Tech Talk with Christopher Fabian: Director – UNICEF Innovation Unit

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On Tuesday 18 March 2014 at 17:45hrs, BongoHive will host Christopher Fabian, a technologist and mobile designer who runs UNICEF‘s Innovation Unit, along with Erica Kochi. He is best known for his work on tools for children and communities in low-infrastructure environments, including Digital Drum and RapidSMS.

In 2013, he was selected by Time Magazine to be on the Time 100 list of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Life and work

Fabian studied philosophy at the American University in Cairo and at Trinity College in Dublin.

He talks frequently about south-to-north innovation, and developed a “Design for UNICEF” course which he taught at New York University (co-taught with Clay Shirky) and Columbia University.

Some of his work and research is into education technology. He and Kochi wrote a chapter on “Using Mobile Technology to Unite (for) Children” in the 2009 book Mobile Technology for Children.

Innovation Unit

The Innovation Unit, which Fabian co-founded in 2007, has developed a number of large scale open source tools for improving basic health and communication in low-infrastructure regions.

RapidSMS was used to register 7 million births in Nigeria, and u-Report gave 190,000 Ugandans a way to directly comment on national policy. Programme Mwana, in Zambia, helps improve the work of community health workers with real-time data.

To attend, please register here.

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Afrimakers Zambia

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imagesOn Sunday 23rd February 2014 BongoHive was pleased to receive Stefania Druga from the Afrimakers project, she is also the founder of HackiDemia (a global network that designs workshops and kits enabling kids to use curiosity, play, and empathy to solve global challenges.).


Stefania arrived in Lusaka, Zambia to assist with the delivery of a series Afrimaker workshops. Afrimakers wanted to kickstart maker workshops focused on local challenges in 10 hubs around Africa who asked her to go and train them to work with young people (Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Zambia, Ghana, Nigeria, Egypt, and more).


The Afrimakers workshops ran from 24th February till Saturday 1st March 2014. As hosts BongoHive provided the space for mentors to be trained throughout the week by Stefania. Mentors were trained to assist with spreading latest technologies among 7 – 16 year olds in Zambia and ِAfrica. The training workshops covered Arduino & Raspberry Pi programming as well as some electronics basics.

Once the mentors had been trained they travelled to Lusaka Secondary School, University of Zambia, school of engineering and Rhodes Park Primary School. Students at Lusaka Secondary School and Rhodes Park Primary School (aged 12 – 17).

collageb Read more

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Zoona Wins a Prestigious Continental Award

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Zoona was awarded a prestigious continental Kalahari Award for the “Best Use of Mobile Money in Africa” at the 2014 Mobile Money Lelemba-in-Lagos-8Expo that was held last month in Lagos, Nigeria. This is in recognition of the innovative ways in which Zoona is using mobile money to promote financial inclusion for all and contribute to the development of the financial sector in Southern Africa. The expo whose theme was ‘Promoting financial inclusion through the use of mobile money’ was hosted by Mobile Money Africa, an organization that recognises mobile money initiatives across the continent and was the 4th annual event hosted since its inception in 2010.

Zoona is a licensed payment system operator that was established in Zambia in 2009 and has since PastedGraphic-2expanded operations to Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and South Africa. In 2012, Zoona raised international equity investment to the tune of K20,000,000 (twenty million kwacha rebased). In Zambia, the company has a network of more than 300 independent agents across the country that provide over the counter financial services such as money transfers, bill payment and airtime top-up to consumers using their cell phones. Read more

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