The Best ICT Platforms that Promotes Agribusiness in Kenya

learnerscoach agriculture

The use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in agriculture particularly in Kenya is widely regarded as an important factor that can disrupt and change the sector to make it more climate smart and to help feeding the world in the next decades. Agriculture is an essential sector to the economy of Kenya and holds a big potential for feeding its population, income and employment as well as export opportunities.

Kenyans are famous ICT platform innovators.The emerging trend in Kenya has shown that well educated and skilful youth are turning to agriculture to earn a living.This has prompted us to cross check the available technologies that support them in this endeavor

1. iCow

icow learnersiCow is a comprehensive solution for farmers designed not only to support them with livestock and crop production but also to connect farmers to the vital players in their agricultural ecosystem.

These include input providers, agricultural financial service providers, veterinary experts, agricultural extension service providers, NGO’s, Govt and more!

They provide farmers with SMS messages loaded with great information on the best practices on how to improve what they are doing. They also have cool tools that farmers can use to help them reduce their farming risks. The system they use has a menu through which farmers can select whatever they require from wherever they are 24/7!

Farmers using iCow increase milk productivity, incomes, poultry, eggs, crops, soil fertility as well as reduce livestock mortality. In addition they share their iCow messages and teach their farmer groups and communities! But best of all, they increase their overall farming knowledge and find farming less risky!

It is designed for the most basic feature phones and is available in differerent languages depending on the county of deployment. In Kenya and Tanzania it is available in English and Kiswahili, in Ethiopia in Oromiffo, Amharic and Tigringnia.

Check their site for more information: https://icow.co.ke/

2. M-Farm

mfarm learnersM-Farm is a transparency tool for Kenyan farmers where they simply SMS the number 3555 to get information pertaining to the retail price of their products, buy their farm inputs directly from manufacturers at favorable prices, and find buyers for their produce.
M-Farm gives farmers up-to-date market information link farmers to buyers through our marketplace and current agri-trends.

M-Farm Services on SMS:

How it works: M-Farm offers smallholder farmer with three services: price information, collective crop selling, and collective input buying. They are currently collecting wholesale market price information on 42 crops in five markets in Kenya. Pricing information is collected daily through independent data collectors using geocoding to ensure that the prices are being collected from wholesale traders actually located in each market.

Get M-Farm App on Android:

How it works: Power up you samsung android mobile device. Proceed to your samsung store app. Hit categories and go to Utility Category. Search for ‘mfarm’ under that category.

Their application is free So just hit Download and get real time crop prices from M-Farm. They have a selection of 42 crops to start and prices from 5 Major Towns in Kenya. The application delivers the latest prices for over the past 5 days of the week. The prices are collected from Monday to Saturday. Download and start making deals based on current market prices no matter based on the nearest market we are reporting from.

Availability

  • Publicly available: yes
  • Countries where available: Worldwide
  • Price range (USD): Free
  • Available online: yes

Check their site for more information: https://www.mfarm.co.ke

3. Mkulima Young

Mkulima Young (MY) or “Young Farmer” in English, is a successful agricultural online platform in Kenya and East Africa, with over 130,000 social media followers and around 20,000 registered users. The MY platform provides digital agricultural marketing and advisory services to small-scale farmers and links consumers interested in supporting local farmers. It aims to attract young people back into the business of farming, by improving their earning potential.

mkulima young learners

Since Mkulima Young started featuring champion farmers, an appreciable change in young people’s attitudes towards agriculture has been noticed. By having Mkulima Young Champions who are educated and young, the attitude of the youth towards agriculture has changed: from viewing it as an activity for the old, to a profession where they can accrue millions of shillings. Notably, it is not only the jobless who are turning to farming, and the initiative is about far more than publicity. Using radio, SMS and social media, young Kenyans are engaged to discuss agricultural topics and listeners to radio programmes can give feedback online, helping to shape the content and making it more relevant.

Check their site for more information: https://www.mkulimayoung.com/

4. RATIN

The Regional Agricultural Trade Intelligence Network (RATIN)ratin learners is a web-based Regional Market Information System developed and hosted by the Eastern Africa Grain Council. RATIN has been operational since 2004 and was developed to help reduce information asymmetry in the markets with an aim of making the grain sub-sector more transparent in terms of supply and demand. Provision of timely and relevant market data leads to reduced market risk for farmers, traders, and consumers, and enhances price stability leading to better food security outcomes in the region. In addition, RATIN provides policy and trade advisory in regards to food balance in the region for main grain staples.

Currently, RATIN collects market information from 43 markets and 18 border points in the Eastern and Southern Africa and we work with partners to analyze trade data from additional 32 trade corridors in the Greater Horn of Africa. The data is collected daily by monitors using a customized application into a database for record, verification, and dissemination. The morning wholesale and retail prices are published on www.ratin.net site by 11:00 am whereas, informal cross border trade volumes are published by 8:30 am the following day.

Other than the website, users of RATIN can access commodity price data through a “pull” Short Message Service via a feature phone. On the website, users can subscribe to receive Grain sector related news on a daily basis and can access in-depth grain markets and trade reports christened the Grain Watch on a monthly and Quarterly basis.

Check their site for more information: http://ratin.net/

5. Shamba Shape Up

Shamba Shape Up is produced by The Mediae Company, an organisation dedicated to addressing the informational needs of East Africans through sustainable media productions that are entertaining, educative and help improve livelihoods.shamba shapeup learners

They provide practical demonstrations on improved farming practices and approaches covering a range of topics. From livestock health and agronomy to climate change adaptation. When you think of farming television, think no further than Shamba Shape Up. As the first of it’s kind in Africa, it is a “make-over” style reality show that meets the informational needs of farmers and entertains them at the same time.

They have an interactive SMS system which encourages viewers to text their names and addresses to a short code to get a leaflet on the topics covered in the show. The best part? It’s free!

Need to talk to a crop or animal expert at the touch of a button? iShamba, provides farmers with instant help to improve their farms and get better yields. iShamba is a call centre of agricultural experts where you can SMS in your questions or call in to speak to an expert for instant help. Once you sign up, you will also receive agri tips on crop and livestock, market prices and weather updates.

Lastly, they also have an online budgeting tool that can estimate how much your agribusiness will cost and how much profit you will make. With Budget Mkononi, farmers can build personalised budgets on a range of commodities at the click of a button.

Check their site for more information: https://shambashapeup.com/

Conclusion

The development of digital solutions that assists farmers and aggregators in improving their yield and income from agriculture is rising. The use of mobile technology and social media is reshaping the landscape in many sectors. For now agriculture is the least digitized sector in the world.

However, the use of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning makes it possible to recognize trends and carry out predictive analysis.

Currently, data used to understand and improve agricultural practices in Kenya is static, heterogenous and not timely which makes it difficult for farmers to apply it and improve their agricultural practices.

Feel free to add any additional digital platform you might be aware of in the comments below

How to Maximize Productivity While Working Remotely

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With the coronavirus spreading, managers should be preparing for the possibility
that their teams may have to work remotely from home. We present dynamic strategies for helping team members and individuals continue to collaborate effectively and meet deadlines.

They involve spelling out the goals and roles repeatedly as circumstances require
changes, making an extra effort to stay personally connected with people so they
don’t feel disconnected and lonely, and acquainting team members with each
other’s work environments and their constraints. We also show you how to set up a wonderful home office to support your remote work

How Teams Should Work Remotely

With the growing threat of coronavirus hitting the world full force, the
prospect of having to work from home is becoming increasingly likely for a wide
swath of workers. If that occurs, normal work patterns, modes of communication,
and team dynamics will be disrupted.

The increasing uncertainty and anxiety about the personal dangers from the epidemic and its impact on the economy will make the challenge of adjusting to these work changes even greater.

Here are some strategies that leaders can employ to ensure their teams continue
to collaborate effectively and maintain momentum in the business.

Spell Out Goals and Roles
Teams that suddenly change work patterns — particularly moving from co-located
to distributed — need to rethink how to accomplish their tasks and ensure that
everyone understands his or her role.

Clarify and re-clarify goals and roles.
The move to home-based working is a great opportunity for a team to revisit the basics in order to ensure everyone understands the team objectives, their individual roles, and how each person contributes to the outcome. Clarifying roles among the team helps people understand when they can turn to peers instead of the leader, which prevents the leader from becoming a bottleneck. This increased communication throughout the group also helps peripheral members stay engaged.

