See How A Photo Contest Reveals Africa's Challenges – And Opportunities

Sponsored content provided by

Photo Contest Reveals Africa's Challenges – And Opportunities

What happens when you ask an entire continent to illustrate its challenges and opportunities in photos?

ibm_101

Illustration by Sophie Butcher

That’s exactly what IBM’s newest research lab wanted to find out. IBM Research – Africa, which opened its doors last November, was created with an ambitious mission: to conduct applied and far-reaching exploratory research into the grand challenges of the African continent by delivering commercially viable innovations that impact people’s lives. Though it opened with clear objectives and an understanding of many of the infrastructural concerns across the continent, the Lab wanted a more personal understanding of the challenges.

Thus was born The World is Our Lab - Africa picture project: a three-month competition that asked participants to use cameras and smartphones to capture images that illustrate the continent’s grand challenges, city systems and examples of innovation.

Together the images create a rich collage of life across Africa  its people, systems, and infrastructure -- from the continent’s toughest realities to the most modern and inspirational. The project provides unique perspectives on the areas of water, education, transportation, energy, public safety, healthcare, mobile and entrepreneurship, all focus areas of IBM’s new lab, which will soon benefit from Watson's cognitive technologies through the $100M Project Lucy initiative.

Advertisement

Over the course of contest, more than 1,200 contributions were uploaded by 900 participants from 25 African countries ranging from Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana and South Africa to Algeria, Somalia, Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The winner was snapped by Lawrence “Shabu” Mwangi, who photographed the children playing in an Nairobi, Kenya slum. The children were using a broken TV set to pretend to be on TV, presenting the news.

A version of this story appeared on IBM's A Smarter Planet Blog on March 3.

Winning Photo:

lawrence_mwangi1
AfricaPhoto_winner

To see other winning photographs, click here:

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

An Iranian Woman Was Sentenced to Death for Killing Her Alleged Rapist. Can Activists Save Her?

Piper Kerman on Why She Dressed Like a Hitchcock Heroine for Her Prison Sentencing

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10

We Need to Talk: A Terrible Name for a Good Women’s Sports Show

Politics

Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.

Music

How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully

On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.

The U.S. Has a New Problem in Syria: The Moderate Rebels Feel Like We’ve Betrayed Them

Homeland Is Good Again! For Now, at Least.

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 1 2014 12:20 PM Don’t Expect Hong Kong’s Protests to Spread to the Mainland
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 2:16 PM Wall Street Tackles Chat Services, Shies Away From Diversity Issues 
  Life
The Eye
Oct. 1 2014 1:04 PM An Architectural Crusade Against the Tyranny of Straight Lines
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 2:08 PM We Need to Talk: Terrible Name, Good Show
  Slate Plus
Political Gabfest
Oct. 1 2014 1:53 PM Slate Superfest East How to get your tickets before anyone else.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 2:24 PM The New Interstellar Trailer Is the Most Exciting Yet
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 2:26 PM The Apple Graveyard Leave a flower for a dead Apple product.
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 1 2014 2:36 PM Climate Science Is Settled Enough The Wall Street Journal’s fresh face of climate inaction.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.