12 Hours Left For E. Africa Amplify Challenge


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If you are a fan of design and all the innovations taking place in the global design world then you are in for a surprise. For the past few days openideo has been organizing a Youth Empowerment challenge for all the interested parties to apply for the challenge.

The challenge has so far received tremendous applications which can viewed on the openideo dashboard. There are 455 ideas submitted so far and counting. There are also a few research contributions on how the Youth can be empowered. The 269 contributions can assist you as an entrepreneur in knowing exactly what the East African Youth value the most.

By giving feedback on the submitted ideas, you can ensure that the $500,000 prize goes to the right idea… or not.

Enjoy

Trends as per now…. Questionable


Wondering how the internet seems great at first then suddenly becomes extremely boring later. When I was growing up i used to cheat at video games just to see how the final level looks like. It was an amazing experience at the time.

I was wondering how guys `talk` about football and its playing live. ladies talk about movies. kids about cartoons and you-let me say i- feel out of place.

So this is just how to get all caught up with what is happening. A cheat sheet from google trends on topics such as

  1. Searches.
  2. People
  3. Athletes
  4. Consumer electronics
  5. Global news
  6. Doodles( those drawings that you see when open Google.com)
  7. Deaths( put in nicer way as `LOSS`)
  8. World cup
  9. Youtube Videos

 

http://www.google.com/trends/topcharts/widget?cid=77265a57-c8cb-4cfe-9a61-60369c7b003a&geo=&date=2014&vm=trendingchart&h=413

http://www.google.com/trends/topcharts/widget?cid=bc516ec7-6f60-4ed7-bff2-0509ce87f051&geo=&date=2014&vm=trendingchart&h=413

http://www.google.com/trends/topcharts/widget?cid=819bc6ad-27c9-4933-b154-20e5abfc0cd1&geo=&date=2014&vm=trendingchart&h=413

 

The Ultimate Forum


A talk at the sci(school of computing and informatics)
A talk at the sci(school of computing and informatics)

Getting inspired as a student to view the course that you are currently doing as a potential career subject is becoming something of the blues. the attitude that most undergraduate students have nowadays is tilted(as i can put it) to the pessimistic side due to the high unemployment rates being experienced in the current. With regard to inspiration or rather motivation, the school of computing and information at Chiromo is collaborating with the Code for development laboratory to inspire youths around their ecosystem.

The “program” or procedure to get to know when to get inspired starts with the simple journey of you following a Facebook page from the school of computing, twitter page or by following the famous tech savvy graduate “prof Nandaa” https://twitter.com/profnandaa.

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” lang=”en”>

Just checked in at @Deveint for weekly #TGIF, let’s see how it goes. @MurayaKamau @crushcafeteria @samsoftK

— Anthony Nandaa (@ProfNandaa) April 10, 2015

The hash-tag is #PowerForum. after following these related social media channels, book your Wednesday afternoon to navigate your way to Chiromo campus for one of their talks.

one of the Lecturer theaters set up.
one of the Lecturer theaters set up.

I managed to attend the last two #PowerForums this year and meet a couple of leaders/Who is who in the tech space in Kenya. I also got to see the bigger picture that these talks aren’t just meant for computer geeks but also guys trying to run enterprises.

There is a bit of a downer though. you might never really get to know who will be giving the talks since you need to get an Eventbrite ticket to get those details. Simply following the action on twitter or Facebook will not do any good.  Taking advantage of the opportunity with the guest speaker is quite easy at this forum though you need to carry your own business card… just in case. Thirdly getting the directions for riverside drive… and the lecturer theater is many a times a nightmare to the attendees unless of-course you are a university of Nairobi alumni.

 

By Neville Mugambi.

Dr Willy Mutunga at PAWA254 Initiative Launch


Dr Willy Mutunga in the crowd
Dr Willy Mutunga in the crowd

PAWA254, The new hub for artists located in the State house area, Launched their strategic plan in a colorful event yesterday at their famous “ROOF TOP”. Among the invited guests were Dr. Willy Mutunga, Juliani(performed) and Biyavanga Wainaina among others,. There was music and entertainment for the guests as PAWA launched their strategic plan. Boniface Mwangi, A team leader at the hub was there to welcome the guests.

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The place was packed with artists from established to upcoming. When reaching the venue, you would hear music from the gate. As we entered the YMCA alliance building, the first stop we made was at the Mageuzi conference hall. The sets were arranged facing the projector. There, videos on the activities of PAWA and insights on their strategic plan played on a well structured loop.

