Habari 100 to Revolutionise News Consumption in Kenya

Published by: Elvira Ashioya | Princess Odua | Jared Menya | Cain Odhiambo

Habari 100, a revolutionary news application app, is set to change the way audiences consume news. The application is geared towards the Kenyan market. It is expected to be released in a few months’ time. The application is currently undergoing beta tests. Habari 100 is a news aggregator application that is not media specific and would include the nascent blogs in Kenyan blogosphere. The expected features of the app include, use of key words in selecting news, breaking news alert and aggregating news from several media on one application. Online news is one of the most under-utilised products of the digital world. The cornerstone of this application is the summary of the news story in a 100 words within the application and allows the reader to assess whether the story would be

Despite, high levels of internet penetration- compared to other countries in Africa and other developing nations- the consumption of online news in the country has been dismal. This is so perhaps due to the fact that the news websites are not user friendly. The websites are mostly meant for pc rather than mobile web. Internet users in Kenya primarily use their handsets for access. This is evidenced by the Communications Authority of Kenya (CAK) data on internet penetration in Kenya. The regulator’s data indicated that 99% of internet access was through mobile network while 1% was through terrestrial and satellite connections. Thus the need for content to be tailored towards mobile web.

News aggregators are not new in Kenya. PDE by Standard Media Group and Citizen app by Royal Media Group are the most notable in the country. However, there is need for an application that cuts across all media houses. Habari 100 does just that. The application allows a user to access news from any media house and select which news will feature in the application’s timeline. This is done through selection of news genres that the reader wishes to be receiving and use of key words that are linked to the user’s interests. This feature relies on RSS aggregators to enable the users to receive news that are within their interests. Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary (RSS) feeders allow a reader to syndicate and aggregate news online.

The application would enable the readers to be exposed to only relevant news and articles from all the media organisations in kenya (that have subscribed to the application) and  the bloggers that the audience would like to read from.  A revolution in digital journalism is looming soon as the application is launched.

Reducing Maternal Mortality through Wireless Foetal Monitoring .

Published by: Protus Murunga

Maternal death is the death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of termination of pregnancy, irrespective of the duration and site of the pregnancy, from any cause related to or aggravated by the pregnancy or its management, but not from occidental or accidental causes (WHO,2015). Similarly, according to the government of Kenya paper named Maternal and Child Health: Kenya (2015), maternal mobility and mortality relate to illness or death occurring during pregnancy or childbirth, or within two weeks after pregnancy termination or childbirth.

Continue reading Reducing Maternal Mortality through Wireless Foetal Monitoring .

My Smarter M-Cup: To Improve Sexual Health, And General Wellbeing during Menstruation

By Mary, Lina, Felice and Veronica

Image Credits: Jen Lewis

Menstruation is perhaps the most central part of femininity. Among my circle of friends, we call it the plight of womanhood. For some, during this time, they are most irritable while others crave all manner of things. I have a friend who gets into a junk eating spree when she is on her periods. Others have no appetite and can survive on drinks for the three or so days.

However, menstruation is not just a period characterized my cravings and going out to party. For some, it becomes the worst time of embracing femininity because of the moods they are in or the pain they have to go through from their cramping. At the onset of periods, women may cancel dates, holidays they had so looked forward to and just clamp themselves down in their rooms.

The best thing you can do for a woman during this time is to just let her to be and give her all the support she needs. The proposed features will be added to an already existing smart cup produced by Loon lab, a company based in San Francisco.

Can you imagine your spouse bringing you a healthy drink just when you need it? Or menstrual cramp pain relievers just when you are about to snap? This new feature will be embeded on the smart app and synced to your partner’s phone or communication device, and let them know that it is ‘that time’ of the month. It will also give them ideas on what to do for you such as bring you the said pain killers of just come and give you some words of affirmation. This will also inform them when they need not to ‘come near you’.

