Divided We Call: Disparities in Access and Use of Mobile Phones in Rwanda

Title: Divided We Call: Disparities in Access and Use of Mobile Phones in Rwanda
Authors: Joshua Evan Blumenstock, Nathan Eagle
Pages: 16 pp.
ISSN: 1544-7529
Publisher: USC Annenberg
Date (published): 30/03/2012
Date (accessed): 12/08/2012
Type of information: referred article
On-line access: yes (pdf)
Abstract:„This article provides quantitative evidence of disparities in mobile phone access and use in Rwanda. Our analysis leverages data collected in 901 field interviews, which were merged with detailed, transaction-level call histories obtained from the mobile telecommunications operator. We present three related results. First, comparing the population of mobile phone owners to the general Rwandan population, we find that phone owners are considerably wealthier, better educated, and predominantly male. Second, based on self-reported data, we observe statistically significant differences between genders in phone access and use; for instance, women are more likely to use shared phones than men. Finally, analyzing the complete call records of each subscriber, we note large disparities in patterns of phone use and in the structure of social networks by socioeconomic status. Taken together, the evidence in this article suggests that phones are disproportionately owned and used by the privileged strata of Rwandan society."

Towards priority actions for market development for African farmers

Title: Towards priority actions for market development for African farmers
Pages: 402 pp.
ISBN: 92-9146-260-8
Publisher: Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa and International Livestock Research Institute
Date (published): 30/01/2012
Date (accessed): 05/03/2012
Type of information: conference proceedings
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf)
„From dairy cooperatives, text messaging and grain storage to improved credit, transport and trade initiatives, new book presents “high-payoff, low-cost” solutions to Africa’s underdeveloped agricultural markets and chronic food insecurity…As a food crisis unfolds in West Africa’s Sahel region, some of the world’s leading experts in agriculture markets say the time is ripe to confront the “substantial inefficiencies” in trade policy, transportation, information services, credit, crop storage and other market challenges that leave Africans particularly vulnerable to food-related problems.”
See also:
Linking farmers to markets critical to rural development and efforts to combat Africa’s food woes

Mobile learning in developing countries in 2012: What's Happening?

Title: Mobile learning in developing countries in 2012: What's Happening?
Author: Michael Trucano
Source: EduTech
Publisher: The World Bank Group
Date (published): 31/01/2012
Date (accessed): 15/02/2012
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
"In recent chats with officials from [an un-named country], I learned of the desire of educational policymakers there to leap frog e-learning through m-learning. This made an impression on me -- and not only because it succinctly was able to encapsulate four educational technology buzzwords within a five-word "vision statement". In many ways, this encounter helped confirm my belief that a long-anticipated new era of hype is now upon us, taking firm root in the place where the educational technology and international donor communities meet, with "m-" replacing "e-" at the start of discussions of the use of educational technologies."

Initial findings from GSMA mWomen Research

Title: Initial findings from GSMA mWomen Research
Author: Ranjula Senaratna Perera
Source: LIRNEasia
Date (published): 08/02/2012
Date (accessed): 15/02/2012
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
"The topline findings from the initial stage of the GSMA mWomen Research in India, Egypt, Papua New Guinea and Uganda were presented recently. It explored the Wants and Needs of BOP Women through a qualitative study.

Some of the insights of ‘mobile as a tool’ are below.

Mobile use by BOP women seem to be driven by practical, utility-oriented needs such as family coordination and emergencies rather than the desire to socialize and ‘chat’.

Radio proved to be important as a kill-time feature of the mobile handset, an indication that greater emphasis should be placed on entertainment and infotainment services for women in addition to important life-enhancing services such as mHealth, mAgri, mobile money, etc.

BOP women had limited knowledge of VAS, including limited use of SMS…"
(Mobile value-added services (VAS) are those services that offer differentiation and the ability for mobile operators to charge a premium price.)

African farmers tap in to smartphones

Title: African farmers tap in to smartphones
Author: Killian Fox
Source: The Irish Times
Date (published): 10/02/2012
Date (accessed): 14/02/2012
Type of information: article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
"In the tiny village of Lagude on the wide open plains of northern Uganda, farmers live in constant fear of crop failure. It’s a very real fear: since last summer, the food crisis in east Africa, caused by the worst drought in 60 years, has left 50,000-100,000 people dead, according to recent estimates, and has affected up to 10 million people.

