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Accept the Smartphone Reality in Development

Recently, Elvis Mushi of Twaweza, shared with me interesting mobile phone survey results from his Sauti za Wananchi program. I find them remarkable in two ways. First, he found that 80% of Tanzanian households own at least 1 mobile phone. Then he found that mobile phone coverage reached 88% of the population. One of the largest and poorest populations now has near-ubiquitous mobile phone access.

Flickr - whiteafrican

How Smartphones are changing dermatology in Tanzania

Situated in the Mara region of Tanzania, in the northwest between Lake Victoria and the Kenyan Border, the rural village of Shirati is home to Read More

WHO

Polio, MDGs, UHC, and more: WHO Bulletin July 2014

In this month’s bulletin: • Why polio is a public health emergency of international concern• Factors that predict success in meeting MDG 4 and 5• Read More

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Accept the Smartphone Reality in Development

Flag_of_Tanzania_(WFB_2004)

Recently, Elvis Mushi of Twaweza, shared with me interesting mobile phone survey results from his Sauti za Wananchi program. I find them remarkable in two ways. First, he found that 80% of Tanzanian households own at least 1 mobile phone. Then he found that mobile phone coverage reached 88% of the population. One of the largest and poorest populations now has near-ubiquitous mobile phone access.


Rethinking livelihoods.

This post appeared on the PopTech blog and has been republished with permission. You can read the original post here. This post is co-authored by PopTech president Leetha Filderman, and Ken Banks, founder of kiwanja.net and FrontlineSMS. Together they are co-facilitators of the 2014 Bellagio/PopTech Fellows program.  We are pleased to announce the 2014 class of Bellagio/PopTech Fellows, a diverse group of designers, social innovators, technologists and writers with expertise in technology, global health, poverty alleviation, environmental sustainability and informal sector economics. Sean Blagsvedt, Alexice Tô-Camier, Dominic Muren, Robtel Neajai Pailey, Solomon Prakash This year’s program is focused on rethinking livelihoods


SFCG Nigeria uses FrontlineSMS to create a conflict Early Warning System

After successfully using FrontlineSMS in the Tomorrow is a New Day (TND) project to monitor and improve radio dramas in the Niger Delta, SFCG Nigeria chose to use the platform in a completely different capacity in Jos, a city in Northern Nigeria.  SFCG Nigeria is part of Search for Common Ground, one of the first and largest conflict resolution focused NGOs.  In Northern Nigeria, SFCG partnered with Community Action for Popular Participation (CAPP) to develop an Early Warning System (EWS) funded by the US Institute for Peace (USIP). SMS and emails have been used to spread rumors and inflammatory messages at terrifying speeds in Nigeria, exacerbating tensions. In order to empower local communities to respond, an EWS was developed to provide timely and accurate information to the Plateau Peace Practitioners Network (PPPN)[1] and Operation Rainbow, using FrontlineSMS, Ushahidi’s CrowdMap, and 109 focal points drawn from eight Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Plateau State.[2] The 109 focal points were chosen from a group of trusted community leaders and representatives, and were then trained in using SMS to submit reports on peace and violence in their areas as part of a bounded-crowd approach to crowdsourcing.  These SMS reports were collected using FrontlineSMS, which were used to create bulletins and monthly reports and to inform SFCG’s Voices of Peace Radio Program, in order to discredit inflammatory rumors.


Obstetric First Responders in Chiapas: innovative trainings by PACE-MD

We have been following PACE-MD with great interest. They focus on Obstetrical First Responders as the first link in the chain of survival in Mexico. We have long believed that the analogy to an EMT might be a better way to get beyond the long-standing disputes over what traditional birth attendants versus midwives versus others, including community health workers, can handle as far as maternal health emergencies. PACE-MD focuses on handling obstetric emergencies starting at the first contact with a health worker.


