SlashRoots: apps that help people – from Jamaica to Eastern Europe

slash roots jamaica mobile for development

Call centre jobs, climate change, murders and tiefing – are among Jamaica’s most pressing existential questions, jokes David Soutar of SlashRoots, the Kingston-based social impact organisation that uses technology to tackle some of those issues here and abroad.

Starting out as a still-online Caribbean developers’ community in 2010, SlashRoots’ vision is realised through what most people have in their hands: a mobile phone; and in the other hand, or not as the case may be; decent access to government services. The intersection between governance and tech is where SlashRoots has built a reputation with clients from multi-laterals like the World Bank and to design agencies like Reboot in NYC.

For when you see goats riding on the backseat

The question for every project they choose is simple: is this going to benefit the everyday citizen? My favorite is their app for the Ministry of Agriculture to help prevent predial larceny (agricultural theft). Finally, ready to be launched and available for police to use in the field, the app allows officers to verify the validity of produce and animal purchases against the Ministry’s database.

“While the new Praedial Larceny Prevention Unit continues to increase the number of persons that have been caught; an ongoing challenge has been the tools available to officers doing searches and trying to determine whether someone is legit or not,” explains Matthew McNaughton, SlashRoots Principal and Co-founder. “So now they have this on their phone and can look up information that up until this point they would have required a phone call to a farmer or police control to check.” Continue reading

Social Media

‘Your workshop got my social media career started’

Stuart Smellie Digita Global Marketing

Stuart Smellie

Stuart Smellie is Senior Social Media Manager and Trainer at Digita Global Marketing. Stuart attended one of my social media strategy workshops at the Caribbean Institute of Media and Communication. Contact CARIMAC/UWI to register for the next one on June 22.

Before your workshop my only with social media was pretty much my personal Facebook and Twitter as well as a catering and photography company. While I had a like for social I was nowhere near professional but when I attended your workshop I got a completely different level of exposure.

You didn’t go too far down the rabbit hole but rather you got me thinking about social media in a way that it hadn’t been before. After learning about strategy and how to think through entire campaigns, learning about what works versus what doesn’t I was able to think about it a more structured and professional way. Continue reading

Social Good

Job opportunity: U-Report Jamaica social messaging tool

u-report unicef jamaica

For the past couple months I’ve been supporting the UNICEF Jamaica team preparing for the for the Jamaican launch of U-Report, which is UNICEF’s social messaging tool. In a nutshell, it allows us to send weekly polls/message pushes to an audience of U-Reporter via their favorite messaging platforms: Facebook Messenger, Telegram, Twitter and (free) SMS. For more info and to apply for the project coordinator position, visit the UNICEF Jamaica blog here.

Social Media

What you’ll learn at my CARIMAC social media strategy workshop

carimac ross sheil winning social media strategies

Together with CARIMAC/UWI this is our third year hosting the ‘Creating Winning Social Media Strategies Workshop’. By coming you’ll learn how to get more support for social media at work – by giving you the structure you need to drive results and integrate within your organisation.

  • Kingston, Mona Campus: June 21-22
  • Montego Bay, Western Campus: July 19-20

We’ll look at what’s happening around the world, but more importantly what works well in Jamaica and citing actual examples and best practice. We’ll of course examine how customer behavior is changing, the need to be social first and what that means for you whether you’re a brand, government or non-profit.

Practical exercises will play a big part – you’ll work in teams representing a particular organization – and at the end of the two days you’ll have to compete with the other groups by presenting your strategy. Continue reading