The competition challenged African programmers and developers to create a web-based or mobile-based app that solved a problem in their community. The contest was open to East African countries, including Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya.
“The idea is that people from communities in the developing world can best address and solve their own problems,” Goldstein said.
The contest received financial support from the Department of State. According to State’s website for Apps 4 Africa, the contest harnesses the “regional creative and innovative spirit.”
The contest winners were from Kenya with an application called iCow that allows farmers to track their cattle’s gestation and feeding periods.
One of the benefits of the contest was opening a dialogue between the app developers and people from rural, poorer regions. The apps, therefore, had to be available on basic phones.
“We recognized that the value was not necessarily in having a flashy application but in having a tool that could be utilized,” Goldstein said.