Beyond ICT4D: New Media Research in Uganda

Posted by EKStallings on Dec 19, 2011
Beyond ICT4D: New Media Research in Uganda data sheet 701 Views
Balunywa , Ali, Guido van Diepen, Wouter Dijkstra, Kai Henriquez, Ben White
ISSN/ISBN Number: 
Publication Date: 
Jan 2011
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper

 This paper is a collection of five ethnographic reports examining the role of ICT in Uganda. The first is not particulalrly mobile focused and looks at how those who have access to internet in Uganda use it. The second report is about the ways ICT is changing print media. The third report focuses on the the opportunities ICT present for civil society and non-governmental groups. The next report outlines the way the ICT sector in Uganda was developed. The last report examines ways that ICT may be used in government accountability.


FAILfaire Returns to New York on December 14th!

Posted by MarkWeingarten on Oct 28, 2011

The fourth FAILfaire, this time in New York City on December 14th, will be an evening dedicated to those tech and mobile projects that were designed to have a social impact but instead crashed, burned, and FAILED. FAILfaire NYC is presented by MobileActive.org and hosted by the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, with participation from UNICEF's Innovation Unit.

If you do not know about Failfaire, here is some background: Launched in early 2010, there have now been three FAILfaires, events designed to provide a platform for those working in online and mobile technology for social change to openly, honestly (and humorously) discuss our own failures.

As noted in the New York Times’ piece on FAILfaire, “Technology’s potential to bring about social good is widely extolled, but its failures, until now, have rarely been discussed by nonprofits who deploy it.” Well, FAILfaire is changing that, and is doing so in style. The format is informal, the discussions are rich, and the refreshments are adult and, well, refreshing.

Slate.com wrote that FailFaire “...[isn’t] about celebrating failure just for the sake of failure, but about taking lessons from each mistake and using them to create more efficient, economical, and accessible projects that could have a greater effect on a community.” We couldn’t agree more!

To join us, please RSVP here, as the event will fill up quickly.

If you like to be considered as a presenter for the next FAILfaire, go to failfaire.org and submit a note about your failed project and what we can learn from it.

Mobile Communications in Zambia

Posted by ccarlon on Oct 12, 2011
Mobile Communications in Zambia data sheet 790 Views
Montez, David
Publication Date: 
Oct 2010
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper

This report uses AudienceScapes data from a nationally representative survey of Zambia to focus on how people of various social groups access and use mobile communications. The report also showcases how the AudienceScapes survey data can help members of the development community to design and implement more effective programs in technological access, communications and information empowerment.

Beyond measuring basic access and use levels, this report works to answer several key research questions regarding the role of mobile phones in economic and social development in Zambia. These include but are not limited to; what is the potential for SMS-based information services as a development tool, is the mobile market beginning to reach disadvantaged parts of the population, what are the continued barriers to mobile phone access and use, who is using mobile money and is their greater market potential for these services?

Transforming Education: The Power of ICT Policies

Posted by ccarlon on Oct 04, 2011
Transforming Education: The Power of ICT Policies data sheet 876 Views
Alnoaimi, Tayseer, Mario Brun, J. Enrique Hinostroza, Shafi ka Issacs, Robert Kozma, and Philip Wong
ISSN/ISBN Number: 
Publication Date: 
May 2011
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper

The world is experiencing a major shift from an economy and society based on mass production to one based on knowledge creation. The book examines the range of educational experiences, practices, and issues and presents them in a way that can be used by decision makers crafting ICT policy in education. The book begins by considering the broader technological, economic, and social trends that have been sweeping the globe and moving toward an information economy and knowledge society. It examines the dramatic increase in capabilities and use of ICT and their related social and economic impact – positive and negative – in both developed and less developed nations.

