Tag Archives: democratic participation


Things are changing at MobileActive. When we started in 2005 at a legendary event that we hosted in Toronto, Canada, there were few practitioners and few projects but many ideas on how to use mobile tech in development. We had identified about 100 people worldwide who were actively using mobiles in their social change and social development work and brought 40 together. Since then, the field has exploded and there are now thousands of projects and tens of thousands of people who are actively integrating and using mobile phones in some way or another in their projects.

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Mobile Data, FTW! The GSMA Development Fund Steps It Up with The Mobile…

One of the issues we all struggle with as we are working in mobile tech for social change and development is the lack of reliable data on mobile use, penetration, and costs. The GSMA sells a service, Wireless Intelligence, that provides detailed data on mobile subscriptions worldwide as well as country- and carrier-based information. Unfortunately, it is priced out of reach for most NGOs and places limitations on the use of that data.The ITU that should, under its mandate, provide accurate and timely mobile data, but does not. Data from the ITU is late and often available only at a cost that is too steep for many NGOs.Now, the GSMA Development Fund is trying to address this gap with the launch of a new date site, theMobile and Development Intelligence (MDI) project. The MDI contains about 70 metrics and the ability to tabulate, graph, map and export the datasets with country-level dashboards for 140 developing world countries.

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Open Congress, Just a Call Away (Brought to You by the Sunlight Foundation)

The Sunlight Foundation, always pushing the envelop on tech and open government in the United States and increasingly worldwide, launched a new service today: Call to Congress. The number 1-888-907-6886 (tol-free in the US) allows anyone to learn about how a lawmaker is voting on bills and raising their money for re-election. As the announcement states: “Being connected with your lawmakers’ Capitol Hill offices and getting details on legilsation is now as easy as ordering pizza…”The service is essentially an interactive-voice responce system that allows a user to navigate a menu tree to search a member of Congress by postal code. Lawmakers can add their biography, their top campaign donors, recent votes and allows a caller to be transferred directly to the Reprentative’s office.

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Mobile Security Survival Toolkit for Activists

MobileActive’s SaferMobile projectis running two trainings at the Internet at Liberty conference on mobile security with colleagues from IWPR, the Committee to Protect Journalists, and UC Berkeley. We’ll be demoing common mobile threats and provide hands-on tips on how to better protect yourself. We put together a set of resources in a ‘mobile security survival kit’ for activists and journalists with practical tips and advice. They are all online at SaferMobile.org but we are also compiling here in a Primer Toolkit on Mobile Security.

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A Voice For The Voiceless: Peer-to-Peer Mobile Phone Networks For A…

Author: Ranganathan, Kavitha, Ankur Sarin Publication Type: Report/White paper Publication Date: May 2011 Publisher/Journal: Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad Publication language: English Abstract: We propose a new application for mobile ad-hoc networks (MANETs) – community radio. We argue how MANETS help overcome important limitations in how community radio is currently operationalized. We identify critical design elements for a MANET based community radio service and propose a broad architecture for the same. We then investigate a most critical issue – the choice of the network wide broadcast protocol for the audio content. We identify desired characteristics of a community radio broadcasting service

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An Open Letter to the International Telecommunications Union

We are interrupting our usual programming on MobileActive.org for an important message on the future of the opennness of the Internet. Civil society groups from around the world have signed on to an open letter to the International Telecommunication Union Secretary-General Dr.HamadounTouré, objecting to the lack of openness and inclusion in recent attempts by the ITU to increase its control over the Internet. MobileActive.org is one of the signers of this letter. The background is this: In December 2012, the International Telecommunication Union will convene a meeting of the world’s governments to renegotiate theITU’sunderlying treaty, the International Telecommunications Regulations.Currently, theseITRsdo not address Internet technical standards, infrastructure, or content. However, some states, notably China and Russia, are advocating for an expansion of theITRsto include Internet regulation

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Jobs! Check Out Current Tech- and Mobile-in-Social-Change Positions!

Looking for a job in the field of mobile tech for social change and development? The MobileActive Discuss list and the MobileActive newsletter are great resources not only for talking about the latest issues and topics in the ICT4D world, but also for jobs. Here’s a sampling of some of the recent openings posted:Inveneo is seeking an ICTD Network Operations Engineer. The position is based in San Francisco with some travel. Available immediately

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The Funding Divide: Examining The Lack Of Funding For Mobile Phone…

Written by Katrin Verclas and Emily StallingsWhy, despite wide-spread use of mobile tech for social change around the world, has the U.S. social sector been so slow to adopt mobile technologies? What do funders need to understand to support grantees’ efforts to harness the power of the mobile phone? What strategies can help service organizations realize the potential of mobiles? Since phones are ubiquitous for most demographics but particularly so for young people and communities of color who use phones more intensively, this is becoming a critical question for the social sector in the US.Funding Mobile Strategies for Social Impact: The Future is Now from ZeroDivide examines these questions, asking how to increase grantmaking for projects that utilize mobile technology to target groups working for social equity.The U.S

