Welcome to Apps 4 Africa!

If you've spent time around the technology scene in East Africa over the last few years, chances are you've recognized that there is something special happening. Programmers, graphic designers and bloggers are creating new applications, content and the voices of a new generation of East Africans.

On behalf of the U.S. Department of State, the *iHub_, Appfrica Labs, and SODNET, we welcome your participation in Apps 4 Africa (@apps4africa) a competition that celebrates the idea that the energy, optimism and technical acumen of East Africa's technology community can help change the way we solve big social problems, amplify the voice of marginalized communities, and lower the barriers to public participation in the region.

From July 1st to August 31st, we welcome citizens to submit ideas that technology can help solve, and challenge technologists to build tools that lead to a better world. The top applications will receive cash, cool gadgets, and the chance to hob-nob with our judges panel of technology and civil society luminaries. Today, we are particularly pleased to have Under-Secretary of State Judith McHale and U.S. Ambassador Michael Rannenberger join a group of civil society leaders and civic-minded technologist to launch the contest at the *iHub_ in Nairobi.

This is only the beginning. Over the duration of the contest, we will host events around the region that address a variety of technology platforms and activist themes. We'll also be encouraging collaboration between mentors from around the world and coders in the region. Whether you are a citizen, civil society leader or technologist of any kind, we hope you will join us in the Apps 4 Africa challenge!


cross-posted from the Apps 4 Africa blog.

Kibera's Most Detailed Security Map

link to detailed pdf version here

Over at Map Kibera, we are building out a dynamic website and report with the findings from the project thus far. As a sneak peak, this is what we believe to be the most detailed child protection, public safety, or girls vulnerability map of Kibera ever produced by and for the community.

As you look at the detailed map here, keep in mind that nearly every map of Kibera we've seen is simply satellite imagery, which doesn't give much insight into what is under the sheet metal roofs. There is an indisputable cost, quality and ethical advantage to community-driven mapping using consumer-grade GPS and an open-source software stack. This map was created using a two-step process, which involved data collection by 13 Kiberan mappers and community meetings with larger groups of young people. The methodology is detailed here.

In this map we've layered existing safe spaces and night lights atop bars and 'black spots' where young people should avoid. We've also paraphrased some of the most common points made by girls and young women who participated in our community map consultations. More detailed quotes and narratives will be available online in the near future.

This is only the start. Our main girls group partner, Binti Pamoja, was visibly excited to receive this map, and they will immediately put it to use for (i) planning new safe spaces; and (ii) using as a teaching tool about safety when girls meet in existing safe spaces.

Many, many thanks goes out to Primoz Kovacic, our volunteer Slovenian GIS expert, who donated quite a bit of his (very expensive) time to make this professional grade map!

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