rural regions

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)
Abstract:
"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..."

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)
Abstract:
"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."

Rapid response system : An SMS service delivers quick answers to farmers’ climate questions

Title: Rapid response system : An SMS service delivers quick answers to farmers’ climate questions
Author: Darlington Kahilu
Source: ICT Update
Publisher: CTA Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (ACP-EU)
Date (published): December 2011
Date (accessed): 14/12/2011
Type of information: article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"Farmers in Zambia with climate change questions can now receive quick answers via SMS from a new system developed by the country’s National Agricultural Information Services.

In recent years, the Zambia National Agricultural Information Services (NAIS) has been receiving an increasing number of questions from farmers concerned about unpredictable weather patterns. Farmers are pointing out that sometimes the rains come earlier than usual, and when they do come, they are so heavy that they ruin the work the farmer has done to prepare the land. Sometimes the opposite is the problem and there is too little rain to water the crops.

‘The standard advice we gave in past is no longer relevant,’ says Darlington Kahilu, an agricultural information officer with NAIS. ‘For example, we used to tell farmers to plant their maize seeds as soon as the first rains came. The rains would usually continue for a few weeks and germinate the seeds. But now there could be a dry spell lasting a month or more, killing the new seedlings. The farmers then have to spend precious time and money replanting.’

NAIS uses a mixture of print and electronic media to provide agricultural information. Radio is especially useful, and many farmers listen to programmes in groups, often with an extension worker, and then discuss the issues raised in the broadcast. If they still have questions, they can fill in an evaluation form and send it to the nearest NAIS district office. The district office passes the form to the provincial office, where it is finally sent to the main country office. There, a NAIS radio producer assesses the questions, and contacts relevant specialists in agricultural research institutes and government ministries. Based on their feedback, the producer prepares a response for broadcast in a subsequent radio programme.

Together with the International Institute for Communication and Development, and a local software developer, NAIS developed a system, called SMSize to which farmers can send a question via an SMS from a cell phone. The question arrives directly at a server computer at the central office, where the producer researches the answer and sends back the information to the phone of the querying farmer, in the same language as the original request."

In African agriculture, information is power

Title: In African agriculture, information is power
Author: Ken Banks
Source: News Watch
Publisher: National Geographic
Date (published): 05/09/2011
Date (accessed): 07/09/2011
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"You don’t have to spend long in many African agricultural markets to realise the need for better information. Farmers lack prices, traders need transport and new contacts, projects and governments need a better way to reach out to people, businesses lack real-time updates on their stock and the value of their harvests. The list goes on.

In this installment of Mobile Message, Sarah Bartlett – Director of Communications and Research at Esoko - explains how African technology is being used to power agricultural markets across Africa, filling an ‘information void’ for local farmers in the process.

Mobile Message is a series of blog posts about how mobile phones are being used throughout the world to improve, enrich, and empower billions of lives."

Rural Youth in Kenya, and the Impact of ICTs

Title: Rural Youth in Kenya, and the Impact of ICTs
Author: Chris Mwangi
Source: GBI Portal
Publisher: USAID
Date (published): 12/08/2011
Date (accessed): 07/09/2011
Type of information: blog post
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"We would be missing the full significance of ICTs if we do not see them as an integral part in the efforts to improve the everyday life of rural folk in Kenya. Mobile technology being the key mode of communication in the country has contributed greatly to local youth livelihoods. Using mobile phones, the youth have able to access knowledge and information which are vital aspects for improving agricultural development by increasing agricultural yields and marketing.

With accessibility of mobile phone networks throughout the country, services such as Safaricom’s mobile money transfer (M-Pesa), mobile money banking (M Kesho) and information on agricultural produce markets have created job opportunities for the youth as the number of agents increase."

Sri Lanka builds telecentres for farm people

Title: Sri Lanka builds telecentres for farm people
Author: Pia Rufino
Source: FutureGov
Date (published): 05/08/2011
Date (accessed): 09/08/2011
Type of information: article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"The Sri Lankan government will be establishing 35 new e-Kiosk Centres with internet and satellite communication facilities this year to boost IT proficiency of the estate people in the country...The move is part of a bigger digital inclusion programme by the Saumyamoorth Thondaman Memorial Foundation under an Act of Parliament aimed at establishing 450 Prajashakthi (Community strengthening) centres...A similar project is being rolled out in the country called Rural Telecentre Network, known as Nenasala, and a network of PC labs in schools, aimed at narrowing the digital divide in rural areas.

To date, 615 nenasala are already established in the country."

Rural Mozambique gets Internet, mobile services

Title: Rural Mozambique gets Internet, mobile services
Author: Dammiao Dimingos
Source: IT News Africa
Date (published): 28/07/2011
Date (accessed): 28/07/2011
Type of information: article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"Mozambique’s Science and Technology ministry has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Mozambique’s Mobile Cellular (MCEL), to roll out community multimedia centers in the rural areas.

