Text to Change

Posted by TextToChange on Jul 28, 2009

Reinaert de Vosstraat 13
The Netherlands
Postal code: 

Text to Change has developed text message software to conduct mobile phone based health education programs in developing countries.
Text to Change conducts interactive sms quizzes via multiple choice questions. The services are free of charge and participants can win airtime and other incentives while participating.
Text to Change works with local NGO's, Telecom operators, governments and companies to achieve its goals:
1) Create more awareness on health issues via mobile telephones.
2) Gather data on knowledge levels via the text message based quizzes.
3) Create an uptake in health testing via referral to test centers via the sms quizzes.

Text to Change is based in The Netherlands and works in Uganda and Kenya and will be expanding to other countries in Africa.

Organization Type: 

Mobile Learning in Developing Countries

Posted by LeighJaschke on Jul 20, 2009
Mobile Learning in Developing Countries data sheet 2869 Views
Traxler, John; Kukulska-Hulme, Agnes
Publication Type: 
Journal article
Mobile learning, or m-learning, is a personal, unobtrusive, spontaneous, “anytime, anywhere” way to learn and to access educational tools and material that enlarges access to education for all. It reinforces learners’ sense of ownership of the learning experience, offering them flexibility in how, when and where they learn. In developing countries, mobile technologies potentially deliver educa- tion without dependence on an extensive traditional communications infra- structure, leapfrogging some of the intervening development phases encoun- tered in developed countries such as installing extensive electricity power grids, and building multiple computer rooms in educational institutions. Although m-learning experience remains limited, it is becoming a credible, cost-effective component of blended open and distance learning (ODL) provisions, adaptable to an institution’s needs and situation. M-learning devices are lightweight and handheld, including: • Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs), and palmtop or handheld computers. • Mobile phones, also called cell phones or handphones. Consider mobile phones, which are cheap and widely available, alongside other wireless communication devices; and handhelds, which are more expensive and scarce, alongside desktop and laptop comput- ers. Mobile devices are educationally interesting because they offer: • Several communications channels on one device, for example, email, voice, and text messaging. • Cheaper, comparable functionality with desktops or laptops. • Wireless access to educational materials, other students and Internet resources. Handhelds are currently the dominant mobile devices, apart from basic mobile phones. These technologies are converging, creating power- ful all-in-one tools such as “smartphones,” mobile phones with the func- tionality of a handheld; and handhelds with mobile phone capability. This guide focuses on the use of handheld computers or smartphones in m-learning.

M-Learning "Go Mobile" Summits Peak Interest across Africa This Summer

Posted by LeighJaschke on Jul 13, 2009

A key gathering focused on m-learning in Africa took place in Lusaka, Zambia at the end of June. The 3-day leadership summit entitled "Go Mobile! Using Mobile Learning to Teach 21st Century Skills" is one of four events aimed at bringing together stakeholders in education to introduce the idea of m-learning and to demonstrate the possibilities of mobile phones in the classroom.

Internet and Online Media Usage on Mobile Phones among Low-Income Urban Youth in Cape Town

Posted by LeighJaschke on Jul 01, 2009
Internet and Online Media Usage on Mobile Phones among Low-Income Urban Youth in Cape Town data sheet 3067 Views
Kreutzer, Tino
Publication Date: 
May 2009
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper
Cell phones introduce a range of new possibilities for social networking and communication, media use and production, political activism, as well as education. Young people in South Africa have adopted a range of innovative communicative practices, notably those which exploit low-cost mobile applications, as well as a growing host of rich-media and Internet-based applications. Until now, little quantitative data has been available to describe exactly to what extent and how young people access and use cell phones. This paper reports an extensive study, which surveyed 500 students from very low-income areas in Cape Town, South Africa. The students reported intensive use of cell phones, at a level which overshadows their use of less widely accessible technologies such as desktop computers. Notably, the extensive use of mobile Internet applications which students reported shows that many young urban South Africans first access the Internet via their phones, and that their concepts of the Internet and media in general are consequently strongly shaped by a distinct set of mobile applications.

Education, mobile phone use and production decisions: a rural case study in Peru

Posted by LeighJaschke on Jul 01, 2009
Education, mobile phone use and production decisions: a rural case study in Peru data sheet 1951 Views
Agüero, Aileen
Publication Date: 
May 2009
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper

In many parts of the world, mobile phones are important devices that have proven to be the first
opportunity for many people to have access to telecommunications. Considering the possible
impact of this development in welfare, the main purpose of this research is to investigate how
important formal education is for using mobile phones in making production decisions.
Specifically, we will analyze if this kind of technology is employed for production decisions in
rural areas in Puno, a Peruvian department in the southern highlands, bordering Bolivia. In
our case, production comprises livestock and agriculture. One of the main results is that no
matter how educated people are; if education is of poor quality, it will not have a significant
impact on the probability of making an effective use of mobile phones.