The other feature that this app will incorporate is feel good messages. The hormonal changes that take place in a woman’s body during menstruation affect her mood. It is a time when a lady need to reminded to embrace her femininity irrespective of all the things that are going on in her body. Sometimes, woman seek isolation and prefer to just keep to themselves as they go through this period. With the current trend of the youth, with their addiction and proximity to the phone, this becomes the nearest and most welcome companion to the woman.  Since the smart cup can detect when a woman is on her period, it will send timely feel good messages to her such as “Soldier on girl, it’s what makes you beautiful”

Image credit: LoonCup

The smart cup is a new technology in the menstrual cup world and hence, its usage is not in the public arena. The application will therefore have an FAQ feature that will provide answered to questions like how to clean the cup, where to find a menstrual cup, what to look for when shopping for a menstrual cup.

The smart menstrual cup can be further improved by ensuring accuracy of data and transferability of data across devices and applications should anyone want to change their tracker or use multiple trackers. The notifications should also be custom enabled such that when an individual is notified and their phone happens to be with someone else, the message can be disguised.

This features are an addition to the loon cup which the producers call the ‘monthly period partner’. Which is considered the world’s first smart menstrual cup. Made form soft silicon, the cup is fitted with a Bluetooth receiver, embedded triaxial, RGB and force sensors. The Bluetooth receiver is used to connect the menstrual cup to an android or and IOS application which enables it communicate and share data, thus monitoring the menstrual cycle. All these additional features are embedded into the silicon, and buried therein such that none of them is able to make direct contact with the body. This connectivity allows the cup to monitor the volume of the menstrual fluid and send alerts to the phone through the app when the cup is almost full..

This smart menstrual cup, combines menstrual management and menstrual prediction features and with the new additions, will be a good improvement to sexual health and relations between partners and also provide reinforcing and affirming messages to the woman when she needs them most.

 

Habari 100 News Aggregator- Jared Amenya 628437

The Habari 100 will change the manner in which Kenyans receive news on their smartphones by introducing, a more efficient way of reading news. In light of this, the application will expose trending news items, and puts them into different categories; these categories known as Sanduku are pockets of categorized news subjects that are labeled with different topic headlines, namely, Politics, Crime, Sports, and Weather. Indeed, such categorization makes Habari 100 clutter- free, besides making it one of the most easy to browse News applications in the country- Kenya. In addition, owing to its categorized layout of news items, it facilitates easy access to breaking news owing to the fact that whenever a fresh news item emerges, a red numbered-alert pops at the right corner of categorized Sanduku– pockets.

When trending news appears, a user will be alerted through a red icon that appears on the news pocket right top corners. In addition, the application has a chime that goes on, and vibrates to alert the user that a news item of his/her choice is trending. Such alerts bridge the existing gap where locally based News Application haves no notification to alert user on emerging news. In other words, the Habari 100 has a navigation provision that enables users to customize the types of News content one could like to watch, listen to, and read. In reference to the customization of favorite news content, Habari 100 proposes news items that it reckons to appeal to its users. These news content will be listed in a section in the application that is referred to as “ proposed for you” pocket. In regard to the digitized print news stories, the application presents such content on a friendly user interface that has a magazine- style aesthetic; in this way, it makes navigation through the App not only interesting, but engaging for readers. Habari 100 is not restrictive in regard to software that can support it, but the first priority is Android. Perhaps one of the most interactive features of Habari 100 is its ability to allow users to comment, like, and share news items that they feel are outstanding, relevant, and informative. The working model of this news application will need the collective synergies of the Bloggers Association of Kenya, the People Daily, and The Standard Group. More importantly, these stakeholders will work to ensure that news content is readily available for Android Smartphone users. In addition, the Habari 100 news Application has its own video player and audio player that enable users to listen and watch news items on their smartphones.  However, the audio- visual provisions of the application are only a preserve of topical news items, national politics news, and sports news. The application will be a delight to the busy persons because it offers digest of favorite news items. In other words, a user does not have to read the entire news article to decipher its main content, but will be provided with a one sentence summary of the key message in a news item.  The application takes into consideration that offering a news digest does not suffice for extremely busy news consumers in Kenya; in view of this, it has a provision that allows user to save a news item for posterity or later consumption.  The straightforward news application, Habari 100, can be linked to social media platforms such as one’s personal account at Facebook and Twitter. In this way, it facilitates the sharing of news with friends and acquaintances on these social media platforms. Overall, Habari 100 news Application is a must-have application because of its elitism in the provision of news in the context of Kenya.

