The Afripad (Proof of Concept Phase – Restricted Functionality Implemented)
Targeted at about the cost of books for one year (2000-5000 KSH), the Afripad is priced to be affordable to even the poorest rural areas, while being designed to be upgradeable to provide performance suitable for private schools, universities, and businesses. When combined with free or low cost e-textbooks the Afripad could address the lack of availability of learning materials to make a revolutionary impact on learning outcomes. As a Kenyan designed solution the Afripad is uniquely suited to the African educational environment, with batteries that can be separately replaced while it is running, and with long battery life, as well as a modular tool-less design with end-user replaceable parts unlike laptops or tablets.
The Afripad is also designed for many of the parts to be locally made, with a modular design that enables parts to be user replaceable without specialized tools or expertise so kids in villages can repair their devices just by replacing parts. A computer that is an integral part of the learning experience has to be continuously available. As such the Afripad is not limited to environments in which a constant supply of electricity exists such as computer labs, and with its energy efficiency and easy serviceability can be relied on to be available during the entire school day and can therefore fill a fundamental role in the curriculum as a book replacement.
We have an agreement with various counties in Kenya allowing us to distribute 500,000 of these devices to public schools when they are completed, and we have formed partnerships with hardware manufacturers, and educational software vendors to help facilitate the programme. A video talking about the benefits of the Afripad is on Youtube:
Education Management Solution (Design Phase)
To compliment the Afripad, using the organizational outcome modeling and performance management innovations of our work management tool, we are designing a ground-breaking education management solution platform based on the open source Moodle platform. Because education is a sensitive ideological issue, because data does not always exist to guide educational strategy on the basis of real evidence, and because even where such evidence exists there is often no systematic framework for incorporating it, poor educational outcomes may occur in part because resources are poured into ineffective programmes. Our solution will capture metrics for all learning activities and use our collaborative decision-making algorithms to link those learning activities with positive outcomes in order to identify the most effective teaching methods and steadily improve education.
A key part of the Education Management Solution vision is also using the semantic data management features of our infrastructure to implement an Open Curriculum. In the Open Curriculum concept tests and teaching plans are constructed so any approved learning materials available to the student can be used by the student. This approach can decrease education costs by reusing learning materials, while putting the focus back on gaining facility with the subject rather than with a particular dogma, and giving parents more autonomy in choosing learning materials to instill the perspectives and values they believe are important.
Nobeah Distributed Discrete Work Management Methodology (Prototype Phase)
The DDWMM was created for managing work (including microwork) more reliably and cost effectively. It was initially conceived as a way to divide complex projects into simple work units that could be reliably and independently completed by workers with expertise in a single area and of even low to moderate skills and experience, and that could be overseen by a distributed team of project managers, and subject matter experts.
Analogous to the way that Henry Ford was able to transform automobile manufacturing from requiring skilled craftsmen with many years of experience and the ability to build every part of the car, into an assembly line requiring only low-skilled laborers who needed to learn to assembly only one part, the DDWMM simplifies projects by reducing the scope of each individual’s work to completing a single task with a single purpose within a single subject area and with well-defined criteria for understanding when the work has been done correctly.
By reducing the skills and experience required to reliably contribute to the project, the DDWMM increases the pool of resources available to do the work. In the Kenyan context this capability may enable businesses to benefit from the cost effectiveness of the Kenyan workforce to become competitive in the much broader market, thereby acting as a strong impetus for local job creation.
Design for Change (Design Phase)
Focusing on Nairobi’s Kibera slums, he largest slum in the world, Design for Change will be a global challenge to all software developers, residential building architects, engineers, and professionals in other technical disciplines to work together within our groundbreaking collaborative process to come up with ingenious product based solutions that will interoperate seamlessly to address human suffering due to poverty.
