Apps4Africa By the Numbers

6 Apr

Director of Apps4Africa, Jon Gosier, delivered the following presentation about the history of Apps4Africa yesterday in Accra.

In the presentation he revealed numbers related to the 2011 Apps4Africa competition. 250 apps entered by Africa innovators. 32 mentors who helped them in their application process. Over 20 events held for nearly 2,000 people in 15+ countries. With $75,000 awarded to 9 winners!

Apps4Africa Winners Honored at TEDxChange in Accra

6 Apr

On April 5th, 2012 all but one of this years Apps4Africa winners were honored at TEDxAccra at the Kofi Annan Center for Excellence in ICT. Other speakers included SpotOne Global Director Marieme Jamme, Mayor of Accra Alfred Vanderpuiye, Apps4Africa Director and TED Senior Fellow Jon Gosier, University of Ghana Senior Lecturer Professor Chris Gordon, Mpedigree inventor and Ashoka Fellow Bright Simmons, Google Africa staffer Ato Ulzen-Appiah, and ThoughtWorks Inc. founder Neville Roy Singham to name a few.

Victor Ogo Ekwueme (Winner of the West Africa $15,000 1st prize) delivered a white paper on his winning entry Hospital Manager, which uses artificial intelligence and predictive analytics to forecast hospital needs based on weather patterns. Assane Seck (winner of the West Africa $7,000 2nd Prize) presented his project Eco-fund Forum which is a geo-localized web community that helps individuals and communities working on sustainable resource management throughout Africa to share their experiences and best practices. Mkulima Bora was presented by Gerry Nadwa (winner of the East Africa $7,000 2nd Prize). Mkulima Bora uses geo-location features and a database of agricultural facts to alert users as to which types of actions they need to take to improve farming results based on where they are. Sanya Duncan (winner of the East Africa $3,000 3rd prize) delivered his speech on Agro Universe. The aim of Agro Universe is to create a regional marketplace where products can be sold that may have no demand in the user’s immediate area but that might in areas farther out. Alloysius Attah (winner of the West Africa $3,000 3rd prize) delivered a passionate talk about Farmerline, a mobile and web-based system that furnishes farmers and investors with relevant agricultural information to improve productivity and increase income.  The Farmerline team also recently won the Mobile Web Ghana apps competition.

Perhaps the highlight of the day was the impassioned congratulatory message Mayor Vanderpuiye gave to Ghanian winner Alloysius Attah for the subsequent success of Farmerline. In life “everywhere there are challenges, there are opportunities”, Mayor Vanderpuiye said as he thanked the young innovators of Apps4Africa for their collective ability to find opportunities in the challenges their respective countries face.

The day culminated with two simulcast presentations from TEDxChange in Berlin, Germany where the Bill and Melinda Gates organized TEDxChange was being held. The first was the moving performance by Senegalese singer Baaba Maal, the second an emotional talk about contraception and family planning by Melinda Gates.

East Africa Winners Announced At Villages In Action 2012

14 Jan

Congratulations to the these 3 teams who won the Eastern Africa portion of the Apps4Africa 2-11: Climate Challenge.

1st prize of $15,000 - The Grainy Bunch by Eric Mutta (Tanzania)
The Grainy Bunch is a national grain supply chain management system that monitors the purchase, storage, distribution, and consumption of grain across the entire nation. It was developed with the understanding that selling “the effects of efficiency” to actors in the grain supply chain is much easier than selling “the effects of climate change”.

Grain is nicknamed the “white oil” which lubricates the engine of Tanzanian growth. Even short-term disturbances in its supply chain adversely affects hundreds of thousands of people. To ensure both food security and economic security for all Tanzanians, a system is required to both monitor and facilitate the supply chain of grain, from the soil to our plates.

2nd prize of $7,000 - Mkulima Bora - Stepheno Maleche, Gerry Nandwa, Joseph Onginjo and Oliver Otieno (Kenya)
Mkulima Bora enables farmers to input the type crop they wish to plant into an app, then it cross-checks meteorological data to determine if the crop is suitable given the timing and location. Mkulima improves farmer yields, saves them time, and money

3rd Prize of $3,000 - Agro Universe - Oliama Brian, Daniel Mumbere, Nabuto Josephine, Bossa Alex, Sanya Duncan, Olwenyi Victor, Kato Charles, Masaba Kizito, Kalema Moses, Namuyiga Winfrey (Uganda)
Agro Universe allows farmers with agriculture products or livestock to alert the app’s community so that they can buy and sell goods from each other. It works on both mobile and the web. The aim of Agro Universe is to create a regional marketplace where products can be sold that may have no demand in the user’s immediate area but that might in areas farther out.

Honorable Mentions

CoHeW - Geno Juma, Nicholas Mugah
The CoHeW program is designed as an aid to the community health worker (CHWs). The program will have a two pronged approach; it gives stop gap solutions to the respondent and serves as an information gathering tool for the CHWs. The ministry of health and other health administration planners need a source of information on likely occurrences of diseases and projected disease outbreak periods.

AgriRight (Plant it Right) - Nyambura Muhia, Wamahiga Grace, Njeri Winnie, Harun Mwangi
AgriRight is a mobile app that helps farmers plant crops that are right for a particular area.Many farmers, plant crops which are not sustainable for a particular area, which leads to a waste of resources (time, money, energy). They often incur huge losses, reaping very little or no crops at all.

