In Uganda, innovation and creativity set information free

In May, the New Scientist published a story by journalist Luke Yoquinto describing an emerging kind of radio stations in Uganda. Powered by the sun, these prototypes are changing the face of rural broadcasting in Uganda and giving access to information in local language to many.

The radio stations are developed by RootIO, a start-up founded by Jude Mukundane, an Ugandan telecom expert and Chris Csikszentmihályi, who used to be with the MIT Media Lab. Using a solar panel, a battery, a 15-metre-tall transmitter tower and a smartphone, the stations are hosted in a 19-litre bucket that keeps them safe and dry. The “heart” of the station, the smartphone, uses an app that connects the radio hosts’ personal phone so they can control the broadcast. This technology allows more flexibility for both broadcasters and listeners, who can call in.

In his article, Yoquinto tells the tale of Jane Adong, a local broadcaster, who used to travel 10 hours to the nearest radio station to record her show about HIV education. Now, thanks to the innovation of RootIO, she gets to spend more time on raising awareness and discussing important issues with her listeners.

Read the full article online.

Photo : ©Chris Csikszentmihályi, New Scientist