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

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DIGITAL MEDIA IS TRANSFORMING OUR COOKING SKILLS

By Christine Amira

Digital media has made food preparation convenient, entertaining and easy to learn. A recent Google consumer survey showed that 59% of 25-34- year olds head to the kitchen with either their smartphones or tablets.

A tablet being used as a recipe guide in the kitchen
A tablet being used as a recipe guide in the kitchen

Photo courtesy of blog.proclipusa.com

People now have easier access to recipes, cookbooks and tutorials to enhance their cooking skills. Digital capability has made it easy to create digital videos, digital images and digital write ups in binary formats and distribute online. The internet has exacerbated access to this information worldwide through the use of smart phones, television and other digital electronics.

An example of a famous worldwide website that enables its users to find, create and save recipes is Pinterest,  it can also adapt to every user’s preferences making it easy to learn how to prepare foreign foods at the convenience of your house with a personal touch. Individuals no longer need to travel to specific countries or spend loads of money in 5-star restaurants to enjoy international cuisines.

blank recipe book on kitchen table
Photo courtesy of http://www.pinterest.com

Hyper-mediation is often used in sites such as All recipe  to offer control over instructional background or offer any other relevant information to engrossed parties interested in buffing up their cooking skills. Copy Me That also uses hyper-mediation to enable its users copy any recipe from as many websites and place them in one location with just one click. The recipes collected can be saved to the computer, or can be organized with tags and added to shopping lists.

hypertext

Photo courtesy of http://www.copymethat.com

Digital media has a networked characteristic that enables coordination, communication and promotion of cooking brands or interested parties in cooking.  Social media and especially Facebook has made it easy for users to create groups on cooking e.g. Recipes,cooking and food  or Easy Kenyan Recipes pages where people can share videos, photos, recipes and other content. In these groups people can also work together, respond to queries and give appraisals because digital networks are bi-directional.

Interactivity as a characteristic of digital media has made it easy for humans to interact with computer programmes, contemporary sellers in the food industry are now taking advantage of this feature by offering online dealings via the internet.  This means that consumers can buy goods, pay for goods and redeem coupons online and these goods are subsequently couriered to their homes and offices.

 

buyig food

Photo courtesy of http://www.vietnamnews.com

A Vietnamese woman visiting a website to buy food like many other busy women who flock online websites to shop.

Media Convergence has also made it more convenient for consumers to gain information on food preparation, this is evident by the increase of cooking shows which means the number of audiences interested in this content keeps rising.  People can now watch and listen to national and international television shows such as Top Chef and Master Chef and on their smart phones, tablet, television, iPods and Radio among other digital gadgets.

The fact that content is digital means that it can easily be corrupted. In editing videos, photos and other creative content this characteristic many seem advantageous but on the other hand it poses a major challenge in the food and business industry. Experts in creating content for monetary incentives are now challenged with copyright, piracy and trademark issues that did not pre-exist in the analogue age but are now an inevitable problem.

I am not a perfect chef and in fact the internet has revealed to me of how much an armature I am.  I wonder how we would exist should the digital age that has conveniently made it possible for us to access digital content on cooking worldwide would not have come to pass, this is because growing up I was bored with monotony in food preparation but now I can access ways of preparing tasty, unfamiliar and creative meals whilst giving them a personal touch.

Looking into the future there are more transformations to look forward to, below is a video of how robots could change the future of cooking.

 

Evolution of Music in Africa in the Digital Era

By Isaac Masiga

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Nyatiti Band Players.                                  Source: singingwells.org

 

 

Introduction

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

The Disconnect In A Wired World.

By Caroline Kibati

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Courtesy of Google Images

Have we forgotten how to connect just for the reason that we can “connect” in so many other ways at all times of the day?

Having a conversation with someone in the digital age feels like a constant battle for their responsiveness to you and their digital device. This regularly ends up with the digital device winning. Digital devices are now noticeable players in how individuals connect with the rest of the world. This has altered the nature of communication making it in one way or another, disconnected. Digital developments have brought great cultural and social changes in our ways of communicating. Individuals are now gradually communicating through screens and electronic interfaces at the cost of Continue reading The Disconnect In A Wired World.

Mass media and the changing faces of news collection in the Digital Era, By Ndiga Kithae

 

The mass media studies emerged in the early middle ages with the church (Mcquail 2008) having various means of reaching the public without exceptions. However, it was in the late sixteenth century when independent media came into place with the birth of newspaper two hundred years after print technology was invented.

The newspaper as medium of mass communications involved production of regular editions did not become an effective tool of the mass medium until the twentieth century according to mcquail, (mass communication theory 2008) when large enterprises took publishing as a business.News paper as a medium of mass media communication was followed by radio broadcasting, film and later televisions broadcasting.