Roof top at PAWA
Roof top at PAWA

Climbing up the stair cases as we headed to the “ROOFTOP”, Photos on the journey that PAWA has gone through over the years inspired us. Reaching the “ROOFTOP” we found a place to set in the crowd as we got entertained.

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digital public service delivery


humduma2Getting public services like National Id card, Business registration and Filling government returns just got easier. With the rolling out of the countrywide Huduma centers in the major 47 counties these services will be more accessible in the devolved government structure. Challenges like travelling to the Capital city(Nairobi County) from as far as Kisumu or Mombasa to get this services will now be a thing of the past. The programme is expected to solve government efficiency in providing this services thus stimulating the economy.

huduma3

Huduma Kenya is a programme by the Government of Kenya which was launched by President Uhuru Kenyatta at the General Post Office which was the flagship Huduma centre. Currently the government has opened 14 centers to provide this services. A centre has integrated public and private sector services which has proven to be more effective.

The success rate of this project is yet to be fully established. But for it to be able to know the birthrates and date rates by issuing Birth and Death certificates will go along way in meeting some of the United Nations Millennium development goals and the sustainable development goals through appropriate policies from the data.

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The President has also launched a separate division called the National digital registry service with Mwende Gatabaki as the Director general. This division has come up with Umoja Kenya which is a technology-enabled transformation of management of information assets to enable the Govt to:

  1. Plan
  2. Predict
  3. Prevent
  4. Mitigate

The Umoja Kenya Platform will have a comprehensive database of a Kenyan citizen’s personal details. This will reduce cases of cases of immigrants and ease boarder screening in its first phase. The project is being executed in conjunction with an Israel company and will be launched later this month. As the old economy involved roads, railways, and ports. Specialists like the Prof William Okello Odongo speculate that the new economy of Kenya involves

  • digital economy and
  • universal access

A photo of Mwende Gatabaki and link to here presentation at a public lecture at the University of Nairobi, Chiromo campus this year. http://cbps.uonbi.ac.ke/node/9686

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By Neville Mugambi

 

 

KENNEDY WARIUA OF IBM KENYA’S VISIT


Kennedy Wariua and a Colleague from IBM
Kennedy Wariua and a Colleague from IBM

KENNEDY WARIUA (IBM Kenyan leader, Ecosystems development) gave a very insightful talk at the University of Nairobi today talking about his life, career and being an entrepreneur. The session was meant for computer science students and the start-ups being incubated at the C4DLab innovation centre. http://www.c4dlab.ac.ke . The call from Kennedy to this audince doesnt come as a surprise since he is very fond of technology and likes working with innovative minds. The session went down at the Code For Development(C4DLab/Phd Lab) at the School of Computing and Informatics.

I’ve always had a passion for entrepreneurship” He started. By 1994,” I had started doing my first Job” he continued.” there were no same opportunities as there are now, “he said. “The difference was the level of exposure to technolog”.

a student at the session
a student at the session

In that year, Kennedy started working at a shop at the Jomo Kenyatta International airport. He was supposed to go to started bachelor of Arts at Kenyatta University at the time but opted to go to employment since he was not into the arts but into tech. With a small monthly salary of 3,000/= Kenya shillings and siblings defendant on him, he had to supplement it. He started buying rice in bulk and selling to his colleagues at the airport at a profit. within a short time the venture was earning him more money than his job. He worked at the shop for 5 years.

By 2000, Kennedy had found a new place at KenCell communications Limited(Currently Airtel Kenya). He joined the telecommunications company when it was testing the market and still new. He worked there for 8years. During this period, he was also doing private studies online. He eventually graduated with a bachelors degree from Kenya Methodist University(K.E.M.U.).

IBM_BlueMix@C4DLab-2

He later joined Yu Mobile by Essar which was also starting its operations in Kenya at the time. He stilled worked at the technical and IT department as he did at KenCell. He worked there for 3years before joining the IBM team.

IBM has invested billions to transform Africa” he continued. One of the reasons for this investment is to help de-congest the Nairobi city under their vision for a smarter planet. The main point of the talk was to help the students realize that to work better with IBM, they needed to align their goals with those of creating a smarter planet.

Finally, he urged the students to tryout their Global entrepreneur program. He pointed out the success of MODE(mobile decision) a Kenyan start-up that won the 2012 global IBM SmartCamp and through their program and mentorship is now available in 17 countries.

 

 

IBM_BlueMix@C4DLab-11

 

By Neville Mugambi

Photos by: @MADEKarubiu

ARE YOU A SILENT VICTIM OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE?


