The Mobile Minute: Network Growth in Nigeria, New Smartphone Statistics, and Cameroon's Mobile Twitter Ban

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Mar 14, 2011

Today's Mobile Minute brings you coverage on Cameroon's ban on mobile Twitter access, NielsenWire's new smartphone statistics, a $650 million loan to Etisalat Nigeria to grow its mobile network coverage, the possible expansion of BlackBerry Messenger to non-RIM operating systems, and an investment in the company that makes the Angry Birds mobile app. (Disclosure: We are partial to Angry Birds)

SMS-Based Mobile Learning System: A Veritable Tool for English Language Education in Rural Nigeria

Posted by MarkWeingarten on Jan 13, 2011
SMS-Based Mobile Learning System: A Veritable Tool for English Language Education in Rural Nigeria data sheet 2605 Views
Nwaocha, Vivian Ogochukwu
Publication Date: 
Dec 2010
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper

In sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in rural Nigeria, students in high school face the challenge of lacking exposure to English. For most, English language class are the only opportunity for learning English. Consequently, English skills are poor.

On the other hand, the use of mobile phones in Nigeria has continued to soar, with everyone having at least one mobile phone and Short Messaging Service (SMS) becoming the cheapest and regular mode of communication across different socio-economic spheres. Thus, there is great potential for this technology to be used as an instructional tool.

In this study, an SMS-based mobile learning system is employed in teaching high school students English. In order to determine if there were significant differences between students' success rate, pretests were administered to the experimental and control groups, after both received classroom instructions from the same Instructor. Subsequently, post-tests were administered to both groups, after the experimental and control groups had received SMS-based instruction and extra classroom instructions respectively. A paired sampled t-test was carried out and the results clearly revealed that after receiving the SMS-based instruction, the experimental group performed better than their counterparts who had received additional classroom instructions.

Malaria Kills: Distributing 63 Million Bednets in Nigeria with RapidSMS

Posted by PenelopeChester on May 25, 2010

The human and economic cost of malaria in Nigeria is staggering. There are currently 110 million clinically diagnosed cases in a population of 151 million.  Malaria kills 250,000 children under five years old in Nigeria every year, and is the cause of 11% of maternal deaths. 60% of out-patient visits and 30% of hospitalizations in the country are malaria-related.

In addition to the enormous toll malaria takes on public health, it is also expensive. 132 billion Naira (USD $870 million) is lost every year in the form of malaria prevention and treatment costs and from the loss of overall economic productivity.

 And yet in spite of the risk malaria poses to the Nigerian people, health surveys from 2006 to 2008 indicated that only 8% of households in the country owned at least one insecticide-treated net (So-called ITNs).

Malaria Kills: Distributing 63 Million Bednets in Nigeria with RapidSMS data sheet 10364 Views
Countries: Nigeria

The Impact of Mobile Telephony of Developing Country Micro-Enterprise: A Nigerian Case Study

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Sep 03, 2009
The Impact of Mobile Telephony of Developing Country Micro-Enterprise: A Nigerian Case Study data sheet 2165 Views
Abi Jagun, Richard Heeks, Jason Whalley
Publication Date: 
Nov 2008
Publication Type: 
Journal article

Informational challenges—absence, uncertainty, asymmetry—shape the working of markets and commerce in many developing countries. For developing country micro-enterprises, which form the bulk of all enterprises worldwide, these challenges shape the characteristics of their supply chains. They reduce the chances that business and trade will emerge. They keep supply chains localized and intermediated. They make trade within those supply chains slow, costly, and risky.

Mobile telephony may provide an opportunity to address the informational challenges and, hence, to alter the characteristics of trade within micro-enterprise supply chains. However, mobile telephony has only recently penetrated.

This paper, therefore, presents one of the first case studies of the impact of mobile telephony on the numerically-dominant form of enterprise, based around a case study of the cloth-weaving sector in Nigeria. It finds that there are ways in which costs and risks are being reduced and time is saved, often by substitution of journeys.

But it also finds a continuing need for journeys and physical meetings due to issues of trust, design, intensity, physical inspection and exchange, and interaction complexity. As a result, there are few signs of the de-localization or disintermediation predicted by some commentators. An economizing effect of mobile phones on supply chain processes may therefore co-exist with the entrenchment of supply chain structures and a growing “competitive divide” between those with and without access to mobile telephony.