The cases analysed in this publication are taken from different regions of the world – Africa, Arab region, Asia and Latin America – illustrating the global dimension of the changes that ICT bring to education systems and policies. The wide diversity offered by the selected countries - Jordan, Namibia, Rwanda, Singapore and Uruguay – in terms of economic and educational development, suggests that the issues at stake are not limited to a particular group of privileged countries. ICT can have a transformative effect on education regardless of the economic conditions, in very advanced school systems as well as in poorly resourced ones. The choice of the policy mix varies according to particular circumstances but the vision and the potential of ICT to transform education is universal. This is the key message that this publication attempts to articulate.

The dissemination and use of information and communications technologies (ICT) in schools has come to be seen by education policy-makers as a significant opportunity. They are attracted to the prospect that ICT can improve student achievement, improve access to schooling, increase efficiencies and reduce costs, enhance students’ ability to learn and promote their lifelong learning, and prepare them for a globally competitive workforce. As the power and capability of computers have increased, as they have become interconnected in a worldwide web of information and resources, as they provide a conduit for participation and interaction with other people, as they have become linked to other devices, and as their costs have come down, policy-makers, particularly those in developing countries, have come to see ICT as a viable, and even dramatic, way of responding to the multiple challenges that they face.

Once policy-makers consider making significant investments in ICT, a host of questions emerge: How many computers are needed in a school? Where should they be located? How should the network architecture be structured? How should the computers be distributed equitably? What additional resources are needed to support their use? What kind of training do teachers need to take advantage of these resources? How can they use them in their teaching? Are these uses effective? Are these even the right questions?

The position taken in this book is that while these questions represent important implementation issues, they are not the questions that should frame ICT policy. ICT can have a greater impact when the policies and programmes designed to implement them are crafted in the broader context of social and economic goals and when they are implemented in support of coordinated change of all the components of the education system, aligned to a vision of economic development and social progress – that is, when ICT policies and programmes support educational transformation.

August Mobile Event Roundup

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Aug 02, 2011

This August has lots of mobile events for everyone from developers, to researchers, to business owners.  Mobile events are happening all over the world this month, so check out the list below to see what's happening near you!

5-7 August MakerFaire (Kumasi, Ghana) Applications are still being accepted for a mini-MakerFaire event in Kumasi, Ghana. Hosted by the International Development Design Summit, the two-day event allows participants to show off their ideas and projects for the ICT world.

18-19 August International m4Ed4Dev Symposium (Bethesda, USA) This USAID event will "focus on potential areas where mobile technology can help achieve education strategy goals with a particular focus in two core areas: literacy and on-demand access to materials, and improved education data for education system strengthening."

19 August All Things Mobile Conference (Denver, USA) This business-oriented event looks at how companies can incorporate mobile applications into their work, and how mobile devices can be used for business.

23-24 August Mobile Entertainment Africa (Cape Town, South Africa) This two-day event is all about entertainment! Different panel discussions cover everything from mobile television, to music delivery systems, to mobile gaming – and how mobiles are changing Africa's approach to entertainment content delivery.

26-28 August Social Dev Chicago (Chicago, USA) Social Dev Camp brings together app and platform developers for a weekend of discussions (on topics such as "Turning Mistakes into Success," "In-App Payments," and "Civic Apps and Open Data") along with a hackathon where developers can collaborate on projects.

Multiple Dates Mobile Monday (worldwide) Mobile Mondays are get togethers for people interested in mobile technology. Local groups host events around the world on different dates, so check out the site to see what's happening near you this month!


1-2 September Apps World Asia (Suntec, Singapore) This conference has workshops and exhibitions where developers can learn new skills and demonstrate multi-platform apps.

Registration is open Tech4Africa (Johannesburg, South Africa) Although this event isn't until 27-28 October, registration is now open for Tech4Africa, a conference that looks at mobile, web, and emerging technology in Africa.

Do you know of any M4D events happening in your area? Let us know in the comments!

Photo via Flickr user Leo Reynolds

Huzzah for my Thing: Evaluating a Pilot of a Mobile Service in Kenya

Posted by VivianOnano on Jul 21, 2011
Huzzah for my Thing: Evaluating a Pilot of a Mobile Service in Kenya data sheet 2126 Views
Ledlie, Jonathan
Publication Date: 
Jan 2010
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper

Deploying and evaluating a new technology is a major challenge in ICTD research. Introducing new technologies can be hampered by a lack of cultural insight, poor or delayed feedback, and limited evaluation procedures, among other factors. 

