In the introductory programme to the series, we film with ‘Apps for Good’, an organization originally started in Brazil to harness young people’s ideas and energies to develop apps that can benefit local communities. Adizah Tejani explains: “It’s about inspiring young people to become problem solvers through getting them to think through a process of what is their problem in their local community and how can they solve it using mobile technology.”
We film one young entrepreneur who has developed an ‘App’ that helps young black people who are ‘stopped and searched’ by the police, recording their locations and their accounts of the treatment they receive.
In the East End, we film two young Muslim girls who’ve developed their own ‘App’ to help gardeners around the world grow crops more successfully, and another, Buzzer Buddiez, to send messages to their friends with an alarm call. And in South Africa, we film with creative artist Nanziwe who works for the mobile start-up company Bozza and is trying to develop an ‘app’ to help young people with sexual and reproductive health information and advice.
Many countries like South Africa have skipped hard wired communications, which need thousands of miles of laid cable. Young companies like Bozza thrive using wireless communications…and mobile phones. For entertainment and to help with social problems. Says Emma Kaye of Bozza: “The first time most people are going to having a computer experience or experience of is going to be through their mobile phone device, so we have an enormous generation who will never have access to a computer but they will have access to a mobile phone. So we’re focusing on entertainment to being the backbone, the backbone which holds people there, they can come and they can have a good time, but they also get health information.”
In Silicon Savannah Nairobi Kenyan entrepreneurs launch as many as five cellphone apps a day. William lives three hundred kilometres from Nairobi…. a farmer in rural Ugenya. He’s self-taught. Can a Life App help William be a better farmer? Muniu’s start-up company Bityarn has been going less than a year. Toni – a film maker from the LifeApps team – challenged Muniu to develop a mobile application for smallholder farmers like William. Muniu has just seven days to do it.
In Namibia, our team manage to develop an app to help semi-nomadic people who are unable to read and write – and only have 2G phones.
India has over a billion mobile phones. Sachin Gaur of MixOrg believes that social media and mobile technology have the power to solve many of its problems. “My quest is to find answers and help people living at the bottom of the economic pyramid.”
In our four other Life Apps films we’ll follow the message from London’s Shoreditch roundabout round across the world.Phone apps a solution. And inspiration.