Lend a support to enable smallholder farmers in rural Ghana access IT & financial services

Farmerline recently launched a 30-day Kiva campaign to raise a $100,000 loan to connect 6,000 smallholder farmers in Ghana to financial services, market information, weather forecasts and quality inputs. We need your help to reach our goal today July 18 in a few hours!

In 2016, we launched our first campaign with Kiva and were able to raise $50,000 to connect 1,000 smallholder farmers to high quality and affordable farm inputs at 20 – 30% below market price. We want to extend our reach!

As a supporter and friend of Farmerline, your contribution would go a long way! As little as $25 would ensure a supply of farmer inputs for a month at a 1 – 2 acre farm, while a $75 loan would ensure a rice or vegetable farmer has input supply for four months and is able to focus on ensuring consistent quality yield.

To learn more about our Kiva campaign and become a lender, visit Farmerline Kiva campaign.

Click the video below to hear from a few of the farmers we serve!


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Lend a support to enable smallholder farmers in rural Ghana access IT & financial services
was published on 18.07.2018 by Worlali Senyo. It files under global, sub saharan africa
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Learning to code: Programming with Pocket Code

Margarete is in close contact with our friends at the TU Graz who work on several tools for students. They developed Pocket Code, a mobile Android application to teach programming on the phone itself. You can create Android apps on an Android Device by simply putting blocks of code together. The principle is similar to Scratch, which in contrary only works on desktop devices. Wonderful concept and definitely worth to check out! They also develop iMoox a MOOC software and recently started to offer their content in English language. They offer now a new course where you can learn more about Pocket Code, check it out here.

The target group are children aged from 12-14 years, but also for teachers who would like to introduce programming in their classrooms.

Course content

With the help of Pocket Code, particularly children will gain initial experience with programming. A simple and visual user interface enables a playful implementation of your own ideas.
The course is designed for children and young people (age group 10-14 years) as well as teachers of all subjects.
The main content includes creating your own games, interactive animations and apps with Pocket Code.
It is up to the children whether they take the course on their own or together with their parents.

Learning goals

Participants of the course are able to implement their own ideas with the help of Pocket Code. At the end of the course the following objectives should be achieved:• I can handle objects
• I can work with the different commands of Pocket Code
• I can solve problems using Pocket Code
• I can create my own program and save it as an app
• I can download and modify another program


As it is a course for beginners, no special previous knowledge is required.
• Start date 04.06.2018
• 5 week(s)3 hour(s)/week

Register Now!

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Learning to code: Programming with Pocket Code
was published on 26.05.2018 by Paul Spiesberger. It files under Europe, global
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Digital Education in Ghana

Margarete Grimus’s work over the past years was hosted by the official TU Graz blog. Her engagement as a lecturer and expert in mobile learning and the success of the project in Ghana is summarized. She recently graduated with a PhD from the TU Graz and the university proudly shares her work in one of their blog posts. Her efforts is therefore highly recognized and it is stunning to see the impact and results of her work. We are very proud to have her as a member, but see yourself and read the blog post in English language here or German language here.

Margarete in Ghana

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Digital Education in Ghana
was published on 07.12.2017 by Paul Spiesberger. It files under sub saharan africa
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Modern software development workshops at the UEM Maptuo

The ICT4DMZ project is now running quite a while and after three amazing weeks in Maputo we are one big step further to reach our goals. Philipp and I (Paul Spiesberger) tried to bring the students of the Universidade Eduardo Mondlane (UEM) in Maputo on the right track.

In more than eight workshops we gave them the tools and the knowledge to start programming for their projects. At the beginning we tried to find out on which level their skills are and what we can expect. From that point on we knew that we will have to give them a short introduction to modern software development in a team as well. Up to that day the students were exchanging code with Dropbox and they had almost no structure or/and organisation for their teamwork. At that time we were glad that Florian and Anders did great work a few months ago. They helped them with team roles and project documentation a lot. So it was not necessary to cover that important part too. In order to give them an easy tool to handle their code and the organisation of their projects, we introduced them to GIT and Bitbucket. The students were impressed by the GIT workshop and we were happy to see over the next days that some of them were porting their “Dropbox projects” to their new GIT repositories. Working with Bitbucket-Issues was not that successful at the beginning, but we are sure that this will change over time. From that point on we were ready for programming and we split up the group by the two projects:

Complaint Center

The goal of this project is to create a website which can handle complaints about a company or a product. It should gather information or feedback and help to improve their services. Philipp started with a short tutorial about the PlayFramework and helped to set everything up. After that he assisted with his expertise as much as he could.

