Uganda has a vibrant technology and startup scene concentrated in the capital Kampala, which has been called “Uganda’s Silicon Valley." The city is full of ICT-oriented startups, shared work spaces and incubators.
The following list highlights interesting projects to keep an eye on (in alphabetical order):
Andela’s mission is “to advance human potential by powering today’s teams and investing in tomorrow’s leaders” through training and education. In 2017, Andela opened an office in Kampala. Andela sees an opportunity to equip the next generation of technologists and innovators in Kampala with the expertise they need to accelerate the advancement of their communities through technology.
BOSCO-Uganda is a non-profit organization that promotes education and computer literacy through a network of 32 ICT & Development Centers in remote locations across Northern Uganda. BOSCO’s mission is to empower communities in post-conflict Uganda through dialogue, education and economic development. BOSCO engages in meeting Uganda’s growing energy demands by installing and operating sustainable solar energy systems. BOSCO also supports entrepreneurialism with a system for economic development and poverty reduction.
CEMCOD (DW Akademie Partner)
Centre for Media Literacy and Community Development (CEMCOD) is a non-profit organization “with a focus to bring holistic growth and development by uplifting the status of vulnerable communities in Uganda through the provision of media, media-related and direct community interventions."
Design Hub Kampala
Design Hub Kampala is a creative co-working and maker space. The Design Hub aims to “enlarge the visibility of the creative sector by creating a network of creative thinkers, makers, designers and producers.”
The Digital Drum is designed to help rural communities in Uganda that have difficulty getting information about health, education and other issues. These solar-powered computer kiosks, which come loaded with educational content, are made of locally available metal oil drums and are built to be durable and rugged. UNICEF Uganda Innovation Lab developed the Digital Drum, voted by Time Magazine as one of the best inventions of 2011.
HiveColab is a co-working space and tech incubator for fast-growing startups “revolutionizing Uganda's digital economies.” It also organizes the "Swarm Summit", which gathers "top CEOs of Uganda’s innovative tech companies, hackers, and tech fans for a deep dive into Uganda’s tech and business scene.”
Media Challenge Initiative(DW Akademie Partner)
A non-profit organization based in Kampala with the goal of building "the next generation of journalists in Africa through training, mentorship and experiential peer-to-peer learning.”
A media challenge implemented by Outbox looking for disruptive innovative digital ideas “that improve the way news is collected and disseminated, media engages with the audience and push for new production and revenue models in media.”
Numida helps small business owners to “ditch pen and paper and start keeping current, digital financial records that clearly show how their business is performing. With automated analysis and coaching, small business owners have the tools to make informed decisions for their future.”
An innovation hub based in Kampala to “help new and upcoming African entrepreneurs interested in using technology to build high-growth companies with co-working space, business incubation and technical training programs.”
The first innovation lab in Africa, Pulse Lab Kampala brings together data scientists, data engineers, partnership specialists, academics and technical experts “to generate high impact data analysis tools to address development challenges.” These innovative tools support UN partners and governments in anticipating and responding to poverty, impacts of natural disasters, epidemics and food security by leveraging new sources of digital ‘Big Data’ (such as social media, mobile data, online information) and real-time analytics. Through partnerships, and in cooperation with the government, Pulse Lab Kampala acts as an ecosystem catalyst.
RootIO is a project by Christopher Csikszentmihalyi and Jude Mukundane, launched in Uganda in 2014 to enable grassroots communities to own and operate their own low-power FM radio stations.
RootIO stations scale down FM radio by a factor of hundreds in terms of broadcast power, running costs and coverage. This makes them not only affordable but also relevant to the communities that they serve. These studio-less stations emphasize sharing content between communities and provides them with unbiased channels for dialog and communication over FM radio. RootIO stations are entirely owned by communities, running from a platform that is maintained and improved by the RootIO team.
Spelling Bee is an educational organization that is “aimed at developing responsible citizens, authentic leaders and credible change agents through a number of literacy initiatives, such as reading, writing and spelling."
Sauti za Wananchi (Voices of Citizens)
This project uses mobile phones to regularly collect information from a broad cross-section of Tanzanian, Ugandan and Kenyan citizens. The initiative allows survey data to be gathered quickly, efficiently and at low cost. It helps inform citizens about what's going on and support policymakers to be more responsive to citizens' needs and aspirations.
This is a Ugandan nonprofit software platform used for SMS opinion polling during radio broadcasts in East Africa. It permits the general public to send SMS responses to opinion polls held on the radio. The software automatically collates and charts the responses for radio hosts to read out. Trac FM was launched in 2011 in Uganda and, thanks to its success, has expanded operations to Kenya, Tanzania and Somalia. It uses a custom-built online platform that enables collection of statistics on a variety of issues in countries where independent data is often lacking.
Uganda Radio Network (DW Akademie Partner)
Uganda Radio Network (URN) is an independent news and training agency involved in the production and distribution of online news content as well as implementing media development projects. URN established a citizen reporting platform in December 2014. Starting with two pilot districts, Masaka and Gulu, the project was first implemented in partnership with two radio stations: Radio Buddu in Masaka and Mega FM in Gulu. The platform is composed of simple mobile phone and web technologies used for posting and hosting community issues.
The platform's app is installed on a mobile phone and the user is easily led through the steps for posting text, photo, audio, or video to the platform. The radio station editor on the receiving end has administrative access to the web page and is able to download and edit all content posted by the citizens. In a span of two years, the platform has been expanded to include five more radio stations in five regional centers. These include Open Gate FM, Voice of Kigezi, Radio Pacis, Kibale-Kagadi Community Radio and Radio Wa in Mbale, Kabale, Arua, Kagadi, and Lira.
WeFarm is helping farmers in Uganda to share vital information. Wefarm is a free peer-to-peer service that enables farmers to share information via SMS, without using the Internet and without having to leave their farm. Farmers can ask questions on farming and receive crowdsourced answers from other farmers around the world in minutes.
WinSenga is a handheld device invented in Uganda that can scan a pregnant woman’s womb and report fetal weight, position, breathing patterns, gestational age, and heart rate. The information is transmitted to a smart phone and onto the mobile app, which plays the part of the nurse’s ear and recommends a course of action. Analysis and recommendations are uploaded to the cloud and can be accessed by a doctor anywhere to track progress at any time.
Witnessradio.org is “a non partisan, non-profit registered media organization with an approach to deliver on covering different human rights themes and promote independent media in Uganda through the use of information communication technology (ICT).”
The #speakup barometer is a DW Akademie project that examines the connection between digital participation, freedom of expression and access to information. Learn more at www.dw.com/barometer