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October, 2012
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Enhancing the use of reliable agro-weather data by farmers – Wireless Wednesday

Agriculture, Wireless Wednesday

October 18, 2012

Weather is a key determinant for lot of activities in agriculture. Farmers across the world struggle with productivity as well as handling post harvest challenges because of  weather related challenges. Agriculture is the backbone of the Kenyan economy. It is a key sector in the economy, contributing immensely to the GDP.
Weather over a long period of time affects food security. This is because it affects the stability, utilization, accessibility and  availability of food. Weather therefore is very important to farmer because it affects productivity, market flows and purchasing power of the consumers.
Agro-weather information is important because it enables the farmers to understanding the weather patterns hence empowering them in making decisions that can result to high yields. For example weather information enables a farmer to incorporate improved agricultural practices, plan on planting, weeding, top dressing and harvesting timings.

On Wednesday 31st of October 2012, m:Lab East Africa with the support of USAID will host mobile applications developer, farmers, government representatives, NGOs, entrepreneurs and other stakeholders in the agricultural sector while they discuss how the use of reliable agro-weather data by farmers can be enhanced.
The focus group discussion will seek to find out from the stakeholders how accurate, weather information dissemination,personal weather stations and agronomic practices affect agriculture and how technology can be used to help farmers.
Key discussants at the meetup will be:

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  • Simon Gathara, Assistant Director Kenya Meteorological Department
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  • A representative from Kilimo Salama
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  • Yumbya Ben, A Crops Development Officer
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  • Farmers from different regions kenya
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  • Representative from Climate Change Unit, Ministry of Agriculture
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  • Among others

The main focus group discussion session will be held from 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm at the m:lab East Africa balcony. Before the main discussion there will be an informal market place session where mobile application developers / entrepreneurs will showcase their solutions through demos to farmers and other stakeholders present. To participate in the event register through eventbrite site HERE NB: there are limited slots available.

Wireless Wednesday are informal focus group meetups are aimed at creating a forum for exchange of views and networking between mobile application developers and practitioners in various industry sectors.

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More Samsung Galaxy SIII devices for Developers

challenges

October 9, 2012

Samsung Kenya will reward more developers next week in the ongoing Samsung Upload Drive Campaign. The draw will see one developer walk away with a Samsung SIII and four other applications receiving a Samsung Galaxy Pocket each. The draw is slated for Wednesday, 17th October 2012, at the m:Lab East Africa offices from 4:30 pm. The campaign is being conducted in conjunction with m:Lab East Africa.
The Upload Drive has been going on since June. So far, four mini draws have taken place and where Twenty individuals have won Twenty Four new Samsung Galaxy Pockets.This has also seen three major draws taking place and three developers winning a Samsung SIII each.
The fourth mini and third major draw took place on the 19th of September 2012. Four developers won Galaxy Pockets and SIII during the draw that was conducted at m:Lab East Africa.
The following developer’s applications won:
Galaxy Pocket Winners:
Brighter Day – Michael Wanyama
Human Anatomy –
Michael Wanyama
MiTimetable –
Raymond Kipchirchir Rono
In the Clear –
Raymond Odhiambo
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Galaxy SIII winner:
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CrowdPesa – Christian Kakoba
Every uploaded app stands a chance to win a Samsung Galaxy Pocket and applications that pass the QC process in the Samsung apps store stand a chance to win a Galaxy SIII in the forthcoming  draw. Basically every uploaded application guarantees the developer an entry in the Samsung Apps Campaign. Therefore, the more apps a developer uploads, the more his/her chances of winning.
How to be part of the campaign

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  • First uploading your App (Android, Bada or Windows Mobile platforms) in the Samsung App store, whereby you’ll be issued with a unique App ID.
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  • Secondly, send an email with the Subject line “Samsung Apps” to (apps at m:lab dot co dot ke) with Your Name, the Name of Application, and the application ID issued by the Samsung Apps system.

The draw ends in November 2012.

