The country is struggling to provide its people with even the most basic infrastructure such as roads, power and healthcare. Very few people have access to the internet or have experience with SME or larger businesses. So innovation may seem far from realistic. But the Congolese are naturally inventive and learn quickly and the ground for innovation is if anything more fertile than in more developed counties
Networking a Hospital
We installed a local Wi-Fi network and trained the staff in the use of tablets and a patient management system called Open MRS in a hospital based in Kavumu, an area struggling with poverty and a high level of sexual violence. The hospital now has a reputation for quality care and has won a contract from the UN.
Recycling Conveyor Belts
Olivier Maheshe runs Kivu Leather, the only business making shoes and sandals in Bukavu. Olivier used to work for a company that operates the only mechanised mine in Kivu and remembered they use thick rubber conveyor belts to bring up the ore. He negotiated to buy the old conveyor belts, which he cuts up to make rubber soles.
Working with Smartphones
We made a sales video for Altech to show to prospective customers on a smartphone. It might not have been the right situation to use video (a lesson learned) but it was the start of a journey to using smartphones.
We’ve helped an isolated community on the island of Idjwi set up web access and an information display screen. An SOS alert messaging system, that allows the community to help one another when in danger, is in development.
Co-designing Community Services
Fjord and Ensemble are co-designing a safety solution with the women on the island of Idjwi, primarily for when they are attacked in their homes. We have combined their capacity for ideas with our capacity for implementation. It’s a true co-design process rooted in the community.