No internet: Farmers can now access the market through mobile solutions

For long, farmers in East Africa, particularly in Somaliland, faced challenges in getting their produces to the market at a possible price. Additionally, they faced delays in accessing finances timely and affordable matters? How is that true when we are living in the age of Smart technology?
For the past decades and since the decline of Somali’s central government, the only marketing model followed by our farmers was to deal with a middle man, who greatly exploited between the farmers and the market. In this process, the farmers sold their precious produces at a cheaper price to a middle man who then sells at a more profitable price. This left farmers frustrated and quite often discouraged to continue the practice of farming and many times their corps got rotten at the farm.
When we realise these problems, Shaqodoon’s technology for development (T4D) department with support from Spark (a Dutch development company), designed a mobile-based market information system to deal with farmer’s market engagement challenges. The new system  needs no internet. How is this possible with no regular internet connection? It is a simple, mobile solution that negates the need for an internet connection. This is now allowing the farmers to direct and lead their own futures.  The new mobile-based MIS address the following:
  • Provide information to Somali farmers to get a fair price for their produce
  • Diversification of farm produces to reduce exaggeration of the market.
  • Reduce the exploitation of middle man
  • Linking the farmers directly to sellers (market) in an innovative way.
How it works
The market information system or the farmer’s application has two sections, a voice or mobile based section connected to three digit short code, like 315, and web-enabled section administered by operators (Campany, Ministry of agriculture, etc).
The shortcode is a user-friendly telephone number primarily meant for following types of users;
  • Farmers: connecting  to the market information
  • Buyers: connecting  to farmers
  • Price tellers: to update the price of items every day
  • Agricultural product companies: connected to farmers to sell seeds
  • Agricultural experts: give advice to farmers
  • Operators: company that facilitates selling between farmers and buyers
  • Ministry of agriculture:  getting agricultural data for  reporting and planning issues
Calling the shortcode, it gives different options not only to farmers but also to buyers who are looking for information about farmer’s produces. The voice-based system enables farmers to listen to daily prices of their products as buyers would do. Most importantly, without moving to the nearest town, at their farms, the farmers can sell their produces through their mobiles by calling the short code for free at the moments. It was great to gain support from Telesom company, a leading telecommunication company to sponsor the system for two years and let the farmers enjoy the process. Additionally,  the system connects farmers to agricultural companies and experts for tools and advice respectively. On the other hand, buyers can buy farmers products by calling the short code and back-end web Operator Company will facilitate the delivery of goods. Furthermore, the ministry of agricultural development in Somaliland has some levels of access to know more about what type of crops are farmers planting this and the next season which helps them develop a greater understanding of farmers needs in country agricultural development planning.
The mobile/voice-based market information system is now called M-Dalag( Mobile Dalag, Dalag means crop). It was launched last year (2018) November during the commencement of global entrepreneurship week. Since then is accessed by more than 40 farmers and will expand to the rest of Somalia in the coming years to serve the farmers.
The minister of agricultural development on the launching of M-dalag, Nov, 13, 2018
Farmer at the commencement of M-dalag

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Hargabits Course one graduation (Get connected)

 

Hargeisa (Somaliland), 18th April 2019, Hargabits digital academy holds celebration graduation for this year’s student after finishing the first course, GET CONNECTED, part of the series courses that students should undertake to qualify for the certificate programs offered by the school. “We are happy to announce that this year’s batch finalized the first course, a foundational course that equips them with basic IT skills,” Says former Hargabits manager, Khadra Ali.

The first course, GET CONNECTED, lasts 8 weeks and teaches fundamentals and in that time students are graded on projects, assignments, attendance and general good behaviour. The best are moved on to the more rigorous second track for 22 weeks. From the second course, they all move to specialization.

Before Hargabits, 17-year old Rahma, says she could not turn on a computer. “ Before Hargabits, I loved ICT but never had the chance to touch a computer or learn how to with computer”-Rahma

At its last graduation ceremony, over 80% graduates were offered immediate decent employment and 10% started their own jobs and are currently making good progress in their careers.

Hargabits is an initiative of the Work in Progress Alliance, a consortium of organisations such as Oxfam Novib and Butterfly Works, a social and design innovations studio in the Netherlands. The digital school is locally partnered and managed by Shaqodoon organization, a vibrant growing NGO based on Somalia transforming the lives of youth through technology, entrepreneurship and innovation.

Since its beginning, Hargabits trained more than 126 students mainly from Hargeisa, Somaliland mainly who cannot afford to further their university education. Now, Shaqodoon organization has to endure to be instrumental to the success and sustainability of this initiative.

 

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Celeberating Hargabits Batch two achievement

Today we celebrated the achievement of HargaBits academy batch two,  the completion of the first two courses ( Get connected and Digital garage) . The Hargabits Academy uses ICT multimedia creatively to improve the lives of less privileged youth from the non-formal settlement co-founded by Shaqodoon Organization in partnership with Oxfam Novib and Butterfly Work in July 2016. Hargabits is established in sole purpose of reducing unemployment particularly less privileged youth in Somaliland especially in Hargeisa.

The graduation saw 64 students, majority being girls. The students are now equipped and empowered with diplomas. The students now have ambitions to excel in life and feel the confidence to work out there. At the graduation, they have proved to have the necessary skills and feel that it is now the right time to take their lives to the next level.

Congratulations again to the students, to the staff that mentored them and parents who made their day. Stay updated at our Facebook  and Twitter Hashtags #WeAreBits

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The Global Entrepreneurship Week: Get a significant boost in 2018

Over the years, the GEW has become the premium gathering that unites communities of entrepreneurs to learn together, collaborate, connect and celebrate the power of the entrepreneurial spirit. This year, the GEW more local partners with variety of activities taking place in our country this year, 2018.

The GEW in our country has now received a significant boost in supporting entrepreneurship development, thanks to Spark and other sponsors who supported us during the week. This commitment is spearheaded by Shaqodoon, a local organization supporting youth entrepreneurs and  has been working tirelessly with all stakeholders to achieve the GEW mandate.

This year we are going to celebrate the following activities

12 Nov, 2018- Launching of the first entrepreneurship and innovation hub in the country “HarHub

13 Nov, 2018– Launching the first mobile based MIS system to connect farmers to the market

14 Nov, 2018– Business and start-up competition, Hargeisa

15 Nov, 2018– Connecting young entrepreneurs to the ecosystem, Start-up Grind

18 Nov, 2018-Business and start-up competition, Mogadishu

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