OpenUp: Empowerment for Citizens

In this episode, we talk with JD Bothma, a senior developer at OpenUp, in their Cape Town office. OpenUp is making government and corporate data more accessible and useful to citizens so that they can take an active role in shaping their communities. We discuss building low-tech hyper-maintainable solutions, applying Agile development practices to government contexts, the importance of good testing and onboarding, and more.

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Julia Neidert
Every1Mobile: Mobile Apps for Change in Developing Countries

In this episode, we’re talking with Lisa Basel, the Head of Technical Services at Every1Mobile, in the company’s Cape Town office. Every1Mobile develops a variety of digital and mobile applications for social change in developing countries, including projects for economic empowerment, gender equality, and improved health. We discuss how building apps for developing countries is different, how to bring about behavioral change, processes for effective tech teams, and more.

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Julia Neidert
Uthini: Language Learning from Home Speakers

In this episode, we’re in Cape Town talking with Miguel Da Costa, the co-founder and Head of Operations at Uthini. Uthini enables people to learn a new language via messaging, using a combination of a digital chatbot and human tutors who are native language speakers. We discuss how to best combine the strengths of humans and technology, the power of messaging apps, deciding on non-negotiables, and more.

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Julia Neidert
Dimagi: Mobile Data Collection for Low-Resource Settings

In this episode, we talk with Cory Zue, the Chief Accelerator and former CTO of Dimagi, in their Cape Town office. Dimagi makes it easy to create mobile data-collection apps for low-resource settings, for efforts ranging from maternal and newborn healthcare in India to school enrollment in Thailand. We discuss building a platform that is both general and usable, preventing “pilotitis” (pilot projects that don’t sustain impact), scaling instantaneously, open-sourcing code, and more.

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Julia Neidert
Tulaa: Credit, Advice, and Market Access for Farmers

In this episode, we talk with Hillary Miller-Wise, the founder and CEO of Tulaa, in their office in Nairobi. Tulaa uses mobile technology and artificial intelligence to enable smallholder farmers to purchase inputs, get advice, and connect with buyers. We discuss layering technology on human networks, the 80/20 rule, tech debt, farmers’ willingness to pay for information, and more.

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Julia Neidert
Ona: Data Collection and Analysis for Development Organizations

In this episode, we talk with Dickson Ukang’a, co-founder and head of engineering at Ona, at their office in Nairobi. Ona is building a platform for smart data collection and analysis to enable governments and development organizations to make data-driven decisions. We discuss working with geographic data, how to build effective partnerships, the importance of testing, and technology leadership in Kenya.

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Julia Neidert
Zydii: Online Learning for Africans

In this episode, we talk with Joyce Mbaya-Ikiao, the founder of Nairobi-based company Zydii, about building an online learning platform for African learners and instructors. We discuss how to build technology that works well for Africans, letting your customers drive your development, working effectively with people with less technical expertise, and the challenges of developing in a landscape of ever-evolving software tools and technologies.

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Julia Neidert
Living Goods: Tools for Community Health Workers

In this episode, we’re in Nairobi talking with Asif Akram, the CTO of Living Goods, about building digital tools to empower thousands of health workers to bring healthcare to their communities. We discuss how to build sustainable solutions for many varying countries, how to choose technologies to use, and how to work effectively with partners and technical vendors.

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Julia Neidert
Pula: Insurance for Farmers

In this episode, we’re in Nairobi talking with Sitati Kituyi, the CTO of Pula, about building technology-enabled agricultural insurance to protect small holder farmers across Africa and Asia. We discuss the challenges of creating systems that work well across many diverse countries and clients, how to deal with lack of internet connectivity, and when to use existing tools rather than building your own.

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Julia Neidert