Be a part of AfricaHackTrip!

Today is a big day for us: We just launched the crowdfunding campaign for our movie on Indiegogo!! W00t w00t!! 

We returned from Africa with awesome new friends, lots of stories to tell, thousands of pictures, and 30 hours of video footage. We want to turn this footage into a great movie, so we can share our experiences with communities all over the world and motivate others to join the exchange between cultures. To do this, we need time and professional support.

And that’s where YOU come in! Please help us raise $7,000 to cover our production costs, so we can introduce you to exciting places and awesome people.


Be a part of AfricaHackTrip! Show us and the world that you love the idea of truly connecting hacker cultures!


In return, we signify our love and gratitude to you by mentioning every single backer in the credits of our movie. Yes, even if you donate just a dollar, we will thank you in the credits. But we also prepared some perks for those that give us more money – go check them all out here!


Some picks of the perks:

For just 25 bucks, you will be able to take awesome pictures like these. And if you tweet them adding #AHT13 they will even appear on our tumblr - we are super curious to see who/what/where will be tagged with our favorite logo!


A donation of $50 will get you one of our T-Shirts, which were only given to extra special people so far. All of you are beautiful, but you could look even better in one of these…


From $250 upwards, you get an invite to the premiere and also the premiere party, which will take place before we launch the movie. We plan on some serious PartyMachen! in Berlin and look forward to hosting all of you generous givers!

Those that support us with $1,000 humble us – you will from now on be known as a producer of our movie, which is the greatest gift we have to give. You also get a seat of honor at the premiere, which we will have to build once someone donates those big bucks. Challenge us!


We are very grateful for the experience AfricaHackTrip was for us. We met incredible people, learned about crazy cool projects, found out how Africans use  technology to solve social problems, and brought together European and African hacking culture. And most importantly we kicked off continuous exchange – like with our friends over at Nairobi Dev School and EuroHackTrip. Please help us tell you all about it!

Thank you all for your support!!!

HighFives, Hugs and lots of <3 from
Gregor, Alex, Emi, Bumi, Basti, Martin, Vicy, Jan and Tobi

African WebMuses and AfricaHackTrip featured on

Today, AfricaHackTrip and especially Emi’s wonderful African WebMuses movie and four of the protagonists, were featured on the website of BILD Zeitung. Bild is a German tabloid and apparently, the newspaper with the sixth-largest circulation worldwide.

Its motto is “Form your own opinion”. In order for you all to do exactly that, here is a quick translation of the original article:


Young. Female. Computer Professionals. These are Africa’s Hacker Princesses.

They are young, female – and can program a PC like a pro! In Africa, ever more young women discover the tech business – and become true hacker princesses.

The video „Africa Web Muses“, which was produced during the Africa Hack Trip, gives an insight into this scene.

The journey was organized by eight tech professionals from Europe. In Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania, they searched for African hacker spaces – places where computers are being programmed, new websites are being built and IT projects are being pushed. They met many committed women in the tech scene.

BILD introduces four amazing hacker princesses:

Martha Chumo (19) from Nairobi had already raised several thousand dollars on the crowdfunding platform “indigogo” to attend „Hacker School New York“ in the USA, where coding is being tought in workshops, amongst other things. But her visa was denied. Reason: Too young, no children, unmarried. Instead of despairing, the tough Kenyan started a new crowdfunding campaign – for an own Hacker School in Nairobi! Her project succeeded: She founded “Nairobi Dev School”.

There, she wants to enhance enthusiasm for tech. Martha: ‘It works better than I thought. I hope it will be a starting point for the development in Africa.’ To further improve her school, she continues raising money on indigogo.

Jessica Colaco is a founding member of „iHub“, a Coworking and Hacker Space in Nairobi. When she happens to not be programming, she plays the bass guitar and rides horses. Her goal: Put Kenya on the map for tech! To reach it, she organizes Bootcamps and TED events. Jessica: ‘I specifically try to get women to study tech and remain in the field later on.’

Jamie Mayombwe from Uganda studies IT and Software Engineering. She helps organizing the “Girl Geek Camp” in Kampala. ‘It started as a meeting, then we shared it on Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus’, Jamie says. More and more girls started attending the female tech bootcamp. Jamie: ‘It’s mostly between 10 and 15 girls. They get a laptop, software, and we show them what to do with it.’

Akaliza Keza Gara (22) specifically came to Rwanda to start her own business. Her uncle had advised her to do so, saying that Kigali was the best place to be ‘female, young and technically skilled’. The young woman is now the CEO of “Shaking Sun” in Kigali,a company that produces graphics and internet games. Akaliza is involved with the “Girls ICT Rwanda” association. Together with other women she visits schools and tries to get female students excited about IT jobs. Akaliza: ‘In the past, I found being the only girl in a computer group cool. Nowadays, I hope that this is changing.’