The mass media communications was revolutionised by the advent of satellite communication and the entrance of computer. The entrant of the Internet has also enhanced the accessibility of news to the public especially with online news. Marshall McLuhan in the 1960s, envisaged an environment when the world turned into a global village with the advent of new technologies since technology broke down the geographical barriers. Today, with the development of smartphones and faster transmission of data through Wi-Fi and most recently, LI-FI launched in Dubai, on March 2016, the world indeed is not a ‘global village’ but in ‘our palm’. With a smart phone, and with access to LI-Fi, you can transmit data at a speed of 220 GB per second!SOu

 

Whereas we have looked at the process through which the mass mediums have been transformed over the century, it is also important to review how the news collection process has also evolved.

Traditionally, the news production is largely encapsulated under journalism and a journalist according to American Press Institute is person who uses particular methods to gather and assess information for publications. The process of news collection and production for print, radio and television are similar. The journalists congregate in the newsroom in the morning and ran through the docket and a reporter is sent to venue where an event is taking place. A print reporter is accompanied by a photographer, a radio reporter is accompanied by a recorder while a television reporter is accompanied, by a camera man.

Once the materials are collected, they are brought back to the newsroom for processing and by the news editors and the sub-editors before the newspaper is published or a radio story or television story is aired. The whole process of the news production was controlled at the newsrooms by the news producers and the news owners. In absence of telephone It would a whole day to produce a story since reporter has to report back to the newsroom to file a story.

Sub-editors preparing to publish a newspaper in a newsroom in the early 20th century
Evening standard Newsroom.Sub-editors preparing to publish a newspaper in a newsroom in the early 20th century. Photo courtesy os Getty images

The public or the mass audience were deemed to be inactive and relied on the news from the media houses as presented by journalists. It is not surprising then that the early mass media theories were based on the facet. The hypodermic needle theory, cultivation theory, agenda setting theory and framing theories are all based on this assumption.

With the advent of digital media and social media, this news gathering process has been disrupted. The audience are no longer static objects waiting to be bombarded with news from the mass media channels but they are also active players in the news production.

All leading media houses now have digitlal media links
All leading media houses now have digital media links

By definition, social media are computer related tools which allow individuals to share, create and exchange information directly without any mediations. As a public relation practitioners, I do not need to send a press release to a newsroom so that the same can be relayed to my target audience. Directly, through the website, Facebook or twitter, this information can be shared directly.

The media houses have woken up to this truth and have embraced new means of news collection.According to a Pew Research in 2014, it was found that 46% of social media users posted their own photos of news events to a social networking site, while 12% had posted videos. This practice played a role in a number of recent breaking news events, including the riots in Ferguson USA in 2015.

To respond to this new development, media house giants like British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)have restructured and adopted a new mode of news collection and dissemination.

When BBC set up a user generated content (UGC)hub in 2005 to monitor social news in the newsroom, they never anticipated the importance of news gathering from this approach and only assigned two journalist to manage the hub.According Trushar Barot, the chief news editor then, after one week of setting up the unit, the July 7th 2005 bombing of London underground train took place. Initial reports indicated that the explosion was caused by a power surge and until, the audiences who witnessed the event started sharing images, on social media, BBC realised that it was not a power surge but a terrorist bomb attack and this changed the whole story.

Bart avers, that from this incidence, they learnt that the audience knew more than BBC, the audience helped the media house tell the story faster and tell the story better. Today, UGC has a permanent presence inside the BBC newsroom and instead of two journalists, they have more that 20 media journalists covering international and domestic stories. and operates for twenty four hours.

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A team of journalist are now based in the newsroom to look for news from the social media applications

CNN in July 2006 launched IREPORT platform to allow citizens or individuals file stories rather than wait for their news report to do the same. This has brought about citizens journalism all facilitated by the emerging digital and social media trends.

In recognition of the importance of the social media in news gathering, several tools have been developed to assist journalists gather news faster.Facebook lists and tweetdeck have been used by journalist to keep them abreast with their specific beats. Storyful, as social newswire has developed tools for monitoring numerous lists on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and other networks and use key words to relate to news event.Previously,journalist popularly used newswires such as AFP, Reuters etc to monitor news story.

Malachy Browne, the news editor of Storyful, in an interview told Journalism .co.uk journal that, they have developed social media monitoring tools which also include geolocation of posts and tweets. Storyful, owns a software known as Heat map and can search for news based on the velocity of tweets or posts from different geographical location and this is enable by the fact that most smartphones have GPS features.

 

The media houses in Kenya have restructured to include digital media platforms and this has seen some redundancy. Both the Standard, People Daily, The star and nation media have dedicated digital media teams have developed their with news applications to have a presence in the social media scene.