A Much Needed Kenyan Information Hub; Niko-Na-Msee

By: Wanjiru Lenana, Stella Kimani, Brenda Mwangi, and Denver Ochieng

Donald Miller once said, “in the age of information, ignorance is a choice.” Looking at the Kenyan society, this couldn’t be more correct. Kenyan’s tend to be very lazy when looking for information, they’d rather rely on the word of other people than find information for themselves; they want the easy way out.

For that reason, we came up with an application idea that will be able to give Kenyans all the possible information that they will need when embarking on various projects; that require approval or permits/ certificates from any government institutions. The application gives instructions and guidelines for various bureaucratic services and also gives contact information for the various offices. This application gives Kenyans the easy way out; in that, all the information shall be all under one roof.

We’ve all been in situations where we have asked ourselves, “where do I start, and What do I need?” Whether it’s importing a car, building a house, or starting a business, we almost always turn to people that have done it before for information.  Sometimes this results in problems because; the person one may look to for information, may have skipped a step or two in the process hence gives instructions to a flawed process.

Our application is called, niko-na-msee.  The name of the application is a sheng (a mix of Swahili and English) phrase meaning “I have a guy.” This application will give a step by step account of “how-to” to do various projects that require the government’s approval and permits. It even goes further, and gives contacts to the relevant people and offices/departments.

Niko Na Msee Home Page

Although Kenya has already made efforts to integrate digital technology in provision of  government services through platforms such as Huduma Kenya and e-citizen, Kenyans still are not as active as may have expected. This is due to poor sensitization within the public and sometimes insufficiencies in regard to the infrastructure provided for this function.  These government service websites sometimes faces issues with handling a big capacity of users and different functions tend to be more difficult for common folk to navigate through.

Government service functions are normally devolved and as such citizens have to use different platforms for different services and each service has different varying levels of difficulty in regard to user friendliness. The Niko Na Msee app seeks to close all these gaps by not only playing an information provisionary role but also being the link to all these other devolved government service  platforms.

 The app gives guidelines and a step by step breakdown of how to go about issues such as licence renewal, certification, approvals and government regulation services in general. Once a user logs on to our app, the user inquires on an issue which he/she would like to get information on and as a result gets a step by step breakdown of what is required for a user to go about the governance and regulation process.The user will also get contacts to the relevant institutions and a possible time limit to which a task can be completed.

Seeing as these services are far and wide between different ministries and governing bodies, we shall first tackle the common services which citizens find hard to complete. To ascertain the main government services which Kenyans find difficult to complete, a research will be carried out.

This app not only seeks to ease the strenuous process accessing and using governance service platforms, but is also aimed at bettering the lives of Kenyans and helping in the fight against corruption. Seeing as middlemen and general inefficiencies in regards to dispensing government services is one of the major motivating factor for Kenyans to engage in corrupt dealings the app effectively cuts off the middlemen. This also adds to the depth of the innovation wave currently happening in Kenya and ultimately will help employ talented youth who would have otherwise have never been given such an opportunity.

M-Kura App: enhancing voter education in Kenya

By Teddy Otieno, Robert Otieno, John Sande and Florence Dzame

Political discourse shapes our lives in modern day world. It not only sets the stage for a battle ground among various political parties but also gives room to the citizenry to question the leadership bravura of those in elective posts. Now imagine an app that allows you to access information on your ideal political candidate, their party manifesto and performance track record!

Smartphone with cloud of application icons
Touchscreen smartphone: SOURCE: http://blog.persquaremedia.com

The M-Kura (Tuko Ndani Ndani) app, derived from a Swahili catch-phrase that loosely translates to ‘we are in this together’ will provide youth with the much needed information to engage in the electoral process. The app will have information on location of polling station, information for first time voters, including profiles of political candidates. The easy to use interface will change how the user receives consolidated information that is seldom to find.

Ease of access is a key factor in the generation of this application. The platform can be accessed by downloading by M-Kura App from the Google Play Store. In order to use it efficiently, one can also download information as pdf for a small fee by choosing their preferred mode of payment. An sms or email notification will then confirm your payment.

