Church charity techies build app for African pastors

Software developers donate their time and expertise to Canterbury-based charity for new mobile app designed to help digitally transform lives across East Africa.

James Hayes | 12th Jun 18
African Pastors Fellowship launched its eVitabu app at a Ugandan conference. It came preloaded on tablet PCs given to church pastors from East African countries.

Two software developers have donated more than 250 man-hours to UK-based charity African Pastors Fellowship (APF) to develop a new app that will bring Christian teachings and practical skills lessons to communities across East Africa.

Installed on solar-powered Google Android tablet PCs, the ‘eVitabu’ app was developed for free by technologists Jonathan Haddock and Michael Berry. Both are members of Canterbury Baptist Church.

The tool is designed specifically to support the African church in remote areas. The eVitabu app includes: studies on personal, spiritual and pastoral growth; audio Bibles in local languages; theology courses; video lectures by Christian leaders; community development toolkits; and guides on family healthcare, leadership, advocacy, peace-building, and sustainable agriculture.

“When APF approached us with the vision for the app, it was clear that such a tool could address several needs faced by rural communities across Africa in a new way, with the potential to have a long-lasting impact,” said Jonathan Haddock, a local government IT professional. “It was exciting to be part of project that could have a life-changing impact.”

APF launched the pilot eVitabu app at a training conference in Uganda, where it was preloaded on Lenovo Tab 4 8 devices given to 57 church pastors from eight East African countries. They included Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Malawi, South Sudan, and Democratic Republic of the Congo. When the pilot phase is complete APF plans to make eVitabu more widely available as a standard download.

These pastors can now browse and download the library of content before going into remote parts of Africa to teach and support other pastors and congregations. New content can be accessed and downloaded using a mobile phone as a Wi-Fi hotspot. To send the app, loaded onto an Android tablet PC and provided with a durable case and solar changer to Africa costs the APF £200.

“APF resources and enables African Christian leaders of all denominations to minister effectively through the local church,” said Dave Stedman, CEO at APF,  “and eVitabu has the potential to enable thousands of rural church leaders to access great quality training material possibly for the very first time. We’re grateful to Jonathan and Mike for investing their time and skills to make our vision a reality.”