Nairobi Hackathon

After the barcamp got us all excited, hackathon day was also one of those really good ones! We feel like a network for continuous exchange is really evolving. People brought their own projects to the table, and it was a super diverse range of topics, which still all fell under the broader theme Hack & Design Together. And so we did just that. Here’s a little something on the projects.

Doze Poa :)

All groups seemed to be having a good time, but most giggles came from team “Doze poa” – a phrasebook app with which you learn to speak Swahili like a local. “Doze poa” means “Sleep well” which we so far had always translated as “Lala salama”, until we were now told that that is actually boring schoolbook Swahili. We still love the sound. Lala salama – could it mean anything else than “sleep well”?

Before the coding of “Doze Poa” began, there was thus quite some debate on content. What exactly is the difference between “Mambo” and “Sasa”, etc? They are both colloquial and much more commonly used versions of the schoolbook Swahili greeting phrase “Hujambo”. But when to use which? It seems totally clear to the Swahili-speakers, but it is quite hard to get across to us, who don’t even hear the difference between “Ndiaje” (Hello) and “Ndiache” (Leave me alone). So here is the difference:  You say “sasa” in passing, and “mambo” to actually start a conversation about how the other one is doing. Which makes “sasa” quite the revolutionary term, the linguist in me thinks, and the Swahili speakers agree.  

Most important: Pick-up lines! You say “Mambo m-super” (“Hey there, gorgeous!”) when you try to pick up a girl, but never when trying to pick up a man! Men are “m-handsome” – funny how they’re not (to be called) super in Kenya, much like they’re not (to be called) sweet or cute in Germany, isn’t it?

Really cool app!  Despite or because of the fun they had, team “Doze Poa” got the app built and running on FirefoxOS, including the Geeksphone Keons we have with us, till the evening – check out the app here and it’s progress in GitHub here. Please feel free to contribute! We hope that we and our Kenyan hacker friends will continue working on it, maybe together with some Ugandans, Rwandans or Tanzanians!

Arduino / Raspberry Pi

In addition to software hacks, one group tinkered with a Raspberry Pi and an Arduino-board – the outcome being a rangefinder, which the makers Michael, Charles and Harriet suggest should be used by drivers in Nairobi to keep a distance from each other.


MatatuChat / MatatuViz

Drivers that could definitely do with a rangefinder are the Matatu drivers in Nairobi, as the Europeans are to learn during the day. Zab proposed the group build a crowdsourcing service quality ratings of the Matatus – the local buses - basically a chat in which people can rate Matatus and report incidents of reckless driving, sexist drivers, or other dangers and annoyances.

Before the actual coding starts, there is some need for discussion in this group as well: Which problems do occur, which routes are the worst, who has which experiences, and how can the problems actually be tackled? Instead of organizing a round table with government, union and citizens, the group starts searching the web for similar apps – and actually find two that do pretty much exactly what MatatuChat had aspired to do: Nduru App and Ma3Route. After some more research, it turned out that the developers of both are located in the same building as iHub, and when invited to contribute to the session, they actually agreed and joined in. Serendipity rocks!

After that, the aim of the group somewhat changed, as now data was less of an issue than visualization. By the end of the hackathon, Nduru App and MatatuViz had agreed to collaborate to visualize the existing data in a better way and keep on making both better.

URL shortener

Phil, Neville and Beverlyn hack a URL shortener written in PHP with a JavaScript frontend, not just as a tool, but also for brand recognition. They are a very focused group, and only after the Hackathon does Phil ask us to check out the Ugandan hacker scene for him, so he can decide whether he may want to go and work there for a while. This is exactly what we had hoped for! Yay!


Another really great and more seriously needed app that got worked on was PingApp. After the Westgate siege, the Ushahidi team had gotten together to talk about what this meant to them and what they could contribute to make the situation better. Ping is a binary, multichannel check-in tool for groups. It’s an easy way for small groups, families and companies to quickly check in with each other.  The basic idea is probably best described by this great #AHT13 Nairobi Hackathon Design: PingApp


You can also find PingApp on GitHub - it’s all open-source, please feel free to work on it! We are happy that we could contribute to making terrible situations a little easier for people. Also, it was really great to see a Designer from Nigeria working on this project next to a Frontend Developer from Switzerland next to a Designer from Poland next to a Developer from Britain who currently lives in Kenya!

