Using technology to boost agricultural and related practices in sub-Saharan Africa
UNICEF Innovation Fund Graduate: ilhasoft

Written by: RedCrow Inc  @RedCrow2014

It’s been quite a journey since we founded RedCrow back in 2014. We launched RedCrow with the idea of using data science to provide people living in volatile environments with valuable information that can potentially be used to identify and prepare for potential threats. Back then the idea of using real-time data to provide insights was still relatively new — we used to do all the data mining and the analysis manually. As technology rapidly advanced, we ventured to developing an autonomous system that systematically visits online resources and detects current threats through keywords searches. This system enabled us to reduce the time to collect, analyze and provide information to our clients.

In 2017, we applied to UNICEF’s Venture Fund and received seed funding to further develop our product. Through the Fund, we are currently working on Natural Language Processing (NLP), which will be able to detect 5 Arabic dialects, identify subjects, and analyze text.

Figure 1 Data Visualization published by RedCrow.

 

What challenges did we face in the past 6 months?

Since NLP is a relatively new technology, finding resources to launch the project was a significant challenge. For example, when we first introduced the idea of the NLP, many professors from different universities and educational institutions expressed interest and support but faced challenges with the actual implementation. However, this only served to encourage our IT team to innovate, explore different technologies, and find the right talent. After some course corrections, we settled on an approach and a found a suitable NLP developer. This opened doors to collaborate with other companies and entities that were working on similar technologies. After some false starts, learned from these events and achieved our objectives.

Figure 2 Screenshot of RedCrow’s System.

Embracing Open Source:

One thing we learned from UNICEF Innovation is their global approach towards open source — that sharing your resources and adopting a community-based approach in developing a product or solving a problem is often better than working alone; that exploring and utilizing frontier technologies to build solutions together globally not only benefits the company but also contributes to the betterment of humanity.

What’s next:

We aim to grow and expand to the rest of the MENA region within the next year. We also launched an affordable version of our mobile app that will be available for individuals such as freelance journalists, and tourists. Another feature we’ve been developing is a forecasting functionality, where we will make use of historical data accumulated over the past couple of years to develop a predictive model that determines the type — and measures the likelihood — of potential threats in certain regions

 

 

 


The UNICEF Innovation Fund invests in technology start-ups from developing markets that are working on open source solutions to improve children’s lives. The Innovation Fund applies a venture capital approach to source solutions that can impact the lives of the most vulnerable children. These solutions are clustered around $100billion industries in frontier technology spaces.
Check out www.unicefinnovationfund.org for more information – including real-time data – on each investment.
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Using technology to boost agricultural and related practices in sub-Saharan Africa
UNICEF Innovation Fund Graduate: ilhasoft