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"Using ICT to Promote Governance"

Author: Siceloff, John. Publication Type: Report/White paper Publication Date: Apr 2012 Publisher/Journal: DANIDA Publication language: English Abstract: In the fall of 2011, Danida commissioned a study with the objective of:• Examining strategic opportunities for using ICT for promoting governance and democratization efforts within development assistance; and• Exploring opportunities for ICT in the present Danish portfolio of development programs and within the vision of the Strategy for Danish Development Cooperation.The study touches on a range of ICT technologies but its focus is the use of mobile phones, including voice calls, SMS- Text, mobile internet, and social media. This report presents the findings, conclusions and recommendations of the study and falls in 6 chapters: an introductory part outlining study objectives and the methodology applied (Chapters 1-2); a presentation of why ICT is important (Chapter 3); a presentation of ICT case studies from Kenya emphasizing transparency, accountability and empowerment (Chapter 4); a presentation of other donor practices and experiences with emphasis on institutional issues (chapter 5); and a concluding chapter outlining the conclusions/recommendations (Chapter 6). Location Countries: Kenya Research Paper – Link to or Upload Paper URL: http://um.dk/en/~/media/UM/Eng… Citation: Siceloff, John

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Funding Mobile Strategies for Social Impact: The Future is Now

Author: Gahran, Amy, Jeff Perlstein Publication Type: Report/White paper Publication Date: Apr 2012 Publisher/Journal: Zero Divide Publication language: English Abstract: Mobile strategies provide tremendous opportunities for funders interested in strengthening grantees’ social impact and generating a strong return on investment. The technology required is (relatively) inexpensive, nearly ubiquitous and already in the hands of underserved communities. Unfortunately, despite many proven successes, clear best practices, and numerous available approaches, funding for U.S.-based projects still lags significantly behind international deployments. What, then, do funders need to under- stand to support their grantees in seizing these opportunities? How can funders support mobile projectsbeyond fundraising campaigns and communicat- ing via social media

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April Events: Join a Mobile Discussion!

Ready for April events? This month has plenty of conferences and panels to keep anyone with an interest in mobiles entertained. Check out the upcoming events to see what’s happening this month.2-3 April, Africa Mobile Money Research (Nairobi, Kenya) The goals of this two-day event are to examine opportunities, trends, and growth strategies in mobile money initiatives, and to highlight African mobile money innovation.Mobile Mondays: Each month independent branches of Mobile Monday gather together to discuss different aspects of mobile technology. Some of this month’s events are:2 April, Mobile Monday (Montreal, Canada) The organization will be discussing mobile advertising.4 April, Mobile Monday (Bangalore, India) This meet-up is centered around the Ubuntu Cloud Day presentations.5 April, Mobile Monday (Tokyo, Japan) This is an open event focused on socializing with other fans of mobile technology.17-18 April, The Mobile Show (Dubai, United Arab Emirates) The Mobile Show is a multi-track event focusing on a variety of mobile themes: App Development, Mobile Advertising, M-Entertainment, M-Commerce, and M-Health. The conference has panels and exhibits focusing on different aspects of mobile phone use.18-19 April, Market Research in the Mobile World (Amsterdam, Netherlands) Want to know how mobiles work in the business world

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M-governance: Exploratory Survey on Kenyan Service Delivery and Government…

Author: Crandall, Angela, Leonida Mutuk Publication Type: Report/White paper Publication Date: Feb 2012 Publisher/Journal: iHub Publication language: English Abstract: This paper shares the initial findings from the fieldwork focusing on how Kenyan citizens understand governance and how they currently interact with the government. This information is important as a first step to studying the potential role of technology in Kenyan governance.Mobile phones have been cited by many as the best technology for interacting with citizens due to widespread user uptake; as of September 2011, Kenya had 25.27 million mobile subscribers. However, understanding the opinion of the citizen users is important to assess the real viability of using such mobile technologies to improve service delivery and citizen-government interactions. Therefore, with the aim of investigating citizens’ opinions on the best methods to interact with government, one-week of exploratory fieldwork was conducted in Nairobi in November 2011. Location Countries: Kenya Research Paper – Link to or Upload Paper URL: http://ict4dem.dsv.su.se/wp-co…

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UNDP Mobile Technologies Primer – A Review

Editor’s Note:Mairead Heffron is the guest author of this post. She is a former staffer at UNDP on other projects, but reviewed the report in her personal capacity. We appreciate her guest contribution! A report, recently published by UNDP, on mobile technologies and human development, “Mobile Technologies and Empowerment: Enhancing Human Development through Participation and Innovation”, does a good job of summarizing the many ways in which mobile technologies are being used successfully as tools for stimulating development. It’s intended to provide information and ideas for development practitioners on how mobile technologies and applications can be used appropriately and effectively in international development projects

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