Shannon’s Corner

My Conversation on Social Media

New Uses (to me) of Technology in Kenya

This week our Social Media class assignment challenged us to review a country on Global Voices and listen to what the blogging community had to say. I started looking at Kenya and found myself excited with the various conversations taking place and in particular, those surrounding technology uses in their county.

 

Overall, Global Voice Kenya discussions fell into three categories: social, political and technology and marketplace.  Socially, bloggers introduced conversations on women, marriage and relationships.  Politically, the landscape included discussions on their new cabinet, the results of their recent presidential elections and the power sharing deal Kofi Anan helped to broker. Of course, Barack Obama running for president in the U.S. also has the attention of Kenyans with the bloggers calling him “Kenya’s most favorite son”.

 

But what I found really creative in the blog world was Kenya’s technology use and activism. For example, digital technology in Kenya is being used to help laborers find jobs by texting mobile subscribers daily updates of specific locations and work available.  This saves workers time and money that they would have otherwise spent traveling distances from place to place in search of work.  Mobile phones are also being used to advocate for their environment.  In Kenya, local communities and the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) are often at odds because of elephants that leave the forest and wreak havoc on farmlands now found close to their habitats. Previously, with no system in place to warn other farmers of an elephant stampede, farmers would scream and beat metal tins.  To elephants, however, this sounded like gunshots and only led to further chaos. Now, farmers can communicate using technology that combines the services of a mobile phone and walkie-talkie to alert each other and KWS. Kenyans have also developed ways to strengthen e-commerce by creating their Digital Villages Project that facilitates access to government and business services.  Digital villages are revolutionizing rural communications by helping entrepreneurs start up or manage their businesses from wherever they are.  It even assists victims of crime by eliminating the need to travel to Nairobi and often times, deal with corrupt government officials who will solicit a bribe from the victim before any transaction. 

With these new approaches to technology, it is clear that Kenyans are given new power to effect change and improve their lives.  Kenyans are empowered and furthermore, technology events throughout Africa are being held to broaden their scope and effectiveness throughout various countries.

July 12, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment