The Inevitability of International Aid: Part I – The African Side of the Coin

Today's post is by Andrew Mugoya, Founder and Technical Director of Asilia and Founder of Afriapps.

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Recently I launched an ebook titled African Apps in a Global Marketplace which is about the African app industry. From that, I got the following (summarised) response from Joel Selanikio, co-founder of DataDyne and an Assistant Professor at Georgetown University:

"I thought your book was 99% spot on, with my only quibble being in your analysis of aid.  Although I doubt you know of any real sustainable tech innovation that was created by aid (I certainly can't think of any)"

It got me thinking..

We Africans have a many complaints about aid from the West. Rightly so. It has destroyed industries, kept dictators in power, fostered a begging culture among some communities and worse, created a entire industry that dependent on there being poor, hungry and needy Africans to be used to bait donors.

But, the problem of aid is two-fold. It is not a solo act, it is a duet between the West and Africa. African culture has contributed its share to this problem.

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Naana B: Spring/Summer 2012 collection & supporting rural communities in Ghana

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Fashion designer Naana B is back with a vibrant new collection for Spring/Summer 2012 and I'm loving the dresses!

Naana B works with the Rural Communities Empowerment Center (RCEC) in Ghana to produce her label. The charity is competing to be a recipient of the annual Star 100 New York Fundraiser and you can support them by casting your vote here by the 29th of November

If you missed Naana B's Afri-love interview from earlier this year, check it out here.

Visual storytelling: the Horn of Africa Crisis

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Infographics are great vehicles for storytelling and for presenting statistics in a way that grounds numbers in a more tangible reality. Such was the exercise that I embarked on when Egyptian-based infographics and data visualization lab, Bayanat, got in touch with Asilia –  to create an infographic reminding people that the crisis in the Horn of Africa still requires our help.

Here's the result. The graphic has already received quite a bit of attention (1,323 views on the Bayanat blog alone at my last count). I hope that this inspires more people to share their support in whatever way they can. Wondering how you can help? Here are some ideas.

The image above is just an excerpt from the graphic. See/download the full graphic here

Tuko Pamoja bags

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Although often associated with our continent, HIV and AIDS are suffered universally. The Tuko Pamoja Sponsorship Program is an unusual initiative in that it exists to support women living with HIV/AIDS by celebrating unity. It's strange to use the word "celebration" in the context of a disease that is associated with so much suffering but I think that it's through acknowledging and embracing our interconnectedness that we begin to properly value, respect and love each other. A swahili phrase, "Tuko Pamoja" means "we are together/united". By purchasing a Tuko Pamoja bag, you provide a gift for a woman living with HIV/AIDS in Arizona, USA while at the same time, support a woman living with HIV/AIDS in rural Tanzania.

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Western Sahara in the spotlight: arts, culture (and a special 2 for 1 concert offer)

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It's not often that I hear about Western Sahara or come across Saharawi people or culture. And then, twice in one week, I come across things that I'd like to share about this little known territory in the west of our continent.

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