A few weeks ago I touched on how you might use APIs to access data for visualizations. The response was great, but it definitely wasn’t lost on me that there’s a steep learning curve associated with getting started on using an API. Fortunately, you don’t necessarily need to be a programmer in order to make use of some great API combinations.

As a quick recap, an API is a way that servers on the internet can communicate with each other to exchange data and ask each other to do different things. For example, you can connect your Facebook account with Twitter so that whenever you post to Facebook, you also tweet out your status. The ability to configure different web applications (like Facebook and Twitter in our example) to interact with each other has led to the advent of what some folks call “The Programmable Web.”

Now, web applications like If This Then That (IFTTT) and Zapier are working to make the APIs that power the programmable web accessible to non-programmers. We’ll be focusing on IFTTT here, but you should also definitely check out Zapier’s guide to APIs.

In IFTTT, you create API “recipes” by picking a trigger API (let’s say you receive an email in your Gmail inbox with a certain heading) and then associating it with an action API (lets say Twitter). IFTTT has over 100 web applications that it can integrate, so the possibilities are huge.

ifttt_servicesWhen you make the recipe live, IFTTT acts as the intermediary and connects these two services on your behalf, so that (for example) when you get an email saying that someone has followed you, your Twitter account automatically tweets a thank-you note.

GmailTwitterThat’s it! At its core, IFTTT is just an engine for taking inputs from one web app, and then outputting information in another app. (If you’re interested in the example recipe above, register for IFTTT and follow this link). Integrating Gmail and Twitter is great, but can the programmable web do more? You bet it can. Here is a list of my top 5 IFTTT recipes that you can use to save time:

1) Send yourself emails for new Craigslist postings from any search you’re interested in

craigslist-gmailCraigslist is a great social marketplace, but let’s face it, nobody wants to spend hours combing through their listings. Looking for a new bike, piece of furniture, or new office space? Now you can get emails when something matches your search criteria and avoid repetitive browsing.

2) Log your work hours on Google Calendar when located at work

location-calendarThis IFTTT recipe uses your phone’s location to determine if you’re at work, and then adds a new appointment to a Google Calendar that lasts for as long as you’re at work. If you hate keeping track of your hours, this recipe could be super helpful.

3) Email me my new iPhone photos

photos-emailIf you’d rather get your photos off your phone as soon as you take them, this recipe is fantastic. It’s especially useful for events, where you might want to send photos that you take to another team member so that they can post the best photos you send.

4) Email me / add event to my calendar when the U.S. Congress does something

nyt-email sunlight-calendarWell, depending on your definition of “does something” this may take a while to trigger. But IFTTT does offer several fantastic integrations for both The New York Times and Sunlight Foundation. For example, you can get an email alert when congress schedules a vote, or have the vote added to your calendar. Triggering an event when the president signs a bill into law is also possible. While not necessarily helpful to everyone, if you’re working on policy issues in the US, this recipe could be essential to your work.

5) Transcribe a voicemail and email it to me

call-to-emailThis recipe allows you to call IFTTT, leave a voicemail, and then have the transcribed version be send to your inbox. A great way to take notes, although the transcription service is still a little rough around the edges. If you’ve heard about this feature with Google Voice, you can now get similar functionality with IFTTT for free.

That’s it for the roundup! I’ve left out some other cool integrations with smart devices and wearables, simply because they’re not as relevant to everyone. If you’ve made if this far, I’d love to hear your ideas for API integrations in the comments, or feel free to tweet @techchange and @charlieweems.

There are many lessons to be learned from on-site organizations doing implementation.

As a personal account, I was recently reflecting on exploratory calls I conducted while at Results for Development (R4D). Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) organizations had a thing or two to say about how data and mapping technologies influence their work.

One trend I noticed was that innovative WASH organizations felt their voices were not being heard in Washington D.C. During the calls, they explained how they needed a new means of communicating with large donor and funding organizations. The solution? Data.

Data has caused a craze, a buzzword for new bandwagon technology enthusiasts. However, we must proceed with caution. Like a previous post on TechChange, The Case for Gender Data, research questions and our own cultural frameworks can easily slip in and create a biased data set, even with general survey assessments for water, sanitation and hygiene challenges.

From my experiences collaborating with organizations in South Sudan, Uganda, Kenya and India, similar themes presented themselves. The encroachment of new ‘innovative’ technologies and the cutthroat need for greater data collection has turned social good work into a narrow-minded desire to show off results rather than produce long-term outcomes.

