The new year is upon us and we are full of excitement and energy for the months ahead. As we prepare to dive into fresh projects and make new connections, we want to take a moment to reflect on 2017 and the fulfilling experiences we have had.
Here are our top 10 moments from 2017:
1. Our co-founder Salton Massally accepted the Queen’s Young Leaders Award
Co-founder and CTO, Salton Massally, flew to London in summer 2017 to collect his award from the Queen herself. The Queen’s Young Leaders program honors enthusiastic change makers from Commonwealth countries who are striving for the betterment of their communities. As part of the program, Massally and the other Young Leaders received an extensive 3-day training at The University of Cambridge’s Institute of Continuing Education where they learned innovative techniques on how to take their projects to the next level. They also met with business leaders at the BBC and Facebook offices in the UK and received expert mentorship and advice.
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2. We conducted the Open Data Readiness Assessment Test (ODRA) in Liberia with the World Bank team
iDT Labs began carrying out the Open Data Readiness Assessment (ODRA) for the Government of Liberia (GoL) in partnership with the World Bank. ODRA is a methodological tool developed by the World Bank that is used to conduct an action-oriented assessment of the readiness of a government or individual agency to evaluate, design and implement an open data initiative. As part of the assessment, we interviewed a range of different stakeholders at GoL, along with representatives from the civil society, media, and the private sector to understand the unique challenges that Liberia faces in launching a nationwide open data initiative.
3. We steered the launch of the Sierra Leone Fintech Association
We successfully launched Sierra Leone’s first Fintech Association in 2017. We envisioned The Sierra Leone Fintech Association(SLFintech Association in short) to be the central body to coordinate all fintech activity in the country, to facilitate collaboration between all stakeholders, to ensure representation of fintech players on all forums, and to build cross-sector relationships to benefit the entire fintech ecosystem.
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4. We launched our brand new iDT Labs website
After a lot of thought and hard work, we finally launched our new website with an updated look and brand new content.
5. The Justice App is launched
No more paper files and prolonged sentencing in 2017 and beyond! We designed and launched an Android-based Justice App for the judiciary in Sierra Leone and since then it is helping to shift courts from a paper-based to a fully automated system where all court proceedings, including case creation and sentencing, can be done with a few taps on the app. The app is steadily gaining popularity across the country, with our team continuously testing and improving on its functionality.
This video explains everything about the Justice App
6. Flood Aid Salone is activated in the wake of the Freetown mudslides
The deadly flooding and mudslides left a lot of destruction in their aftermath, with the survivors left afflicted with many problems and agencies scrambling to overcome them. In this tough situation, our team banded together to start Flood Aid Salone to provide support to those working on the ground during the emergency. We trained volunteers to collect data on survivors and their needs in the field along with preparing satellite imagery related to affected areas.
7. We kicked off our very own Medium publication
2017 was the year in which we finally decided to share our unique insights from the West African ICT space with the rest of the world through original stories. Our team wrote unique and informative stories regarding our engineering expertise, West African labor markets, open data and a whole lot more.
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8. We hosted the first-ever Hacks/Hackers Africa meetup
We were proud to become the hosts of the Freetown chapter of Hacks/Hackers Africa, hosting the first and subsequent 2 events from the innovative group. The meetups centered around various topics such as Fake News and Fact Checking, Checking for Misinformation on Social Media and using digital tools to tell effective stories in today’s world. Each meetup attracted a fresh young bunch of tech enthusiasts and journalists from all over the city, making the sessions lively and interesting.
9. We collaborated with The Engine Room to innovate for clean water access
We had the pleasure of working with Nonso Jideofor, the Sub Saharan African lead for The Engine Room, to conduct design research for our work on clean water access in Freetown. Our initiative for clean water was among the projects selected to receive support under The Engine Room’s Matchbox Project. The Matchbox is The Engine Room’s flagship support program. They provide support in three main categories: (1) data, (2) technology, and (3) overall strategy.
10. iCommit, our mobile money platform for small farmers, won a grant from UNCDF
We had the great satisfaction of seeing iCommit, our unique mobile money application for farmers, receive funding through UNCDF to take it to the next level. The iCommit app has been designed by us to ensure that smallholder farmers can quickly and safely use mobile money at harvest time to buy inputs for the next planting season in order to improve their next yield and therefore improve their overall production and earnings.
Here’s hoping 2018 is even bigger and better than last year!