“The African proverb, it takes a village to raise a child – remains true today as it was before migration to the cities. Whether it’s your helper, driver, eldest child, husband, sister or neighbour, au pair – our villages are critical in helping us raise our children. However, your village also needs management,” says entrepreneur Nthati Mthembu who is the founder of the app, Live Connected.
The aim of the app is to help modern day parents connect and co-ordinate their “village” in assisting them to manage their children’s schedules.
“Parents are constantly thinking and managing family logistics, working parents often find it hard to stay on top of everything. They are juggling familial duties with full-time demanding careers. Despite there being help from people around parents – staying on top of all these moving targets can be stressful,” says Mthembu who is a mother of two based in Johannesburg.
Technology and the prevalence of smartphones now make it possible to keep the ‘village’ connected and coordinated, she says.
Mthembu has over 10 years of working experience under her belt working as a programme head and key strategic consultant in the financial services arena.
As Africans we bring a unique perspective to the global stage. I believe it is that perspective that can [help] differentiate African technologies.
Mthembu shares how the app works and why there is a need for the African perspective in tech.
Q: Your app is based on the old proverb that “it takes a village to raise a child”. What are your thoughts on combining African traditions with future tech?
In the societies we live, for some us far from our biological families we have created our own “villages” and are using this extended “family” to help us raise our children. In the instance of our app it perfectly harnesses a uniquely African perspective with technology to provide a working solution for parents.
Q: How does the app work?
You start by building your family and village. Both your villagers and family members will receive an invitation to join your family and or village – this way only those approved by yourself have access to your information.
You will allocate drop off and pick ups to specific members of your family and village – during specific pick up/drop off events you can track the designated villager using our simple track functionality. This track functionality will track the cell phone of the user entrusted with caring for your child.
It is our intention going forward to enable more administrative capabilities for families with teenagers and to consider specific safety issues that remain top of mind for parents of teenagers.
It is important to note that this app does not replace the human interaction, but caters for all those who want to record their child’s every moment. Connected, like many ground-breaking digital innovations, originated from the need to creatively ease the carrying out of everyday tasks.
It’s important that parents feel that solutions created for their children address issues of protection of information and general privacy for their children
Q: What went into the development of the app?
It has been a two-year journey. The first year was mainly putting together the concept for the app and a business plan and initiating development.
In the second year we were able to make some real strides and were able to secure incubation at the Innovation Hub in their Maxum Business Incubators, raise grant funding for a “proof of concept” application and pilot a working android application with parents whose feedback has been incorporated into our release.
The app was developed with APPCHEMY developers and the user journey finalised with Think Creative HUB. The app is evolving, we are very much at the beginning of our journey with this application.
Q: Are there any challenges that are particular to creating solutions for childcare?
Safety is of paramount importance and the biggest consideration for parents. It’s important that parents feel that solutions created for their children address issues of protection of information and general privacy for their children.
Parents are also already busy in many ways – they need solutions that add value to them daily without necessarily creating more admin.
Q: What opportunities do you think tech presents for African entrepreneurs?
As Africans we bring a unique perspective to the global stage. I believe it is that perspective that can [help] differentiate African technologies. New and emerging technologies are fundamentally changing our world in ways previously unimaginable. We as Africans bring a different perspective to this stage. I believe we can positively impact African lives, create jobs and build sustainable African businesses.
Live Connected is available for download on the Google Playstore and iTunes Appstore.