Difference between revisions of "ICow"

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[[File: ICow-logo-African-Innovation.jpg | thumb | right | 250px | iCow. Logo retrieved from icow.co.ke, October 2019]]
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{{Infobox company
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| name = iCow
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| logo = [[File: ICow-logo-African-Innovation.jpg | thumb | centre | 250px | iCow. Logo retrieved from icow.co.ke, October 2019]]
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| type =
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| founder = [[Su Kahumbu Stephanou]]
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| area_served =
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| key_people =
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| industry = [[Agriculture]]
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| services =
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| aum =
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| num_employees =
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| divisions =
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| homepage = {{URL|http://www.icow.co.ke/}}
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| foundation = {{start date and age|2011}}
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| location_city = Nairobi
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| location_country = Kenya
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| locations =
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}}
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<span style="font-size:88%">''Editor: [https://www.linkedin.com/in/charissa-cassels/ Charissa Cassels]''</span>
 
<span style="font-size:88%">''Editor: [https://www.linkedin.com/in/charissa-cassels/ Charissa Cassels]''</span>

Latest revision as of 11:56, 30 November 2019

iCow
IndustryAgriculture
Founded2011; 8 years ago (2011)
FounderSu Kahumbu Stephanou
Headquarters
Nairobi
,
Kenya
Websitewww.icow.co.ke


Editor: Charissa Cassels

iCow is a mobile agricultural app that connects farmers to agricultural practices that they would otherwise not have access to.[1] It is simple, cost-effective and in real-time, with the aim of upscaling animal farmers in East Africa by sending them three SMS’s a week. It is an SMS and voice-based app with each SMS costing 10 Kenyan shillings.[2]

The app uses videos to share agricultural practices on animal and crop production[3] and is available in Kenya and Tanzania in English and Kiswahili and in Ethiopia where it is available in Oromiffo, Amharic, and Tigringnia. It is a connecting platform between farmers and input providers, agricultural financial service providers, veterinary experts, agricultural extension service providers, NGO’s and the government in the agricultural ecosystem.

Su Kahumbu Stephanou, CEO of Green Dreams Ltd, invented iCow in October 2010. iCow is an enterprise of Green Dreams TECH Ltd. Stephanou is a Ted Global Fellow, an advisory board member for Changing Course in Global Agriculture, and the agricultural governor of the Mpesa Foundation Academy.[4]

iCow provides farmers access to vets and artificial inseminator agents, information about animal nutrition levels, keeping milk records, the cost of milk production, how to prevent milk-related diseases, Heifer and calf care, calf illnesses, and diseases, tracking cows’ estrous stages and gestation.[5] iCow creates awareness for farmers who are infected by zoonotic diseases. These are said to cause 2.2 million deaths per year while 2.4 million people are infected.[6]

History

iCow’s soft launch took place on 23 June 2011, in the Serena Hotel, Nairobi. At this stage, the cow calendar had progressed, including an ‘expert search’ feature. The app was specifically invented for the feature phone as research has shown that this is the phone most Africans possess. It can be accessed by calling a toll-based number.[7] The app requires farmers to register individual cows onto the app, thereafter they will receive reminders of the best daily cow practices and actions that can increase productivity and income.[8]

The aim of the app is to attempt to secure Africa's food production. When farmers are able to adequately monitor a cow during its pregnancy, it reduces the risk of illness or death at birthing and increases the chances of a healthy calf and productive mother cow. iCow avails modern techniques and technological solutions to small-scale farmers.[9]

Between 2011 and 2012, the iCow team worked in two units; customer care, and tech. Customer care marketed iCow but also engaged with new users to discover how to improve the app. This resulted in the creation of the virtual market place, iCow Soko.[10]

iCow Soko was created for farmers to be aware of where they could sell livestock or products. It enables farmers to post notices of animals that are for sale, improving visibility and accessibility, and allowing the farmers to find the closest buyer or seller. Farmers can alert the system immediately when there is a disease outbreak, allowing for quicker response time. The government and agricultural industry members have used the app to advertise agricultural field days and, exhibitions, and to offer financial services.[11]

iCow 1.0 was launched in the Brookside Livestock Breeders Show on 26 June 2012 by Mr. Bob Collymore, CEO of Safaricom Ltd.