The Design for Change challenge will design a low-cost modular living environment, potentially with integrated aquaponics, renewable energy, water recycling, in conjunction with using peer-to-peer technology to create low cost user-centric education, health care and other software based services, with the goal of reducing the cost of living by $30-$100 per month … enough for families at the bottom of the pyramid to get out of poverty, perhaps buying a shamba, or perhaps starting a small business. Design for Change will also use our blueprint for a sustainably self-funding programme to deploy these solutions at massive scale, or alternatively using our Open Design Agreement we will license those technologies to partners in a way such that all contributing designers benefit.
Nobeah and its development partners will define each solution at a high level, as well as defining the interfaces between each component so that solutions can inter-operate with each other and we can achieve unprecedented design synergy even in the short course of this challenge. Within Nobeah’s design framework that outlines properties solutions should have in order to be able to inter-operate, scale, and to be potentially transformative, partners will be able to define solutions in any area whatsoever for the worldwide teams to work on. Using Nobeah’s design process, and Nobeah’s work management methodology to manage the break-up of the work for massive collaboration and to manage its completion, the design of each solution will be collaboratively performed by an unlimited number of designers worldwide. With sufficient participation we hope the Design for Change initiative will have the opportunity to label itself as the largest design initiative in human history and will culminate in an award ceremony during Nairobi Design Week.
Earn an Afripad (Design Phase)
One of the programmes Nobeah has developed for scalable self-funded deployment of our infrastructure software and its accompanying services is the “Earn an Afripad” programme. This programme gives a number of students (or their families) the opportunity to earn an Afripad computer by registering up to 100 individuals and/or businesses in our platform, using our work management tool to manage this effort. As an incentive to register, the platform will eventually provide access to jobs through our microwork solution, access to medical services through our health care solution, as well as providing useful commercial services and other free social services.
In the pilot of this programme planned for Kenya we will deploy 500,000 Afripads initially, giving opportunity the opportunity to “Earn an Afripad” to a number of youth amounting to about 1 percent of the population. By doing so this programme can thereby potentially register the entire country’s population into our infrastructure. Having access to some fraction of the entire population, Nobeah will use the infrastructure to deploy a peer-to-peer advertising service in which rather than paying a search engine advertiser to swamp users with irrelevant ads, we’ll provide a service allowing businesses to pay users directly to view ads that are specifically relevant to them. With revenue from this advertising service the cost of distributing the computers to 1 % of the nation’s school children should be paid in 1 to 3 years. After that, the Nobeah Technologies Ltd. company will be able to enjoy a healthy profit while still continuing to massively fund social programmes through the Nobeah Foundation. This programme has been refined into a general blueprint for creating radically cost effective peer-to-peer, user-centric, decentralize solutions that will achieve powerful social change by creating incentives to use local commercial services that will fund that change. Because these services are sustainably self-funding, that change can be scaled globally. We aim to initiate deployment of 50 million of these computers within 48 months after reaching our seed funding target, with the goal of registering up to 5 billion individuals in our platform, giving the platform massive reach worldwide.
Based on that level of impact, with a little seed funding our programmes will expand our user base to the point where we will generate enough value that through our renewable energy solution, our aquaponics, education, healthcare and other solutions, we will provide basic healthcare, as well as education, and employment for potentially well over 1 billion people. Given that the number of poor on the earth is on the order of 1 billion, this programme could go significantly towards eliminating the effects of poverty globally. The significant elimination of these social ills will free a billion more people to help to solve the earth’s biggest challenges. A billion more people to work on a cure for cancer. A billion more people to search for cheap source of clean renewable energy. A billion more people to elevate humanity through art and culture. A billion more people grateful enough for their existence to find an alternative to war and conflict.
Nobeah aims to launch a pilot incubation/acceleration program for startup businesses in Africa based on its work management (collaboration) tool, the DDWMM. Using this tool, the incubator/accelerator will provide the potential to dramatically increase the rate of job creation.
In this incubator/accelerator model an entrepreneur can walk in with a great idea and we can use our work management methodology to engage hundreds or even more of those resources to productize that idea quickly, using our Open Engagement Agreement to automatically manage what each resource’s contribution earns them in terms of the value created in the business. Because this incubator/accelerator model leverages people looking for work, it depends far more therefore on human capital, removing the limitation that the lack of access to financing places on new business creation and job creation in Africa. In this way, it will make use of surplus labor on the market to encourage investment by dramatically reducing risk to investors while increasing profitability as compared to other business models.
We believe the key to supporting startups is to create accelerators/incubators that make use of the tremendous amount of labor capital available in Africa. Together with some donor funding that will be provided to startups based on the successful achievement of their aims this approach will help ensure entrepreneurs focus on the market opportunity and on not the donors.
Youth/Informal Worker Job Creation (Design Phase)
Nobeah’s projects are designed for at least some components to be locally manufactured in order to create significant numbers of jobs for unskilled youth and informal sector workers to manufacture and service those components.
Women and Girl’s Technology Mentoring (Design Phase)
The strategic objective of our internship programme is to help women and girls both fill Nobeah’s needs for skilled technical workers, and to help women and girls meet the work forces’ needs for the future.
Electronic Health Record (EHR)/Single Virtual Health Record (Design Phase)
Where even first world countries have struggled to deploy such systems after spending billions, using a peer-to-peer, user-focused, and decentralized architecture that can be rapidly deployed at a fraction of the cost of centralized systems, this solution is intended to dramatically accelerate conversion of Africa’s largely paper based medical record system into electronic records while introducing a state of the art single patient record.
Internet Caching Solution (Design Phase)
The Internet Caching Appliance aims to store (cache) internet content offline in our infrastructure software so that children in schools can still enjoy a rich educational browsing experience, and even businesses can continue to perform certain transactions normally requiring Internet, despite having no Internet connectivity. The Internet Caching Appliance will also provide local backup of content from student’s computers so that even if students lose them they can quickly get back up and running with a new computer.
At-Risk Childrens Database (Concept Phase)
The At-Risk Children’s Database aims to be free and open-source software NGOs will use to run their operations and track at-risk children. The Children’s Database will provide unprecedented capability for organizations serving vulnerable children to share information needed to eliminate duplication of services and help ensure each child receives more comprehensive service coverage in a way that protects the privacy of these vulnerable children. By helping NGOs spend their resources more effectively and by collecting the information required for NGOs to quantify the impact of the services they offer and demonstrate the opportunity for them to offer more, the database will define a more efficient and effective way for NGOs and Donors to work together in all sectors.
We took up the challenge of creating free and open source software to address challenges in the relationship between NGOs and donors that have been well studied and documented but have remained intractable. Through tacking these challenges in the sector of vulnerable children, the At-Risk Children’s Database aims to provide value to vulnerable children, the NGOs that serve them, and the donors that fund those organizations.
To NGOs the Children’s Database will provide value by providing the capability to coordinate services between NGOs by sharing data, so as a group they can provide services to more clients while achieving better coverage of each client. Through this data sharing the Children's Database also aims to be of value to NGOs in the following ways:
- Increase the visibility of populations in need
- Simplify the achievement of accountability
- Improve visibility of outcomes for more sustainable solutions
- Improve efficiency by reducing duplication of services
- Improve efficiency by reducing fractionalization of services
- Reduce overhead by improving stability of funding
To donors the Children’s Database aims to provide value through automated collection of detailed statistics, and by addressing the duplication of services and the fractionalization of services. While doing so the Children's Database will simplify the task of ensuring NGOs are accountable for the funds they receive, and will improve the discoverability of NGO programs that are compatible with the donor’s goals.
To clients the Children’s Database aims to provide value through the capability to coordinate services between NGOs, providing services to more clients while providing referrals between sister organizations to achieving better service coverage for each client. By providing the capability to share data in order to eliminate gaps in service to achieve the following for clients: improve continuity of service, increase quality of service, and improve comprehensiveness of service, attracting new and much needed services.