Improving Literacy in Rural India: Cellphone Games in an After-School Program

Posted by LeighJaschke on Jun 26, 2009
Improving Literacy in Rural India: Cellphone Games in an After-School Program data sheet 2193 Views
Matthew, Kam; Kumar, Anuj; Jain, Shirley; Mathur, Akhil; Canny, John
Publication Date: 
Apr 2009
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper
Literacy is one of the great challenges in the developing world. But universal education is an unattainable dream for those children who lack access to quality educational resources such as well-prepared teachers and schools. Worse, many of them do not attend school regularly due to their need to work for the family in the agricultural fields or households. This work commitment puts formal education far out of their reach. On the other hand, educational games on cellphones hold the promise of making learning more accessible and enjoyable. In our project’s 4th year, we reached a stage where we could implement a semester-long pilot on cellphone-based learning. The pilot study took the form of an after-school program in a village in India. This paper reports on this summative learning assessment. While we found learning benefits across the board, it seemed that more of the gains accrued to those children who were better equipped to take advantage of this opportunity. We conclude with future directions for designing educational games that target less well-prepared children in developing regions.

EPROM Update: 10 Countries and Counting

Posted by LeighJaschke on Jun 18, 2009
EPROM Update: 10 Countries and Counting data sheet 2310 Views
Eagle, Nathan
Publication Date: 
Sep 2008
Publication Type: 

This issue of the EPROM newsletter (2.0) chronicles the growth of the growth of the Entrepreneurial Programming and Research on Mobiles affiliated with the Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT) in partnership with Nokia. EPROM was founded by Nathan Eagle in 2006 at the University of Nairobi. EPROM is part of the Program for Developmental Entrepreneurship program at MIT. This issue highlights examples from expansion of mobile programming courses to 12 computer science departments across sub-Saharan Africa. The issue also describes phone applications developed specifically for the African market, and start up ventures based in Nairobi, Addis Ababa, Kampala and Kigali. Teacher training and future courses are listed.

The Role of Academic Research in Mobiles for Social Change or How Do We Bridge the Gap?

Posted by HeatherCole-Lewis on May 04, 2009

Midway through last week’s Mobile Tech 4 Social Change BarCamp in Washington DC, my fellow public health student, Ada Kwan, and I were inspired to propose a session on the role of academic research in the current mobile movement – a topic of many of our personal conversations. 

Among the participants were representatives from academia (including but not limited to public health, computer science, information technology, and political science), industry, NGOs, funding agencies, and government.  The session sparked very constructive dialogue that I would like to share.   

As the session unfolded, the complexity of this idea quickly became evident.  The original question—what is the role of academic research in mobiles for social change— opened the floodgates for more difficult questions:

African Film Makers, Censorship, and Mobile Phones

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Apr 27, 2009

Kiripi Katembo Siku, an art school student from the Democratic Republic of Congo, is a film maker with ingenuity and a mobile. He circumvents the restrictions and government censorship in Kinshasa, the country's capital, by attaching his mobile phone to a toy car, setting it to film, and then giving it to a girl to pull behind her on a piece of string as she walks through the streets of Kinshasa.

The resulting "Voiture en Carton" ("Cardboard Car") provides a rare glimpse of street-life in Kinshasa. The seven-minute film gives the viewer a clandestine look at life in the capital -- feet of children, youth gambling, and an UN jeep passing by.


According to CNN, he is one of a number of filmmakers in the DR Congo who says that using a mobile phone allows him to film in ways that were previously not possble. Film makers there say that filming permits are not given out anymore to avoid exposing corruption, poverty, and crime. Those brave enough to defy the authorities and shoot without permission risk fines, arrest, or worse.

Mobile Phones in Africa: The Trailer

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Apr 27, 2009

Our friends at in Austria just releases the trailer to a documentary about the growth of mobiles in Africa. Martin Konzett from who did a fabulous job documenting MobileActive08 with his videos, is the director. The full documentary will open on May 8th. 

Mobile Application Survey! Wanted: Your Mobile Apps for Social Development

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Mar 03, 2009

We are looking for your mobile application! is collecting detailed information about mobile applications used for health, social development, advocacy, education, civic media, human rights, and other civil society areas.

If you have or are developing a mobile application used in social development, please complete this survey!  There is currently no comprehensive database of mobile applications for social development available and we want to change that.