This short paper offers a model for introducing technology in developing regions that mitigates these factors. We call these steps the “Huzzah method,” inspired by a quotation that rightly derides technology that is introduced from afar and poorly evaluated.

The paper also includes selected portions from other work on Tangaza, whose design, implementation, and analysis followed the Huzzah method.

A Note on the Availability (and Importance) of Pre-Paid Mobile Data in Africa

Posted by VivianOnano on Jul 12, 2011
A Note on the Availability (and Importance) of Pre-Paid Mobile Data in Africa data sheet 2161 Views
Donovan, Kevin; Donner, Jonathan.
Publication Date: 
Jun 2010
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper

We argue that access to prepay data will be as essential to the widespread adoption and use of the mobile internet in developing countries as access to prepay airtime is/was to the adoption of the mobile telephone.  In late 2009, we conducted a desk assessment of the availability of pre-pay (payas-you-go) data from the major operators in 53 African countries. In 36 cases we were able to identify at least one operator in each country which offered pre-pay data, and in 3 cases we could determine that no prepay data was available.  

Information available from operators was vague, incomplete, and hard to obtain, suggesting a threshold in general awareness and enthusiasm on the part of operators may not yet have been crossed. We describe an ongoing follow-up “crowdsourcing” activity underway to fill in information from the remaining 14 countries, and suggest topics for further research, both on the demand and supply sides of the prepaid data equation. 

Mobile Technology for Community Health (MOTECH) Ghana

Posted by jasonhahn on Apr 06, 2011
Mobile Technology for Community Health (MOTECH) Ghana data sheet 3502 Views

MOTECH in Ghana has developed two interrelated mobile health services:

“Mobile Midwife” application: This service enables pregnant women and their families to receive SMS or voice messages that provide time-specific information about their pregnancy each week in their own language. This information is a mixture of: Alerts and reminders for care seeking (e.g., reminders to go for specific treatments, such as prenatal care or a tetanus vaccination). Actionable information and advice to help deal with challenges during pregnancy (e.g., tips for saving money for transportation to deliver at a health facility, what is needed for a birthing kit, nutrition information). Educational information, including milestones in fetal development, promotion of good health practices, and songs about breastfeeding. Voice messages are delivered in English or local languages. Two languages of the Upper East Region, Kasem and Nakam, were supported for MOTECH’s first implementation, and two languages of central region, Senya and Fante, will be supported in Awutu Senya. SMS messages are all delivered in English.

Basic Information
Organization involved in the project?: 
Project goals: 

The project aims to determine how to use mobile phones to increase the quantity and quality of prenatal and neonatal care in rural Ghana, with a goal of improving health outcomes for mothers and their newborns.

Brief description of the project: 

Can information delivered over a mobile phone improve someone’s health? Can it improve the quality of care received in a rural clinic? The Mobile Technology for Community Health (MOTECH) initiative in Ghana is a partnership between Ghana Health Service, Grameen Foundation and Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. Funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the project aims to determine how to use mobile phones to increase the quantity and quality of prenatal and neonatal care in rural Ghana, with a goal of improving health outcomes for mothers and their newborns. The MOTECH system was launched in July 2010 in the Upper East Region; a replication in Awutu Senya district in Central Region will happen in April 2011. Further opportunities for scale across Ghana will be assessed in the second half of 2011. If successful, it is intended that MOTECH will be launched nationally in Ghana, and that this will become a showcase for replications throughout Africa and the world. The software system used in Ghana is available via OpenSource license and can be used for implementing a wide range of mobile health applications.

