About the Author: Katie Dowd serves as New Media Director at the U.S. Department of State.
Announced today -- appropriately -- at a crossroads for innovation and technology in Nairobi, Kenya, the iHub opened its doors to announce the winners of the first Apps4Africa competition.
Secretary Clinton congratulated the winners of the competition in a video statement saying, “Your work to develop 21st century solutions to Africa's challenges is a powerful example of what individuals can do to shape a dynamic, successful future.”
Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy Judith McHale launched Apps4Africa in July 2010 in Nairobi, Kenya, and the competition generated more than 20 entries from the participating countries of Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania. Civil society groups and citizens challenged program developers to find innovative technological solutions to everyday problems on issues ranging from transparency and governance to health and education.
The competition was built on Secretary Clinton's Civil Society 2.0 initiative and helps civil society use digital technology to connect to their communities and develop innovative solutions to shared problems. The winners chosen have developed applications that marry measurable impact with creativity and ingenuity across the region.
The winning application iCow, is an application we can envision scaling far beyond Eastern Africa as it enables farmers everywhere to better manage breeding periods of their cows and to also monitor their cow nutrition leading up to the calving day. This application can serve to help farmers yield the most from their farms.
Our third place winners developed an application that has could reap real benefits for struggling mothers. Mamakiba, is a patient-facing SMS savings calculator and prepayment tracking tool specifically designed to help low-income women save and prepay for their maternal health needs such as ante-natal care and clinical delivery. Many women struggle financially, and this application can help teach the value of budget planning and provide lifesaving care for women and their families.
And one of our honorable mentions truly is a unique application called Fogs Funeral Announcements which is application for generating death and funeral announcements via text message. Radio and newspaper are costly in the East African region and the Fog application allows users to cheaply and easily draft, edit and send these types of messages to ensure they reach friends, family, former schoolmates and colleagues -- an important Kenyan custom.
You can find all the information and details about the winners here. The first of its kind, Apps4Africa is the beginning in a series of regional events and competitions that the State Department will help convene, host and connect in Africa.