A disruptive event like coronavirus will generate new and competing tasks across
the business. As a result, leaders need to continually clarify goals at the team and
individual level to stay focused on key priorities. Watch out for an ever-expanding
list of tasks. And when you do re-prioritize goals, think carefully about who gets
the assignment and make sure the changing goals are communicated to the entire
team.

Map skills and capacity.
Most people today work on multiple teams and projects at once. In these volatile times, it is highly likely that another project that involves some of your team members will face an unexpected shock, which could affect your group’s projects. To minimize the impact, think now about where you have skills redundancy built into your team or how to access capacity from outside.

Because of the number of new tasks that arise during a crisis, many of your team
members are likely to be pulled in multiple directions. Don’t add even more stress
to your workers by expecting them to handle these tensions on their own. Make it
clear that they can count on you to help manage the claims for their time.

Changing priorities may also require you to bring new resources onto your team,
such as an operations expert to assess how the epidemic might disrupt your
supply chain or a marketing expert to figure out how to launch a new product if a
trade show gets cancelled. Unfortunately, onboarding a new team member while
everyone is working from home can make it difficult to build team cohesion and
trust. So invest the time to formally introduce new team members, focusing on
the personal and professional.

Emphasize Personal Interactions
People suddenly working from home are likely to feel disconnected and lonely,
which lowers productivity and engagement. Leaders, especially those who are not
used to managing virtual teams, may feel stressed about keeping the team on
track. Under these circumstances it is tempting to become exclusively
task-focused. To address these challenges, making time for personal interaction is
more important than ever.

Keep everyone in mind.
Inevitably, leaders have favorites on the team — people they are more likely to turn to in times of stress. Those tend to be people who are demographically like them — what researchers call homophily. Conversely, research in cognitive bias shows that some kinds of people will be “out of sight, out of mind”: women, minorities, and others who are on the periphery of a team are less likely to have access to information or resources and influence on the team leader.

To combat this tendency, make a list of the current core and extended team members with their photos and keep it in front of you while you’re working each day to help you make more conscious decisions about allocating responsibilities and information.

Schedule regular meetings.
Set times for the team to come together virtually; it is easier to cancel if the meeting isn’t needed than it is to pull together last-minute conversations without creating additional disruption. If you only meet on an ad hoc basis, you risk excluding some people who are either too busy to join or are out of sight, out of mind.

Create the virtual water cooler.
Set aside time on the agenda for personal updates, the kind of small talk you might start an in-person meeting with. This preserves the sense of camaraderie. In addition, set norms that people should regularly call one another as needed rather than wait for scheduled meetings.

Humanize communication.
Instead of relying exclusively on e-mail, which tends to limit the depth of debate, switch to richer, real-time media such as FaceTime, video conferences, web chats, or even phone calls. These forms of communication are more personal, allow team members to read one another’s emotions, and help to boost morale. They also improve decision making by more fruitfully bringing alternative voices into the conversation and allowing people to debate ideas more effectively and completely.

Normalize New Work Environments
Working from home creates new distractions and the potential for
misunderstandings. The more the members of your team know about each other’s
environment, the better they will be able to make sense of one another’s behavior.
Teams often ignore the advice to orient each other, because the idea seems hokey
or a waste of time. But the practice has a strong basis in social psychology:
Fundamental attribution error is the tendency to explain another person’s
behavior as a personality trait while discounting the impact of situational factors
(“He never speaks up, he’s uncommitted” instead of “He’s trying to stay on mute
to avoid the background noise at home”).

Take a virtual tour.
At the start of a project, encourage each person to take a few minutes to show the team his or her home workspace and share some personal context. What are the possible distractions — like barking dogs, noisy passing trucks, or kids coming home from school? The aim is to help colleagues develop an understanding of each person’s work context so they can be more sensitive to each other’s constraints.

Acknowledge non-traditional workspaces.
Michael, a millennial working in New York City, lives in an apartment with multiple roommates and doesn’t have private office space for working at home. If some of his roommates are also working remotely, he is likely to face the challenge of people walking or talking in the background during video calls. Let Michael know you appreciate his challenge and are open to discussing alternatives like flexing work hours so that calls happen when it’s quieter for him.