Water quality and sanitation organizations feel the pressure to collect more data to prove their work’s success through the ‘x’ number of water pumps rather than ‘x’ amount of water being used. (Water Forever or Maji Milele translated in Kenyan, is a unique organization that addresses this issue through the sales of prepaid water meters to water utility companies in Kenya).

This means that maps need a skeptic’s eye, too. GIS applications have become a runner up in the bandwagon club. Maps are only as good as its data and the underlying story it tells. Too many maps in the field of International Development are merely tracking funding allocations and project placements rather than highlighting practical analysis tool sets to benefit socially marginalized populations.

Nonetheless, I have learned from working in this space that data collection, monitoring outcomes and mapping visualizations can most certainly help address water issues, but by no means is the solution.

Innovative technologies can help address the water and sanitation crisis but it’s not a ‘Silver Bullet’ Solution that will change broader social and political structures. It’s when these tools have real world applications to support policy and resource management that new mapping technologies are better equipped to get things done.

A great example of this is IWMI. International Water Management Institute (IWMI) is a pioneer in the field of international water and ecosystem management research. IWMI creates practical tools that are free and open to the public to help address water related issues through climate change vulnerability assessments, groundwater quality monitoring and water resource management.

These are three examples of mapping tools that are initiating a movement towards practical mapping applications with analysis that goes beyond just a point on the map.

“The Himalayan region is considered to be very sensitive to climate change due to the high variation in altitudes. Changes in cloud cover and rainfall, particularly over land; melting of icecaps and glaciers and reduced snow cover are some of the prominent threats due to rise in temperature. “

“The main objective of this study was to identify and prioritize sub-basins/watersheds in the Middle and High Mountains of Nepal that are significantly vulnerable to Climate Change (CC). ”


“The absence of perennial rivers or major water supply schemes to the Peninsula highlights the importance of groundwater as the predominant water resource for domestic, industrial and agricultural use. Intensive irrigation, higher inorganic fertilizer usage and a comparatively dense population may result in over-extraction of groundwater resources and a deterioration of the water quality over time.”

“The objective of this study was to characterize the chemical quality of the Chunnakam aquifer, map the spatial distribution of water quality and making the information easily accessible to future research studies and water/land-use managers.”


“The Water Information System for Sri Lanka aims to provide a web-based framework with access to information on water resources in Sri Lanka in order to ensure the sustainable use and efficient management of water resources. Information on Sri Lanka’s available water resources, how it is changing over time in quantity and quality, the present and future demand for water resources, and how climate change is impacting the overall situation of available water resources.”

If you’d like to learn more about mapping, I encourage you to sign-up for TechChange’s newest Mapping for Social Good certificate course and to join the conversation with me on Twitter at @EvaAdler44 and @TechChange.

This post is kicking off a monthly series where we’ll discuss how TechChange uses digital pedagogy for its platform and learning model and explore how the #edtech industry is being disrupted as a whole. Join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #digpedseries and with @techchange and @normanshamas.

As someone whose job title includes the word pedagogy, but doesn’t work in academia, I find myself often explaining what it means. This isn’t to say that people don’t know about it or aren’t thinking about how to teach, but the different terms used to refer to teaching and people who teach act as barriers to sharing knowledge. My passion lies in teaching, whether I’m called a teacher, instructor, trainer, facilitator, organizer, or any other term. This series is my way of helping bridge these conversations to so we can further improve education online.

Many people can appreciate or see the effects of good pedagogies. For example, learners might be engaged and retain content better. Course activities may be designed in a way to develop critical thinking skills that go beyond the content. Or quite simply, the course may just make learning more fun. In this post and throughout the series, we’ll be covering different types of pedagogy and learning models and how they affect the ever-evolving online education space.

So, what IS pedagogy?

Pedagogy is the philosophy behind and practice of creating a learning environment. It informs the structure of the course and how outcomes are evaluated. To put it simply, it’s the “why” and “how” of learning.

At its core, pedagogy is an intentionality towards learning and instruction. It is a recognition that course design matters just as much, if not more, than content.

In online education, pedagogy is trying to provide access to great educational experiences and environments instead of just access to educational content.

What about pedagogy and online education?