Target audience: 

Expecting and New Parents

Detailed Information
Display project in profile: 

Towards a Design Model for Women’s Empowerment in the Developing World

Posted by MarkWeingarten on Jan 28, 2011
Towards a Design Model for Women’s Empowerment in the Developing World data sheet 1586 Views
Shroff, Geeta and Matthew Ka
Publication Date: 
Jan 2011
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nicholas Kristof argues that “in this century the paramount moral challenge will be the struggle for gender equality around the world.” In this paper, we present a design model for empowering low income women in the developing world, in ways that cut across individual application areas. Specifically, this model characterizes a possible trajectory for NGOs and women to engage with each other and among themselves – potentially augmented by technology – to help women escape from poverty.

The fieldwork components in this study took place over 15 weeks in three phases, with a total of 47 NGO staff members and 35 socio-economically challenged women in rural and urban India. Interviews and co-design sessions with seven proof-of-concept prototypes showed that women appeared to belong to five distinct stages of “growth” in striving towards independence. We report the technology design lessons from our co-design sessions to illustrate how user readiness, relationship building at the community and family levels, and integration with state, national and international level programs, should be taken into account in the broader context of intervention design.

Mobile-based Livelihood Services in Africa: Pilots and Early Deployments

Posted by MarkWeingarten on Jan 14, 2011
Mobile-based Livelihood Services in Africa: Pilots and Early Deployments data sheet 1693 Views
Donner, Jonathan
Publication Date: 
Feb 2010
Publication Type: 
Journal article

The paper describes a collection of initiatives delivering support via mobile phones to small enterprises, small farms, and the self-employed. Using a review of 26 examples of such services currently operational in Africa, the analysis identifies five functions of mobile livelihood services: Mediated Agricultural Extension, Market Information, Virtual Marketplaces, Financial Services, and Direct Livelihood Support. It discusses the current reliance of such systems on the SMS channel, and considers their role in supporting vs. transforming existing market structures.

Framing M4D: The Utility of Continuity and the Dual Heritage of “Mobiles and Development"

Posted by MarkWeingarten on Jan 13, 2011
Framing M4D: The Utility of Continuity and the Dual Heritage of “Mobiles and Development" data sheet 1799 Views
Donner, Jonathan
ISSN/ISBN Number: 
Publication Date: 
Dec 2010
Publication Type: 
Journal article

The paper suggests that research on the role of mobile telephony for socioeconomic development (M4D) draws on two frames. One frame stresses the relative freedom of telephone users to do whatever they choose. The other stresses how technologies and technology-led interventions are embedded in recursive, context specific relationships with user communities. Together these frames support M4D’s “dual heritage”. After detailing current M4D archetypes representing each heritage, the paper introduces a conceptual and practical synthesis, that is, large-scale platforms for distributed, semi-constrained interaction.

This paper considers two examples of such platforms—MXit, South Africa’s mobile social networking service and M-PESA, Kenya’s mobile money transfer system—including both anticipated and unanticipated consequences of operating “at scale” and beyond the confines of a controlled M4D intervention. Finally, this paper introduces implications of the dual heritage and of the rise of hybrid platforms for research and practice.

Supporting the Information Needs of Mobile Microentrepreneurs in the Developing World: The Case of Indonesian Food Cart Vendors

Posted by MarkWeingarten on Jan 12, 2011
Supporting the Information Needs of Mobile Microentrepreneurs in the Developing World: The Case of Indonesian Food Cart Vendors data sheet 1226 Views
Dawood, Rahmad, Steven J. Jackson, and Jude Yew
Publication Date: 
Dec 2010
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper

This paper describes an ongoing research project exploring the business practices of mobile entrepreneurs, specifically mobile food vendors, and the potential use of location aware and mobile phone-based application to support their information needs. Mobile food vendors are a ubiquitous phenomenon in the developing world and can be seen hawking their wares in carts, bicycles, or motorcycles.

In this paper we report findings from 28 interviews around business practices, challenges, personal histories, and economic wellbeing among mobile food vendors and 10 of their customers from five major Indonesian cities. Based on these findings, we point to characteristics and features of a mobile phone-based application that will enable these vendors to advertise their current location, accept orders from customers, enable customers’ recommendation of vendors, and inform fellow vendors of various special events.

