If you followed our activities last week, you’ll remember that the first thing to keep us busy was the Social Good Summit on Monday. The Social Good Summit is an annual event that was pioneered by UNF, Mashable and the 9Y2 in 2010 and takes place annually in September in participating countries all over the world. Our Lusaka Social Good Summit was organized by UNDP Zambia as a closed event, however, if you were following the live stream and the torrent of tweets courtesy of the social media savvy audience you were probably there as much as we were!
The occasion was a great treat for Zambia’s most notable bloggers, social media figures and press as well as a variety of attendees from high school students to CEO’s of reputable startups. The event was set to focus on the aspects of social good in Connectivity, Finance, Efficient Service Delivery and Social Innovators in Zambia. The session comprised of an extensive panel of representatives from various sectors in Zambia each sharing their experience and hopes for the future of social good in Zambia.
The event was opened by the Permanent Secretary Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Mr. Emmanuel Mwamba, who we were surprised to discover is an avid Social Media user and sees the potential of it’s use to relieve poverty as well as address issues in health, agriculture, and education. He also expressed how the government is fully willing to embrace the use of social media and the use of new technologies for development. The session followed with a presentation by Lukonga who introduced Bongohive and some of it’s active youths this morning after opening with the recently observed changes and improvement in connectivity in Africa. He also stressed how the activities are relevant in connecting youth with current technology that can make an impact on the country as current curriculum do not cater for the learning of new technologies.
The first panel invited Dr. Simon Botha of Multichoice Zambia and Dr. Mupanga Mwanakatwe, CEO of Zamtel to speak of how Social Media is empowering local communities through connectivity. Earlier this year, Multichoice Zambia started training teachers to utilize the educational services provide by DSTV and incorporate them into lessons. Dr. Mwanakatwe, spoke of the and informed us that there are steps being taken by Zamtel to lay out fibre optic connectivity throughout the nation.
The Finance Section had representatives from ZANACO, Kazang and Zoona. It covered one the favorite topics of our developing continent: Mobile Banking. Although there is still much work to be done. Many agreed that Zanaco’s Xapit service is a great mobile banking innovation. Lelemba Phiri of Zoona shared the stories of people who have been impacted in Zambia by Mobile Money and how the absolutely love seeing the difference it brings about. They are currently partnered with Kiva which will prove for even greater social impact.
The next panel tackled areas of environment, health and education that has been impacted by social good. There are many areas where mobile technology and social media can be combined to make Agribusiness can be connected with the meteorological systems for mutual benefit. Mr. Mark Bennet showed us the ZEduPad which has excited many people for the future of education in Zambia. It used e-learning to deliver the full Zambian syllabus on tablet computers that are available to home and school.
Last but not least we had our Social Innovators panel which included Mark Chilongu of African Directions and Vaughn Spethmann from Green Energy Africa. Mark spoke of his works to encourage youth to spread their creativity and tell their stories through Photo Voice. Vaughn whose primary interest is the use of green energy in Africa highlighted the need to change peoples mindsets and encourage them to look into green energy. Some of his products that work this are ZAMalasha, a slow burning green charcoal, and Zambikes, durable bamboo bikes. Both of these are produced in Zambia.
So what do you think? How can Social media bring about social good in developing countries?