Here at TechChange, we’re building off the experience and research of in-person and blended learning. We work to contribute to the conversation by analyzing how online tools and environments can be used in a learning environment and push the boundaries by trying to bring what works in highly interactive in-person courses to an entirely online environment.

We treat our participants not as passive students to be lectured to, but active participants in defining the course curriculum and sharing information. Students sharing their own knowledge and work becomes an important source of knowledge and we work towards creating a flipped classroom by the end of the course.

Academics have started to look more closely at how online social tools can be used in education. Rhizomatic learning, the idea that the ‘community is the curriculum,’ has emerged as one of the conversations around critical pedagogy online. While rhizomatic learning has embraced how the internet and online social networks can be used for learning inside of a classroom, few people are thinking about how it can improve learning outside of academia and traditional learning models, such as the one TechChange has created. Additionally, journals such as Hybrid Pedagogy are using new social technology to advance digital conversations on and provide trainings around digital pedagogy.

As a company, TechChange exists at this exciting intersection of digital pedagogy and technology. We are working to create the best online software for high quality educational experiences with elements of pedagogy built into the platform, and we’re excited to see what the future holds.

Last Friday marked the beginning of a new series of conversations around online pedagogy here at TechChange. Each month we will be talking about a new aspect of pedagogy and how it applies to online education, then sharing those insights through our blog and on Medium. Follow along with us and send any ideas you have for topics you’d like to see us cover to info@techchange.org.
We hope you’ll join this conversation by sharing your thoughts with us on Twitter using the hashtag #digpedseries and interacting with us at @techchange and @normanshamas.

Knowledge Management may sound intimidating, but you’d be surprised at how many of us are already following it’s principles every day at our organizations.  Knowledge Management (KM) is about connecting different sectors and ideas by making sure that the right people, processes, and technology are in place to support knowledge exchange.

Why should you care about knowledge management?

In today’s knowledge-driven economy, 25 to 45 percent of the workforce is made up of people who work with knowledge and information. The knowledge economy depends on our ability to rapidly analyze, recombine and add to existing information. KM helps make sure that we don’t waste time digging up existing knowledge, which can decrease organizational efficiency by more than 12%. Also, without proper KM practices in place, organizations risk losing up to 90% of knowledge due to an employee transition.

So what are the three essential elements needed to manage knowledge flow, and what is the role of the Knowledge Manager?

1. Tech tools
Though a small part of the KM equation, tech tools are probably the most visible aspect of KM. Technical tools and digital platforms enable people to connect with each other, to document processes and to house information. Wikis, blogs, databases, project management portals, and a bevy of cloud-based collaboration tools are all designed to help avoid the perils of email overload and/or losing information into the ether. Newer technology like data mining and visualization techniques are opening up new avenues of information and knowledge that were previously inaccessible to the average knowledge worker.

How knowledge workers communicate

But just like agricultural or industrial tools, every KM tool has its appropriate use and can end up causing frustration or decreased productivity if it is used incorrectly. A Knowledge Manager should understand which tool is the right one to tackle a particular KM problem — or if it is appropriate to use a technology-based tool at all.

2. Processes
Have you ever completed a project and thought to yourself, “Wow, I wish ALL our projects could be as successful as this one!” KM processes such as “After Action Reviews” and peer assists help practitioners share what works and learn from each others’ mistakes. Taking a reflective step back from the hustle and bustle to assess how things went, and how things can be improved, is a great process to incorporate into your workflow, and can eventually lead to another KM stalwart: the best practice. The act of making a checklist is a simple yet proven KM technique to ensure that standards are met and procedures are followed. After all, checklists save lives.

Once KM processes are in place, knowledge managers are responsible for ensuring that the they are being followed and relevant to workers needs. Processes should not be ossified, confining structures that limit the creativity of workers, but should instead evolve with a changing understanding of their utility.

3. And most importantly, people
In the end, KM is all about making sure that people have access to the right information and knowledge. People are both the source of and destination for knowledge, so building out an active community is the key to any successful KM project. Sometimes that literally means getting folks in a room together to share their experiences, but it often also means setting up virtual spaces for them to do the same.

A Knowledge Manager’s role in their community is to first understand who knows what and where to facilitate the knowledge exchange, either through a knowledge audit or a social network analysis. Next, they can attempt to connect the dots by hosting process or technology-based knowledge sharing activities. A sense of trust amongst participants is fundamental to any knowledge sharing amongst participants, and a Knowledge Manager should always be focused on creating a welcoming and supportive space for people to share.