Here are @udezekene @gr2m @bytebandit and Alex hacking on the new Ping app for group checkins for emergencies #AHT13

— Erik Hersman (@whiteafrican) September 27, 2013



Later that night, the first meeting of the Nairobi.js usergroup is held – Thanks for taking ownership of that, Vicky!


We have gotten really helpful and mostly positive feedback from the attendees – Thanks again to them! We will properly evaluate and publish it at a later date – we’re kind of busy at the moment, so please bear with us. Right now, we would like to highlight just a few points: Nairobi hackers wants more barcamps and hackathons, and they are prepared to organize them. And we have made lots of connections which will turn into a network of African and European hackers – watch out for EuroHackTrip!






Do that more often

The first week lies behind us, and we are really overwhelmed what a success the barcamp and hackathon has been. One thing we saw in the participants’ feedback is that they liked the format and that they want us to do such events more often.

Asking for this is a great compliment and a good indicator that we did everything right. But as we from the AfricaHackTrip are seeing our goal in establishing connections between Africa and Europe, we encourage the local community to do those events on their own.

So here is our call: Organize barcamps and hackathons, build user groups and exchange experience. We would love to see that!

What a Week

It’s been only a week since most of us Hack Trippers arrived in Africa. We’re just done with chapter one out of four but our impressions and experiences are already enough for a whole trip.

We started organizing our events right away, checking out iHub and discussing details of the concept and schedule. Getting some feedback on our ideas from people like Alex from Mozilla also led to our first interviews. We found the iHub to be a really cool place to work and meet people and everybody was really supportive and made us feel very welcome.

The events were a huge success. I think all of us share the feeling that things worked out even better than we dared to hope when we started the project. There was this moment when everybody was asked to introduce them and name a few “tags” that describe their interests best and we realized that we really were a big group of hackers – Africans and Europeans – passionate about the same things. Sweet!

I enjoyed the Barcamp a lot because in every session the participants instantly started talking, discussing and exchanging views and ideas. I didn’t feel any gap between cultures, just talking technology and design, no matter what level of expertise. We were hoping that this trip could also help connecting African communities more and this definitely happens. For example in the session “JavaScript for App Development” a fine group of passionate developers gathered of which most didn’t know each other before and as a result the user group Nairobi.js will be started!

On the Hackathon the next day many people from the Barcamp showed up again and everybody obviously enjoyed working together. Some really cool projects got started or were even finished.

The feedback for our events made us really happy and showed us that we are doing it right. Many participants pointed out that they enjoyed the collaboration and asked for more events of that kind. The approach of self-organized community events doesn’t seem to be so common here and we hope that members of the community step up and continue this exchange. It feels so rewarding that our format is greeted with so much enthusiasm.

Connecting through the events is actually happening. We are sharing Twitter handles and email addresses to keep in touch and continue working on the projects we started. We visited impressing initiatives like the Nairobi Dev School which is providing a full-time web development class completely run by the community that will also soon start an OpenTechSchool chapter in Nairobi!

Oh, and we climbed a volcano and some of us saw giraffes in the wild.

One thing is for sure: There’s developers and designers with the same skills and attitude like us. We call them hackers. We found them. We even have the first Africans actually talking about a EuroHackTrip and planning from both sides already began. This is amazing! Our wildest hopes might actually become true!

Nairobi hacks and designs together

It’s hackathon time here in Nairobi!
After the Barcamp yesterday today it’s time to get our hands on some code and designs. Hackathons are probably the best way to learn and experiment together.
9 teams of about 5 designers and deveoplers  are working  on a range of exciting projects:

  • PingApp: a binary, multichannel check-in tool for groups.It’s an easy way for small groups, families and companies to quickly check in with each other.
  • Vipy: a local social network for Kenya
  • Hardware Hacking – Arduino + Rasberry PI
  • Matatu:  crowdsourcing service quality ratings of the Matatus – the local buses.
  • URL shortener: a URL shortener written in PHP with a JavaScript frontend
  • TweetMiner: Twitter scarping and data analyzing tool of user specifc tweets
  • Doze Poa: THE Kiswahili Slang phrasebook app
  • Nairobi.js: later there is the Nairobi JavaScript UserGroup meetup

You should follow  #aht13 on twitter and our log for realtime updates. Later this evening we will have a presentation of the results.

And again many thanks and high-fives to GitHub for providing us all with delicous food and drinks… and of course for making collaboration on code so easy!


AHT Barcamp Nairobi

AfricaHackTrip Barcamp Nairobi is on

Currently our first event is taking place at iHub with about 50 participants.
To get an idea of the topics that are discussed, here is an excerpt from the session board:

Follow our tumblelog for photos and quick updates.