Making it easier to understand health and education in Africa

Most people misunderstand how everyday life is for the majority of people in Africa. Even for those in Africa, it can be hard to understand how the billion other people live without travelling to see some of them.

To try to counter the many misconceptions and out-of-date views there are about how people live, Gapminder invented Dollar Street, a free website in which photographers have documented life on different income levels across the world. It started with people’s homes, and will now be extended to include healthcare and education.

Thanks to funding from Code for Africa’s innovateAFRICA programme, Gapminder was able to send photographers out to schools and health clinics in Tanzania.

Itope Clinic, Tanzania

It is an important first step in showing even more pictures of everyday life for people in countries that most people never have the chance to visit, yet often have an opinion of based on what they have seen on TV and read in the news.

Because life on Dollar Street is ordered by income rather than by country, we are currently developing a method to calculate the income or expenditure of schools and health clinics, so we can compare how they look on different levels.

Classroom, Tanzania

In addition, Code for Africa’s funding will also simplify the selection and sharing of photos from Dollar Street for use on social media, websites and by teachers in the classroom, making it even easier to show that income – and not nationality or culture – is the most important factor when it comes to the way people live.