Want to get started?
The good thing about KM is that you’re probably already following some of its principles, you just didn’t know you were. There are also a number of guides out there that can help you dip your toes into the KM waters. Or better yet, you can join me and other KM experts in TechChange’s Introduction to Knowledge Management course to start creating a KM culture at your organization.

About author


Marisol Pierce-Quinonez is a Community & Knowledge Management Consultant in support of the World Bank’s SecureNutrition Platform. Prior to joining the World Bank, Mari was a Knowledge Management Specialist in support of USAID’s Bureau for Food Security, and worked for several nonprofits in New England dedicated to bringing people together to share knowledge and collaboratively improve the domestic food system. She will be facilitating TechChange’s Introduction to Knowledge Management online certificate course.

3D printing has been around for a while, but the global development community is only recently exploring how it can be used for social change. From printing low-cost prosthetics to providing basic supplies after a disaster, 3D printing’s potential to benefit society is undeniable. These were the kind of topics we set out to explore with participants from 10 different countries in TechChange’s first 3D Printing for Social Good online course.

We started the course with a deep dive into 3D printing, examining how it works, how it can be used, and the tech ecosystem in which it exists. We enlisted the help of guest experts like Jeremy Simon of 3D Universe and Colin McCormick, who brought us a live 3D printing demo. Course participants also had the opportunity to learn more about free CAD tools and practice creating digital 3D models of objects, as well as find a makerspace or Fab Lab near them.

Then we examined how 3D printing is being used for social good through the work of e-NABLE, techfortrade, and Field Ready, and course participants had the opportunity to interact with key stakeholders in each organization. Based on the insights from our sessions with e-NABLE’s founder Jon Schull, Matthew Rogge of techfortrade, and co-founder of Field Ready, Dara Dotz, participants discussed the potential for adapting the models of these organizations to create change in their own contexts.

Finally, we focused on the challenges and opportunities in 3D printing for social good. In particular, we learned how 3D printing fits into the larger Maker Movement and explored how the methods, mindsets, and tools adopted by the Maker Movement could be leveraged for social good with the help of guest experts Robert Ryan-Silva of DAI Maker Lab and Kate Gage of USAID Global Development Lab.

Here’s a recap of our guest expert sessions:

  • Gabriel Krieshok of the US Peace Corps spoke from his experience implementing technology solutions and shared his excitement about the potential that 3D printing holds for underserved populations living in low-resource settings.
  • Jeremy Simon of 3D Universe shared his experience with a variety of 3D printing technologies and demonstrated the power of 3D printing on a personal level by discussing projects he has worked on with his family and the e-NABLE community.

Sara and Colin, during the 3D printing demo

  • Colin McCormick brought us a live 3D printing demo, walking us through the process of finding, modifying and printing an object from a digital 3D model he found online. In addition, he described his experience building a 3D printer from a DIY kit.
  • Matthew Rogge of techfortrade explained the work that he’s doing in Latin America with ethical filament, and in East Africa with 3D printers made from e-waste. Through both of these projects, techfortrade is using locally-sourced materials that are available in abundance to improve livelihoods and increase access to 3D printing technology.
  • Jon Schull, founder of e-NABLE, provided insight into e-NABLE’s crowdsourced model for providing low-cost prosthetic devices to people in need, and the future of the e-NABLE Community Foundation.
  • Dara Dotz, co-founder of Field Ready spoke about her experience 3D printing in extreme environments, from implementing Field Ready’s pilot program to 3D printing medical supplies in Haiti, to designing a 3D printer used in the International Space Station with ‘Made in Space’. Dara demonstrated how 3D printing can disrupt the supply chain in both extremes by dramatically reducing costs and the time it takes to access or produce parts; recycling, reusing and reprinting parts; and prototyping and producing tools from waste.
  • Robert Ryan-Silva of DAI Maker Lab talked about how increasing access to maker tools, such as 3D printing, CNC tools, and electronic building blocks, can help people create, champion, and iterate upon solutions that meet their needs, in their own context.
  • Kate Gage of the USAID Global Development Lab provided examples of innovative solutions that have come out of the Maker Movement. She also stressed the need to create pathways that help makers apply their skills to some of the world’s greatest challenges and create viable, human-centered solutions.

