Afriscout – a revolutionary phone application for pastoralists to find pasture and water using the power of satellite and mobile technology has been launched by Project Concern International (PCI).
Afriscout ,was created in collaboration with Google.org, uses community defined, custom grazing maps overlaid with satellite vegetation data that is continuously updated and accessed via mobile phone.
Afriscout was launched in Kajiado and will be Implemented in three countries: Kenya, Ethiopia, and Tanzania, the maps have proven to be highly useful for pastoralists reducing mortality for herds by half, saving time in search of pasture, as well as improving collective pasture management.
“The value of this innovation is derived not simply from technology, but from working with local pastoralists to fuse indigenous knowledge with technology to create better and more effective migration decisions,” remarked Carrie Hessler-Radelet, President & CEO of PCI, during the launch. “We are putting the tools pastoralists need in their own hands to make their own decisions.”
The mobile app-based service will be provided to pastoral households for a six-month no-cost trial period, after which they will have the option to sign up for yearly subscription at a nominal fee. Since October 2017, the mobile application has registered over 1,600 users with approximately 100 new users each week.
With the support of Google.org and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), PCI – a non-profit organization based in San Diego, CA. USA – has been developing and testing the prototypes of the technology since 2013.
The event was graced by the the Pastoralists, government representatives, donors and representatives from the other two AfriScout countries who expressed their appreciation to PCI and Google whose support had made this innovation possible .