Western Union Introduces Mobile Money Transfer

First of all, I know it’s Friday, which is most people’s favorite day. We could do with some cash to go and celebrate with this coming weekend. Personally, I’ll be traveling to Mumias to watch yet another match (it never gets tiring) so anyone up for a random roadtrip, holla.

Click on the image to enlarge

Western Union has introduced mobile money transfer, where when someone sends you money from abroad, it comes straight to your M-PESA. This means you don’t have to line up at the banks to withdraw your money through the Western Union counter. You can just head to the nearest M-PESA kiosk in your estate and get your cash from there.

The receiver gets a notification on their phone that they have received X amount of money from Y person. The current rates of exchange apply. The receiver is only charged the normal M-PESA transaction service fee when withdrawing, they are not charged to receive.

The sender is however, charged the standard rates. If you are sending money, you can do it online or via a Western Union agent in their area. This service is only available for Safaricom M-PESA customers in Kenya. For the list of other countries where this is available, check out http://www.westernunion.com/mobile

This is good news to many receivers in Kenya, because it means less hassle when withdrawing money sent via Western Union: M-PESA shops are ubiquitous!

P.S.

This means M-PESA opened up their API to Western Union but they refuse to do the same for developers in Kenya citing what, security reasons?

P.P.S.

If you want to try out this service (sending money to M-PESA), you can email me for a coupon to try out your first transaction free of charge!

A Spotlight on the Ingwelets

Ingwelets are not just female supporters of the best team in Kenya (AFC Leopards), perhaps the best team in Africa and all of the world. No, they are more than female: they have passion for the team, they go to great lengths to support it, they have a concern for the community in general, and they do it all with swag(ger!)

They have a kind heart for the sad, an encouraging word for a player, a cheer for every goal, a uniform for every match, a shoe for every outfit, a dance for every outing, a warm hug for a fellow sister, a glass of wine for a long journey (e.g. to Mumias for a game), a story to bring laughter, a story to bring hope, a story to reflect upon.

Ingwelets in the background, and Ingwe totos who’ll grow up to be Ingwelets, chilling at the tent during a past event at the Railway Club.

They come from different backgrounds, grew up in different towns, went to different schools, have different accents, but are all united by the love for Ingwe (AFC Leopards) and a compassion for the community.

Apart from just appearing for matches, and in various print and electronic media in uniform as AFC fans, they also carry out Community (as opposed to corporate) Social Responsibility. It’s not just about visiting a children’s home, it’s about leaving an impact wherever you go. And Ingwelets are not easy to forget!

Ingwelets rocking the red and black ‘away’ kit during a past match

Our President is none other than a vivacious Esther Sugababe, our VP is Bern IngweFirstEleven (the name varies from time to time), and our other officials include Donnah, Rose, Gloria, Pesh, Valencia, Hanii and Mish who serve in various capacities.

If you would like to join us, do not hesitate to leave a comment below and we will get in touch with you. Exciting new activities coming up in the next few months, you do not want to miss out. This is also your chance to get yourself a branded top like mine below that I use as a profile picture on both facebook and twitter :)

My very own branded top

I love being a part of the Ingwelets! Our next roadtrip takes us to Mumias this coming weekend (21st Saturday July) for an AFC Leopards v Karuturi Sports match. Who wants to travel?

Pasha Digital Villages

Pasha Digital Villages is an initiative of the Kenya ICT Board in a bid to bring IT (digital) services closer to the people in the villages, who have often have little or no access to these services. The idea is to have centers within rural villages in Kenya where people can get Internet access, computer training, vocational training, ICT retail, access to government services, entertainment and gaming, typing and data entry, printing services, copying and scanning, cell phones and SIM card sales, Mobile Money or other financial services, IT support and services, office supplies and stationary sales, printer supplies, laminating and photography and other IT enabled services.

Users at a Pasha digital village

These centers are more of ICT hubs and less of cyber cafes. Currently, there are about 63 centers (including the 26 centers that were awarded loans to kick start them by the ICT Board recently). This accounts for 30% coverage in the country since 2011. I personally hope that in 5 years we can achieve over 95% coverage, despite the challenges of rural electrification.

One can apply for a loan to set up a Pasha digital village. The project, run through the Ministry of Information and Communication, is a blueprint to achieving Vision 2030, which recognizes that the provision of ICT goods and services in Kenya is important for enabling economic and social development.

Image from http://gdeisoftrce.wordpress.com/about/ which appears to be an example of a Pasha center.

The digital village project is an integral part of an innovative public private partnership for taking ICTs to the rural communities in Kenya. Already, the board is collaborating with CISCO and Intel and is currently in talks with Digital Opportunity Trust (DOT) to further advance the ICT skills of the Pasha Managers and increase ICT advocacy in the rural areas.

All 210 constituencies are earmarked to benefit from the initiative.

Wamathai July This Coming Saturday 14th

Wamathai Spoken Word July, a poetry, music and photography showcase, is on July 14th at The Michael Joseph Centre at Safaricom Headquarters, Waiyaki Way from 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM.

The event will be hosted by Sam Buggz and Stella Nasambu.