Keep your assumptions or stereotypes in check.
Sarah, an executive participating on a conference call, received a text message from a colleague: “Mute yourself. We can hear your baby crying.” She replied: “My baby is napping. That’s Matthew’s son you heard.” The ambiguity inherent in in having team
members working from home can lead to biased assumptions about focus and
commitment to work.

Threats like the coronavirus will create disruption. But you can use strategies to
respond effectively and continue to deliver against your business goals.
Disruption also creates opportunity. Use this time to explore new ways of working
and revisit old assumptions that will likely benefit you in the long run.

remotework learners

How to Set up a Great Home Office

Just because you don’t have a lot of space, doesn’t mean you have to work hunched over your coffee table. Here’s how to carve out a workspace when space itself is at a premium.
When most people envision working from home, they picture a well-lit, spacious home office. Your fantasy office might have a sleek desk and a high-tech ergonomic chair. Or maybe an antique oak desk and a cushy leather chair is more your style.

But when you look around your studio apartment or small, cluttered house, you quickly come to terms with reality. Is there even enough room for a real desk? How much work can you really get done on your couch? Maybe you should just work while sitting on your bed, the way you did homework in college?

The prospect of carving a home office out of a tiny living space can seem impossible. But with some creativity and resourcefulness, you can build an office space that will help you enjoy working from home even more. Here’s how to do it.

Check Out Natural Light

As you decide what part of your living space you’ll use for work, there’s one thing we want you to keep in mind first: natural light.

Without natural light, you’ll quickly feel bored, tired, or shut-in. Your brain will have a hard time tapping the energy it needs to focus. So, no matter where you decide to put your home office, make sure it has a clear view of a window. The bigger and brighter the window, the better, but work with what you’ve got.

Consider Your Needs

Now, consider what your home office will need.

For most people, a desk and a place to sit will do the trick. But how big will your desk need to be? Do you work with two large monitors regularly, or do you work from an ordinary laptop? Do you need a place to spread out lots of papers, or can you work with a single notebook?

As you think about this, make sure to separate needs from wants. Maybe you want a big, pretty monitor to work with, but a laptop will work just as well. Look for creative solutions, too. Perhaps you can hang that large monitor on the wall, so it doesn’t take up any desk space.

Identify the Right Space

With that in mind, it’s time to identify the place you’ll put your home office.

Unless you have a real need for lots of space, you truly don’t need more than a few feet. However, depending on how cramped your living situation is, you might need to rearrange some furniture to open up that office space.

Look for or create a spare corner, stretch of wall, or space under a window. Move things around as needed until you have an open space where you can fit a desk of some sort. If there’s no spare wall space, you might be able to tuck a desk up against the back of your couch instead. You could even use an extra closet as an office (but let’s be real—how many people in small living spaces have a closet to spare?).

Your office can also be in your hallway, entryway, kitchen, or even your bedroom. Anywhere with a few extra feet of space works. If you put your desk in your bedroom, try to face it away from your bed, so you won’t be thinking about naps all day long or work when you’re in bed.

Choose Your Desk and Chair

Now, you have a place to put your office. It may only be a few feet wide, but all you need is enough space for yourself and your most essential work supplies.

Next, find (or create) a desk that will fit that space. Use a tape measure to see what you have to work with. Then consider what kind of desk will work best.
Most people don’t need a full, traditional desk. You can put up shelves or buy standalone organizers to take the place of desk drawers. So, in addition to shopping for desks, consider ordinary tables. Thrift stores often have old desks and tables in many different sizes at great prices.

The chair you use is up to you—just make sure it’s comfortable enough for every day. You can also help a small home feel less cluttered by carefully choosing your desk and chair design. Styles with thin legs and clean lines, or even clear acrylic that blends in with the background, don’t add much visual noise to a room.

Get Multipurpose

If you’re still struggling to find a space in your home that will work just for work, you can create a dual-purpose space instead.

Maybe you just need to rearrange your dining table so it can easily convert into a worktable after breakfast. A few rolling drawers to keep your work supplies close at hand might do the trick.