M-Health Tech Trends 2011: What To Expect

Posted by admin on Jan 11, 2011

What can we expect to see on the technical front in m-health and m-for-development in 2011?  Unleashing the inner geek in all of us, guest contributor Matt Berg has some predictions. This post originally appeared on his blog BuildAfrica.org. It is reposted here with permission.

Commoditization of Mobile Based Data Collection

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

Posted by admin on Jan 04, 2011

Happy New Year from MobileActive.org! 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

Mobile Phones and Development: An Analysis of IDRC-Supported Projects

Posted by MohiniBhavsar on Oct 12, 2010
Mobile Phones and Development: An Analysis of IDRC-Supported Projects data sheet 3185 Views
Ahmed T. Rashid and Laurent Elder
Publication Date: 
Jan 2009
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper

In the context of the rapid growth of mobile phone penetration in developing countries, mobile telephony is currently considered to be particularly important for development. Yet, until recently, very little systematic evidence was available that shed light on the developmental impacts of mobile telecommunication. The Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D) program of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Canada, has played a critical role in filling some of the research gaps through its partnerships with several key actors in this area.

The objective of this paper is to evaluate the case of mobile phones as a tool in solving development problems drawing from the evidence of IDRC supported projects. IDRC has supported around 20 projects that cut across several themes such as livelihoods, poverty reduction, health, education, the environment and disasters. The projects will be analyzed by theme in order to provide a thematic overview as well as a comparative analysis of the development role of mobile phones. In exploring the evidence from completed projects as well as the foci of new projects, the paper summarizes and critically assesses the key findings and suggests possible avenues for future research.

The Mobile Minute: Nokia's Dual SIM Card Phones, Launch of SwiftRiver, and RIM Delays India's BBM Ban

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Sep 08, 2010

Today's Mobile Minute's coverage will feature release of the data-aggregating program SwiftRiver, feature phones' allure in developing countries, Nokia's entrance into the dual SIM card market, a new book that investigates how ICTs will have an effect on politics and culture in the Muslim world, and how RIM's response delayed India's proposed ban on BlackBerry services.

Use of ICTs among Researchers, Extension Workers and Farmers: Implications for a National Agricultural Extension Policy on ICTs

Posted by MohiniBhavsar on Sep 07, 2010
Use of ICTs among Researchers, Extension Workers and Farmers: Implications for a National Agricultural Extension Policy on ICTs data sheet 2272 Views
Agwu A. E; U. C. Uche-Mba and O. M. Akinnagbe
Publication Date: 
Jun 2008
Publication Type: 
Journal article

The study ascertained the level of usage as well as constraints to the use of information communication technologies (ICTs) among major stakeholders in the agricultural development process in Abia and Enugu States of Nigeria. Data for the study were generated from a sample of 110 respondents using structured interview schedule and questionnaire.

Findings indicate that majority (52.5%, 57.5% and 56.7%) of researchers; extension workers and farmers had high, moderate and low knowledge levels of available ICTs, respectively. Out of 24 information communication technologies in use among the respondents, 11 were frequently utilized by researchers, while only 4 and 3 of the facilities were frequently utilized by extension workers and farmers, respectively.

The study revealed major constraints to the use of ICTs to include lack of sufficiently trained computer personnel, lack of confidence in operating modern ICTs, erratic and fluctuating power supply, poor finance, lack of internet access in the rural areas and high cost of ICTs hard and soft wares, among others. The study concludes with the need to have a National Agricultural Extension Policy on the use of ICTs with major emphasis on access, availability and use.

How To Roll Your Own FAILFaire

Posted by anoushrima on Aug 17, 2010

So, you heard about FailFaire (and maybe even read the New York Times article about it). You liked the idea of learning from failure in a not-so-earnest setting and want to have your very own FailFaire, or you think that your organization could benefit from an internal event. Here are some tips for rolling your own.

