Grant awarded to Mzalendo

Kenya's Supreme Court judges file into the chamber during the opening of the 11th Parliament in NairobiUnfortunately, the philosophy of ‘build it and they shall come’ rarely works. It would be nice if a great digital project simply took off through word-of-mouth and little else, but even the very best projects require marketing, awareness raising and a strategy to get people using them. Mzalendo in Kenya became one of – if not the – first parliamentary monitoring sites in Africa when it launched a couple of years ago. Continue reading

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Grant awarded to GroundUp

After a relatively quiet summer here at Indigo, the pace is picking up and this is the first of a series of blog posts concerning newly awarded grants. The others will follow shortly. We’re delighted to announce a grant of £10,863 to GroundUp, a South African initiative of the Community Media Trust and University of Cape Town’s Centre for Social Science Research. They train working class social justice activists in journalism and publish stories on social justice issues that have been neglected or overlooked by the mainstream media. So far, they have worked on stories about broken streetlights, conflicts between farmers and labourers and corruption. With over one million hits monthly and stories in many of South Africa’s largest papers, GroundUp has quickly established a reputation for high-quality, interesting reporting of neglected stories. The funding provided by Indigo will go towards their core costs and enable GroundUp to publish more stories on service delivery and help amplify the voices of marginalised or underreported communities.

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Seychellois Legislation and the e-Grey Book

It’s not often we talk about the Seychelles on here – in fact, it’s very rare that we hear from organisations and individuals in the Seychelles. When it comes to accessing legislative information on and offline, however, the Seychelles are ahead of the game. This is thanks to the work of Seychelles Legal Information Institute who have developed what they’re calling the e-grey book. The e-grey book is built upon the traditional East African compilations of legislation known as grey books. The Seychellois e-grey book makes available 80 key pieces of legislation for online and offline use. It was launched at the end of April this year and early indications that it’s reaching those who need it are good. Thanks to tablet computers given to the judiciary in the Seychelles, judges are now able to access key legislation at the click (or tap) of a button (or screen). At least 100 people accessed the site directly from their mobiles.  Individual legislation pages were downloaded 370 times, and more than 150 users downloaded the entire e-Grey Book in ePub form.  In a country with only about 50 practicing attorneys, that is a great sign.

They’ve been busy blogging about the project and their latest post provides some interesting usage stats like those above. It’s great to see the product being used and also great to see an organisation that’s not scared of sharing its usage stats online for all to see. This is the kind of reporting we welcome and it would be great to see some more organisations adopting similar systems. To read their latest post, click here.

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Things We Don’t Fund: e-commerce

People (at least in the UK) often complain that Christmas seems to be getting earlier and earlier each year. So I apologise for the fact that while it’s only just September, I’m mentioning Christmas already. Continue reading

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Guest Post from Farmerline: Ghan’a Fishin’

The following is a guest post kindly prepared by Indigo grantee, Farmerline.

In our final year at university, we (Emmanuel Owusu Addai and Alloysius Attah) felt very lucky and privileged at having made it that far. We wanted to give back to our family and the communities that supported us. In 2010, Mobile Web Ghana Entrepreneurship Program was one of the few programs supporting social entrepreneurship in Ghana. Continue reading

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The Importance of Marketing (and some stuff about Mad Men)

While most of my knowledge of marketing is gleaned from binge-watching Mad Men, even I can appreciate it has a role to play. And while most people undoubtedly associate it with multinational corporations, Hollywood blockbusters and the like, marketing actually has a very important role to play within charities. Continue reading

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Grant to African LII

There are fifty-five recognized states in Africa. Only one in Sub-Saharan Africa – Kenya, offers state-funded[1], comprehensive and open access to national legislation for free. Until a few years ago, the rest of the continent remained underserved, as meaningful access to legislation is either non-existent, or prohibitively expensive. It’s a problem that we at Indigo are familiar with, having recently funded the development of Constitute, which provides access to constitutions from around the world in a comprehensive, searchable and comparable format. Continue reading

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