"How can we use technology to help share information?" asks Peter Ihesie, who developed iPolice Nigeria, a mobile app that crowdsources information on neighborhood-level crime. With the app, users can search and locate the nearest police station, report a crime in the area, and obtain local security and crime news, as well as emergency phone numbers. With this app, Peter is hopeful that people will not only share information, but share it strategically, using his app as a central depot. Read more.
Victoria Okoye's blog
The innovative element of the LagosPhoto Festival is its emphasis on community and public accessibility. In a time and space where artistic appreciation is often a privilege few can afford, the festival brings contemporary art — in this case, photography — to the public by siting exhibitions in key community locations. This year, public spaces like Muri Okunola Park in Victoria Island, Falomo Roundabout in Ikoyi, Oworoshoki-Alapere Median, and UBA Park at the University of Lagos in Yaba are among the festival's key venues. Learn more.
In marginalized Lagos communities like Ajegunle and Oshodi, the BornTroWay Creative Arts Project is empowering and spotlighting youth art creativity. The project started in Ajegunle, considered one of Lagos' harshest slum settlements — but also a thriving place where some of the country's premier athletes and performers have grown up. For its youth participants, BornTroWay is making a difference that goes far beyond teaching them to dance, to act, to write a song or rap. Read and discuss.
In July, the Lagos State Government razed the homes, businesses, and livelihoods of more than 20,000 residents of the waterfront community of Makoko, a major slum in the megacity. The recent destruction of homes and livelihoods is not a new phenomenon in this waterfront community: Seven years ago, in April 2005, the government led a similar exercise, demolishing houses, churches, shops, and community health clinics, and displacing more than 3,000 people. The trend of these demolitions, and similar ones in Lagos State and across the country over the past few years, highlights the insecure position of land tenancy and title for residents in informal communities and slums like Makoko. Read and discuss.
Young girls in low-income, informal settlements such as Iwaya, a waterfront settlement in Lagos, must grow up fast: they are often the informal solution for their families as they struggle with the daily issues of income and infrastructure access. Such responsibilities often force these girls to forego their education to tend to the immediate needs of their households — and without an education, they remain at a distinct disadvantage for the rest of their lives. Action Health Incorporated develops educational solutions that are accessible for out-of-school adolescent girls — starting in Iwaya — to help stem this cycle of poverty. Read and discuss.
In Lagos, the systemic challenges facing urban water infrastructure affect each and everyone, from the wealthy oga in his corner office on Victoria Island to the impoverished beggar eking out his subsistence on a walkway in one of the city's slums. Fewer than 30 percent of the population has access to piped water connections of any kind, and even they must contend with erratic access; meanwhile, for those fetching water at community water points, even when water does flow, it is often anything but drinkable. In short, the shortcomings of government intervention leave a vast gap between supply and demand and have transformed water, especially potable water, into an essential commodity. Read and discuss.