The People, Projects, and Events That Made Last Year Great (Hint: YOU)

Posted by admin on Jan 04, 2011

Happy New Year from! In 2010 we saw mobiles go mainstream as non-tech organizations the world over learned about the power of reaching users right through their phones.

From SMS donations in the wake of disasters to mobile health care, from mobile money transfers to mobile organizing, this has been a time of enormous innovation.  Read on for a few of the highlights of 2010 and some thoughts on what's to come in 2011.

Mobiles in the Wake of Disaster

On January 12th 2010, a 7.0 earthquake hit Haiti, causing massive damage to the capital and surrounding regions. Following the earthquake, SMS donations poured in as aid organizations targeted mobile users to donate via SMS. We published "Texting for Charitable Dollars: The Definitive Guide to Mobile Fundraising," a how-to guide for both donors and organizations about supporting and implementing mobile donation campaigns. 

During the disaster and its aftermath, there was much discussion about crowdsourcing disaster information via mobile/SMS. We took a hard look at the usefulness of crowd-sourcing data collection during emergencies and the short-term and long-term value of that information – and examined why crowd-sourced data from disaster-affected communities may not add as much value to relief efforts as touted.

Mobiles in Elections

In February, MobileActive and the National Democratic Institute co-hosted "New Tech for Better Elections," a look at how data collection, citizen reporting, and election observation are supported by mobile tech. In the lead-up to the event, we published an interview with Ian Schuler, the world's expert on mobiles in elections, who discussed how election monitoring and crowd-sourcing differ, and why both are important for democracy and governance work.

Learning from Failure

We hosted our first-ever FailFaire in April, an event that brings together mobile technologists and those working in NGOs to talk openly and honestly about their failed mobile projects. After hosting another successful FailFaire in July (this time in Washington, D.C., together with the World Bank), we published a guide to hosting your own FailFaire. Covering everything from the planning stages (how to reach out to the right participants, how to gather supporters) to pulling off the event (answering the right questions during presentations, setting ground rules to keep things running smoothly), the guide will help anyone host a great FailFaire. 

We have heard in the meantime of a number of other FailFaires, some done internally, and others publicly.  We believe in learning from where we failed, and will host more in 2011.

Mobiles in Media

 As part of the work on the Mobile Media Toolkit, a year-long exploration of mobiles in media culminating with a new resource web site to be launched in 2011, we covered the National Public Radio's mobile strategy, looking at how and why the organization used mobile technology to reach out to its audience and attract new users.

We also published a detailed how-to guide to audio recording on a mobile phone in the field, which covered everything from tips to getting the best sound to a breakdown of the different recording and publishing tools available.

We investigated the world of mobiles and radios in a detailed report on "The State of Mobile in Radio," and discovered that most radio/mobile projects are still ad-hoc and individual enterprises. The report covers organizations that have successfully used mobiles in their broadcast work, popular ways to incorporate mobile technology into radio programming, and an honest look at the challenges involved in using mobiles in radio.

Women and Mobile

In September our bi-monthly Tech Salon focused on Women and Mobile and the digital gender divide, the promise of mobiles for women, women working in the M4D and ICT4D fields. You can learn more in the interviews of the women who presented their work at the Tech Salon. 

There is now a thriving mWomen community discussing mobiles for women – with more community building to come in 2011.

Mobile Money and Mobile Health

In November, we published a two-part series on mobile money and m-health, investigating how mobiles are currently being used in the health field, and how incorporating mobile money into those programs can increase the financial sustainability of m-health programs. Take a look - much innovation to come there in 2011!

Mobile Data Collection

December was mobile data collection month for MobileActive. It saw the publication of our Ultimate Resource Guide, an easy-to-use spreadsheet that breaks down our data collection content into clear categories (web content, peer-reviewed research, reports and evaluations, how-tos, and inventory) and our Comparison Matrix, a guide to ten different mobile data collection tools on the market today. Thank yo to all who contributed and provied feedback!

Onward to 2011!

For 2011, we will be focusing more heavily on mobiles in human rights and media, with a strong focus on mobile security and safer communications via mobile. We will also work to expand the work that the mWomen started to better understand the benefits mobile tech can bring to women's social and economic empowerment.  And of course, we will continue to feature more news, stories, and the community of you, the amazing people, projects and events that made the year great. Happy New Year!

Photo courtesy AleGranholm under Creative Commons license.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd><p><br> <b><i><blockquote>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options