Farming in this part of Africa is a fragile endeavour, but in Uganda a promising new initiative is helping farmers in remote areas such as Lagude safeguard their livelihoods against crop disease and drought.

The microfinance organisation Grameen Foundation has been leasing smartphones to so-called “community knowledge workers” (CKWs) in 10 districts around Uganda so that they can receive vital information – weather reports, disease diagnostics, market prices – from a central database in Kampala and pass it on to their neighbours.

They also gather information that Grameen then relays to major agricultural organisations and food programmes.
… in a country in which a third of the adult population cannot read or write, a digital divide persists. The CKW scheme is addressing this problem by training operatives such as Mr Obwoya to use phones for entrepreneurial as well as social purposes..."

Community media: a good practice handbook

Title: Community media: a good practice handbook
Editor: Buckley, Steve
Pages: 80 pp.
ISBN: 978-92-3-104210-2
Publisher: UNESCO
Date (published): 10/02/2012
Date (accessed): 14/02/2012
Type of information: handbook
Language: English
On-line access: yes (pdf - 7,5 MB!)
"This is a collection of case studies of good practice in community media. Its intention is to provide inspiration and support for those engaged in community media advocacy and to raise awareness and understanding of community media among policy makers and other stakeholders. The collection is focused on electronic media including radio, television, Internet and mobile. It is global in spread, with examples from 30 countries, but primarily drawn from developing countries. This has the additional consequence that radio is predominant in view of its extensive presence today in developing country media environments and its reach into rural as well as urban communities.

Community media are understood in this collection as independent, civil society based media that operate for social benefit and not for profit. They are present in all regions of the world as social movements and community-based organizations have sought a means to express their issues, concerns, cultures and languages. Community media set out to create an alternative both to national public broadcasters, which are often under government control, and to private commercial media. They provide communities with access to information and voice, facilitating community-level debate, information and knowledge sharing and input into public decision-making.

This collection endeavours to draw from a broad range of geopolitical contexts – different regions, cultures, languages and political systems – including urban and rural examples, small and large countries. The criteria of good practice include the adaptability, relevance and sustainability of the case example; whether it is community-owned and participatory; its uniqueness or innovative nature; as well as the evidential base and credibility of the source material.

The collection is organized in three sections. The first section addresses the enabling environment for community media, the second one looks at sustainability and the third one is concerned with social impact. Each case study has a summary of the good practice, a short description that provides further context, plus highlights of some of the key characteristics. References and links are provided for those who seek further information."

M-Government: Mobile Technologies for Responsive Governments and Connected Societies

Title: M-Government: Mobile Technologies for Responsive Governments and Connected Societies
Pages: 154 pp.
ISBN: OECD ISBN 978-92-64-11869-0 (print), OECD ISBN 978-92-64-11870-6 (PDF), ITU ISBN 92-61-13881-0 (print)
Publisher: OECD/International Telecommunication Union
Date (published): 31/10/2011
Date (accessed): 13/02/2012
Type of information: report
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML/pdf)
„Mobile phones subscriptions have outnumbered Internet connections in both developed and developing countries, and mobile cellular is becoming the most rapidly adopted technology in history and the most popular and widespread personal technology in the world. Access to mobile networks is available to 90% of the world population, and to 80 % of the population living in rural areas, according to ITU World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators database; and among OECD countries mobile subscriptions grew at a compounded annual growth rate of 10 % over the previous two years according to the OECD Communications Outlook 2009.

Given this unparalleled advancement of mobile communication technologies, governments are turning to m-government to realize the value of mobile technologies for responsive governance and measurable improvements to social and economic development, service delivery, operational efficiencies and active citizen engagement. The interoperability of mobile applications, which support quick access to integrated data and location-based services, paves indeed the way for innovative public sector governance models - also called mobile governance or m-governance - based on the use of mobile technology in support of public services and information delivery.

The report highlights the critical potential of mobile technologies for improved public governance, as well as for economic and social progress towards the achievement of the internationally agreed development agenda defined in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The in-depth analysis of the prerequisites for m-government, its main benefits and challenges, the value-chain and the key stakeholders, and the checklist of concrete actions intend to sustain policy makers in monitoring and updating their knowledge on m-government, and to draw on its implications for public sector governance, public service delivery, and smarter and more open government.