On 18 October 2015, iCow 2.0 was released. This was supported by Accenture Switzerland and placed iCow as a solution to smallholder farmers on the continent. The platform was implemented in Tanzania and Ethiopia in 2016.

The iCow Global App allows you to co-farm with farmers that are registered on the iCow Global service. It provides information relating to the best dairy farming practices, including various poultry practices, lessons on sustainable soil practices and lessons on the effects of climate change.[12] iCow Global was launched to create a platform where willing donors are able to buy a year’s worth of messages for farmers. The annual subscription costs $15.[13]

iCow research data since 2011 has indicated that farmers using iCow are able to improve their yields and incomes within three months.

Investments

Stephanou invested the winnings received from iCow coming first in the Apps4Africa competition on 6 October 2010 [14] in order to develop a prototype and secured additional grant funding in order to set up her team, systems, and processes.[15]

The Indigo Trust, a UK-based grant-making foundation,[16] awarded iCow grants from 2011-2013. For these three years, Indigo Trust was the sole funder of iCow, investing £87,782 in the app.[17]

Safaricom, Kenya’s largest mobile operator, signed a deal with iCow which was launched in 2013.

Elea Foundation for Ethics in Globalisation and Accenture Switzerland[18] joined the team as equity investors enabling growth and the possibility of being globally recognised.[19]

Awards

Apps4Africa is an East African regional competition, designed to showcase local developers’ talent while emphasising the impact mobile technology can have on solving Africa’s problems.[20]

iCow came first in the first Apps4Africa competition in 2010.

In 2012, iCow won the Vision 2030 ICT Innovation Award for Agriculture in Kenya and was a finalist in the same year for the Innovation Prize for Africa.[21]

References

  1. farmer centric mobile app - CTA. Retrieved 23 September 2019.
  2. iCow is Helping Kids in Africa Avoid Life-Damaging Nutritional Stunting Using SMS - Forbes. Retrieved 23 September 2019.
  3. up Kenya online services for one million more farmers - ITWeb Africa. Retrieved 23 September 2019.
  4. Kahumbu - TED. Retrieved 23 September 2019.
  5. ICOW - Disrupting Africa The rise and rise of African innovation. Retrieved 27 September 2019.
  6. How iCow Is Helping Kids In Africa Avoid Life-Damaging Nutritional Stunting Using SMS - Forbes. Retrieved 27 September 2019.
  7. iCow: The Virtual Mobile Midwife for Cows - National Geographic. Retrieved 23 September 2019.
  8. Best African Mobile Apps: iCow - Forbes. Retrieved 23 September 2019.
  9. iCow: The Virtual Mobile Midwife for Cows - National Geographic. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
  10. Genius: Fellows Friday with Su Kahumbu - TED Blog. Retrieved 23 September 2019.
  11. Genius: Fellows Friday with Su Kahumbu - TED Blog. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
  12. - iCow Global. Retrieved 23 September 2019.
  13. iCow Is Helping Kids In Africa Avoid Life-Damaging Nutritional Stunting Using SMS - Forbes. Retrieved 27 September 2019.
  14. - U.S. Department of State. Retrieved 17 October 2019.
  15. Su Kahumbu, the Kenyan agriculturalist helping farmers keep their herds healthy - TED Fellows. Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  16. Us - Indigo Trust. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
  17. Story: How iCow scaled and scaled - Inside Out. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
  18. Technology Makes Farming Sexy Again - Digital Kenya Book. Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  19. Story: How iCow scaled and scaled - Inside Out. Retrieved 25 September 2019.
  20. With Kenya’s Su Kahumbu-Stephanou, Organic Farmer And Technology Entrepreneur - Ventures Africa. Retrieved 30 September 2019.
  21. With Kenya’s Su Kahumbu-Stephanou, Organic Farmer And Technology Entrepreneur - Ventures Africa. Retrieved 30 September 2019.