Or maybe the new desk space you built can do double duty as a coffee nook. Just make sure you can easily pack your work stuff away when you want to use the space for relaxation.

Parting Shot

Your home office isn’t just about practicality. It should also have some fun, personal touches that make it an integral part of your home.

If you don’t need to hang shelves for storage up to the ceiling, you can hang your favorite art prints above your desk instead. Looking at them will inspire you on dull days, and they’ll make the space feel less utilitarian.

You can also stack your favorite books on your office shelf, set a couple of cute plants on your desk, or buy office supplies in your favorite colors. Do whatever it takes to make your home workspace feel like, well, home.

Creating a home office in your small living space might inspire you to find other ways to use your area more efficiently, too. But most importantly, it will provide you with a place where you can quickly get into “work mode” and get stuff done.

The Mindful Guide To Sleeping Better

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We could all use this guide to sleeping better for more sleep. Most of us are pushed to keep going, going, going to produce more, more, more. Sleep is usually portrayed as some kind of necessary evil, to be reduced to as little time as possible.

While it’s “common knowledge” that we all need eight hours of sleep a night, there are plenty of articles and programs out there that will tell you that this is a myth and you really only need four or five hours. From my personal experience, that doesn’t work so well. I need seven or eight hours, but I know others who thrive with four or five.

Over time, I’ve applied mindfulness to the process to see what kind of impact I can make on my own sleep habits. The biggest lesson I’ve learned (which applies to just about everything in life) is that one size does not fit all. Even if you find your “size,” it doesn’t continue to fit over time. Things are always changing.

With that in mind, I’m going to cover some of the contributors to a better night’s sleep as seen through a mindful eye.

HOW MUCH SLEEP DO I NEED?

While the average of the bell curve of how much “everyone” needs is around eight hours, many aren’t at the peak of that bell curve. Some need much more and some much less. Environment, age, health, and other factors play a part in how much sleep you need.

Instead of beating yourself up for not getting eight hours of blissful, uninterrupted sleep (which might be possible for about 5% of the population), experiment with what feels right for you.

Hundreds of years ago, people weren’t writing about their sleep habits so we don’t really know how long people slept for. There are theories that people went to bed when the sun went down and woke at sunrise. That’s a long time to sleep, especially in the winter.

More research has been done that shows that pre-Industrial Revolution people slept in two shifts: going to bed just after darkness fell, waking for a couple hours around midnight and making pleasant use of the time, then going back to sleep until morning.

I sleep straight through the night about three nights a year. The rest of the time, I wake up sometime between midnight and 2am. Sometimes I can fall back to sleep and other times I can’t.

Ten or fifteen years ago, I used to set my alarm for 4am soI had time to do yoga, meditate and have some alone time. After a while, that toasted me, and I couldn’t sustain it, so I went back to getting up around 6am. Lately, I’ve been voluntarily waking up a little after 4am, unable to get back to sleep. Age, hormones and who knows what have changed my natural sleep habits.

Now I’m naturally up before 5am and ready for the day. As I get older, my environment changes (I’m no longer chasing young children around and tending to babies which takes tons of energy) so my sleep patterns are adjusting. I need to be mindful of these changes and not insist on being the same all the time (which can create a lot of self-induced stress).

Listen to your body. There are no “should’s.” There’s only what’s right for you here and now. And what’s right for you now will change over time. Every now and then, check in with yourself to see if your current habits are serving you. If they’re not, change them. Experiment.

GETTING READY FOR BED

You’ve probably read about all the steps you can take to induce better sleep. But how many have you implemented into your daily sleep habits? Go through the following list and pick one new practice to implement tonight. Stick with it for at least one month to see how it works for you. Anything less won’t be long enough for you to feel an impact. Your body needs time to adjust to any changes.

After the first month, pick another practice to implement. Keep the first one you tried or drop it depending on how much it helped you.

1. Turn off all screens two hours before bedtime.

I know, I know. This one seems almost impossible for everyone. Whether it’s TV, computers, phones or whatever, everyone seems tied to a screen from the time our eyes open in the morning to the time they close at night.

Feeling that FOMO (fear of missing out) 24/7 keeps your brain wired and tired. It’s extremely unlikely that some bit of social media, email, text or whatever that will change your life will be missed if you shut off your devices a couple hours before bedtime (and while you sleep).

