com. 


The #speakup barometer is a DW Akademie project that examines the connection between digital participation, freedom of expression and access to information. Learn more at www.dw.com/barometer 

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