Caveat: We have now organized two FailFaires (first in NYC, next in DC) for our community of practitioners who work with ICTs and mobiles for international development because that community is our audience. And part of our mission here at MobileActive.org is to help reduce redundancies, build capacity and advance the field. We also happen to work in an area of the NGO sector where failure is not often discussed, least of all honestly.

But the FailFaire concept can work for any field or, maybe just as helpfully, within any organization. (Note, of course, that some of the suggestions listed below will differ for an internal event, rather than a public one like ours.)

The FailFaire name and logo are licensed under a liberal Creative Commons, so feel free to use them. You do not need our permission. For tweeting, blogging and posting event pictures, we have used the hashtag ‚#failfaire. If you are running an event branded as FailFaire, feel free to drop us a line (or leave a comment) to let us know how it went.

Here are some thoughts and tips on how we've approached FailFaires.

1. Start with a lot of personal, old-fashioned, direct outreach for both participants and presenters
Identify those in your network who are more agile, and less bureaucratic and less resistant to talk about and learn from failure. Have many conversations to introduce/warm them up to the this radical new idea long in advance - perhaps before you've even set a date. Explain the concept, the goals, and the format of the event. Gauge whether there are enough supporters who will a) participate, and especially b) present. This process is critical in order to get to #2: You need buy-in, advocates, people who are into it early on.

2. Have the right people in the room
You want people who are there to learn, not to be voyeuristic; there to be constructive, not to be snarky or malevolent. People who genuinely care about their work and want to do better. People who are ok with some irreverence and humor, because failure is hard to talk about without it. This type of event is great for building (or strengthening) community, so  try to keep the audience targeted and relevant to your focus or topic. Promote the event among people you think will get the most out of it - those who value different ways of learning.

FAILFaire DC is open for registration!

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Jul 02, 2010

We are very pleased to announce FAILFaire DC, in collaboration with the World Bank Institute: Innovation Practice. FAILFaire DC will take place on July 26th at the Bank. We will feature again, as we did in New York, mobile-for-development and other technology-for-development projects that failed.  Join us for lightening talks that focus on the learnings of the projects – and what can be done differently in the future.

We have some presenters already from the Bank and from various NGOs who will be presenting their failures but we encourage you to submit a failure here if you like to be considered for a talk during the event. The format is informal, and we will provide refreshments and drinks. We are looking forward to learning from failure in DC!

Engineering Rural Development

Posted by MohiniBhavsar on Jul 02, 2010
Engineering Rural Development data sheet 2778 Views
Parikh, Tapan S.
Publication Date: 
Jan 2009
Publication Type: 
Journal article

Presented here is an overview of the operational needs of NGOs and CBOs and the role information systems can play to increase their accountability and efficiency. Information systems need to fit the diverse operational needs of NGOs and CBOs, which include coordinating activities, training and monitoring staff, documenting results, accounting, reporting, decision making and learning, acquiring external information and encouraging community participation.

Unfortunately, there are gaps in information systems that impede the ability of NGOs to embrace ICT. To name a few, the lack of open, accessible, cross-platform mobile development tools, limited opportunities and resources provided to local small software companies to engage with NGOs, and the lack of long distance networking technologies to reach remote locations.

Two examples of technologies that were applied successfully are shared: Self Help MIS, an application to monitor activities of small microfinance organizations and credit groups and DigitalICS, an application for data collection used by agricultural cooperatives.  The author stresses that ICTs should be viewed as a tool to allow local change agents to be more effective and accountable and shows how computing is able to support local organizations by inspiring innovation, implementation and dissemination of projects, and measuring impact.

Reflections on Learning from Failure from a #FailFaire Attendee

Posted by ithorpe on Apr 16, 2010

On Wednesday evening I was lucky enough to attend the first ever "Failfaire", organized by MobileActive.org where several brave souls agreed to present their failed "Information Technology for Development" projects, explaining why they failed and what they learned from them.

