Say ‘Elo’ To Kenya’s Solution To Tourist Communication

Published by: Givens Kachero (638161) | Winnie Booker (652857) | Hussein Jiva (628978) | Lewis Ochieng (652838)

Kenya is a hotbed of culture, attractions and innovation – a reputation the nation has earned for its various exploits, achievements and contributions. And among the key sectors that have contributed to the country’s burgeoning success stories is the tourism sector.

Continue reading Say ‘Elo’ To Kenya’s Solution To Tourist Communication

Evolution of Music in Africa in the Digital Era

By Isaac Masiga

Nyatiti Band Players.                                  Source:




Music has been termed as a universal language that has broken barriers of communication in such a way that one doesn’t need to pursue in depth studies in order to understand music. It comes naturally. Music is not limited to words. The words in a piece of music make just part of the elements that describe music. Music has a way of evoking different emotions even if the words may not be understood. Continue reading Evolution of Music in Africa in the Digital Era

Has the digital technology changed the way we think of food?

By Zainab Mboga

girl-should-know-how-to-cook. Source:
girl-should-know-how-to-cook. Source:

Food has been my passion ever since I was a little child, and having to grow up at “Mama Halimas” house at the Kenyan coast, cooking was not an option. By the age of 10 cooking was my destiny. While having  many failed experiments with cooking food she would always say “wacha Israf” which simply meant “stop wasting” learn to salvage what you can serve. I have ever since lived with the mantra of appreciating food. So what has changed?

Social media technology has seen a growth in Africa In Kenya for the past five years there has been a tremendous increase use of new technology in the form of computers and mobile phones. Photos taken during rituals, celebrations, fun and captivating moment even just boring days, people have found a way of escape to the internet to serve their ever-growing need to socialize  by uploading images. According to a CNN blog in 2016 Kenya has been listed the third in Africa in terms of internet consumers with 4.5 million users, 12 million in South Africa while 15 million users originating from Nigeria.  Keeping in mind that over 80% of the users were using their mobile phones.


In 2013 there was an approximately 1.6 million daily uploads on Flickr alone on average. By 2015 the number increased to 60.7 million photos a month. Uploading photos is the most popular activity on both Facebook and twitter, while Instagram, currently the largest photo sharing media tool that grew by 23% in 2013. With the likes of Hash tags #TBT #ThrowbackThursday  was born, a platform where people upload their old photos  to pass a fun and exciting message to rest of the world.

The internet technology has created a platform for expressing personal views to the world over. Just as one of the 99 thesis of clue train manifesto where by the internet through the digital platforms has created a means through the global village with its high-speed nature thus “internet is enabling conversation” well explained. According to Instagram 90 new photos are uploaded every minute while in Facebook 60 photos are uploaded daily. The trend seems to be increasing over time. During the recent months Coca-Cola company had started a new trend where their sodas had branded name and had an online campaign challenge to make participants share their meals with coke #ShareaCoke where one will find their desired name tags, win by being awarded free meals and other merchandises. This brought about the increase in uploads of photos that accelerated social conversations.


This new trend of sharing meals has almost become our daily activity. This created the need to visit the newly eatery phenomenons in the country. Cultures of going to Pizza In, Java, KFC and now Subway has seen increasing attendance such that people can be able to share the experiences their friends and family. The terrific Tuesdays and the Pizza Wednesdays where food is sold at buy one get one free has enabled a good number of the people experiencing new foods and later posting them.

Food shows have been increasing in the country from Pika chakula, Royco Fuata Flavor to the AfyaBora show and chungu chetu airing on local television stations have received a welcomed viewing in the local market. Youtube on the other hand has given everyone an opportunity to be a broadcaster. People upload thousand of videos and people from all over the world would subscribe to a particular channel. Restaurants, chefs and homemade artists would upload their videos and sometimes be trending for either good or weird foods  even the media houses would upload some of the content for bloopers. For example food channel on Youtube, worst cooks in America, Hell’s kitchen, cooks versus cons which not only entertain but also teach the viewers on new terminologies and how they are cooked.


In south Korea, however, a new trend of food appreciation is tested to the limit. The eating of meals online providing an opportunity or someone else in the world to dine with them in real time

 In 2000, BBC discovered a big gap in the society thus including a programming content so as to share the rising social problems brought by food. They launched supersize versus super skinny where they were they swap foods for a week and taught to be average portions.

