Back in March Indigo awarded £30,000 to the KINU Group in Tanzania to set up an innovation hub in Tanzania. In only seven months the progress made by the KINU team has been so impressive we thought we’d share some of their work with you.
The infrastructure of the centre is well-developed. Two high-speed internet connections and a sandbox server are already in place. The centre is in an excellent location and has been furnished with work from local craftsmen.
Of course, challenges have arisen. A Seacom internet connection of 30mb has been secured but the KINU centre must handle the “last mile” – a common problem throughout Africa and one that is not solved cheaply. Another challenge is floor space. The centre is so busy, that the rented space has quickly become too small and the team are beginning to think about buying a plot of land – the old rent vs buy conundrum!
The KINU Hub officially opened in September but events started way back in June and already a community of ICT innovators is beginning to form. The centre already hosts two initiatives:
- Sungusungu is an online portal which uses Ushahidi to crowd map instances of crime and corruption. Endorsed by the local police there are high hopes that sungusungu will begin to have a real impact on crime and corruption in Tanzania.
- Usizame means “Don’t drown” in Kiswahlili and is a free SMS app that tracks ferry capacity on popular routes. Tanzania’s ferries are often overloaded and maritime accidents are common. This app will inform passengers when they are at risk and in the long term seek to empower the passenger to demand better safety standards.
Aside from the projects the KINU centre also hosts a number of events. There have been at least 11 events since June ranging from workshops to hackathons, lectures to live conference streaming. Already more than 10 events are planned before the end of January. The Tanzanian mobile operators Tigo and Vodacom have visited to launch and support app competitions and children have been introduced to practical learning through the KINU Kids build-a-bot project using Lego and computers to enthuse children about technology’s possibilities. Meanwhile the centre is busy compiling an interactive timeline which will be a singular resource to see policy develop and keep track of all the ICT developments in the country.
Clearly, Luca and his team have had a busy few months and we’d just like to send them our congratulations and wish them the best of luck as KINU continues to grow.