With citizen journalism, the Internet as a global community, and mobile data, third world nations like Africa are able to create infrastructures to support the growth of education, healthcare, information and other continent-wide improvements.
Technology is something that we take for granted, but for some countries basic technological improvements can lead to brighter futures for current and future generations. In order to accomplish these revolutionary projects, people are looking for unique ways to use big data, the Internet and mobile devices.
Information is Power
Informed citizens have the power to control their own destinies and improve their communities. But journalism in Africa has been problematic because there is no infrastructure, no ethical foundation and corrupt governments that interfere with journalists trying to report information they don’t want the public to hear.
The African Media Initiative is attempting to create an ethical, stable and powerful media base in Africa. In 2012, members of the initiative awarded $1 million to 20 African media innovators to develop digital projects that improve the quality of news across the continent, as part of the group’s first African News Innovation Challenge.
One of the main strategies is to help citizens report important information through apps on their mobile phones. Mobile is one of the fastest growing technologies in Africa and millions of new devices are activated every month. For that reason, mobile has become a basis for many of the improvements in Africa.
Many African cities lack the sensors and other technological improvements seen in Europe and the US. This makes the collection and analysis of data using standard methods impossible. Instead, big data is collected from mobile devices and analyzed to help with a vast number of humanitarian projects.
The data collected has been used to help farmers understand how to grow more food; medical communities predict outbreaks and distribute immunizations; and even to help reduce congestion in major cities.
As the continent reaps the benefits of better healthcare, e-commerce and urban living, strides are being made to help African youth learn what skills they will need to be able to help their countries using big data analytics and data science. And as Africa learns how to leverage its data, other third world countries will be able to follow its lead.