Philipp with students


The other group is working on an Android app for students to find POI like lecture rooms, Wifi hotspots or public power plugs at the UEM campus. I started to teach them the basics of Android programming and helped them to set up the project. Since Java programming and developing for Android are quite different, it took a little bit longer to write the first line of code. I tried to explain step by step the important parts and assisted as much as I could.

Paul with students

In total we worked about 27 hours in three weeks with the students. We had some troubles finding the right time slots for all students, since they had different time schedules during their weeks. Especially at the beginning we did some workshops twice, so no one missed the introductions to the technologies. After that, not all students attended to our workshops all the time, but we were never alone.

From now on, we will assist via Skype and e-mail remotely from Austria. We have a good feeling for the outgoing of the projects and hopefully the students keep engaged in the next months as they were during our workshops.

Group picture UEM

During our stay we also helped the UEM to use Moodle for a first test run. We hope that in the future this modern way of IT supported teaching will be expanded to other lectures and faculties to strengthen the teaching abilities at the UEM.

In addition Philipp and I were working hard on our master thesis. Philipp is doing research on big data for emerging countries and for that he conducted some expert interviews. I am interested in user interface design for mobile devices in emerging countries like Mozambique. So I did a survey with students to find out their mobile phone usage and habits.

Of course we also found time to travel and to take a look at this beautiful country. When you talk to people in Mozambique, experience the beautiful landscape and take the time to look behind the curtain, then you get the feeling that this country is moving fast forward. The question is in which direction. The currently discovered massive resources (minerals, oil, gas) can have a positive or a negative impact to the society. There is also a new party growing really fast and it is gaining more and more influence. In the last few months the country was almost slipping into a new civil war. But one week before we arrived, they managed to find a compromise and elections are going to happen in the future. But I think that despite the fact of great poverty, corruption and the lack of education, Mozambique has the ability to find the way to a great and rich future.

3 women

Last but not least I would like to say thank you to Emilio Mosse and Andrei Shindyapin. We are lucky to have this partner and friends in Maputo, who are willing to share their valuable time and love with us. Also a big thank you to the students for their great effort and time!

Philipp and I are excited to continue the work and we are looking forward to meeting our friends in Maputo again.

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Modern software development workshops at the UEM Maptuo
was published on 03.03.2014 by Paul Spiesberger. It files under sub saharan africa
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Mobile Applications: Case Studies and Business Model Analysis

Our partner the eDevelopment Thematic Group of the World Bank is coming up with an event on Mobile Applications: Case Studies and Business Model Analysis.

From the event page:

This global event will connect specialists and practitioners from countries across four regions to share the latest World Bank study on the use of mobile applications for the health sector and the agriculture and rural development sector. A 90-minute session is scheduled for each sector.

Case studies from Haiti, India, Kenya, The Philippines and Sri Lanka will be presented.

The date for the event is Thursday, January 21 from 8:00 to 11:15 a.m. Washington time.

The event can be watched online via webcast. The Twitter hashtag is #wbmapps. Here the Facebook event page.

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Mobile Applications: Case Studies and Business Model Analysis
was published on 19.01.2011 by Florian Sturm. It files under global
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Workshop Coverage: Mobile Innovations for Social and Economic Transformation

We are proud to annouce another workshop organized by our fellows from the e-Development Thematic Group at the World Bank. We continue supporting eTG by covering events and workshops live in social media, namely twitter, facebook, linkedin, xing and flickr – plus through our blog ict4d.at/blog – We are constantly evolving and refactoring our lessons learned to strenghten and bundle this new communication channel and provide a good experience and interaction for the participants of such events and thereby integrating the user base of social and mobile media.

On twitter we are using the hashtag #mobile09

Here the official eTG announcement for the event:


You are invited to participate via live webcast/social media in this e-Development Thematic Group Workshop:

“Mobile Innovations for Social and Economic Transformation. From Pilots to Scaled-up Implementation”
Time: September 16, 2009, 9:00 am – 5:15 p.m (All times Washington DC)

Event Web page: http://go.worldbank.org/7ZD6MGXWF0

You can watch live and recorded webcast at: www.worldbank.org/edevelopment/live
Click here to register for live webcast: http://go.worldbank.org/BGZ8XU3KF0

Are you very welcome to send this invitation to your colleagues.


‘Explosive’ is the only way to describe mobile phone growth. Over half of the world’s 6.5 billion people now use a mobile and over 60 percent of mobile phone users live in developing countries. Mobile-based innovations are quickly emerging as the new frontier in transforming government, health, banking, education and many other sectors due to fast growing penetration of mobile phones even in the poorest and remotest areas of the globe. Many services can be now made available on a 24x7x365 basis at any place in the world covered by mobile networks, which today means almost everywhere. Through mobiles, for the first time ever, many public and private services have now reached poor households and communities. The demand for mobile applications is fast picking up developing countries. The multitude of highly innovative applications have been developed for mobile banking and payments, phone based information services for farmers and fishermen, locations based medical services and monitoring and data collection in the health sector, to name a few. However, the enormous potential of mobile devices for transforming delivery of public and financial services is still largely untapped.

