November 1, 2012

Using mobile phones to pinpoint better water in a Nairobi slum

Nairobi_woman_water.jpeg In Nairobi’s largest slum Kibera, government officials withhold public services like electricity, sewage and waste collection and only supply water two or three days a week. When water is available, vendors fill large hundred-gallon plastic storage tanks that tower from the rooftops. As a result, water in Kibera has become a commodity overpriced by a handful of private dealers. Stanford School of Medecine SCOPE reports.

quotemarksright.jpgWhile water is expensive and basic utilities are non-existent in Kibera, mobile phones are cheap and easy to access. So Stanford professors Joshua Cohen, PhD, and Terry Winograd, PhD, created a course aimed at combining emerging mobile technologies with human-centered design to improve residents’ living conditions.

One project developed in the class is M-Maji, a mobile application that uses a two-way SMS system to provide users with accurate and up-to-date information on the location, price and quality of water in Kibera. M-Maji means “mobile water” in Swahili.

Click here to recent story posted on Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute For International Studies website describes how the app works quotesmarksleft.jpg

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