Tapping Telecommunication for propsperity…Posted in: AfriTech Summit, Best Pracitices
Africa is changing…One village at a time
The collective will and intelligence of African and global community has brought very positive winds of change. Optimism and compassion have engendered practical and life-transforming innovations in the remotest corners of Africa. These simple yet effective inventions are rarely the brainchild of PHDs and Ivy league scholars, but are conceptualized and given the final shape by rural entrepreneurs and zealous Africa-based philanthropic groups.
Communication is the catalyst…
The history of growth and industrialization has established beyond a shadow of doubt that infrastructure and communication play the most decisive role in the shaping of an economy. In a continent, where malnutrition is the biggest epidemic, communication is low on the list of priorities. Bread is much more sought after as compared to a mobile phone – but, then no one can dispute the benefits of mobile communication in an rural landscape. A swift mode of communication not only saves life, but also provides the right direction for procuring the basic needs of life.
This ground-zero necessity was grasped and put into the solution mode by a few of the most passionate technology NGOs in the world…
“FOKUS NET4DC is taking innovative telecommunications technology to areas largely cut-off from the advances of the Internet or cell phones in the hopes of creating sustainable access to global networks and, ultimately, adding value to the population’s day-to-day lives. FOKUS NET4DC, it is driven by the Fraunhofer Institute for Open Communication Systems (Fraunhofer FOKUS).
The Berlin-based research facility studies and develops communication and information technologies. Its goal is the implementation – in partnership with local suppliers and businesses – of modern information and communication technologies to enable sustainable access to global communication networks.“
The obstacles are huge – and chiefly environmental. “Sekhukhune, for example, is surrounded by mountains;
Macha is situated in a very flat area. Both areas face heavy summer rain falls and high humidity,” says NET4DC project leader Karl Jonas.
application has been designed specifically to support maternal, neonatal and early child health at the community level and to save mothers and newborn lives.
The programs intentions are to be a free and open-source framework for dynamic data collection, logistics coordination and communication. It should not just be a simple data reporting or alert tool, but rather it is designed to allow two-way flow of information through automated feedback loops, with robust data analysis and messaging sent back to end-users.
Key program components:
“In July 2009, the Rwandan Ministry of Health (MoH) requested UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) assistance designing a maternal and neonatal death alert and audit system using RapidSMS technology. The Rwanda RapidSMS application was designed specifically to support maternal, neonatal and early child health at the community level by introducing tools to help CHWs track pregnant women under their care.
In addition, RapidSMS assists CHWs to monitor antenatal care, identify and refer women at risk, and improve communication with health facility and district level facilities in the case of emergencies. Through situation specific and monthly aggregated feedback loops, the system was also intended to help CHWs proactively identify and address reasons why women and young children die at the community level and suggest possible interventions.”
Afri-Tech Johannesburg Summit (22th – 24th March, 2012) is committed to engender ground level innovation and cooperation between the entrepreneurs and the global scientific community – so that we have greater number of Africa-based innovations in the future. This summit will witness the congregation of some of the most pioneering minds in the areas of Healthcare, Science & Technology, Education, Finance and Digital solutions – under one platform.