This workshop aims to raise awareness of World Bank Group staff of the transformational role mobile technologies can play in improving service delivery, efficiency and transparency by show-casing mobile-enabled innovations in a number of sectors and identifying emerging lessons learned and ways to scale up for achieving operational efficiencies and development impact.


9:00 -10:15 am Overview of Mobile Innovations Space and Enabling Environment
10:15 -10:30 am Coffee Break
10:30 -11:45 am Mobile Innovations in Financial Services
11:45 – 1:00 pm Mobile Innovations in Health
1:00 – 2:30 pm Working Lunch & Session: Mobile Innovations in Education
2:30 – 3:45 pm Mobile Applications in Agriculture and Rural Development
3:45 – 4:00 pm Coffee Break
4:00 – 5:15 pm Mobile Innovations in Governance

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Workshop Coverage: Mobile Innovations for Social and Economic Transformation
was published on 12.09.2009 by Martin Konzett. It files under global
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Mobile storytelling and shared village displays

Last week our students had to present a conference paper as part of their HCI class activities. The slides below are based on the paper “Mobile Digital Storytelling in a Developmental Context” by David Frohlich et al., which was presented at CHI this year.

The paper describes a field study that was conducted in an Indian village, where people received mobile camera phones to record non-textual stories, which were also presented on a village display.

Study participants rated the stories they created regarding their motivation, which was distributed between relevance for the community and personal interest. They further stated that most of the stories were created to be viewed by friends and family. Many of the stories were shown on the village display and often large groups of 15-20 people gathered around the 17″ monitor to watch stories.

In their study, which was organised in collaboration with local NGOs they discovered two different types of content and uses for custom mobile storytelling. On the one hand it can be used to help local organisations in creating and sharing information more easily, involving local people in the process. On the other hand they suggest that mass mobile storytelling applications could be deployed on a larger scale to create local cultural libraries. These libraries could complement conventional books, being represented as spoken word and video, instead of written text. Their vision is that stories could be checked out from the distance and played on mobile or public displays.

What I found most interesting when reading the paper was the high use of the public village display. This really shows the potential of such displays for shared communication in developing contexts. I doubt that similar uses of public displays would be emerge in the western world.

The complete paper is available from the ACM library.

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Mobile storytelling and shared village displays
was published on 21.05.2009 by Martin Tomitsch. It files under south asia
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MobileActive08 interview: Introducing Streetwise

For the time being this is the last video interview that we will introduce through the MobileActive08 podcast series. And we have saved a really exciting interview to conclude this series!

In the video below Chris Williamson from Psitek (a South Africa-based innovative product development company) introduces Streetwise – a mobile computing device that aims to to provide students with lean Internet services, like e-mail or news. The entire device was designed and engineered by Psitek. It comes with a replaceable, durable keyboard and a GPRS antenna that provides Internet access through a SIM card. The device runs on a standard mobile phone battery, but can also be driven on a car battery.

Make sure to watch the second part of the video, where Chris shows this ground-breaking device and explains its features in detail.

Streetwise has also been mentioned recently on WhiteAfrican.com.

This is the 20th and last interview from our MobileActive08 video podcast series, shot at the conference in Johannesburg (organized by MobileActive and sangonet).

Stay tuned for the next video podcast series, which will start soon!

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MobileActive08 interview: Introducing Streetwise
was published on 06.04.2009 by Martin Tomitsch. It files under global
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MobileActive08 interview: Collecting data in the field with your mobile phone

This week’s video interview features Andi Friedman, Managing Director of Clyral Digital Solutions. He talks about Mobile Researcher, an application developed by his company that allows researchers to collect data in the field using their mobile phone.

There are many applications that support mobile surveys out there, but this one seems to be outstanding in terms of its simple approach. The company started working on this project three years ago and developed the first prototype together with Health Systems Trust, a South-African NGO. This allowed them to observe how people were using surveys in the South-African context and to determine user requirements. The fact that they involved their users from the beginning was probably crucial for coming up with an usable and easy-to-use solution.

Surveys are created using an online web tool and can be deployed to the devices, even while they are in the field. No installation of any additional software is necessary (unless you want to use their mobile application channel, which allows for richer survey representation on the device). They also provide a prepaid system without any licensing or subscription costs, which makes the service accessible to NGOs and other organizations of any size.

Clyral Digital Solutions is based in Durban in South Africa. Check out the video below to learn more about Mobile Researcher.