Whether it is an electronic wallet card linked to a mobile phone in Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, or the Philippines; voting, registration or election monitoring in Morocco, Kenya, Estonia and Ukraine; support for farmers with weather forecast information and market price alerts in Malaysia, Uganda, India and China; or co-ordination of real-time location data for emergency response in Turkey, the United States and France, mobile technologies are enhancing dynamic interactions between citizens and government, creating further opportunities for open and transparent government.

“M-Government: Mobile Technologies for Responsive Governments and Connected Societies” is a unique report as it is the result of the joint-work of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA). Recognising the ubiquity of public good governance principles, and the existence of opportunities and challenges commonly shared by governments worldwide, the three organisations aim to offer a call for action to all member countries to be strategic in moving ahead in implementing m-visions that drive public sector change and strengthen its good governance.

Table of contents:











Avoiding the Digital Divide Hype in Using Mobile Phones for Development

Title: Avoiding the Digital Divide Hype in Using Mobile Phones for Development
Author: Lindsay Poirier
Source: ICTWorks
Publisher: Inveneo
Date (published): 27/12/2011
Date (accessed): 03/01/2012
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
"To all of you digital divide warriors out there – nice work. With over 483 million mobile phone subscriptions in low-income countries - an estimated 44.9% penetration rate, few will deny the success of your efforts to expand mobile technology in the developing world.

Rapid mobile growth rates further exhibit success in dissemination, and stats such as, “There are more mobile phones than toilets in India,“ and “There are more mobile phones than light bulbs in Uganda,” make us smile and feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

While it’s true that, in most cases, these numbers exhibit stimulation in local economies, there are some fuzzy lines when it comes to determining what these numbers mean in terms of mobile phone access and development. The data shows that mobile technology is expanding, but does this necessarily mean that access to technology is coinciding with the expansion?

Amplify the voices of vulnerable and marginalized groups through Community Radio in Bangladesh

Title: Amplify the voices of vulnerable and marginalized groups through Community Radio in Bangladesh
Source: Blog of the Association for Progressive Communications (APC)
Date (published): 28/11/2011
Date (accessed): 15/12/2011
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
"Rural people of Bangladesh entered into an era of community broadcasting to amplify the voices of vulnerable and marginalized groups through 14 community radio stations around the country. Community Radio provides the local community access to information and through exchange of information, leads them towards empowerment. Empowerment is the process to link them to their rights, good governance and development process.

Community Radio stations are going to full transmission in Bangladesh.14 stations are pioneering to be on-air, aiming to ensure empowerment and right to information for the rural community. Community Radio Padma 89.20, Rajshahi district and Community Radio Nalta 89.20 of Satkhira district has started full transmission.

It can be mentioned that these Radio Stations will broadcast programs, mostly in local dialect within the people living around 17 kilometers of a Station. The Programs will cover social, economic, cultural and environmental issues.
Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication (BNNRC) is promoting the advocacy with the government in relations to community radio with other organizations since its emergence in 2000 to open-up the Community Radio in Bangladesh to address critical social issues at community level, such as poverty, social exclusion, empowerment of marginalized rural groups and catalyze democratic process in decision making and ongoing development efforts.

As a result, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh acknowledged the importance of community radio and announced the Community Radio Installation, Broadcast & Operation Policy. Bangladesh is the 2nd country in South Asia in formulating policy for Community Radio."

Crisis Mapping and Cybersecurity – Part II: Risk Assessment

Title: Crisis Mapping and Cybersecurity – Part II: Risk Assessment
Author: Anahi Ayala Iacucci
Source: Diary of a Crisis Mapper blog
Date (published): 14/12/2011
Date (accessed): 15/12/2011
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
"I have a background in human rights and humanitarian affairs, and in those fields you do something that I realized was not that common in the ICT world – or maybe it is just under reported – that is called risk assessment. How does a risk assessment look like?

There are several components to the matrix: there is the risk, the source (sometimes), the likelihood, the mitigation tool/measure and (sometimes) the independent variables. I truly believe that this matrix can help in understanding what are the things that we should focus our attention on and what are the things that we cannot change or we should just ignore. The very key factor in the use of this matrix though does not lie in the matrix, but in whom is filling it.

See also:Crisis Mapping and Cybersecurity – Part I: Key points"

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