‘I thought he would change ‘…  That is was the first word from Naomi’s lips,  when she told me to write an elaborate piece of her story for publication. with a shrunken emotional side eyes I could trace the invisible pain from that expression,  I met Naomi in Kampala Uganda  I was on a friend house warming party,  I was working on different media blogging projects in Kampala through a friend’s connection to a certain magazine house,.
“why women stay with abusive partners”
… “Domestic violence is incredibly complex.  those who haven’t
experienced it first-hand always say,  ‘why didn’t you just leave?’  ” There’s no simple answer to that question. But in my case, my case my first husband made me believe that I couldn’t survive without him.
“I was 17 when I met Ezra.  He was 32 and a manager at the local radio station.  Getting attention from this grown-up,  Charismatic, successful man was flattering.  Within a year,  we were engaged.
” with hindsight,  I can see how he used his maturity to assert control over me. Because he was older, he knew best about everything.
“my parents didn’t approve of the age gap, but I was a headstrong teenager who wasn’t about to do.
” The physical violence didnt start right away. What I didn’t realize that I was being subjected to a subtle campaign of emotional abuse.  It doesn’t happen overnight.  It’s like a dripping tap,  wearing down your confidence and self worth until everything is stripped away and you’re incapable of standing on your own feet.
“Ezra was moody and bad tempered, and it was always my fault. I was constantly walking on eggshells and apologizing for my wrong doings even when I didn’t know they were.”

no way out
“One evening I told him I was thinking of getting a part time job.  Having finished school I wanted to do something worthwhile and earn my money.
“This did not go down well.  he said I was being selfish and shortsighted,  that I should be supporting him and his needs.  How was I do that if I was to take a petty job as an office messenger girl?
”  I was dragged pushed and slapped.  Any object to hand was thrown and smashed.  My instinct was to leave but I was cornered at the door.  ‘Leave this house,’ he said,  ‘and I’ll take a knife to the dog.’
” The day after the first attack,  I was meant to go wedding – dress shopping with my mum.  I fed her with an excuse and stayed at home.
” I didn’t have the excuse and stayed at home. “I didn’t have the strength to pull out of the perfect traditional wedding that was being organized for us from the buganda Kingdom.  I felt like it was too late to admit I’d made a mistake.
” we married in 1986 (omg I wasn’t born by then I made a joke haha)  she was 19. ” Like most victims,  I soldiered on, hoping life would get better.  But the abuse continued.  Pinches,  punches ands slaps.  A kick in the back or a bucket of water to get me out of bed.”
“He tore stripped off everything ~my intelligence, my efficiency as a wife, my appearance and even my ability in the bedroom.  He threatened to burn my livestock,  to reveal my father’s love life to the papers or ruin his business.  He callously picked on all that was precious to me.
“Our house bore the scars of violence – a cracked fireplace,  broken plaster,  ruined wallpaper.  He ruined countless ornaments, gifts and heirlooms.  I stopped having people over,  especially my family.  I didn’t want them asking questions I was too ashamed to answer.

“Ezra eventually allowed me to get a job at the radio station he was on management team. Now he was the boss at work and as well as at home. ” I don’t believe any of my colleagues had the first idea what was going on.  There were never any bruises that they could see, but putting on a brave face at work was physically and mentally exhausting.
” It was living two lives – one under a big black cloud no one else could see.  The happy, strong-willed,  confident young woman I once was had slowly been destroyed.  I felt incredibly alone.
” I was cut off from my parents and sister.  They sensed I was unhappy but had no idea about the abuse.
” I walked out of him once,  but it only took one phone call to coax me back. ‘ I’m sorry’,  he said.  ‘I need you’,
“Victims go back because women want to see their abuser’s good side and make it work.  We want to believe them when they say,  I shouldn’t have done that.  I love you and I want to make this right. ‘we cling to the hope that they will change,  that we haven’t made a mistake sticking by them that one day we we’ll be happy.  But there is rarely a happy ending.
“In the end,  after five years together,  Ezra left me.  I was devastated and,  despite everything, I was the one begging him to stay –  an example of the hold he had over me.”

.…. A NEW LIFE
“BUT despite having an overwhelming fear of being alone, I didn’t fall to pieces. I found a fantastic lawyer to assist with the divorce.  He me write down everything,  which enabled me to confront what I’d been through.
“To finally open up was immense relief. I no longer had to carry this shameful secret around with me. My family and friends came back into my life and my confidence soon followed. My life started the day Ezra left.

