Echo

SMS Services in Uganda from Grameen, Google & MTN  

Posted by Rezwan in ,

From The White African:

Grameen Foundation’s AppLab has released a new suite of mobile phone applications developed in Uganda, using Google SMS Search and in partnership with MTN Uganda as the mobile operator. The services include:
  • Farmer’s Friend: a searchable database with both agricultural advice and targeted weather forecasts
  • Health Tips: provides sexual and reproductive health information
  • Clinic Finder: helps locate nearby health clinics and their services
  • Google Trader: matches buyers and sellers of agricultural produce and commodities as well as other products. Local buyers and sellers, such as small-holder farmers, are able to broaden their trading networks and reduce their transaction costs. (known locally as “Akatale SMS”)
This has been developed with a partnership between MTN Uganda, the Grameen Foundation and Google.

Here is a promo video from Uganda:



My question is why we are not seeing these kinds of sms based activism in Bangladesh?

An Idea That Works Worldwide  

Posted by Rezwan in ,

Check out the interview with Dr. Muhammad Yunus at Knowledge@Wharton.



"… it has worked all over the country, all over the world. In many countries, they said, “Well, our country is not like Bangladesh. We don’t have such a huge density of population and not as much poverty concentrated in our population. So in our country it won’t work.” We said, “Well, you debate about your country and Bangladesh. Give the task to us. We will go and do it for you.” Many countries accepted that, so we started doing it. We did it in Turkey. We did it in Kosovo. We did it in Costa Rica, Guatemala, China, India and many other places to demonstrate those kinds of things."

News from Bangladesh - As Interpreted by a Foreigner  

Posted by Rezwan in

The Asia File comments on some recent news from Bangladesh:

* The Daylight Saving Time:

...having experienced the incredibly frequent and frustrating rolling blackouts during my few days here, I agree that something needs to be done about the acute power shortage. However, I find it slightly disconcerting when governments start to mess with time.

* Cattle trader shot by Indian border patrol:
It’s a pretty extreme response to illegal border trade, of the kind that you’d expect from North Korea, not India.

Dhaka Traffic: Living Dangerously  

Posted by Rezwan in



The thumb rule of Dhaka Traffic: screw the rules and march using innovations to avoid all the impediments in the way. People are living dangerously and some are not that lucky. (Alert: not for the faint hearted)

Shahidul Alam Detained By Indian Border Security Forces  

Posted by Rezwan in ,

Shahidul Alam, Image by Ahmed Arup KamalDifferent news sources confirms that Shahidul Alam, internationally renowned photojournalist from Bangladesh, blogger, E-Bangladesh author and founder of the Drik picture network has been detained by the Indian border security.

According to David Brewer of Media Helping Media:

In a message to this site from Dhaka, Alam’s partner says he was working on a multimedia project about the Brahmaputra river with two colleagues when border guards took him away.

There are now fears for Alam’s safety and supporters are calling on the international community to push for his release.
Brahmaputra Project (Click image to go to the project page)
(Click image to go to the project page)

At the time Alam was working on the Bangladesh end of the river Brahmaputra project. He had travelled to Kurigram with two Drik colleagues to take photos, video and stills.

A press release from Drik News quotes:
Dr Shahidul Alam, renowned photographer, founder of Drik and Chief Editor of DrikNEWS— an International News Photo Agency, was detained today (June 16th 2009) at about 5 pm by the members of the Indian Border Security Forces (BSF) while working on the Bangladesh side of the border on one of his National Geographic projects based on Brahmaputra. The BSF guards on duty had first asked him to come over and then detained him at Sahapara across the border from Rowmari. His two colleagues, who were accompanying him, are on the Bangladeshi side of the border and have so far failed to establish any contact with him.

Unheard Voice Blog has the latest:
Shahidul’s mobile was soon handed back to him. He has phoned me to say that he is well, news seems to have gotten through to the BSF post that he should be released, but that procedural matters needed to be completed. Shahidul is being interrogated, a routine matter (conducted by Dhubri thana), and will be released after it is completed. Have heard through friends that BDR (Bangladesh Rifles) has called a flag meeting.


Update from Media Helping Media:
Bangladeshi photojournalist Shahidul Alam has been arrested for the second time in 24 hours, this time by border guards in Bangladesh. The second arrest came hours after Alam was detained and interrogated for six hours by Indian border security guards (BSF).

At 03:00 this morning Alam called colleagues to say he had been arrested again but this time by Bangladeshi border guards (BD).

He was taken to a local police station and a case was filed by SI Amir Ali under the Control Entry Act/4,1978 Bangladesh (case number 6, dtd 17.06.2009). It is understand the charge relates to illegal entry.

Alam then spent the night in custody. He is due to appear at court today, Wednesday 17 June, and is expected to apply for bail.


Image of Shahidul Alam by Ahmed Arup Kamal

In Mozartland  

Posted by Rezwan in ,

I arrived in Vienna last Sunday without any major incident. Our last trip in May by car towards Denmark ended abruptly when the cooler of my car burst and it had to be towed. So I was extra cautious this time during the 700km long journey to Vienna from Berlin. We had a 2 hour stop-over in Prague for lunch.

The weather was good and temperature is on the higher side. 25-30 does not sound much to me but with piercing sunlight this means struggle for many Europeans especially in Czech Republic and in Austria. When this hotel was booked they promised that there will be internet connection via LAN in every room. I found that the connection in our room was not working. I guess they have never took the complain seriously and indicated that there is something wrong with my laptop. I had to prove to them using a connection from another room that they were wrong. The issue still remains unresolved and guess the only option is to move to another room (subject to availability).

Here are some pictures:


Prater amusement park


Hofburg Imperial palace


Naturhistorisches Museum Wien (Museum of Natural History of Vienna)


Schönbrunn Palace


Rose Garden and Gloriette


UNO city/Vienna International Center


Birds Eye view of Vienna from Kahlenberg


Seegrotte, the largest underground lake of Europe, a former gypsum mine and a secret fighter factory of the Nazis.

My Twitter Friends  

Posted by Rezwan

Get your twitter mosaic here.