What do you think of Tandaa content grants? (15 marks)


Since 2008, the government through the ICT Board has invested more than $ 6 million in local content generation and if you count the money for software and other services, then its $114 million, as part of the World Bank fund.

Recently Tandaa awards were announced and you can read more from Techweez and in 2008, I wrote a story on the first Tandaa grants of $ 4.1 million.

What do PS Ndemo and Kukubo feel about content generation? Here is a response I got a month ago when doing research on local peering and internet cost reduction issues. I just copy pasted from the email.

From Dr. Ndemo:

Personally I am still disappointed with the speed at which we are developing local content.  By now we should be having local vernacular wikis as a strategy to preserve our cultures.  Universities are still sleeping withe several shareable research yet others cannot access such valuable information.  You cannot locate many places in Nairobi yet this is a good content proposition.  We cannot have these many opportunities with huge unemployment at the same time.  I am happy that GOK has taken lead with open data.

From Kukubo

I don’t know what the growth figures are as evidenced through bandwidth uploads, but I can suggest that  there is growing local content development.

From a user generated content perspective, Facebook would probably be a great driver. Institutional content continues to grow with open data, development of educational and health content.


I have not interpreted what it but I guess you can do it better.

Moving on……

If I remember well, part of the reasons we were excited about fiber was that it would lower latencies and better still, it would allow people to generate content and such content would be accessible to people.

Yes, Joe Mucheru of Google argued with significant force of reason that it doesnt matter if content is hosted locally or internationally, because the internet is global. Ali Husein, Kenic board member (or former) termed my post as simplistic, because the hosting business is international and Kenyan government has no business promoting local hosting companies. You can read it all in the comments section in this post and you can read another I have done on the disappointment of local hosting.

Back to the $114 million fund. I know I am simplistic but why invest all that money in content and applications then host it abroad? Yes, there are critical applications and websites that must go on the Amazon or whatever cloud because of SLAs and stuff but is this the case in all the content or majority of it.

So, is Kenya hosting that bad? Why haven’t the grants improved that? Maybe there should be a grant to help this…

For instance, today CCK launched this website, where is it hosted? You have guessed right, not in Kenya, maybe the CCK or the UPDK team could not get Safaricom, AccessKenya, Telkom Kenya or Wananchi group to host it free in their cloud. I am imagining at this rate, all that talk of big cloud content by 2015 is looking very bright.

Well, I just could not let this go….. here is a boring conclusion.  Here is the traceroute of the CCK sponsored site. Check how long it takes and the route it takes…… and we were trying to bring down latencies from 600ms…..

traceroute to www.kenyadisability.or.ke (, 64 hops max, 40 byte packets

1 (  1.184 ms  0.854 ms  0.654 ms

2 (  4.720 ms  1.476 ms  1.442 ms

3  41-139-171-69.safaricombusiness.co.ke (  890.652 ms  1033.720 ms  915.801 ms

4  41-203.209-65.safaricombusiness.co.ke (  780.050 ms  975.362 ms  686.306 ms

5  41-139-255-18.safaricombusiness.co.ke (  948.681 ms  864.720 ms  836.259 ms

6 (  889.112 ms  909.568 ms  1014.824 ms

7 (  1051.909 ms  582.662 ms  565.692 ms

8  if-12-1-3.core4.LDN-London.as6453.net (  904.593 ms  1070.709 ms  1069.041 ms

9  if-6-1504.tcore2.L78-London.as6453.net (  1190.310 ms  1078.289 ms *

10  if-20-2.tcore2.NYY-NewYork.as6453.net (  908.698 ms *  1350.263 ms

11  Vlan570.icore1.NTO-NewYork.as6453.net (  1177.123 ms Vlan569.icore1.NTO-NewYork.as6453.net (  880.283 ms Vlan582.icore1.NTO-NewYork.as6453.net (  1013.940 ms

12  pos-1-9-0-0-cr01.newyork.ny.ibone.comcast.net (  1174.197 ms *  998.332 ms

13  pos-0-5-0-0-cr01.350ecermak.il.ibone.comcast.net (  842.497 ms  864.748 ms Vlan581.icore1.NTO-NewYork.as6453.net (  1192.667 ms

14  pos-1-9-0-0-cr01.newyork.ny.ibone.comcast.net (  1387.871 ms pos-1-2-0-0-pe01.350ecermak.il.ibone.comcast.net (  1493.622 ms pos-1-9-0-0-cr01.newyork.ny.ibone.comcast.net (  1246.973 ms

15 (  1237.928 ms  1067.814 ms *

16 (  1100.651 ms * pos-1-2-0-0-pe01.350ecermak.il.ibone.comcast.net (  1349.609 ms

17  * (  1428.182 ms *

18 (  1464.183 ms *  1434.943 ms


  1. As a techie i have lost faith in the tandaa content grants due to the following reasons:
    1. The ICT board isn’t sure on the basis/ criteria of which to hand out this grants. It was supposed to be government based/ helping the community or society to some extent and focused on mobile etc. Looking at the winners this year and last year, it looks like the focus has changed and you are better of putting a product together then seek additional funding from the board.

    2. There is no feedback on the progress or succes of the grants they previously awarded which are also filled with controversy such as the first group which included a lost and found app (simply a website that was awarded $50000). They need to back their decisions mechanism with reports on the ‘success’ of those awarded.

    In short they don’t appear confident or sure on the criteria which they use to award grants, so why bother?

  2. I applied twice and said NEVER again. In the first round, the beneficiary in the agricultural apps category my project was in was an EX-3Mice lady, I knew I couldn’t win beforehand. Right now, I am sure I have made more money and impact through my project than they have (16,450 farmers on board so far!).

    Show me ONE Tandaa project that is in use in the market!

  3. I have to say Kenyan hosting sucks. I am based in SA having been in the US for 7 years. I have hosted several sites in the USA and have to say customer support in the ones I have used is superb. The other day I opened a hosting account with Safaricom (i was surprised that they don’t accept credit cards or paypal as payment, maybe they are really about Kenyan hostig). Anyway I had to get my uncle MPESA them for me to sign in. Once in their Cpanel I discovered there were various information I needed to set my site up, so I hit the support button and it opens an email box? I was like wow you mean no one on a live support? Anyway so I go ahead and write them an email explaining what I needed. This was on a Friday, so I was like maybe they’ll respond the next day (Sato), nothing came, sunday ofcourse nothing then I decided to give them the whole of Monday, still nothing. I decided to email them again. It’s been two weeks now and I haven’t heard from them. Wow. I actually shunned small hosting companies in Kenya for this one thinking they are reputable. I had paid for their corporate hosting and vowed never to use their service, they can eat that money if they want.

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