A Call for Solidarity: Post COVID Community-powered Solution
Help us defend Rwanda from this ravaging pandemic!
The surge in new cases of COVID in Rwanda prompted the second lockdown on January 18th as there was no other option to control the spread of the pandemic. The ministry of health figures indicates 46 % of the total cases of new infections and 60 % of COVID-related fatalities had been recorded only in the consecutive 50 days that preceded January 20, 2021.
The government of Rwanda is taking all possible measures to protect the population from the spread of the pandemic which proved to be effective in slowing down new infections. This, however, has stifled economic activity forcing Rwanda into its first recession in 27 years. Furthermore, the closure of schools is likely to lead to substantial learning losses, especially among girls and the poor. Currently, the lockdown restrictions are being gradually eased but the risk of another wave of infections still hangs in the air.
When systematically applied, contact tracing will break the chains of transmission and is thus an essential public health tool for controlling infectious disease outbreaks. Effective contact tracing is pivotal for containment strategies during the de-escalation of lockdown measures. Fast and efficient contact tracing has proven to be a critical component in the response to this pandemic by enabling quick access to larger numbers of contacts in a shorter time period and assist coordination among front-line workers.
In many countries around the world, Tech Startups have provided groundbreaking solutions to a number of intractable social problems by using digital technology that can reduce the cost of collecting, processing, and disseminating information. The impact of timeliness and completeness in various steps of a contact tracing is paramount in avoiding delay in the identification of contact and this has the largest impact on reducing onward transmissions. Recognizing this need, CalmGeek is offering a state-of-the-art electronic visitor management system, E-Rinde.
Using E-Rinde, visitors can check in and register their contact details and time of arrival by scanning iCard on a card scanner installed at the entrance of public places such as churches, markets, banks, schools, supermarkets, commercial or office buildings. iCard is coded with the identification details of each individual and it’s integrated with the E-Rinde app (available from Google Playstore). The technology is easily scalable as it doesn’t require any new hardware installation. For post-COVID applications, E-Rinde has built-in venue booking and event management features that help communities search local social events or book a place at a social gathering.
This endeavor has an administrative cost of approximately $12,000. Being an early-stage startup with a shoestring budget, we are counting on the help of community crowdfunding to finance this. The expenses of production and distribution of iCard have a cost of 300 Rwf ($0.3) per card. This amount is to be collected from the public upon registration.
The ideator behind this noble cause, Jeanne, is a young aspiring woman who founded the tech startup CalmGeek Ltd. in March 2020 (https://calmgeeks.com/). Jeanne graduated from the University of Rwanda in Software Engineering top of her class with honors and distinction. Also, she is one of the very few software tester experts in Rwanda with a qualification from John Hopkins University in Digital Contact Tracing on top of the certifications she earned from CISCO & The American Software Testing Qualification Board. Growing up in a rural farming village and being the first woman to attend university from her family, Jeanne has firsthand knowledge of the predicaments of rural life in Africa.
CalmGeek Ltd. is an early-stage tech startup that has decided to invest in the future by learning more about the technology needs of disadvantaged rural communities. To this end, the company has launched two fully developed digital platforms in the sectors of Health information management systems (HMIS) and Civil registration/vital statistics (CRVS). The pilot field trials for these products have successfully been completed at Kayonza District in Eastern Province.
Our core business model aims to develop profitable models for futuristic ICT products and services that extend far beyond their existing mainstream urban markets. This approach, therefore, is based on a strategic vision of inventing a market by developing products that accommodate the needs of digitally excluded communities. Basic mobile phones are still the most ubiquitous digital technology by coverage and adoption, especially in rural areas of Africa. Hence, we went the extra mile in making our digital products accessible from any basic mobile phone via USSD shortcode.
The community-led grassroots movement has always been the most effective way of finding solutions in society. Successful containment of this pandemic is critical to ensure the continuation of the impressive progress this vibrant country demonstrated in the past 3 decades. Thank You in anticipation of your decision to be part of this noble cause.
Together, We can!