” a lot of women who have suffered domestic violence will tell you that the mental and emotional abuse is far more damaging and difficult to recover from. I believe that after five years with Ezra, it took me another 8 years to recover.

” It wasn’t until I met my wonderful husband Jim in 1997 that I really got over the anger and the desire for revenge. We have three kids Zara nine, Zach six and zuri three.
Now I am a mum,  I can only imagine what I put my worried parents through.
” I was so deep that I couldn’t admit I’d married a monster.  You don’t have to put your hands up and say your marriage was a mistake.
I don’t enjoy reliving this part of my life. But if by talking about it I can give one woman hope or the strength to pick up the phone and get help, then it’s worth it “.

Naomi is working with a publisher friend of mine now in Kampala Uganda.

By: Paul Masidza, (http://alasiri2013.wordpress.com) Bungoma.

FABLAB UON, THE BEST INNOVATION CENTRE


FABLAB
FABLAB

Most Kenyans probably have not heard about FabLab UoN and the activities that go on there. It is a place where electrical and mechanical engineering enthusiasts are abundant. Though even most of the undergraduate students in Kenya taking these courses have no idea of the services it offers. I asked one a random engineering student this week whether they new what goes on in the lab. They told me that they have free WIFI. That was correct but it dint hit the student that this is just one of their hands on projects.

The success of the projects in the lab have led to them winning the Best Innovation center award from Transform Kenya. The award was humbly recieved by Dr. Kamau Gachigi(Director) on 20/7/2014. Their greatest asset is the fabrication resources that they have in their laboratory. From 3D printers to laser gagdets. Here is the Fabrication Laboratory breakdown that has its roots from MIT(Massachusetts institute of technology)

What is the Fab Lab?

The Fab Lab is basically a collection of tools and equipment that leverage the power of Digital Fabrication Techniques in the hands of the average innovative mind.

Fab labs share core capabilities so that projects can be shared across them. This currently includes:

-A computer-controlled laser-cutter, for press-fit assembly of 3D structures from 2D parts

-A larger (4′x8′) numerically-controlled milling machine, for making furniture- (and house-) sized parts

A signcutter, to produce printing masks, flexible circuits, and antennas

-A precision (micron resolution) milling machine to make three-dimensional molds and surface-mount circuit boards

Programming tools for low-cost high-speed embedded processors

These work with components and materials optimized for use in the field, and are controlled with custom software for integrated design, manufacturing, and project management. This inventory is continuously evolving, towards the goal of a fab lab being able to make a fab lab.

Fab labs provide widespread access to modern means for invention. They began as an outreach project from MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms (CBA). CBA assembled millions of dollars in machines for research in digital fabrication, ultimately aiming at developing programmable molecular assemblers that will be able to make almost anything. Fab labs fall between these extremes, comprising roughly fifty thousand dollars in equipment and materials that can be used today to do what will be possible with tomorrow’s personal fabricators.

Fab labs have spread from inner-city Boston to rural India, from South Africa to the North of Norway, and now Kenya. Activities in fab labs range from technological empowerment to peer-to-peer project-based technical training to local problem-solving to small-scale high-tech business incubation to grass-roots research. Projects being developed and produced in fab labs include solar and wind-powered turbines, thin-client computers and wireless data networks, analytical instrumentation for agriculture and healthcare, custom housing, and rapid-prototyping of rapid-prototyping machines.

source: courtesy http://uonfablab.wordpress.com

By Neville Mugambi.

google x in town


Meagan, Solve for X
Meagan, Solve for X

Representatives from Google’s secret  facility, dedicated to making technological advancements such as self driving car, Google glass, project loon and other projects were in Nairobi, Kenya last week. They were to go around the hubs in search for talent. They were in most of the innovation centers including PAWA254. The team were promoting their relatively new activity called Solve For X.

I was lucky to attend their University of Nairobi Solve for X. It was held on Wednesday at the Confucius institute auditorium. The around 100 audiences were kept on their toes by Meagan who was the main host. solve for X is a platform that enables a scholar to declare their x or problem as the audience brainstorm on the solution. The initiative is in partnership with Ted talks. They are planing on hosting more solve for X seminars with different interested parties.

Some of the places toured by Meagan and her team include Fablab university of Nairobi and PAWA254. Keep your ears on the streets for more on this google secretive department and their #moonshot ideas. The solve for X at UON was partly organized by Dr. Kamau Gachigi form Fablab UON.

By Neville Mugambi