So, we need your help in building as-close-to-complete Mobile Applications Database, and learn more about your mobile apps used for social development.  Here is the survey!

We will share all applications widely on this site with organizations, press, and interested donors.

P.S.  Feel free to forward to relevant organizations, lists, and individuals! 

Photo: Mobile application at MobileActive08

The OLPC versus the Mobile Phone - A False Dichotomy

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Jan 26, 2009

The ongoing debate over the value of cheap and open laptops for users in developing countries as opposed to mobile phones continues, most recently with a post from Cory Doctorow in the Guardian UK. The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) initiative, the most visible and audacious of the low-cost laptop projects, has been in the news recently for cutting half its staff and severely scaling back and refocusing its operations.  OLPC had originally promised to promote economic development by distributing free computers to two billion children in developing countries.

Doctorow in the Guardian argues what we all believe in -- that information technology is an essential ingredient to economic development. He notes:

Mobile Phone Use Among Homeless People

Posted by CorinneRamey on May 29, 2008

For 40,000 people a year across the U.S., voicemail is a lifeline. The Community Voice Mail (CVM) program, started in 1991, has helped provide over 40,000 homeless and low-income individuals each year with access to voicemail in 41 U.S. cities. For many CVM clients, their voicemail is their connection to a job, an apartment, and relationships with teachers, doctors, or social service agencies. (MobileActive wrote about CVM and similar programs here). However, as mobile phones have become ubiquitous across the United States -- even in the hands of homeless people -- CVM has questioned the impact and relationship of mobile phones to their traditional voicemail model.

MobileActive sat down with Steve Albertson, Director of New Initiatives at Community Voicemail, for a chat.

Ask about Sex via Text: Teenagers 'Learn About Living' in Nigeria

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Feb 03, 2008

Can I get HIV after having sex for the first time? So goes one of the ten thousand SMS messages that teenagers in Nigeria have sent to Learning about Living.


Learning About Living is a project by One World UK, Nigerian NGOs, the MTN Foundation, and the Nigerian Department of Education using computers and mobile phones to teach Nigerian teenagers about sexuality and HIV/AIDS prevention.

One Laptop Per Child v. Cellphones and Radio: A view from Malawi

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Jan 30, 2008

This report about the reality of the One Laptop Per Child initiative in one of the poorest countries on earth, the mobile revolution, the reality of radio, and what this all means for children was written by Martin Lucas in Malawi, and posted on a mailing list. We are publishing it here in its entirety for its insights and opinion. We'd love to hear from you - tell us what you think!

One Slate per Child by Martin Lucas

I have been reading with interest the discussion of the 'hundred-dollar laptop' and the One Laptop per Child initiative as I sit in Malawi, a small landlocked Southern African nation lodged between Mozambique, Zambia, and Tanzania. According to Wikipedia, the OLPC effort has its philosophical base in the idea that children with laptops will be able to do a certain kind of thinking that isn't possible without the computer - exploring certain areas - particularly in math and science where computer access offers a qualitatively superior learning experience. Making such machines available at low prices should allow developing countries to bridge the 'digital divide', and leapfrog learning. Countries that have signed on include Uruguay. India has given a definite no. Either way, the OLPC initiative is an aspect of 'development' even 'IT for Development.' How does the initiative square with the reality of a small African nation?

Groundviews Mobile - Citizen Journalism from Sri Lanka on the Go

Posted by yajitha on Jan 26, 2008

Groundviews is now featuring its latest content on mobile devices. Go to to access articles from the award-winning Sri Lanka citizen journalism site on a mobile phone. Groundviews mobile works with Blackberry’s, the iPhone and all recent Nokia, Sony Ericsson, LG, Samsung and other mobile phones capable of and set up for Internet access. Our site does not require 3G or high speed connectivity and is not tied to any mobile operator or service.

Groundviews - - Sri Lanka's first and award winning citizens journalism website features ideas, opinions and analyses on humanitarian issues, media freedom, human rights, peace, democratic governance and constitutional reform.

Groundviews Mobile

Mobilizing in Albania, and other stories from the mobile youth movement

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Jan 24, 2008

MobileActives are increasingly making the news as mainstream press is picking up the potential of mobiles as organizing, advocacy, and mobilization tools in social change movements. In an article in the Financial Times today, the focus is on young social change leaders using technology, and increasingly, cell phones in their work. Profiling Maft and its (former) leader Erion Veliaj of Mjaft, an Albanian young people's political movement, it's clear that good organizing and social change is unthinkable today without mobile phones.

mjaft logo