While all the developments in the field of 3D printing are exciting, it is important to understand that implementing 3D printing technology in low-resource settings comes with a few challenges. Limitations like slow print speed, the resilience of 3D printed objects and 3D printers themselves, and access to resources like filament and a steady power supply to complete a 3D print job are important realities to consider when taking 3D printing to low-resource settings.

3D printing technology is advancing at a rapid pace to address some of these limitations. Far greater than the challenges inherent in 3D printing, conversations with guest experts and among course participants, as well as the projects highlighted in this course, have demonstrated the potential that 3D printing holds for social good- from improving healthcare delivery, to creating breakthroughs that can contribute to sustainable global development.

Who are the other players using 3D printing for social good? Or if you own a 3D printer, what are you using it for? Comment below or tweet at us @TechChange

About author

Sara-300x300 2
Sara Pitcairn is Co-Director of Instructional Design at TechChange, where she works with clients to develop and design custom online learningexperiences , ranging from webinar series to facilitated and on-demand courses. She is also the facilitator for TechChange’s 3D Printing for Social Good course. Prior to TechChange, Sara taught middle and high school STEM courses at the Barrie School, where she also led an Engineering Product Design program for high school students. Sara graduated from Yale University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, which sparked her passion for design thinking and human-centered design. In her spare time, Sara enjoys reading, traveling, and perfecting her guacamole recipe.

When I hear the term “artificial intelligence”, my first thoughts go to HAL9000 and Data from Star Trek before settling on some vague notion about the Turing test. Clearly I’m not a computer scientist.

While reading Patrick Meier’s book, I realized that I had missed out on a wide range of advances in the field of machine learning, some of which also fall under “artificial intelligence”, which can help us make sense of the onslaught of information that we are faced with whenever a disaster strikes.

When the crowd gets overwhelmed

While nothing can beat the collective intelligence of a sufficiently large group of people that focus their energy on processing a lot of data, the problem with this type of crowdsourcing is that you need a very large group of people – and volunteers are a scarce resource.

Projects like Artificial Intelligence for Disaster Response (AIDR) from the Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI) are striving to make better use of the volunteer’s time. To do this, the AIDR algorithm is basically looking over the volunteers’ shoulders while they are processing a small amount of data. The machine learns from every decision, until it understands the patterns well enough to process the data itself. Datasets it is unsure about are returned to the volunteers for review and their decisions then improve the algorithm further. According to QCRI, the algorithm frequently reaches confidence levels of over 80 per cent, meaning that huge amounts of data can be analysed in a fraction of the time it would take volunteers.

You can test AIDR for free one the project’s website. If you want to know more, take a look at the video below.

Image analysis

The EU’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) as well DigitalGlobe, a company that provides satellite imagery and analysis, go even further: they are training their algorithms to interpret images. The JRC algorithm for example is already able to detect rubble for damage assessments in a city after an earthquake with up to 92% confidence, while DigitalGlobe is asking the crowd to teach its software how to recognize buildings on satellite photos. That information will no doubt be used to improve the company’s commercial products, but it is also being used to help fight malaria in Swaziland by providing aid organizations with a better idea of population density. This in turn can help program managers make decisions about where to commit the most resources.

You can support the malaria project through DigitalGlobe’s Tomnod platform here.

Another example, where this type of automatic population density data would have been useful, is the Ebola response, where population data had to be estimated manually, based on houses that first had to be mapped by OpenStreetMap volunteers. An algorithm that can automatically identify homes would have been much faster.

What I find amazing is that these tools are already working and available today. And while there are definitely still ways to improve them and bugs to work out, they make me very optimistic for the very near future of information management and needs assessment in disaster response.

What do you think about the role of artificial intelligence in disaster response? Comment below or tweet at us @TechChange. This post originally appeared on Social Media 4 Good.

If you are interested in learning about technologies like artificial intelligence that are helping in disaster response, join us in our upcoming online course Technology for Disaster Response” which starts on 22 June.

About author

Timo Luege

Timo Luege, TC103: Technology for Disaster Response Facilitator

After nearly ten years of working as a journalist (online, print and radio), Timo worked four years as a Senior Communications Officer for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) in Geneva and Haiti. During this time, he also launched the IFRC’s social media activities and wrote the IFRC social media staff guidelines. He then worked as Protection Delegate for International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Liberia before starting to work as a consultant. His clients include UN agencies and NGOs. Among other things, he wrote the UNICEF “Social Media in Emergency Guidelines” and contributed to UNOCHA’s “Humanitarianism in the Network Age”. Over the last year, Timo advised UNHCR- and IFRC-led Shelter Clusters in Myanmar, Mali and most recently the Philippines on Communication and Advocacy. He blogs at Social Media for Good.