I work on knowledge management in UNICEF, and have a strong interest in improving how we learn from our experience. This event (which was certainly not a failure!) was interesting to our  work from at least two points of view:

1. The lessons learned from the projects themselves

2. The idea for the event itself and whether this might be something we could try ourselves.

There were four presentations during the meeting:

Bradford Frost presented on Mobileimpact.org a project to recycle old cellphones and donate them to Africa.

How to Fail in Mobiles for Development: MobileActive's Definitive Guide to Failure

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Apr 14, 2010

As we here at MobileActive.org have been covering ICT and mobiles for development now for more than five years, we have seen our fair share of failures. For every great project that changes how a community benefits from technology to improve the lives of its people, there seem to be twice as many projects that fail, and end up wasting time, money, and maybe worst, goodwill.

Too often in our field, we talk up our successes, overhype and overestimate the value of our projects, and sweep the failures under the rug. But, if we don’t talk about what didn’t work (and, perhaps more importantly, why it didn’t work), others will keep repeating the same mistakes.

That is why we invented FailFaire, a gathering that is happening tonight in New York City and that we hope will take place in other cities around the world.  FailFaire is a place where it's ok to talk about what didn't work to learn from for the next project using mobiles for social change and development.

Presenting the First-Ever FAILfaire: Join Us!

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Mar 22, 2010

Calling all failures!  On April 14 we're hosting the first FAILfaire featuring a close look at ICT and mobile development projects that have crashed, burned, and simply FAILED.  

While we often focus on highlighting successes and gains in this field, it's no secret that many projects just don't work - some aren't scalable, some aren't sustainable, some can't get around bureaucratic hoops, and many fail due to completely unanticipated barriers. FAILfaire is a platform to openly and honestly discuss failures so that we can learn from what hasn't worked in the past in order to make our future projects stronger and better.   

This is where YOU come in. Have you been a part of a project that flopped? Maybe the project used the wrong technology for its region. Maybe it didn't engage the intended community.  Did not take culture, people, or both into consieration. Or maybe the rollout was too rushed. Whatever the reason, we want to hear from you. 

Presenting the First-Ever FAILfaire: Join Us! data sheet 4292 Views
Countries: United States

Scaling Mobile Services for Development: What Will It Take? A MobileActive.org White Paper

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Jan 11, 2010

Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for social and economic development in emerging economies have long been a focus of governments, the private sector, and most certainly donors and international development agencies.  Yes, despite all the attention garnered on this field, we are seeing a checkered history of ICTs as a tool for development, with both successes and significant failures littering the landscape.

With the phenomenal growth of mobile technology in the last ten years, the attention of donors, governments, and multi-lateral and international agencies has now turned to the telecommunications sector and mobile technologies as channels to deliver services and products to citizens at the bottom of the economic pyramid.

Mobile Services and ICT4D: To the Network Economy - Bridging the Digital Divide, The Ethiopian Case

Posted by naodjd on Aug 29, 2009
Mobile Services and ICT4D: To the Network Economy - Bridging the Digital Divide, The Ethiopian Case data sheet 4431 Views
Naod Duga
Publication Date: 
Aug 2009
Publication Type: 
Journal article

This paper presents a development paradigm for Ethiopia, based on appropriate services and innovative use of mobile communications technologies via applications tailored for sectors like business, finance, healthcare, governance, education and infotainment.

The experience of other developing countries like India and Kenya is cited so as to adapt those to the Ethiopian context. Notable application areas in the aforementioned sectors have been outlined. The ETC ‘next generation network’ is taken into consideration, with an emphasis on mobile service offering by the Telco itself and/or third party service providers. In addition, enabling technologies like mobile internet, location-based systems, open interfaces to large telecom networks, specifically service-oriented architecture (SOA), Parlay/JAIN and the like are discussed.

The paper points out possible endeavors by such stakeholders like: telecom agencies and network operators; businesses, government and NGOs; entrepreneurs and innovators; technology companies and professionals; as well as researchers and academic institutions. ICT4D through mobile services and their role in bridging the digital divide by building a virtual ‘network economy’ is discussed.