MCEL will provide Internet access, worth MZN 7.2 billion meticals (about US$255 million) to Mozambique’s six districts.
Teodato Hunguana, Mcel Mobile Board President, says the partnership between MCEL and the Mozambique government will provide Internet services, video courses, manuals, technical and professional skills development, and equipment for the training of local trainers."

Africa's mobile economic revolution

Title: Africa's mobile economic revolution
Author: Killian Fox
Source: The Observer
Publisher: The Guardian
Date (published): 24/07/2011
Date (accessed): 24/07/2011
Type of information: article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"Half of Africa's one billion population has a mobile phone – and not just for talking. The power of telephony is forging a new enterprise culture, from banking to agriculture to healthcare

Earlier this month, on a short bus ride through the centre of Kampala, I decided to carry out an informal survey. Passing through the Ugandan capital's colourful and chaotic streets, I would attempt to count the signs of the use of mobile phones in evidence around me. These included phone shops and kiosks, street-corner airtime vendors and giant billboard ads, as well as people actually using their mobile phones: a girl in school uniform writing a text message as she hurried along the street, a businessman calmly making a call from the back of a motorcycle taxi swerving through heavy rush-hour traffic. Not only were half of the passengers on my bus occupied with their handsets, our driver was too, thumbing at his keypad as he ferried us to our final destination. After five minutes, I lost count and retired with a sore neck. There was more evidence here than I could put a number on.

My survey underlined a simple fact: Africa has experienced an incredible boom in mobile phone use over the past decade. In 1998, there were fewer than four million mobiles on the continent. Today, there are more than 500 million. In Uganda alone, 10 million people, or about 30% of the population, own a mobile phone, and that number is growing rapidly every year. For Ugandans, these ubiquitous devices are more than just a handy way of communicating on the fly: they are a way of life.

It may seem unlikely, given its track record in technological development, but Africa is at the centre of a mobile revolution. In the west, we have been adapting mobile phones to be more like our computers: the smartphone could be described as a PC for your pocket. In Africa, where a billion people use only 4% of the world's electricity, many cannot afford to charge a computer, let alone buy one. This has led phone users and developers to be more resourceful, and African mobiles are being used to do things that the developed world is only now beginning to pick up on."

Closing the digital divide for Zambia's farmers

Title: Closing the digital divide for Zambia's farmers
Author: Georgina Smith
Source: New Agriculturist
Date (published): June 2011
Date (accessed): 24/07/2011
Type of information: article
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML)
Abstract:
"Rows of mobile telephones sit recharging in the Chinyunya community telecentre, an hour's drive east of Zambia's capital Lusaka. Powered by 67 1 x 0.5m solar panels and offering a photocopier, projector and three internet-connected computers as well as phone services, the centre is changing the way that farmers in the area receive agricultural information.
Whether it's investigating drought-resistant plants, choosing the best crop rotation, or learning how to retain water in the soil, the internet offers ideas and solutions which can be refined or adapted in discussion with extension officers. The telecentre acts as a point for sharing and accessing previously unavailable information on market prices, machinery and fertiliser availability, and is a networking hub for local agricultural training centres offering advice on organic farming and other practices."

Information and Communication Technologies for Cultural Transmission among Indigenous Peoples

Title: Information and Communication Technologies for Cultural Transmission among Indigenous Peoples
Authors: Charlotte A Harris, Roger W Harris
Pages: 19 pp.
ISSN: 1681-4835
Source: Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries (2011) 45, 2, 1-19
Publisher: www.ejisdc.org
Date (published): 20/12/2010
Date (accessed): 22/04/2011
Type of information: research paper
Language: English
On-line access: yes (HTML/pdf)
Abstract:
"The global digital divide threatens to exclude millions of people from the potential benefits of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), especially computers and the Internet. Many of these people live in rural, isolated and remote places of developing countries and are unlikely to be able to afford the cost of owning their own computers. However, NGOs, international aid agencies and governments are becoming increasingly aware of the potential that ICTs offer for rural development and poverty reduction and are creating more opportunities for providing wider access to them. This paper looks at how ICTs have contributed to the social development of a rural indigenous ethnic community. It focuses on the benefits of ICTs in recording and passing on their unique culture and traditions, something that is of considerable importance to the community. The research builds an understanding of the nature of cultural transmission within an indigenous community in East Malaysia and demonstrates how ICTs can bridge the digital divide by accentuating the importance of family, friends and other social interactions within a community in strengthening the processes of cultural transmission. Based on the findings, suggestions are offered for reinforcing social processes of cultural transmission with ICTs, in the form of a virtual museum and a community radio station."

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