Similarly, the M-kura app will be able to provide information by highlighting electoral boundaries of various regions via maps. This will enable users to view information or details of respective candidates in a given region (county, constituency, or ward). Users will also keep track of the results as tallied through the IEBC interface. Information will also be relayed in the national language- English and translated into Swahili.

MKura2
M-Kura App interface

Youth in Kenya make up about two-thirds of the population. This means that they have the power to elect leaders who have the best of their interests at heart.Notably, youth in the country have however not made much use of this ‘tyranny of numbers’ at the ballot box to shape political and socio-economic decisions. Due to their lack of interest in politics and inadequate civic education, youth have failed to make the much- needed leap forward by breaking the representative-politics glass ceiling. This was witnessed during the mass voter registration drive, where the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) reported that at least 1.4 million new voters came out to register, falling short of the anticipated 4 million, majority of whom were expected to be the youth.

It is no longer news that the political elite has played the manipulative card on youthful Kenyans, by shifting attention from issue-based to power-hungry politics. Through heinous acts like bribery and motivation to violence, politicians have long enjoyed some sort of ‘security’ within the foul political institution which naturally attracts lower lifeforms interested in the pursuit and application of power.

To address this development problem, the app discourses the issues created by those who seek the brutal ecstasies of domination by way of power. However, of great importance is the premise that the M-Kura app will seek to re-align the contemptible desires of submission orchestrated by those who do not defend their freedom by voting, staying informed and getting involved.

As the old adage goes, there is nothing more foul than a politician except a citizen who submits in cowardice, laziness, apathy and ignorance. In this vein, the M-Kura app will empower youth through voter education, enabling them to understand their contribution to the electoral process. With the 2017 Kenyan General elections close to the bone, continuous educational programs targeting all and sundry will set the pace for a slowly democratizing society. This will ensure that all demographic cohorts are well informed on matters voter education.

 

LISHA NAFSI HEALTH APP: Improving Kenyans health with localized nutrition App

BY Sharon Macharia, Michelle Siro,  Angela Maina &Catherine Maina   

 

One’s health is the source of their wealth. So many times this statement has been echoed, but unfortunately it only rings in our heads when we are down and out or in a hospital bed. Even with the rise of awareness that a persons diets is a major determinant of whether they get sick or not, not enough people put in the necessary effort to eat a clean healthy diet. In Kenya, 27% of deaths among people aged 30 to 70 are caused by the various cancers, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases and heart ailments. These are all non-communicable diseases (NCD), mostly caused by poor diet and lifestyle. A great health App that will enable consumers to be fully aware of what they put in their bodies, is ideal for such individuals. Those also who are at a high risk of getting a NCD are also the target of this application. individual’s who want to continue leading healthier lifestyles can also take advantage of this App because it gives a great simplified breakdown of ingredients in products and what is good or bad for you to consume.

The phrase ‘when you know better, you do better’ is not always practical. One may know that they need to eat healthier foods but still gravitate towards what they know and is not healthy. In the day and age of technology where we have information in the palm of our hands, people have become more empowered than ever to take control of their lifestyles and even health. There are Apps that help with work outs, showing nutrient levels in foods and such applications may be the start to helping people take control of their health.

All products in the Kenyan market must pass a standard of quality test by the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) even with this standardizing body in place counterfeit products still make it to the market and also various ingredients which have yet to be banned by the board and been proven to be bad for one’s health and banned in other countries. The system, like any other, is not perfect. This poses the problem of consuming products assuming they are good, but not knowing the actual implications of what is inside the product. The App we have proposed intends to give a variety of information with the intention of making the Kenyan consumers aware of what products they consume contain, indicate if the food or product is acceptable for people with different ailments especially Non Communicable Diseases and even allergies.


This App intends to inform the Kenyan consumer of most of the products that are found locally. Just with a simple search or scan (on the ingredient section) of a product be it a jar of jam or a packet of flour the App will give you information of the product, probable allergens and also what may be harmful in the product or not advisable for a person with a certain health condition. This App will bring awareness to the consumers who wants to be healthy and wants to know what they consume in their products so as to lead a healthier lifestyle.