Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Back to Regular Programming (Part I)

After a relatively long hiatus, I am determined not to abandon this forum for a while now. With my exams out of the way, I will do a round-up similar to the November post for purposes of catching-up. Here we go...

Aga Khan University: Projected Arts and Sciences University in Tanzania

Last month, on the 23rd Feb., I got an invitation to attend a workshop to discuss the projected Aga Khan University(of Arts and Sciences) in Dar es Salaam, scheduled to be be completed 2015. This will be a fully fledged university, an extension to the already existing Advanced Nursing Studies (ANS) Programmes at campuses in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda.

It was quite an eye-opener, for me, since I got to interact with the not too familiar 'Artsy-Types'. Although the workshop was what I least expected, considering the invite alluded to a Curriculumn Consultation session, I must say I enjoyed this most unorthodox atmosphere. Will update y'all on the proceedings in a dedicated post...

FabLab arrives at University of Nairobi

The Fab Lab is HERE! Yes, right here at the University of Nairobi, School of Engineering, courtesy of the efforts of one, Dr. Kamau Gachigi. He is the Chair and Coordinator of the Science and Technology Park Steering Committee at the UoN and Lecturer at the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering.

The Fab Lab program is part of the MIT’s Center for Bits and Atoms (CBA), (and soon to be UoN CBA) and which broadly explores how the content of information relates to its physical representation.

The Fab Lab program has strong connections with the technical outreach activities of a number of partner organizations (eg WAZA Platform), around the emerging possibility for ordinary people to not just learn about science and engineering but actually design machines and make measurements that are relevant to improving the quality of their lives.

An immediate beneficiary of the FabLab are, but not limited to, the students currently pursuing Engineering at the UoN. This is a great stride in actualizing Engineering beyond the classroom and we are very greatful and excited about it. I am in the process of uploading some of the pics of some of the equipment so check me on twitter/twitpic (edObie) soon.

WhereCamp Nairobi

WhereCampAfrica is happening April 4th at the John Vercoe Conference Room, at the ILRI Headquarters in Nairobi.

"Society is being transformed by new maps and new mapping technology. Our mission is to help create a free forum for people to talk about, present, explore, and learn about projects that involve place."

WhereCamp is the free unconference for geogeographers, mobile location experts and social cartographers and all kinds of folks interested in place. We run shortly after the annual CGIAR-CSI meeting and bring together software developers, artists, geographers and academics for a one day extended discussion. WhereCamp is an opportunity to present on ideas, questions, projects, politics, technical issues that you have - and contribute to and get feedback from other people and to make new friends with similar interests. It's free and fun.

UK's Beem to up M-Pesa Model
Since the unprecedented success in M-Pesa in Kenya and now expanding to East Africa and even Afghanistan, there have been several attempts to replicate M-Pesa's business model in other western markets albeit to the realization that this unique solution was indeed a benefit to the unique market needs.

One entrepreneur thinks there's an opportunity for a similar service in the UK. His mobile money platform, Beem, went live just last month; 1,500 people have signed up so far. A further discussion of his approach was documented by Giles Turnbull for the Guardian.

In other news, Zain Kenya, launched their new money transfer services, ZAP, after a long battle to acquire licensing. This is a rebuttle to Sokoletu(of Celtel), which fell to competitor's M-Pesa(Safaricom). It will be interesting to watch the dynamics unfold since Zain have 'One Network' across three continents meaning their scalability in terms of service far out-does Safaricom's.

No comments: