Mon. Oct 18th, 2021

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Scientists Identify Data As Vital Tool For Innovations

3 min read

Data scientists have indicated that data is one of the potential tools for innovation that can be tapped into by the young innovators to help in solving the pending challenges in communities.

Data scientists, analysts, developers and civic technology organizations believe that Africa and Uganda in particular have the potential to use the data at their disposal to come up meaningful solutions to the challenges faced by communities.

According the deputy chief of party Resilient Africa Network (RAN) Makerere University School of Public Health, Dr. Roy Mayega, Uganda is struggling with several resilience challenges yet it has an internal potential as a country to harness available resources including data to solve some of the biggest challenges affecting communities.

Dr. Mayega said that in Uganda sectors like health, Agriculture, gender based violence, engineering, among others have a lot of data that just needs someone to take advantage and come up with solutions to the pending challenges in them.  

He however noted that the low and middle income countries still have gaps in data collection especially in the commercial and economic systems that are mostly informal  where a lot of transactions take place that are not captured saying that it’s another area that young innovators need to focus .

Neema Iyer, the Executive director Policy Uganda, a civic tech organization, says that it’s important for government to ensure that it puts mechanisms in place that can easily facilitate the innovators to harness the potential of data towards development.

She cites the introduction of taxes on internet data by government as one of the issues that will limit the population from utilizing the innovated Apps as they many cannot afford the volume of data required to down developed Apps that could of use to solving their challenges.

On April 29, 2021, Parliament passed a 12% tax on internet purchase which replaced the OTT tax that was reported to have failed due to many people opting for the use of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs).

Neema says that data if analyzed and used well by the innovators it can easily help to improve delivery both the public and private sector as it can influence decision making and planning.

Meanwhile, some of the innovators that have used data to pitch innovations explain how important data has informed their innovation.

Saul Kabali, an innovator of a safe bangle bracelet, a technology that was developed to prevent the increasing violence in communities especially among girls and women by wearing it on a hand says that his innovation was motivated by police and UN Women reports that indicated that many violence cases go without reporting.

Kabali explains that this pushed them to get teams out to find out on the un reported cases of violence and why people do not want to report violence. He says that the findings included issues like costs incurred to file a case and time invested. He says that with their safe bangle bracelet which is wearable in waist or hand that can send a signal that alerts all the people he registered on the App, immediately the victim faces violence and places the alert button.

He says the outcomes from the bracelet wearing will help to facilitate informed decisions when it comes to spot areas of violence.

Eunice Aber, a data scientists that developed an App of EzyAgric, that caters for farmers within the agriculture sector says that they based their innovation on the data which shows that over 65% of the Ugandans depend on agriculture.

Aber says that the innovated App supports farmers to connect with competitive markets, agro-inputs suppliers and also information that enables to grow quality crops.