Do Mobiles Level the Playing Field?

Posted by CorinneRamey on Sep 03, 2009

We'd like to think that mobiles are a great economic equalizer, decreasing the gap between rich and poor.

But in a case study [PDF] published earlier this year about cloth weavers in Nigeria, authors Abi Jagun, Richard Heeks and Jason Whalley contest the conventional wisdom that more mobile phones result in a more equal society.

"There were few signs, then, of mobile telephony levelling the playing field; and more signs that it had been a technology of inequality," the authors wrote.

The study, which looked at the use of mobiles by the aso oke cloth weaving sector in Nigeria, found that mobiles did help those who had them. "By substituting for some journeys, plus in-person meetings, we can see that phone calls have reduced the time and financial cost of information-gathering, often by several hours and several U.S. dollars respectively per call (not to mention the opportunity cost gains)," wrote the authors.

My Question

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Aug 25, 2009
My Question data sheet 2140 Views
Organization that developed the Tool: 
Main Contact: 
Uju Ofomata
Problem or Need: 

Finding accurate, confidential information about sexual reproductive heath and HIV/AIDS prevention can be difficult or uncomfortable for young people. However, having access to reliable health information is necessary for making informed life decisions.

Main Contact Email : 
Brief Description: 

My Question allows young people in Nigeria to send in their questions about sexual reproductive health and/or HIV/AIDS anonymously to trained counsellors via SMS, voice, or through email. Within 24 hours, an answer is sent directly to the phone from which the question was sent.

Tool Category: 
Runs on a server
Key Features : 
  • Enables questions to be asked via SMS
  • Enables questions to be asked via voice
  • Confidential responses
  • Fast access to information
Main Services: 
Interactive Voice Response (IVR)
Information Resources/Information Databases
Tool Maturity: 
Currently deployed
Current Version: 
Program/Code Language: 
Organizations Using the Tool: 
  • One World UK
  • Education as a Vaccine Against AIDS
Number of Current End Users: 
Number of current beneficiaries: 
Languages supported: 
Is the Tool's Code Available?: 
Is an API available to interface with your tool?: 
Global Regions: 

id21 insights 69 l September 2007: Research findings for development policymakers and practitioners id21 insights

Posted by LeighJaschke on Jul 14, 2009
id21 insights 69 l September 2007: Research findings for development policymakers and practitioners id21 insights data sheet 2723 Views
Donner , Jonathan
Publication Date: 
Sep 2007
Publication Type: 
Magazine or newspaper article

id21 insights is published 10 times a year and is online at Readers
may copy or quote from any article, providing the source (id21 insights) and author are
and informed. To subscribe, email with your name and
address. id21’s website,, offers free access to over 4,000 research highlights
on development policy issues including health, natural resources, education and more. This issue focuses on micro-entrepreneurs in Nigeria, mobile ladies in Bangladesh, unequal gender relations in Zambia, getting beyond the three billion mark, mobile banking and poor households in Jamaica.

Mobile Activism In African Elections: A Paper and a Missed Opportunity

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Mar 20, 2009

I have been meaning for a while to respond to a paper Rebekah Heacock, a graduate student at Columbia, wrote last year. Hancock describes in Mobile Activism in African Elections (PDF) three recent elections in Kenya, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone, and how mobile technology was used for both crowd-sourced and systematic election monitoring.

She poses that: 

The proliferation of mobile phones in Africa is transforming the political and social landscape of the developing world, empowering people to source and share their own information and to have a greater say in what comes to international attention. This paper compares the use and impact of mobile technology in three recent African elections: Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Kenya.

63 Million Bednets to be Distributed with Rapid SMS

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Mar 15, 2009

This post was written by Marcia Stepanek of Cause Global where it was orginally published.  Marcia graciously allowed up to repost it here.  

Nigeria is Mobile: A Book Review

Posted by CorinneRamey on Feb 29, 2008

The brightly-colored umbrellas of mobile phone vendors, selling top-up airtime and the use of mobile phones for calls, dot the landscape of urban and rural Nigeria. However, says a new book on mobile phones in Nigeria, cell phones haven't just visually changed the landscape of Africa's most populous country, but have transformed the country economically, socially, and democratically as well.

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.