Take the opportunity to spend some focused, uninterrupted, quality time with your partner, kids or yourself. It will help to reduce your anxiety, depression, and general feelings of disconnection.
While most people sleep with their phone next to their bed to use it as an alarm clock or “just in case,” leave your phone out of the bedroom. Period. Charge it in your kitchen, office or living room.

2. Make your bedroom as dark and quiet as possible.

It’s not rocket science that you need dark and quiet to sleep. Turn off the TV and phone (remember step 1?) and anything else that emits sounds. Turn off all the lights. Even a little night light can mess with your sleep.

If you live in a populated area, pull the curtains or blinds to keep out light from the streets. Depending on your existing curtains or blinds, you might want to invest in room-darkening curtains that are like what you see in hotels. They have a special layer that doesn’t allow any light through.

3. Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed.

Depending on your sensitivity to these substances, you may need to cut them out sooner than some recommendations call for. Use mindfulness to notice how these things affect you.

Both are stimulants. While alcohol may help you relax initially, it converts to sugar in your body as it’s metabolized which causes you to wake up later on.
If I drink coffee after 1pm, it messes with me all night. My husband has a much higher tolerance. We’re exactly the opposite when it comes to alcohol. We both know how our bodies react to different things so, when we don’t follow what’s right for us, there’s no one to blame but ourselves.

4. Exercise during the day.

You don’t have to spend an hour at the gym or run for miles for exercise to help your sleep. Take a ten-minute walk in the middle of the day. I have a standing desk and a stationary stepper so I can “take a walk” while I’m working (that’s about the extent of my multi-tasking).
Spend some time gardening, playing with your kids or grandkids, walk to a friend’s house or coffee shop for a visit. Spend some time connecting with the people in your life who support you (without screens). This helps mind, body, and soul.

5. Have a regular bedtime.

Your body needs cues to anticipate when it’s time to shut down. Little kids thrive on this. So do adults.
Create a bedtime routine. Take a warm bath, sip some tea, meditate, journal, read a paper book. Do things you enjoy that help you relax and release the stress of the day.

If some worry is running around in your head, journal about it. Write out what you’ll do tomorrow to address it. Get it all out so it won’t keep you up at night.
To handle those thoughts that pop into your head in the middle of the night, I’ve found that a pad of paper and a pen with a blue light in it (like this one) next to the bed work wonders.

When you think of something, write it down quickly while you’re still in bed without turning on the room lights. The blue light in the pen keeps your eyes in “night vision.” You don’t have to stay awake hoping you remember your bit of wisdom until the morning (which you won’t).

6. Make your bed as comfortable as possible.

This is something I’ve spent a lot of time on. Sheets, pillows, mattresses, blankets. They’re all very important parts of the equation. You spend about a third of your life in bed, make the investment in high-quality bedding. If you don’t, you’ll be paying for it during your waking hours with pains in your back, hips, and shoulders and general crankiness because you didn’t sleep well.

Many years ago, I researched “healthy beds” and found that most mattresses are filled with toxic chemicals. Who wants to sleep face down in a bed of carcinogens?
So I invested in an organic rubber mattress and wool-filled pillows from Lifekind. At the time, this was the only option for an organic bed (that I could find). It feels like memory foam without any bounce and offers plenty of support (almost a bit too hard since I’m a side-sleeper).

I would rather have purchased an organic innerspring mattress, but couldn’t find one back then. Things have changed and a company called Saatva answered my call. They have organic innerspring mattresses that are adjustable and made in the US of high-quality materials. They’re very reasonably priced given the high quality you get.
Saatva also has pillows and sheets that are completely organic. When my pillows and sheets arrived, it was like they were gift-wrapped just for me. The sheets (all organic) are super-soft, almost like Egyptian cotton. I love curling up in them at night (or for daytime naps).

The pillows are so-very-soft yet are firm enough to support my head (as I mentioned, I’m a side-sleeper). They don’t flatten out like the other wool pillows I had (which couldn’t be re-fluffed) and don’t immediately go flat like down pillows.
Combine all that with a great down comforter (make sure you get one with the “warmth” level that’s right for you) and you’ll never want to get out of bed.
If you’re sleeping on old, flat pillows or that bargain mattress that you bought ten years ago, give yourself the gift of a better night’s sleep for years to come by investing in better bedding. You’re worth it.