This is the 17th interview from our MobileActive08 video podcast series, shot at the conference in Johannesburg (organized by MobileActive and sangonet).

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MobileActive08 interview: Collecting data in the field with your mobile phone
was published on 16.03.2009 by Martin Tomitsch. It files under sub saharan africa
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Zanzibar for sure. Stories from the field.

Due to the load of field work we have been busy with, and the lack of decent internet connection, we have not been able to post as frequently as we would have liked. So we give you here a wrap-up of the recent weeks activities so you get a glimpse of the many stories we have documented so far. Next week we will have free wi-fi in our apartment so we can also post some good shots.

We want to mention that the output of our misson is to shoot a movie and we will publish all the raw material of the Nikon D90 HD-ready video and H2 Zoom WAV audio as Creative Commons Attribution Sharealike and provide download or mail delivery service. (You should attribute “ICT4D.at” and link to https://ict4d.at)

The champion

We had a very interesting meeting with a guy called Juma Lukondya. We met him in Jambiani while we were staying at a local kitchen and he introduced himself to us as the bicycle champion of Zanzibar. It turned out that he is sponsored by the Austrian bike team Cyclopia. He is using his mobile phone to keep in contact with his family in a remote part of the mainland. He also get updates in his phone from upcoming bike competitions, it also keeps him in touch with the Austrian team. We have footage of him training on the beach, riding his bike and using his phone.

Massais at Paje Ndame

We had a very successful day meeting traditional Massais working in Paje. We interviewed Faraja who shared his experiences with mobile phones. He introduced us to his friends who were very cheerful and avid mobile users. We have lots of film material with them chatting and telling their stories and opinions of network operators. One guy was all the time dancing to his favourite mobile tune on his Nokia. Later they all gathered to play a traditional game called Bao, and all the time the phones are ringing while they are playing.


As the tide was good we decided to go out fishing with captain Mohamed and his crew on a traditional sailing boat. The weather was stable but as we left Jambiani there was heavy rain all time we were on the boat. Everything got wet and everybody jumped into the water to have a swim. So no mobile phone acitvity on the boat. The fishermen left the phones at home charging. As we got back to their house on the beach they started using the phones and we did some interviews while they were repairing the fish traps and the nets and peeling the fish.

Local wedding

We were invited to a local wedding ceremony. It was a very nice experience and we were allowed to catch everything on film. It started outside and there was a big gathering of families and friends of the couple. There was a lot of people taking pictures with their cellphones and also DV cameras around. We brought a gift for the bride therefore we were invited in to their house where they had already set up a scene with lightning gear and filming equipment. Afterwards we were offered traditional spicy Pilau rice dish outside. All people were sitting on the ground between the village houses together with goats and chicken and eating the food with the hands from big plates.

Sound recording

We met a cool guy in Stone Town, Akhran Mohammed. He makes his living in town as a shopkeeper but his real passion is recording songs with his friends. He showed us to the basic studio they have and we filmed them while they recorded a new song. The sound producer provides a cool beat on his  Macbook while Akhran is rehearsing a catchy lovesong. When they are finished recording the producer converts the new song into a mp3 file and transfers it via bluetooth to Akhrans mobile phone. Later Akhran plays the song for his impressed friends on the phone in town.

What else do we have?

We cover the school in Jambiani where we are having Swahili lessons. Our teacher Mr. Faridi is holding a special class about mobile phones in his secondary school class. We interviewed the teachers and got a lot of opinions about mobiles. We have a lot of night life shots here and there. most of them in local bars and people having party.

We cover Zanzibits, a Dutch project, which is a multimedia school where they teach programming and handling complex software for editing media. We have a local band called Dwumbaki. They are playing Ngoma, traditional Zanzibarian music. We cover a local kitchen where potatoes are fried and we see randomly shots of customers coming in and out. We have the Jambiani town councellor and we follow him around in his duties. We feature the seaweed women harvesting and drying seaweed.

We follow the student Muhammed when he is playing football and taking photos with his phone. We film a fundi in town repairing and hacking phones. We join an engineer which is building up a new lodge. AND we went to another wedding (!).

We want to mention that we are using a 3 year old Nokia Communicator 9300i and we share it (2 people). It is very useful to write SMS on the keyboard and manage contents in folders. it is also a great notebook where you just enter rich text, format it with RTF editor and then bluetooth it to the Macbook, transfer it to a USB stick and then post this blog 🙂 Also, people we meet love to play with it and pretend doing phonecalls with it.

That’s all for now, stay tuned.

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Zanzibar for sure. Stories from the field.
was published on 09.11.2008 by Martin Konzett. It files under sub saharan africa
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