Information technology has greatly benefited the agriculture sector. You’ve probably read multiple articles that say ‘mobile phones empower farmers,’ but I wanted to ask the farmers themselves. Last year, I conducted a research on how rural farmers in Tanzania were using Tigo Kilimo. To learn why farmers were using this SMS based agricultural service, I spoke to 10 farmers who use the service and 5 farmers who did not.

How does Tigo Kilimo work?
Tigo, one of the most popular mobile network operators in Tanzania, launched their mAgri service Tigo Kilimo in April 2012. Tigo Kilimo is an SMS-based value added service that provides information about weather, crop prices, and agronomy techniques to small-scale farmers. By October 2013, Tigo Kilimo already had over 40,000 subscribers. Users access the service by dialing *148*14#. After completing registration, which is free, one can consult a USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) menu and select the desired information. An SMS containing the required information is subsequently sent to the customer. Tigo now offers free and unlimited access to all kinds of agricultural information to its customers.Tigo Kilimo demo

So, why are farmers in Tanzania using Tigo Kilimo?

1. Access to information increases productivity
Access to relevant and up-to-date information is crucial for farmers to plan farming activities and to choose which kind of crops to grow. Respondents requested information via Tigo Kilimo in particular during the cropping season. Short and long term information on weather is one of the most important information in the producing stage. Farmers risk loss without appropriate weather predictions, for example, when seeding too early or choosing unsuitable crops. Combining weather information and agronomy advice provided by Tigo Kilimo enabled farmers to increase their overall productivity.

2. Improves the welfare of farmers and their families
Farmers limit their revenue when selling their crops to middlemen and customers without timely market price information. The use of Tigo Kilimo has reduced the cost of market price research: farmers obtain prices for different crops in different markets and can strategically decide what to grow and where to sell. Market prices received through Tigo Kilimo serve as a point of reference for negotiating. Farmers are still willing to bargain with buyers but cannot be fooled by customers or middlemen.

Generated surpluses were saved or used for family issues and household needs, thereby increasing security and stability towards unpredictable external events. Additional income was invested in education as well as in the expansion of economic activities.

3. Empowers female farmers
Female respondents stated that Tigo Kilimo helped them to gain not only financial independence but also knowledge acquisition. Since most agricultural information and extension services are targeted at male farmers, women happen to lack valuable agricultural information. Domestic workload reduces the time to research the required information. Tigo Kilimo allows women to request and read agricultural information whenever and wherever they want. However, it is important to remember that the effective use of Tigo Kilimo requires regular access to a mobile phone, which is less likely among women.

4. The benefit extends to the community
All of the farmers I spoke to stated that they shared information obtained through Tigo Kilimo with others in the community. The acquired knowledge is shared with community members such as neighbors, family members and friends who cannot access Tigo Kilimo due to lack of education or income. Information is discussed during group meetings, which encourages knowledge exchange. Tigo Kilimo can improve the social capital of a community since additional knowledge is transmitted by “infomediaries” to community members without access to it. Tigo Kilimo users also promote the service among their social network, convincing non-users to subscribe to the service.

Tigo Kilimo marketing

What are farmers’ suggestions for mAgri services like Tigo Kilimo?

  • Include farmers in the design process: Including farmers in the designing process of mAgri services would help to identify farmers’ needs. The indigenous knowledge from farmers into the service would help to better serve the community by providing information on the relevant crops.
  • Simplify the subscription process: Some of the farmers had heard about Tigo Kilimo but didn’t use it because they failed to subscribe. If the subscription process was simpler, they would also benefit from the service.
  • Expand their marketing to rural areas: Some of the farmers had never heard of services like Tigo Kilimo. By advertising their services to more farmers, Tigo Kilimo could really benefit more farmers.

While Tigo Kilimo’s reach may be restrained by hurdles like poor road infrastructure, the unavailability of farming inputs, lack of access to mobile devices, its benefits are undeniable. Tigo Kilimo has provided many farmers with relevant and up to date agricultural information, positively influencing their agility, security, and income.

