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Social Change in Africa Through Technology: Kabissa 2.0

Kabissa LogoTobias Eigen has been on my short-list of “people to talk to” for a couple months now. He has been working to change Africa for the better through the use of technology. That is why I was really happy to get an email from him today sharing some of the newest developments that are going on with his organization, Kabissa.

Kabissa has applied for $500k worth of funding for their new Kabissa 2.0 project with NetSquared. They are talking big ideas. They want to use their knowledge of web-based technology tools to train and help grassroots African organizations grow community, build awareness and facilitate massive change through local tech ambassadors.

I’ve always been a huge believer that technology will be one of the cornerstones for massive change in Africa. It provides the ability to circumnavigate inefficient and out-of-date government and monopolistic institutions. Technology has a way of lowering barriers to change and creating new opportunities for those who really want to see something happen.

Kabissa 2.0 is probably worth funding well beyond the $500k they’re asking for. If they can truly provide basic tools that promote African interaction and encourage growth through technology, then they have my support. I’d like nothing better than to see Africans leading this change in their own local areas.

Show your support for this project, and other projects related to Africa at NetSquared. Africa-related projects:

9 Comments

  1. Please dont forget the Blogswana project as well!

  2. Thanks very much for the kind plug for our Kabissa 2.0 project. The competition is stiff (more than 150 projects, many of them terrific!) so the more support we can get from the community the better. Anyone can vote, but you have to register on the netsquared.org site first.

    I will be describing some of my favorite projects on my netsquared blog today – Sokari is right that there are some very interesting African initiatives, including another one in Malawi that sounds promising: Community-Owned Telecenter Projec t. Unfortunately the most compelling proposals are very US-oriented so we’ll have to work hard to make sure that Africa is represented at the conference and that an African project is in the running to benefit from the Netsquared technology innovation fund.

    I’m honored also that you have invited me to participate in your very nifty “African Digerati” interviews – I promise I will get the questionnaire back to you soon. 🙂

    Cheers,

    Tobias

  3. Hey folks –

    I voted today, and encourage you to do the same right away! Here are the five projects I chose.

    I liked the projects you listed above (was unable to find blogswana for some reason – maybe it was only listed last year as a cool project, but not entered into the ocmpetition?) but given the competition went for the projects that seemed most likely to win (e.g. had the ‘six netsquared attributes’) and also promised to seriously leverage web 2.0 technology to benefit people in Africa.

    If you have other thoughts let me know – maybe also by commenting as much as you have time to do on my blog at netsquared.org and on the projects you like. Unfortunately alot of the fairly promising African proposals have no comments by them.

    Cheers,

    Tobias

  4. Tobias, I’ve voted now – with a strong focus on Africa. You’re right, it will take some concentrated focus on our part as an African tech community to get our projects noticed. There are a lot of great projects taking place all over the world, it’s up to us to make sure we notify our readerships to ensure that the African win.

  5. Just a note to point out that voting has been extended until this coming Monday, April 16th – so if you have not yet voted it’s not too late!

    Also, the Botswana project Sokari was talking about is called “Nata Village” and is truly a terrific blog project in support of a community in Africa – please support it!

    On my netsquared blog I updated my list of favorite projects to include Nata Village and nine more (including Kabissa!). Please check it out and vote for many African projects!

    Note that if you’ve voted already, you can go back to update your ballot anytime before voting closes on Monday.

    Cheers,

    Tobias

  6. Hi Hash –

    Pleased to report that Kabissa 2.0 made it in the top 21 voted projects in the Netsquared competition. Check out the list – many African and global south projects did well.

    Cheers,

    Tobias

  7. Congrats Tobias! great news, so what’s the next step? Is it all internal voting by Netsquared now?

  8. Great stuff Tobias – like hash says whats next?

  9. According to the netsquared website:

    “The Featured Projects will be going on to the NetSquared Conference and have an opportunity to receive cash, tech and consulting resources, but we hope that the NetSquared Community at large will continue to support all of the nominated projects with suggestions, resources and advice.”

    So all the projects will stay up on the netsquared website for a while – even the ones that didn’t succeed and should have like the Nata Village Blog project and, also a big disappointment to me, the HUB Project proposed by WITNESS. I hope the exposure attracts some positive attention and helps to get these projects the support they need.

    For the 21 lucky finalists, they will be brought (all expenses paid) to San Jose, California to participate in the conference part of the N2Y2 process. We will all hear about each other’s projects and discuss them with other stakeholders in the field (techies, funders etc), One project will be selected to win the Netsquared Innovation Award. I’m not sure how that one project is selected, maybe by a panel of Netsquared’s Advocates?

    Even if we don’t win the award, it seems they will still be trying to help us to connect with technical resources, partners and supporters for our project.

    As far as Kabissa’s own plans for Kabissa 2.0 and the netsquared conference, we’ll be keeping the community informed as much as possible as time passes, through the Kabissa blog. We’ll probably be looking for co-sponsorship from others and will start thinking more concretely about how the project will evolve – and in particular who the “Web 2.0 Ambassadors” will be!

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