Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Tanzania's Tech Set Aims to "Change Society"

October 08, 2013

It was interesting this week to see a slice of the tech scene in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. We visited KINU which is a collaborative innovation technology space for app developers, startups and those who work in the tech industry to further their learning. KINU also provides tech education for children, an initiative they have been steadily growing.

“If we can teach young kids how to work within a system and process we can actually get them to see problems within our society and begin tackling those problems, said John Paul Barreto, Co-Founder of KINU. “So we didn’t have to look outside to see an explanation about how to make Tanzania better.  We can utilize the energy of the Tanzanian youth to change society.”

KINU also makes concerted efforts to involve women in technology as they are largely misrepresented in the technology sector in Africa and the world over for that matter. Hosting “Girls Night Our” events, KINU works to get women in the same room together to explore technology together and to improve their standing in the technology space not only in Dar es Salaam, but also across the continent.

The day we visited KINU a guest lecturer from Canada conducted an animation workshop for roughly fifteen students using Toon Boon animation software. Because these workshops are in such high demand, one Kenyan woman, Naomi, rode a bus 24 hours to learn at KINU and improve her knowledge about technology and animation as she works in the tech sector in Nairobi.

KINU also strives to bring various stakeholders together in order to solve global health problems from maternal health to devising ways to spread the word about family planning through apps.

“We want to bring the different stakeholders together,” said Taha Jiwaji, co-founder of KINU. “Everyone is looking at problems from different standpoints or trying to solve those problems. How can technology enable them is where KINU comes in. A lot of our initiatives are meant to bring these stakeholders together.”

Reporting was made possible through a fellowship from the International Reporting Project. 

 
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