What has your experience been with mAgri services? Do you know of other mAgri services that are benefiting farming communities? Tweet at us @TechChange or comment below.

Interested in learning about other ways mobile phones are being used in international development? Sign up for our Mobiles for International Development course that begins early next year!

About author

sophie stolle headshot

Sophie is an alumna of TechChange’s Mobiles for International Development course. She is an Entrepreneur in Residence in the field of product management for a Berlin internet startup. Sophie arrived in the Berlin startup scene three years ago and is very passionate about business solutions that make the world a better place. She loves Kiswahili and has been staying in Kenya and Tanzania for more one year where she is exploring the local (social) startup scene there. She has been working as product manager for an e-commerce company in Berlin. Sophie is about to get her Bachelors’ degree in African Studies and Economics with a thesis focusing on the impact of a mobile-based agricultural information service on rural livelihoods in Tanzania.

Today, we’re excited to share an interview with TechChange alum Ladislas Hibusu! Ladislas has completed 5 courses and is currently taking his sixth. Learn more about his journey and how TechChange has impacted his career below.

1.  What got you interested in taking TechChange courses?

I first heard of TechChange from a colleague who was a TechChange alum. At the time, I was grappling to understand my new role as a Global Health Corps (GHC) fellow at a local NGO that was dealing with behavior change. My new position meant that I had to have certain skill sets if I were to succeed. It was around that time that my colleague shared TechChange’s TC111: Technology for Monitoring and Evaluation course. After reviewing the course content, I jumped at the opportunity to sign-up.

2.  After completing your first course with TechChange, what made you enroll in more courses?
After taking TC111: Technology for Monitoring and Evaluation, I was particularly fascinated with the themes, exercises, case studies, featured articles and reading materials but most importantly the top-notch industry experts from the live sessions who provided great insight on real-time trends. The recorded videos have also been a useful tool for expounding on themes such as mHealth, mAgric, mEducation, mFinance and other topics. The industry experts such as Joel Selaniko gave great insight into their area of expertise. However, TechChange facilitators like Norman, Kendra and Jennifer will tell you that what I am particularly passionate about are the great tech tools and platforms that are a big piece of the course. The unique nature of the tools and the way the recorded and live demos are presented is something anyone wanting to go further in their career could not resist.
I have positioned myself as a competitive data engineer not with a degree in an engineering field, but with the willingness to learn and lean on the shoulders of the experts that these TechChange courses have introduced me to.

3.  How have TechChange courses impacted your career?
The most significant impact that TechChange courses have offered me are the skills that have translated into making me competitive in the job market. While taking TC111, I was engaged as a Data Quality Consultant in an end-line evaluation of the project impact. Immediately after, I was hired as an independent Technical Monitoring and Evaluation consultant with two reputable international NGOs. Sooner rather than later, all I will need in my work life will be my eyes, head, hands, a mobile phone, laptop with Internet connectivity and the appropriate state of the art software. I will have earned my reputation of “getting jobs done” beyond the hire’s expectation.

4.  What is your advice for other participants taking a TechChange course? How can they get the most out of it?

Research broadly: Go beyond the course content, especially in their areas of interest, as this will enable them to know exactly what to ask from the expert speakers in order to get the maximum benefit.

Utilize the networks/connections: TechChange connects us to global experts and thought leaders in their own areas. For instance, I found that the project that one of the experts and TechChange alum Mira Gupta was working on was similar to what initially drove me into taking the TechChange courses. Engage with other participants too as they have a wealth of experience on this topic. I have received valuable resources out of the TechChange platform from the colleagues I met via the courses, which have been a great boost to my career.


About Ladislas

Ladislas Headshot

Ladislas Hibusu is a researcher and a Monitoring and Evaluation consultant. Over the years, he has come to love making research inquiries and helping students and companies on baseline, mid-line and end-line evaluation of their project impacts. He has also worked on the technology side of data documentation. Before working with Jhpiego as a consultant, he was a Global Health Corps fellow in the 2013/14 year and also consulted with Futures Group Global Inc. as a Data Quality Consultant. After receiving his college degree in Library and Information Studies and Demography, he spent time working as a Librarian and life coach at an organization that helps orphaned and vulnerable children realize their dreams. Ladislas can be found on Twitter at @tracykhibusu


How has TechChange’s course affected your career? We would love to hear your story too! Reach out to us at info@techchange.org