The United Nations is one of the organizations that have used the social media for awareness of the sustainable development goals in order to reduce wastage of food. In their research, the United Nations on the November 2010 declared that more than a third of food is wasted every year a number that has been rapidly increasing and there was a need for the global world to reduce food wastage and reduce poverty rates.

photo by:
photo by:

In summary, for I being a food lover am pleased to say that the local foods have indeed changed from simple traditional foods to now more convenient, appealing, high nutrition value and free delivery through the promotions by social media trends and food ambassadors. “You are what you eat” a common statement reminding everyone to eat just right, glad to be part of the online food revolution.

Saving Lives Through Mobile Phone Innovations

A health worker using a mobile phone App to collect data from a client (Photo: AMREF)

By Carolyne Khamala

For a long time women in Africa are presented with the most difficult decision of whether to provide food for their children or healthcare due to the high cost of accessing quality healthcare services.

 The sub-Saharan Africa is said to be home to 12% of the world’s population with 22% of the global disease burden. In addition, a number of health facilities in Africa are ill equipped to provide basic health services to millions of people in dire need of these services.

To address such issues, a number of health organisations have shifted their focus to research and find innovative ways to provide solutions in order to save lives especially in most underdeveloped countries in sub- Saharan Africa.

Photo: Manifest Mind Mobile

In the recent past, Africa has seen a rise in mobile and internet penetration with over 70% mobile phone penetration and 7-10% getting access to the internet. Mobile phones have revolutionised a number of sectors ranging from education to commerce, agriculture, healthcare and many more.

Most donor funded health orgaisations and corporate organisations such as Safaricom, Kenya’s largest network through the M-pesa Foundation invest largely in innovative solutions to improve the health standards of communities as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

Having worked in a health Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) for a number of years, I have had an opportunity to work with a team of creative and innovative researchers who work tirelessly to develop innovative ways to provide health solutions to save lives through the mobile phone technology such as M-Hakika, HELP, m-JALI, m-JIBU which I will discuss briefly in this article.

In my line of duty, I have also documented great stories from some of the beneficiaries of these innovations especially in hard to reach areas where access to quality and affordable healthcare is a major issue.


M-Hakika also known as the mobile wallet health insurance is a mobile phone application that provides access to healthcare and money to women in Kenya who cannot afford the high costs of healthcare services.

The platform also provides women the freedom to make their own decisions about the health of their families. The health wallet also helps them make savings through the mobile phone, pay and receive money for healthcare at any health clinic of their choice.


The Health Enablement Learning Platform (HELP) is a mobile learning solution that provides learning content approved by the Ministry of Health to health workers. The platform can be accessed from any location through the Short Message Service (SMS), audio case – studies, lectures, quizzes and assignments and at the same time helps health workers seek advise from their colleagues and experts.

A health worker in Samburu seeks advise through the HELP platform (Photo: AMREF)

A tracking system provides reports on the users performance. The application has resulted in increased knowledge and skills of the health workers, improved referral levels between the community and the health facility.

The learning platform complements the face-to-face learning while yielding better results than classroom learning.

I recently visited Nzauni Dispensary in Mwingi sub-county where health workers are using the HELP group chat collaboration feature to sensitise community health workers on various health issues and provide direction on how to address various health problems at the household level.

 “The HELP platform has provided a much easier and faster way of communicating with household members within my community. I was able to follow up on a patient suffering from TB and had defaulted for quite some time from the training I undertook through my mobile device,” said one of the health workers.


A demo on  mJALI (Photo: AMREF)

mJALI (Mobile JamiiAfya Link) is a mobile phone application running on Android system that automates the collection and management of health data from community health workers.

Once the data is collected using the mobile phone, the data is transmitted to the Community-based Health Management Information System (CBHMIS) for collation before transmission to the Data Health Information System (DHIS).

More and more developing countries are beginning to use mobile technology in health. In countries such as South Africa is using the MAMA SMS service to provide support to pregnant women and new mothers with evidence-based during postnatal care while BBC launched a WhatsApp mobile phone service to send audio, images and text message alerts to the public on how to combat the spread of Ebola in Africa.