FrontlineSMS transforms Community Radio in Malawi

Thank you to John Kisewe Mpakani for writing this post about his experience using FrontlineSMS as a producer and presenter at the Nkhotakota Community Radio Station in Malawi. Background Information Nkhotakota Community Radio Station, along Lake Malawi, is a Malawi Communication Regulatory Authority (MACRA) recognized broadcaster and has been in operation for eleven years. More than 500,000 people live within our coverage area- transmissions reach Nkhotakota and Ntchisi districts and parts of Nkhatabay, Salima, Dowa, Mzimbaand Kasungu


SFCG Nigeria uses FrontlineSMS to Improve Radio Dramas

ARDA recording Day Don Break SFCG Nigeria is part of Search for Common Ground, one of the first and largest conflict resolution focused NGOs.  To support the reconciliation and reintegration of ex-militants in the Niger Delta, the Tomorrow is a New Day (TND) project was implemented with the support of the European Union from December 2011- June 2013.  The project was carried out with five local partners,[1] who were instrumental in SFCG Nigeria’s ability to work directly with seven local communities in the Delta. One of TND’s major activities was to develop radio dramas to address rumors and misinformation, to provide community members with relatable characters and scenarios, and to support SFCG’s conflict resolution training and advocacy work.


Piloting SMS for Legal Aid

Bill Mill, “You Know My Name, Look Up The Number”. 2009.


Time for a Donor Funding Charter?

“Innovation isn’t about green bean bags and whacky idea sessions. It is a long term business development strategy“ Lucy Gower Behind almost every good social entrepreneur you’ll find a donor. These donors come in all shapes and sizes – family members, friends, companies, CSR departments and sponsors are the most typical, increasingly followed by the crowd funders among us. While plenty of great things get funded, pretty crazy stuff does, too.


How Smartphones are changing dermatology in Tanzania

Flickr - whiteafrican

Situated in the Mara region of Tanzania, in the northwest between Lake Victoria and the Kenyan Border, the rural village of Shirati is home to Read More


Understanding Mobile Access From an Ecosystem Perspective

Editor’s note: Many thanks to Dave Algoso and Reboot for letting us cross-post this wonderful blog post! This post is written by Dave Algoso, the Managing Director for Reboot.  The expansion of mobile access has been a common refrain in international development for years now. It plays an important role in supporting human development, from economic and educational opportunities to political freedoms and human rights.


Accessibility and Accountability: Social Impact Lab’s Governance Project Plans

From Colombia to Ghana to Canada, communicating with members of parliament, tracking city council spending, and advocating for environmental oversight of extractive industries are among a wide range of governance activities that have become possible for anyone with access to an internet connection, a computer, or a smartphone. That’s a lot of people, but not nearly enough. At SIMLab, our work with mobile technologies, specifically FrontlineSMS and FrontlineCloud, has taught us a lot: civic technologies are rapidly transforming the way governments interact with and (sometimes) respond to citizens; digital platforms have limited capacity to reach and include various populations in these activities and; governance is about ongoing interactions between people and institutions, whether those institutions are elected governments or not.


Field of dreams

Two years ago this summer, long-time friend Erik Hersman and I took a stroll through this grass meadow in St. Ives, a small market town in Cambridgeshire where I work from a small office above a supermarket. Erik was on holiday, but that didn’t stop us taking a long walk discussing life, family and work. Erik had a few ideas on the boil, and I was entering a new phase after stepping back from day-to-day operations at FrontlineSMS a couple of months earlier. I walk a lot, and often use the time to think, strategise and develop my ideas


Reflections on two days in a ‘media silo’

I’m sitting in the old German parliament building listening to a plenary discussion on activism. It’s my second day at the Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum, and I’m in Bonn to help mentor Ashoka Fellows as part of their Globalizer programme, to speak on an Ashoka panel on social entrepreneurship, and to take part in a Vodafone Institute for Society and Communications discussion on how mobile technology is changing society. It’s been a busy three days, and I’ve had to regularly remind myself that I’m at a media-focused event. We’ve had discussions on the future of journalism, new business models for the media, big media vs. social media, how to communicate in disasters, community building, social entrepreneurship, the Arab Spring, mobile connectivity, technology in Africa, democracy building, governance, digital security and privacy, surveillance, big data and how to engage youth in development.


Polio, MDGs, UHC, and more: WHO Bulletin July 2014

WHO

In this month’s bulletin: • Why polio is a public health emergency of international concern• Factors that predict success in meeting MDG 4 and 5• Read More


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