Which of these ideas will you implement tonight? And which will you implement next month? Take some time to reflect on how any changes, regardless of how subtle, affect you. Keep what works and drop what doesn’t. Keep experimenting. Everyone is different and will find unique sleep times and routines that work for them. Like I said earlier, there’s no “one size fits all.” Experiment to find your size and don’t judge what does or doesn’t work. That’s mindful sleeping.

Kenyan University selected as Regional VMware IT Academy for East Africa

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VMware, Inc. an innovator in enterprise software, and Kenyan @iLabAfrica-Strathmore Universitys’ Research and Innovation Centre, today announced they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish the University as the first Regional VMware IT Academy for East Africa.

The program will assist in mobilising IT learners across East Africa helping them enter the digital workforce. In this role, @iLabAfrica-Strathmore University, plans to continue to offer VMware IT Academy training as part of its own curriculum, but will also be responsible for implementing the VMware IT Academy program across other higher educational institutions in East Africa.

This will help bolster digital skills across the continent and encourage economic prosperity linked to digital skills transfer.

Research has shown that the African continent continues to face a technical skills shortage, further highlighted by the sweeping impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on business’ ability to embrace remote working policies.

Digitalisation is expected to play a vital role in supporting the region’s post-pandemic recovery efforts, and investment in digital skills is an important element of this.

As a Regional VMware IT Academy, @iLabafrica-Strathmore University will help accelerate the delivery of VMware IT Academy training, technical skills and certifications to learners as well as learning institutions across East Africa.

“We are delighted to be selected as the first Regional VMware IT Academy in East Africa. Over the last ten months we have worked tirelessly to ensure that the members of our Faculty of IT have the right skills to support the curriculum, and are in a position to assist in empowering our youth to better embrace and accelerate their knowledge of the digital skills required to support and building modern, technology-centric businesses across the continent,” said Dr. Joseph Sevilla- Director, @iLabAfrica – Strathmore University.

“In order to facilitate our customers and partners in Africa to better gear their businesses towards being digital and cloud-first businesses, we need to equip people with the digital skills required to support this shift.

 

Source: Kenyan University selected as Regional VMware IT Academy for East Africa

Web Hosting in Kenya – HostPinnacle Review

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HostPinnacle Kenya is one of the fastest growing ICT solutions provider in the East Africa region who have handled thousands of clients worldwide. Every online business in Kenya requires a reliable web hosting provider to host their website on the internet. If you need a provider that have their servers in Kenya your business gets the advantage of local hosting and proximity which can help in faster page uploads.

Picking up or choosing the right web hosting service is an essential component of successful business these days in Kenya. Particularly if you are to employ internet for offering your services or aim to sell products online; a reliable web hosting service is a pre-requisite. Due to the importance and sensitivity involved, a lot of businesses and internet entrepreneurs feel confused when making the final decision.

Unfortunately, the information on the subject online also adds up to the confusion because each article or piece of content is tilted towards the interest of a particular service (or provider) and compromises on the consumer experience at large.

That’s why In this article, I will try to provide a comprehensive package of information about HostPinnacle Kenya, so that you make informed decision on whether to host your website with them or not.

A good web hosting service provider offers you a range of features. These are some of features you are likely to get when you host with Hostpinnacle

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1. Storage Capacity:

The first and foremost concern should be the amount of storage your service provider offers. For most small and medium web sites, you’ll find few GB of data storage as enough.

For hostpinnacle, they offer 35GB for starter package, 100 GB standard package and unlimited volume for executive package with certain conditions applied. So read the details or get in touch with support representatives to get the accurate picture. Once done, go with the plan that suits your needs.

2. Amount of Bandwidth:

This is very tricky deal as many people confuse bandwidth with storage. Storage and bandwidth go hand in hand. Technically speaking, bandwidth is the amount of cumulative data that web hosting company will let you and visitors upload or download your visitors upload and download in a given month.