Other applications like InformaCam have been developed help journalist verify information scoured from the social networks and make the process of user generated content easier. In conclusion, social media has not only, revolutionised news collections process but also call for need to develop new mass media theories to explain this new phenomenon which undermines the popular media effects theories developed in the 1920s.

Saving Lives Through Mobile Phone Innovations

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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.

Infographic
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

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.

HELP

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.

HELP-1.jpg
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.

mJALI

Mjali
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.

 

 

Tweetpocalypse: The age of Participation, Freedom and Equality

The evolution of digital media brings with it new forms of colonial rule where everyone is a @King and @Queen in their own respect. Similar to an apocalypse it caught up with us so fast we didn’t even notice ourselves getting colonized thinking we are becoming more modernized.

By Nyambeki Beverly

Tweetpocalypse
This is how your twitter account looks when you first open an account until you post your fist tweet Picture courtesy of twitter

But first let me take a selfie!

http://www.buzzfeed.com/kelleydunlap/premiere-stromae-carmen-music-video?utm_term=.phGll9z2B
Animated version of Stromae in his premiere song ‘Carmen’ picture courtesy of Buzzfeed.

We are constantly reminded that we live in an ‘information age’’, where the worlds shape is constantly being redefined. If Diogenes Laertius were alive would he say the same or would he call it round only more decentralized? We now all have a voice, a voice without sound maybe that explains why people who seem introverted dominate the social platforms. We are reminded of that power of the media as a tool for democracy creating a platform for the voices of many and challenging the assumed authority of the state and corporations. Maybe you can attest to the narrative that what a nation tweets is a reflection of what goes on in a specific society.

You want to tweet about that as well?

If a man is hungry he will talk about his hunger, if a man is wealthy he will sound wealthy without necessarily looking the part, if someone goes through a bad or sad experience he or she will want to talk about it though sometimes we don’t have these people to talk too so we turn to the nearest safest platforms. A platform like twitter which is the main focus of my blog post encourages the belief that consumption and choice are the true means of global democratization. People from all over the world talk of Nigeria, China, Europe and Texas can all be talking about the same thing on the internet but in different languages with interpretations based on their beliefs  and ideologies. This is one of the reasons why a platform like twitter will have up to about 500 million subscribers. No culture or ideology is given more prominence and everyone is seen equally until of course you get 3,000 re-tweets then you are baptized as an opinion leader.

Some of the top users on twitter
Some of the top users on twitter courtesy of Google

Then there is another flip side to this where alleged democracy of mass and social media is a common belief of our modern society that is obsessed with themes of participation, freedom and equality. Nobody is discrediting these ideas but when they get to a certain level it gets to an extreme. Have you ever found yourself tweeting about something very irrelevant from your current environment, something that you only watched on a reality show or participating in a discussion that you just saw started trending? That’s what I’m talking about and you will notice that this tends to disengage people from what is actually happening and we start seeing the western countries as a reference point. One good example is the media’s proclivity for talking about Facebook and Twitter even on prime time news which is an attempt at making the events relevant and comprehensible for an indifferent public.

This is one f the tweets that courtesy of @ that was a trending topic in most of our local stations
This is one of the tweets that courtesy of @JustineSacco that was a trending topic in most of our local stations

This is a perfect example of Electronic colonialism explaining how different forms of mass media are creating new empires. It’s more of a mental and psychological empire. Global media like twitter are influencing people’s attitudes, behaviors, values and even language around the globe Lol! We rely on the trend setters, the core countries, for information which is communicated through the symbolism of technology a phenomenon which we have embraced as advancement but is slowly eroding local assumptions and beliefs.

Advertisers have taken advantage of this and you will see them wanting to dominate. Participation in all those promoted hashtags, re-tweets and follows are never for the sake of it. It is all a fight of superiority such that now even Corporate Organizations have to participate in these so to speak hashtag wars.

Corporate Participation
This is what goes through ever Corporate Communications Team before participating in a hashtag

Things are changing all over and we are slowly getting entangled in all these changes. Think of the previous era which was the Industrial era which had profound effects on the geographic and social order now the communication and media are doing the same of restructuring of life, work, school and especially the social order.

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It always seems as though it now controls our every move obtained GIF

To sum it all up, the Electronic colonialism theory will continue evident world-wide as modernization continues to spread championing the idea that more nations should be part of the consumer society. The idea of taking the story back to the marginalized villages in Bungoma, Turkana and Wajir might be more than it seems at face value. The age of participation from the villages that have been forgotten, the age of freedom to tell their story as it was told back in the days and the age where equality is considered a right. That is my reflection on this ‘Tweetpocalypse‘ listen to this song then maybe you will understand where I am coming from.