ABOUT TOBONGISA
Tobongisa Technologies is a Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) based technology company whose mission is to transform the way Africa’s supply side engages with Africa’s demand side on the issues that affect the latter. We envision a prosperous, stable and democratic Africa, which results from increased supply side’s responsiveness towards demand side’s priority needs.
Citizens in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) face multiple challenges in the delivery of public and private services. These challenges emanate from a combination of intertwined factors, including inadequate human and financial resources, corruption, mismanagement, poor participatory local governance structures, and lack of collaboration from service provision entities, amongst other reasons. The challenges have affected the quality of life for stakeholders who need these services daily.

Citizens in the South-Kivu, Bagira community spent two years without electricity from 2016- 2018. Although the community informed authorities about the challenge numerous times, they remained indifferent. The result has been several challenges, including poor health service delivery, loss of livelihoods, and widening inequality gaps.

People in The South-Kivu area depend on rearing domestic animals, including sheep. The disruption in electricity affected the livelihoods of sheep shearers who had to resort to manual means. This led to several biosecurity problems such as health complications and diseases spreading between humans and sheep.

In the hospitals, patients were operated under candlelight, and some hospitals used old generators that were not fully serviced. There were numerous incidences of avoidable deaths, such as premature babies dying in hospitals due to a lack of electricity to power incubators. Sometimes, pregnant women had to travel to other regions as their due dates approached to find more reliable hospitals. Hospital admissions increased due to incidences of burns and carbon monoxide poisoning from other fuel sources.

To the amazement of the citizens, the electricity company concerned continued to charge them unfairly. Citizens tried to engage the service provider at the local government level without favourable results. They orchestrated peaceful marches to warn national and local authorities, but in vain. The indifference from these decision-makers pushed citizens to think differently.
Malangwa Tshikala, a community leader, called a meeting to identify creative ways to solve the electricity challenge. The community decided to contribute a weekly fee of one thousand eight hundred Congolese Franc (equivalent to about USD 2) per household to fix the problem. However, most citizens in the community survive on less than a dollar per day and could not contribute. The solution ultimately failed. The citizens organized another meeting and invited local CSOs. One of the coordinators suggested a technological solution to facilitate communication between the community and local government.

An android application was developed to allow community members to freely express themselves on services offered by both public and private companies. The application allows the community to share their individual experiences, engage service provision companies about any challenges and receive real-time feedback. The community named the platform "Tobongisa" Technologies, meaning "let's build."

To build the Tobongisa application, the community needed a significant sum of money. In an Ad hoc committee meeting, Derrick Rugenge working with consultancy services introduced and spoke about the I4C Africa Hub Social Innovation Challenge. Community members seized the opportunity and submitted a proposal for the 2018 Social Innovation Challenge put together by the I4C Africa Hub. Community members worked together on the Tobongisa Project, and it was a winning formula as Tobongisa was named one of the winners of the 2018 Social Innovation Challenge (SIC).

Winning the 2018 SIC came with funding of USD 10,000, mentorship, and support from the I4C Africa Hub. The ad hoc committee went on to create a civic technology company whose mission is to transform the way African citizens engage with their governments on the development of Africa. And thus, Tobongisa Technologies was born.

The vision of the ad hoc committee is more prosperous, stable for a democratic Africa and DRC through greater sensitivity of governments to the needs and priorities of Congolese and African citizens.
Armed with USD 10,000, Tobongisa Technologies created a digital platform for citizens and governments to work together and develop DRC and Africa. Their flagship mobile application, "Tobongisa" allowed citizens to raise issues and request services from relevant government institutions. Government institutions could then respond directly to the citizens' problems, acknowledge the service demands, and share development plans and actions with citizens.

Tobongisa Technologies has solved more than three thousand service delivery issues via their app and is working on branding. By 2022, Tobongisa Technologies hopes to increase its impact by maximizing partnerships with public services for more bilateral commitments between public services and citizens for sustainable development