Once the bandwidth limit is met, the host will charge you as per the amount of visitors or per MB consumed. Therefore you need to keep an eye on bandwidth particularly if your site hosts multimedia or allows frequent upload/download content. Hostpinnacle provides unlimited bandwidth for all its plans.

3. Email & E-Commerce Features:

Email accounts are an integral part of the web hosting plan. Many web hosts including hostpinnacle offer multiple free email accounts for your domains. You need to pre-check as how many email accounts they’ll let you set up.

Moreover, don’t forget to see their email sending/receiving interface and ability to integrate with other email programs such Gmail.For starters, number of accounts and integration with Gmail should be more important than other too much techie stuff.

Again if you are running an ecommerce website, hostpinnacle will offer some key features for free such as SSL certification, dedicated IP, and one-click shopping cart software installation . Ask your web developer to help you list down other required features you nay need.

4. Number of Domains and Subdomains:

If you are running a website that needs to have a blog, you might need a subdomain. Moreover, there is a big possibility that when your one site is successful you might need another one. It would be painful to have to manage a hosting account for each site you own. Hostpinnacle will let you host multiple domains from a single dashboard.

5. Database Management & Support for Frameworks and CMS:

There are many types of database management systems, frameworks and content management systems for websites and blogging networks. This integration and alignment with your website and hosting company’s system is provided.

Moreover, since websites need to have a backend database, hostpinnacle offers you the type of database system you’re used to and compatibility with your preferred framework and offers one-click install facility.

6. Backup & Security Services:

Cybersecurity is a key component in today’s web management. Hackers, software bugs, and hard disk failures can cause data loss from the websites. In this regards, you will be provided with a free reliable daily backup system that keeps record of your files regularly.

If your website deals with users’ data like signup and private information; you need no tot worry since you will be provided with a free SSL certificate and other security software to install. The element of security is taken very seriously.

7. Quality of Customer & Technical Support:

They say; “internet never sleeps”. So its particularly important for web hosting firms to provide excellent technical and customer support. Personally, I have found hostpinnacle to provide around the clock support. They provide an integrated customer support that includes phone calls, live chat, social media and email.

Another element is of technical support they provide without additional charges. You can try and crosscheck their quality of tech knowledge by asking some technical questions prior to opening up an account.

8. Guaranteed Uptime:

Anything that involves machinery has a probability of failure. Equipment failures, power outages or some internet blackout can result in downtime for clients’ website. If the time is greater, it requires proper compensation from the hosting company. Hostpinnacle have proper power, internet and supplies back up to guarantee 99.0% uptime.

9. Subscription Period & Money Back Guarantee:

In most of the times, users subscribe for an annual contract with web host. They sign up and keep paying annual fee after the subscription. However, in the recent times, I have seen some customers take up unreasonably long contracts. Some providers offer 5 years and longer subscription program at some discounted rates. However, don’t fall into this trap.

Never signup with a web host for more than 2 years upfront unless you receive a written money back guarantee from them. Hostpinnacle provides a 30 day money back guarantee. This will help you to avoid any financial issue if the service turns out to be substandard as you can claim your money back if the desired standards are not met.

10. Additional Features and Support:

I have already discussed some key features that hostpinnacle will offer you or should offer you. From domains to emails, security to uptime, CMS to ecommerce management capability; all of them have been listed.

However some of you might need something extra or unique that is specific to your niche. Something like forum, email list building, some news board, online store, and ecommerce setups; there are a range of features that hostpinnacle provides you but only if you need them.

Conclusion:

I am sure that the above given points will help you make the right choice when it comes to choosing hostpinnacle as the right hosting company. However, I do not advise you to stick to only this web host since the service providers and features may be different from one web host to another. Please note the fundamentals of web hosting will remain the same for all industries and market.

On your own you can do the following background check to a certain if my observations are correct;

  • Check background, history and achievement notes
  • Read authentic customer testimonials
  • Check out reviews on the rating websites.
  • Obtain information about web hosts from research companies, online forums, and listing websites.
  • Check their social media profiles. Read customer comments about them in discussions, group chats and forums.

If you think I might have missed out some point or need some detailed explanation of a particular note; please use the comment box below, send us a message, or reach us on social networks; we would love to facilitate you and provide the best information we can. I will be reviewing other web hosts with time