May 05, 2008

Mobile phones as a development tool

Grameen's phone lady concept is a decade old and now the mobile phones have become so affordable to the mass that the phone ladies are almost dead by now. Except mobile internet telecenters is there anything remarkable happening in Bangladesh using mobile technology?

In the developing world, especially in Africa more and more innovations are coming up to use the potentials of the cellphone networks. Mobile phones are now providing banking services to the poor, text messaging are being used for advocacy and communication. More and more citizen journalists are using mobile phones as a media to record and send videos, photos and text from remote areas.

Mobile Technology for Social ChangeThe United Nations Foundation and The Vodafone Group Foundation has published a report titled :"Wireless Technology for Social Change: Trends in NGO Mobile Use" (click to download pdf -1MB).

This report examines innovative uses of mobile technology by groups working to achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals. The report identifies emerging trends in "mobile activism" through 11 case studies, and highlights the results of a global survey of NGO usage of mobile technology.

Also check their first report "Mobile Phone Banking and Low-Income Customers Evidence from South Africa" (click to download pdf).

I wish NGOs in Bangladesh would learn from these studies to use the potential of the mobile phone growth in the country.


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