Tech Meets Conservation

By Mercy Deche
iHub Consulting
  Published 14 Apr 2013
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Tech Meets Conservation
The World Wildlife Fundapproached iHub in 2012 to discover how they could engage tech in their conservation efforts. Since those early conversations, iHub Consulting has led the effort to create a movement within the tech community which will focus on finding solutions for conservation using technology and getting more young Africans involved in environmental conservation. Already, a community of conservation enthusiasts within iHub has begun to form: it represented iHub at the Earth Hour 2013 challenge, which was held at the Boma Hotel on March 23rd. Last week, we called a meetup to present what we know about the state of Kenya's ecology and hear what techies think of all this. It turns out that there are a good number of techies who understand the urgency and importance of conservation, especially in Kenya. This presentation was made to the group, showing the work WWF has been doing in Kenya around freshwater, marine wildlife, civic education, nature-based events and species protection. A major challenge faced in conservation is the fact that technology to invest in a green economy is either expensive or lacking altogether. This is where the tech community can add value. These main points emerged from the discussion:
  • We should be building technology which is inherently ecologically sustainable e.g. using renewable energy
  • Digital communication can and should be used as a driver to sensitize Kenyans about conservation and hold each other accountable for 'bad' ecological behaviour
  • Conservation efforts must be aimed as MASS impact otherwise they would not make sense
  • We can begin by learning what other organizations are already doing e.g. WWF, Green Belt Movement etc
Finally, we decided to meet regularly and take field trips such as what the team at Ushahidi have done. WWF invited us to visit their project in the Lake Naivasha Basin and this will be our first trip to explore opportunities for technology in conservation. To plug in to the group, join the Geeks in Gumboots group here.
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