is Five Years Old! Time for a Community Hurrah!

Posted by anoushrima on Sep 23, 2010

In late September 2005, a group of 40 innovators and activists who were exploring the socially beneficial applications for mobile phones as more than just a personal communication device, convened in Toronto for a 3-day meeting. 

From that meeting, was born. 

Today, five years later, is a growing international digital community of 20,000 highly skilled practitioners, technologists, campaigners and strategists like you.

In 2005 there were just over 1.5 billion mobile subscriptions worldwide. Today, we have already cleared the 5 billion mark. And thanks to the visionary work of the people in this community, the idea of leveraging mobile technology to improve people’s lives, is at top of mind. 

M-Health is blazing the way as a discipline in its own right. Mobile money and m-payments programs are expanding rapidly to bank unbanked individuals. We have seen record amounts of money raised over SMS fundraising, and novel applications of mobiles and mapping in humanitarian relief efforts. Mobiles are improving service delivery and supply chains of aid organizations globally, and are being used to collect vital data from citizens, bottom-up. Citizens around the world are using mobiles for advocacy campaigns, mobilizing and to produce and distribute media, and monitor their elections. Academics and researchers have delved into each of these topics and have published hundreds of substantive papers, reports and books with findings directly applicable to our work.

The broader public, media and decision makers are starting to take note of these developments. In fact, just this afternoon the high-profile Clinton Global Initiative is convening three separate sessions with an emphasis on new technology & mobiles – featuring speakers and moderators from this very community – who will discuss not only what is possible, but what is actually being done, and what challenges we still face. 

We have seen this great progression thanks to the cutting-edge work by the hundreds inspiring people in this community from all around the world. 

For that reason – instead of a birthday party, we are celebrating YOU, the community.

Over the next two months we will bring you highlights of practitioners and organizations in this network, visualizations of our progress and collective accomplishments, and most importantly, ask for your feedback on where we, as a field and as a network, should focus our energies next and what we can do to continue to support eachothers work as a community and network. 

So, instead of a birthday gift, get involved! 

Send us your case studies, mobile tools and research papers for our mDirectory. (For our 5th birthday, we want 50 new entries!) Fill out our community survey, join the discussion list, or share your latest work & research on Facebook or at one of our events., the network and community, exists to support you. We seek to enable the sharing of knowledge, data and substantial and practical information, and connect the dots between people and resources to help reduce the learning curve for any NGO, organization or individual seeking to use mobile technology to enhance their social impact work. 

To every one of the inspiring, vibrant and impressive people in this community, THANK YOU and CONGRATULATIONS for all that you have achieved! Happy birthday!

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