Last week, ICT Board announced Tandaa grant winners for the year 2012 at Nailab. In the process the government released Sh106.2 million to over 30 organisations and individuals in the technology industry. But since then a number of questions have been asked regarding the criteria of selecting the winners, the nature of the program itself and whether the government is doing the right thing with the Tandaa program. Somebody asked my opinion on this on Google Plus after listing the winners here and I promised to talk about it later after Bake Blog Awards.
I think it is better to first understand the background of Tandaa grants.. Tandaa according to Kenya ICT Board website, is a brand of the Kenya ICT Board that promotes the creation and distribution of locally relevant content through the Tandaa symposium and see money to ICT entrepreneurs. The funds given under Tandaa Program are part of a Sh250 million grant from the World Bank, specifically meant to drive local tech innovations. The money is from World Bank and I would believe ICT Board use it based on the guidelines given by World Bank. But that in itself does not mean full transparency and hence the numerous questions being asked specifically online.
Now that Kenya ICT Board has released the money for the round two grantees, people are perfectly in order to ask how the round one funds were used and how far are those projects. I have gone through the round one grantees and they are remarkable project but whether they money helped them to move forward is debatable at best on my view . The following is the list of the first round grantees.
- Farmer Mobile banking and mobile e-Services Transaction Platform by Media Edge Communications Ltd-
- Development and Implementation of Mobile Learning in Kenya by Kenya School of Technology Studies
- Mobile phone applications to promote events, business and social networking in Kenya by KenyaBuzz Ltd.
- Jumuika Mobile Advertising and Marketing by Jumuika Media Solutions Ltd
- Project Afya: AskaDoc.co.ke by Ask A Doc Limited
- Makutano Junction and Development of Digital Content for TV series by Mediae Company Ltd
- JAMOBI – Empowering The Jua Kali Sector Through Mobile Software by Outside The Box Africa Ltd
- Mobile phone utilities for the blind and visually impaired by Dr Peter Wagacha
- HIV and AIDS in the workplace e-Learning course by Octopus ICT Solutions Ltd
- Lost and Found Project by JBA Advertising Ltd
- EDUWEB: Education Institution Listing and Interactive Mapping Portal by Rivercross Technologies Ltd
- Kenya Online Museum by Ibid Labs
- eMazingera Software Application by BTI Millman Company
- Teacher’s Portal by Infotrack Strategic Solutions Ltd
- IVR Tax Filling Solution Foundation Support Services Ltd
Looking at the above projects critically two years down the line I wonder which of the projects can be called a success. And I think nobody should blame those wondering whether the money helped any of them to move forward. But above all, are they now making money on their own, the question of sustainability beyond the ICT Board funding. It is possible to survive for sometime because of the grants or the investors or loans but at one point you must have Customers or clients buying your products. It simple Sustainability comes hand in hand with Customers
May be we are going ahead of ourselves, the first questions should go to ICT Board. What are the Board’s expectation of the grantees? How does the Board measure the success of any of the funded projects? At this pointing time which of the above projects do they consider success and to be realistic which ones do they consider failures?
I know the Kenya ICT Board CEO Mr. Paul Kukubo indicated on his twitter page that Deloitte and Touche does audit their projects. But these are questions beyond the normal auditing procedures. Many of us know how auditing process works, and can easily pass the test in the eyes of the auditors. So what else is ICT Board doing to ensure that the money is being used for the intended purpose?
One of the most questioned project on the above list is the “Mobile phone applications to promote events, business and social networking in Kenya by KenyaBuzz Ltd” I don’t have much info on this but I am going through the KenyaBuzz project and I will talk about it later. Coming up soon is the part two of this…stay connected