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World famous rapper and former child soldier <a href="http://www.emmanueljal.org/">Emmanuel Jal</a> performed and spoke about his moving life story and charity work on 10th October at <a href="http://www.africagathering.org">Africa Gathering</a> in London. His impassioned account was the finale of a two-day event which featured many speakers discussing communications and technology initiatives in Africa.</p>
<p>Jal highlighted his campaign to build a school in Southern Sudan, one initiative of <a href="http://www.gua-africa.org/">Gua Africa</a> Gua means peace in the local Nuer language) – an organisation he founded to help overcome the effects of war and poverty. Other inspirational presentations included Kevin Allen speaking about his journey from Merseyside to South Africa to feed fruit to AIDS orphans, earning him the moniker ‘Bananaman’. Allen was handed a prize worth £5,000 (including cash and advice) by Africa Gathering’s organisers to continue his work.</p>
<p>The popular event on 9-10 October was the second conference organised by Africa Gathering – a forum to share ideas for positive change – and more gatherings are planned for next year, including five in Africa.</p>
<p>Presentations at October’s event included:</p>
<li>Ken Banks, of <a href="http://www.frontlinesms.com/">FrontlineSMS</a>, on his pioneering software which enables group messages to be sent between mobile phones and computers without access to the internet. The system is used to assist grassroots organisations in developing countries, including election monitors in Nigeria.</li>
<li>Nick Short and Andrew Hagner, of the <a href="http://www.rvc.ac.uk/">Royal Veterinary College</a>, and Niall Winters, of the <a href="http://www.lkl.ac.uk/cms/">London Knowledge Lab</a>, on using mobile phones to monitor cattle disease in Zanzibar.</li>
<li><a href="http://www.bananaappeal.org.uk/aboutus/default.asp?Content_ID=30">Kevin Allen</a>, aka ‘Bananaman’, on his mission to provide one million school meals for children in Zululand, South Africa.</li>
Click on the headings below to listen to edited versions of the presentations, in-depth interviews, and a 10-minute conference roundup.
<p>The podcasts were produced by Alexandra Jacobs, Neal MacInnes and Becky Wild, of OpenAir, Peter Goodwin, of <a href="http://www.audiomedica.com/">AudioMedica</a>, and Guy Collender, of LIDC.