How to Ace an App Competition

30 Dec

As we close out 2011 and the first half of the Apps4Africa competition, we thought we’d share some tips for those of you planning to enter the South Africa competition next year. This can also serve as advice for those of you who’ve already participated and who we hope will participate in other competitions in the future.

Our advice for people looking to do everything they can to excel in an app competition like our own…

1. Read the rules.

This competition is called “Apps4Africa: Climate Challenge” any app submitted that failed to even attempt to address climate change and adaptation was immediately disqualified.

2. Solve a tough problem.

A lot of apps were entered that had similar descriptions. This in and of itself is not a problem, it’s inevitable given that people approach problems from the same perspective or spot the same needs. However, it never hurts to stand out by attempting to solve a problem that fewer people are likely to think of or event attempt to solve.

One way to do this is to look at the systems put in place by governments or NGOs in your country, and improve upon them with services that circumvent or augment them. Not everything has to be started from scratch.

3. Build something or do something.

Everyone has opinions on how to fix things, few people ever do anything about it. Ideas are great, we encourage them, but this competition is called Apps4Africa for a reason. To win without a software application just means you need to have a very detailed, well thought out plan of action. I’m not going to lie, it’s a long shot but exceptional ideas are still exceptional ideas. But what’s better than a plan of action? Action.

We look favorably upon the participants who take action.

4. Pay close attention to detail on your entry form.

Misspelling your email address or website can be disastrous. If we need to get in touch with you to ask questions, or we need to evaluate your web application, we can’t do it.

5. Study previous winning projects.

While it would be a mistake to copy verbatim someone else’s idea, simply looking at the applicants who’ve succeeded in the past may spark ideas on how to approach your particular project. Draw inspiration from them.

6. Ask an Expert.

Say you don’t know a lot about the subject matter (in this case climate change). Perhaps you have a professor or family member who has a better understanding. If not, you can ask us to pair you with a mentor. We do our best to do this anyways but making the request ensures that you’re on our minds when going through the matching process.

7. Talk to people.

If you aren’t aware of any climate change problems, get out and talk to the people around you who might experience them daily. For instance, speak to the local NGOs staff who respond to flooding or drought and ask them what tool or app would make their jobs easier.

8. Lose gracefully.

Everyone likes to win, no one likes to use. Pretty much the whole world will agree with that statement. That said, we all lose something at sometime. It’s not the end of the world and it certainly doesn’t mean your talents and ideas aren’t valid. Most importantly, keep pursuing your project! If you’re solving a real problem, that problem hasn’t gone away because of this competition. There are always future opportunities.

Apps4Africa Submissions Open Sourced on GitHub

9 Dec

Anyone who submitted code to this year’s competition had the option to open source their submissions. Those who selected to do so will find their code released here -

West Africa winner Victor O Ekwueme has chosen to release his project, Hospital Manager! Runner-up project, iProtect, has also been open sourced.

Support these great open source projects by contributing, forking, commenting, tracking issues, and sharing ideas with the creators.

West Africa Winners Announced at #COP17!!

7 Dec

Congratulations to the following winners of the West Africa Climate Challenge!

1st prize $15,000 - HospitalManager by Victor Ogo Ekwueme (Nigeria)

HospitalManager is a web-based application that helps hospitals and health organizations prepare for disasters such as floods and storms. More frequent heat spells, rains, and floods are leading to heath emergencies, both due to the event itself, and later to water related disease. HospitalManager will help hospitals in Nigeria, and potentially throughout Africa, identify patterns in patient visits following rains and floods, so that staff can better prepare for these situations and save more lives. Hospitals can anticipate incoming disease and emergency patterns using real time climate forecasts. On longer time scales it will allow policy makers to plan locations of new hospitals.

2nd prize $7,000 - Eco-fund Forum by Assane Seck, Guillaume Blandin and Markus Faschina (Senegal)

Eco-fund Forum is a web-based community organizer and geo-localized data exchange tool to help individuals and communities working on sustainable resource management throughout Africa to share their own experiences on best practices. Thus they will better understand and respond to the climate change challenges impacting each specific local context. For example, coastal communities in Senegal that suffer from erosion can learn from neighbors that are successfully and durably overcoming the same problem by regenerating and preserving a littoral forest. Furthermore, the Forum will give those communities a voice which should alert political decision makers to address climate change challenges in time.

3rd prize $3,000 - Farmerline by Alloysius Attah and Emmanuel Owusu Addai (Ghana)

Farmerline is a mobile and web-based system that furnishes farmers and investors with relevant agricultural information to improve productivity and increase income. Lack of information about weather patterns and about which crops grow best in a changing climate hurts rural farmers’ yields. Cell phone use is growing rapidly throughout Ghana, including in rural areas. This mobile tool can help farmers in Ghana to get information about agricultural best practices down to the farm level, including choosing crops best suited for their specific location, and how to prepare for changes in weather patterns (including dry spells, changes in seasonal onset, and extreme events).

Honorable Mention - iProtect (Celestine Omin) and Mobile Agribusiness (Mr. Patrick Lokwa Dueme, Ms. Bokara Charlène Kesieme, Ms. Gladis Mole)

One Africa, One Climate, One Challenge

2 Dec

As the West Africa Challenge comes to a close, we wanted to share this short video message with you! The competition isn’t over for everyone, if you live in East or Southern Africa you can still submit your applications!


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