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