There will be Poetry Performances by: El Poet, Jemedari, Mwende Ngao, Kenyan Poet, Raya Wambui, Kevin Man Njoro,Achieng Odhiambo, Samo Bryton, Kavosa, Hosea Munyoro, Dwanzi, Si Ni Sisi.

Music by: Demspey and the Boys, Ndila & Moraa Onsando

Photography exhibition by: Koa

This is the perfect Saturday evening plan! See you there!

A past Wamathai event at the Michael Joseph Center.

Charges: Kshs. 300 in advance & Kshs. 400 at the gate

Buy advance tickets by sending cash via MPESA to 0704 090471 [a confirmation message will be sent to you with a ticket number once payment is received] or at the Michael Joseph Centre Reception.

Contact info: Email: hello@wamathai.com , Call: 0704 090471

The Samsung Galaxy S III Officially Launched in Kenya

This phone has been in the airwaves for a while now. Touted as the best smartphone in the market currently (of course ‘best’ here is relative), it was officially launched in Kenya last week on Thursday 5th July at a glitzy event at The Tribe Hotel.

I am still waiting to get my hands on the phone so I can test and review it, but in the meantime, please enjoy a YouTube video of the launch below:

Stalking Your Way Into A Relationship on Facebook

This article was first published on Zuqka, the pullout in Friday Nation on 6th July. I’m blogging it for those who don’t buy newspapers! It may be a little different from what was published earlier because of some editing

Image from http://heed-the-prophetess.blogspot.com

It’s hard to write this article without admitting that I have perfected the art of online stalking (the friendly kind of stalking, not the weird one, although the line is thin). Imagine there is someone you like, and you know their name so you want to friend(verb) them on facebook. Once you find their facebook profile, the first thing you do after sending a friend request is send them a message explaining how much you are in love with them and you want to stay by their side forever, and then you get surprised when they call you a weirdo and block you?

Online stalking (the friendly kind, I insist) is much like fishing, you don’t just see a fish there and rush to grab it, do you? It will slip through your fingers into the murky water below and you may never see it again. You need to find a line, hook and bait. Then you need to dangle the bait and be patient, let the fish bring itself to you!

Mutual friends are key. They are the line that connects you two. Some people will not accept friend requests unless they know you first or you have enough mutual friends in common. Find the friends that connect you, request them first, and interact with them. Alternatively, find something you two have in common, like a facebook group where you are both members, or join the groups they are members or pages or apps they use. You can also know their interests and make them yours too, at least for this period.

Now, the next part is getting the hook. This is the part where you put yourself in a position where your prey, er.. I mean your stalkee, can see you and notice you exist. Comment a lot in the groups you have in common, on mutual friends’ walls so you can even have a discussion, and get tagged a lot in the pictures of mutual friends. In short, be as visible as possible in her line of vision. This does not mean that you start loud arguments, rather be subtle but assertive, research on topics so you can come out on top of arguments or discussions on mutual friends’ walls.

It’s time to bring in the bait and dangle it. Find a post your stalkee has commented on and reply to their comment. Compliment them on whatever they are doing, if they have changed a profile picture, make sure you ‘like’ it. No need to comment on it, a like is enough because every other girl/boy will be rushing to say “woow! Looking good.” If you haven’t sent a friend request, you can send one now. However, it is possible to send someone a message without being friends first so no need to send a friend request.

Finally, you can then send that inbox. Make it something intelligent, but it should have nothing to do with how much you like the person or how good looking they are. Talk about their work, their interests, ask a question so that they have to respond with an answer. For example, if they play tennis, ask them when their next game is and if you can come watch it. If they are geeks, ask them if they have downloaded the latest series/movie and if they can burn you a copy. Find their interests and play to them.

If they respond to your inbox, that’s a step in the positive direction. If they don’t, please don’t flood their inboxes, just wait. It takes patience for the fish to bite the bait, so it will not be fast with responses either. Soon, you should offer to buy them a drink/coffee and if they say yes, then the hook has been swallowed! Happy stalking ;-)

Star Times, The New Kid On The Digital TV Block

I don’t know if you’ve seen them on billboards around yet, but Star Times is now available in Kenya. It’s pay TV, just like DSTv, where you buy a digital decoder, and pay monthly for your subscription.

Start times website screenshot

Their decoder costs about Kshs. 3,000 and can give you access to over 60 channels. Their packages are affordable, at 500 Kshs a month for the Basic package which gives you some news channels and some kids ones. They also have other packages: Classic at Kshs. 1,000, Unique at Kshs. 2,000 and Indian at Kshs. 1,000.

Star Times will be competing with DSTv and Zuku TV. Their competitive advantage is pricing, in my opinion. I don’t know how many Kenyans will take it up but if you are interested, check out their website for the channels on offer. Zuku TV is doing quite well, especially their internet, they do house connections.

In my opinion, DSTv will remain at an advantage because of Supersport and the rights for the English Premier League. Start Times has some sports channels, but the EPL is the most entertaining for many people (not me, the Kenya Premier League does it for me!). Supersport is DSTv’s strength. Everything else, you can download and watch later!