Appfrica is the organizer and facilitator of the second annual Apps4Africa competition which rewards African technologists for developing creative solutions to some of the continent’s most challenging issues. 2011 was the second year we’ve done Apps4Africa, the first year culminated with this congratulatory message from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton:
Last year the theme of the competition was Climate Challenge, which means all the entrants should have focused on solving climate change and adaptation issues that affect their local communities. Over the course of 7 months our teams are going to over 15 countries to support the competition, answering questions and hosting workshops. Since we’re now two thirds through the competition, I wanted to share descriptions of the 6 winners from the East Africa and West/Central regional competitions.
The East Africa winners were announced on January 14th, 2012 at Villages In Action in Kikuube, Uganda. The West/Central Africa winners were announced on December 8th, 2011 in Durban, South Africa at the COP-17 Climate Change Conference.
East Africa Winners
1st prize of $15,000 – The Grainy Bunch by Eric Mutta (Tanzania)
The Grainy Bunch is a national grain supply chain management system that monitors the purchase, storage, distribution, and consumption of grain across the entire nation. It was developed with the understanding that selling “the effects of efficiency” to actors in the grain supply chain is much easier than selling “the effects of climate change”.
Grain is nicknamed the “white oil” which lubricates the engine of Tanzanian growth. Even short-term disturbances in its supply chain adversely affects hundreds of thousands of people. To ensure both food security and economic security for all Tanzanians, a system is required to both monitor and facilitate the supply chain of grain, from the soil to our plates.
2nd prize of $7,000 – Mkulima Bora – Stepheno Maleche, Gerry Nandwa, Joseph Onginjo and Oliver Otieno (Kenya)
Mkulima Bora enables farmers to input the type crop they wish to plant into an app, then it cross-checks meteorological data to determine if the crop is suitable given the timing and location. Mkulima improves farmer yields, saves them time, and money
3rd Prize of $3,000 – Agro Universe – Oliama Brian, Daniel Mumbere, Nabuto Josephine, Bossa Alex, Sanya Duncan, Olwenyi Victor, Kato Charles, Masaba Kizito, Kalema Moses, Namuyiga Winfrey (Uganda)
Agro Universe allows farmers with agriculture products or livestock to alert the app’s community so that they can buy and sell goods from each other. It works on both mobile and the web. The aim of Agro Universe is to create a regional marketplace where products can be sold that may have no demand in the user’s immediate area but that might in areas farther out.
West/Central Africa Winners
1st prize $15,000 – HospitalManager by Victor Ogo Ekwueme (Nigeria)
HospitalManager is a web-based application that helps hospitals and health organizations prepare for disasters such as floods and storms. More frequent heat spells, rains, and floods are leading to heath emergencies, both due to the event itself, and later to water related disease. HospitalManager will help hospitals in Nigeria, and potentially throughout Africa, identify patterns in patient visits following rains and floods, so that staff can better prepare for these situations and save more lives. Hospitals can anticipate incoming disease and emergency patterns using real time climate forecasts. On longer time scales it will allow policy makers to plan locations of new hospitals.
2nd prize $7,000 – Eco-fund Forum by Assane Seck, Guillaume Blandin and Markus Faschina (Senegal)
Eco-fund Forum is a web-based community organizer and geo-localized data exchange tool to help individuals and communities working on sustainable resource management throughout Africa to share their own experiences on best practices. Thus they will better understand and respond to the climate change challenges impacting each specific local context. For example, coastal communities in Senegal that suffer from erosion can learn from neighbors that are successfully and durably overcoming the same problem by regenerating and preserving a littoral forest. Furthermore, the Forum will give those communities a voice which should alert political decision makers to address climate change challenges in time.
3rd prize $3,000 – Farmerline by Alloysius Attah and Emmanuel Owusu Addai (Ghana)
Farmerline is a mobile and web-based system that furnishes farmers and investors with relevant agricultural information to improve productivity and increase income. Lack of information about weather patterns and about which crops grow best in a changing climate hurts rural farmers’ yields. Cell phone use is growing rapidly throughout Ghana, including in rural areas. This mobile tool can help farmers in Ghana to get information about agricultural best practices down to the farm level, including choosing crops best suited for their specific location, and how to prepare for changes in the weather (including dry spells, changes in seasonal onset, and extreme events).
East Africa Honorable Mentions
CoHeW – Geno Juma, Nicholas Mugah
The CoHeW program is designed as an aid to the community health worker (CHWs). The program will have a two pronged approach; it gives stop gap solutions to the respondent and serves as an information gathering tool for the CHWs. The ministry of health and other health administration planners need a source of information on likely occurrences of diseases and projected disease outbreak periods.
AgriRight (Plant it Right) – Nyambura Muhia, Wamahiga Grace, Njeri Winnie, Harun Mwangi
AgriRight is a mobile app that helps farmers plant crops that are right for a particular area.Many farmers, plant crops which are not sustainable for a particular area, which leads to a waste of resources (time, money, energy). They often incur huge losses, reaping very little or no crops at all.
West/Central Africa Honorable Mentions
An application that allows residents report issues like bush burning and deforestation in real time via SMS. It’s a citizen reporting and preparedness project that allows the public to alert the greater community of emergency events.
Mobile Agri Business
Mobile Agribusiness is an agriculture application for farmers to have information, skills and to connect them to available market in real-time in DRCongo. The project aims to create a mobile market place for farmers in Congo.
What’s next for Apps4Africa? Well it’s too soon to say but the Climate Challenge will begin in the Southern Africa region in a few short weeks. Bookmark this post and come back in early April to find out who the Southern Africa regional winners will be! If you’d like to get involved with Apps4Africa or the winners, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Many of the entrants are choosing to open source their code which you can find here on GitHub.