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Key observations at Kenya mHealth ecosystem meetup

Health, Wireless Wednesday

October 6, 2012

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Samsung Kenya has partnered with m:Lab East Africa to hold a series of mhealth focused Wireless Wednesday meetups.
The first of these meetups was held on Wednesday 3rd October at m:lab’s premises and was themed “Understanding Kenya’s mHealth Ecosystem”.
The meetup was attended by representatives from Health NGOs, Government, Phone Manufacturers, mobile operators, entrepreneurs, and mobile app developers who contributed enthusiastically to the discussion. Key discussants at the meetup included :-

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  • Dr. Martin Osumba and Stephen Wanyee from Kenya National HMIS Program (AfyaInfo)
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  • Dr. Judy Gichoya from AMPATH Kenya
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  • Manoj Changarampatt from Samsung
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  • Caroline Ngugi from MedAfrica
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  • Mojca Cargo from GSMA
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  • Paul Mugambi and Alex Siboe from Safaricom

Some key observations made at the meetup are summarized below :-
1. Credibility of Mobile Content 
Throughout the discussion, developers were challenged to ensure that the information they incorporate in their MHealth applications is credible and authentic. This, according to the different stakeholders present, can be reached through content partnerships with authentic content generators. Such collaborations among stakeholders in the health sector was thought to ensure authenticity and credibility of information disseminated to the public through any mobile channel. Mobile applications developers were also encouraged to broaden their knowledge of the health sector domain to better handle content and value propositions around mHealth.

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GSMA’s Mojca Cargo shares a global perspective

 
2. Islands of Success vs Collaboration
Participants observed that there was much duplication of mHealth initiatives across the industry. Successful initiatives were also seen as small islands of success that needed to be duplicated and scaled up for maximised impact. While collaboration and interoperability among initiatives was encouraged by participants, some participants felt that competition should also be allowed among players for improved value offerings to the ultimate consumers.
3. Sustainability of initiatives
There was emphasis on encouraging entrepreneurial activity around mHealth innovations and initiatives for sustainability. Such sustainability was argued to be achievable beyond donor funding as product offerings would be market driven with consumers paying for value received through innovative products. Donor funding in mHealth was deemed by some participants as welcome to the extent that it would support growth for local mobile entrepreneurship efforts.
4. Compilation of mHealth problem sets
Some mobile application developers present expressed their desire to access a list of existing problem sets in the health domain solvable through mobile application technologies. Non tech players present were urged to help develop such a list so a to point the developer community towards the more urgent problems that could be solved through mobile application services. Though such a compilation of problem sets was welcome, developers were advised to proactively seek to understand the challenges faced by health practitioners and come up with innovative solutions advanced through entrepreneurial efforts.
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Alex Siboe from Safaricom sharing the telecom operators’ perpective

 
5. Developer competitions vs Entrepreneurship development
Developer competitions encouraging creation of mobile solutions in health and other areas for inclusion in app stores were highlighted. These were observed to be useful in creating avenues for talented developers to bubble up and win prize cash that could bring much needed cash to their fledgling businesses. However, participants felt that developers participating in competitions and winning prize money was not enough for fostering entrepreneurial spirit in the mHealth ecosystem. The more established corporate players in the ecosystem were challenged to create platforms for training and mentoring budding entrepreneurs in the industry. These more established corporates were also urged to jointly work with entrepreneurs in helping to refine the entrepreneurs’ business models. This approach would help the entrepreneurs and the large corporates to develop mutually beneficial commercial products that could leverage the corporate players’ marketing and distribution channels.
About Wireless Wednesday Meetups 
wireless-Wednesday-500x317Wireless Wednesday meetups organized by m:lab East Africa are aimed at creating a forum for exchange of views and networking between mobile application developers and practitioners in various industry sectors. The series of meetups on mHealth in particular aims to give the different  stakeholders in the health sector a platform to share their thoughts on how to grow the regional mHealth ecosystem.
Video clips of discussions and issues raised during Wireless Wednesday meetups are available to the public through m:lab East Africa’s youtube channel. A pictorial view of the discussion and the ensuing networking are available at the meetup’s photo stream.
The remaining three meetups will be held in the first Wednesday of the next three months at m:lab East Africa’s premises on Bishop Magua Centre  – Ngong road, Nairobi.

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