This is a clear indication that in the present time the mobile phone is a powerful tool and plays a key role in providing information and education in health systems in Africa and save millions of lives.



New age parenting; A Hurdle or maybe not?


By Esther O Ochieng

Being a mother of two young girls I often debate with other parents or at times with myself about the effect of internet and digital gadgets on our lifestyles as opposed to the older times when we were raised. Gone are the days when parents had a lighter time raising children. Parents were the main source of information that nurtured a child’s character apart from peers, teachers and the community. Enter now, the digital age, myriads of information are flying by every second making parenting a daunting task. From a young age children are exposed to a lot of material online that may impact in their behavior. Have you seen a toddler trying to finger swipe a television or ‘analogue’ phones much to their frustration? I have seen many, I have even seen my children try it. It can be daunting.

Raising a child in the digital age needs parents to have guidelines on internet usage for their children. It’s not possible to just make a blanket decision and deny children especially teenagers access to online sources because they develop a stronger desire to access internet from other areas like peers, at school or cyber cafes. This alternative sources turn out to be unsafe as it isn’t regulated and possibly exposes the child to explicit or violent content.

A study by Pew Research Center revealed that 92% of teenagers are online on a daily basis. This has become possible through the ever increasing availability of smartphones and its ease of access into the internet.

credit- unicef kenya
Two young ladies in Kawangware Nairobi using their mobile phones on the side of the street. Credit UNICEF Kenya

It is literally difficult to deny your child access to a phone moreover the internet, I haven’t succeeded and my children are only just preschoolers. Today, a lot of practices children have developed come from the internet and not to fault them even adults’ lifestyle choices are affected by ease of access to the internet. Of all age groups, teenagers are most vulnerable because they are at a point in life where they’re easily impressed. There is an enormous amount of pressure to fit in which most of the time influences how they eat, dress and behave. Google, YouTube, streaming channels etc. just to mention a few have opened another world to them, albeit positively and negatively. Did you know that most of your children have watched pornographic materials at least a few times before they turned 18? This might be a shocker but according to statistics 92% of boys and 62% of girls have watched porn before their 18th birthday. This is according to a study by covenant press as seen in the image below.

covenant eyes

Nonetheless, there are many potential benefits of the internet among teenagers when it is used productively. For instance, children can access educational material online which can be useful with studies. Gaming is also important for brain growth provided the amount of time taken in plating should be regulated and the types of games carefully chosen. They may use media channels online to connect with peers across national divides and create cross cultural friendships. There are many parents who have used new media positively and are having great results with their children. I have used media available online to teach my child various activities, learn colours and shapes, even to show her she can brush her teeth independently and successfully. See the video below also used by Fastrack Kids Kindergarten in Johannesburg to enhance social learning in class.

Social media and the internet are very useful tools to advance sustainable social and economic development. New technological advancements and milestones have been achieved during this digital age making it almost impossible to regulate this tool which is a double edged sword, it has its benefits but is also harmful. Researchers continue to look into way of making the internet safer to use to increase productivity for children. Parents are encouraged to teach their children on safe internet use in order to encourage responsible habits. This is no easy fit owing to the millions of information online. For starters, as a parent you need to be fully conversant with internet. Some parents are technology savvy and do not take much interest using internet. It becomes difficult to regulate someone from using a tool or service while you aren’t aware of its benefits and risks. Understanding internet usage enables a parent limit access to only appropriate content and interactions on social sites.

On a lighter note there’s an interesting video on you tube showing a toddler conducting CPR on a dummy. Amazing, right? The toddler must have observed someone doing it, right?  It is an arguably cute video but on the flip side it demonstrates how easy it is for a child to pick up a habit or behavior just by being exposed to it. You may watch it here Parenting is full time duty that requires a parent to be very observant of their children’s activities especially online. Psychologists encourage open communication between parents and children so that they’re able to guide on best practices of internet use and safeguard them from harmful retrogressive digital age cultures.

Here are a few simple procedures to guide internet usage for your child;

  • Constant supervision of internet use through computers or mobile phones
  • Initiating parenting controls on websites with obscene content like porn sites
  • Purchase of internet software that regulate internet browsing and safety
  • Educate your child on the dangers of accessing harmful websites especially clicking on those pop advertisements
  • Some may call it stalking but try to interact with your child while they’re online