It’s quite impressive and promising! Youth both female and male spend most of their time busy sitting in front of their computers hacking their brains silently. When you get in, the first thing that welcomes you is the soft sounds of keyboards strokes, slow ambient music playing in the background and striking, attractive interior designs.
If you are an ICT savvy and have been to Rwanda or…have managed to attend the last ICT4Ag conference that took place in Kigali last November, you might be able to localize the place. Hey, welcome to the Silicon Valley of Rwanda, apparently the next birth place of big innovations in the smallest East African country’s ICT sector: you’ve already come to kLab.
Located in Rwanda’s capital, Kigali, somewhere in Kacyiru, kLab sits at the top of Telecom House building, 6th floor, in an open view that enables developers to work with a fresh mind, while at the same time enjoying a magnificent view of Kigali City. There’s free high-speed Internet connection. kLab is really the best hangout for developers.
Being the first-ever IT community in Rwanda, kLab is an open space where IT entrepreneurs, enthusiasts, students, engineers and designers –and any others that fall under the umbrella of ICT – meet to collaboratively support each other as well as share ideas and skills.
In operation since 2012, kLab has actively attracted many young people from various backgrounds – notably fresh high school graduates who want to acquire practical skills before heading to university, and startup owners who need guidance and experience.
And for sure, these young people are all busy developing some ICT apps that will serve effectively the rest of the community – mostly (in our case as it’s common for the whole Africa) rural communities where majority of the people depend on farming activities.
This is really the right direction for the new generation of young Rwandans where we have to hack our brains and come up with real solutions by means of new technologies to challenges we are facing.
For instance, when this morning I was exploring what this knowledge hub is bringing to us, I found out that the youth are determined to address various challenges, such as the improvement of bi-directional information sharing and communication between farmers and extension workers. Through ICT applications, how can access to finance services be easier for farmers by using an innovative tool.
Also in most cases, key areas of interest include information sharing and advisory on soil fertility, climate information, pests and disease, access to localized farming inputs, and the ability to verify counterfeit products, and many more.
There is no surprising thing to see that youth are busy working on agric related apps; given that we are an agrarian economy – with around 80% of the population depending on farming activities and yet we face a shortage of farmlands; so the innovations will surely help us to maximize yields from our tiny farmlands.
Last, but not least, I have to say that I was really amazed this morning when I was exploring some of the achievements of the kLab and I could even see some of the videos of the past reflecting what’s happening there. Among them, I came across with some videos from the last Regional Hackathon that took place in parallel with the ICT4ag – and really decided to share them with you on this blog so that you can get sight on reality there. I believe you will enjoy!
Ambiance at kLab when young developers are hacking their brains (Video from the Hackathon)
Interview with participants to ICT4ag at kLab
Interview with Co-founder ColabHive Mr Daniel at ICT4AG