Nobeah’s FreeSunPower Solar Panel Solution (Design Phase)
FreeSunPower, Nobeah’s proposed solar power solution, is intended to provide charging stations for Nobeah’s Afripad educational computer solution as well as to support other regular daily uses. Nobeah’s FreeSunPower solution is a modular panel design that snaps together without tools, forming arrays that can serve the needs of one household or an entire small business. But despite the modularity allowing power generation capability to be easily added and removed, given the openness of rural schools the solution is heavily secured to ensure it stays in schools to deliver the benefit it was intended to. Our power solution is being designed to be easy to install and more convenient where electricity supply has been a problem, especially in the rural schools. It’s also being designed to be dramatically more cost effective, allowing all primary and secondary school children to have access to electricity. We aim to extend the benefits of the solution to key public institutions dispensaries and health centers, providing quality lighting for students and extended medical services including maternity and refrigerated medicines. By doing so our goal is to enable provision of better healthcare to local communities.
Nobeah’s Off-Grid Power Solution (Design Phase)
Nobeah’s Off-Grid Power Solution is being designed as a modular solution that accepts power from various power generation modules ranging from Nobeah’s FreeSunPower Solar Panels, to generators driven by wind, hydro power, diesel or gasoline, or even the public power grid. The off-grid power solution is intended to provide continuity of power supply, provide the capability to integrate into the power grid, and to be expandable with no tools or expertise required by simply adding another module whenever power demands rise.
Nobeah Smartwire (Design Phase)
Nobeah’s Smartwire will enables one neighbor to plug into another neighbor’s Off-Grid Power Solution without any tools or technical expertise required. The connection will be authenticated, authorized and metered so that the owner of the Off-Grid Power Solution will be automatically paid for the power they provide to their neighbors. Without proper authentication and authorization no power would be supplied so neighbors could not simply steal power. In addition, just like a power utility the owner would have the ability to set which neighbors can buy their power, and how much power they will allow to be sold at what times. Like its other solutions, Nobeah smartwire is intended to be cost effective, durable, and easy to install and use without any technical expertise.
Mini-Grid with Nobeah’s FreeSunPower Solar Panel Solution, Nobeah’s Off-Grid Power Solution, and Nobeah’s Smartwire (Design Phase)
When one or more off-grid renewable energy generation solutions are in close proximity it is inevitable that some installations will be producing excess power while other’s will be short of the power required to service their heavier loads. Combining such solutions into a grid can dramatically increase the resilience of each household’s power supply and by lowering the investment involved in connecting, and eliminating dependence on a central authority to do so, can dramatically increase the speed at which electrification spreads in rural areas.
The Nobeah Open Engagement Agreement and the Nobeah Open Design Agreement are legal instruments that have been created to work with the DDWMM. The Nobeah Open Engagement Agreement (Prototype Phase) helps address some of the issues limiting the rate of job creation. The Nobeah Open Design Agreement (Prototype Phase) helps address some of the issues surrounding intellectual property sharing that limit the rate of innovation. They are related to the DDWMM in that the DDWMM aims to precisely define the relationship between employee output and compensation, including intellectual property rights.
Aquaponics Solution (Concept Phase)
Nobeah’s Aquaponics Solution is being designed to break the barriers to rapid and widespread deployment of highly productive aquaculture technology that has the potential to eliminate food shortages in the developing world. Nobeah’s Aquaponics Solution is being designed to be portable, to assemble rapidly, to require no tools or expertise to install, and to be modular so it can be expanded from serving the needs of a single person to serving the needs of a compound or small business by simply connecting together additional blocks. The first immediate use envisioned for our aquaponics solution is in areas with poor food security where such a solution could make an immediate impact. We envision that this deployment will be supported with forward contracts to purchase surplus fish and produce at a fixed price for either local or export usage, to ensure there is a market for all of the fish and produce.