User login
This is a Flickr badge showing public photos from Flickr tagged with mobileactive. Make your own badge here.

A resource for activists using mobile technology worldwide.

The potential of cell phones to combat AIDS: Interview with Zinhle Thabethe and Krista Dong, iTeach South Africa

I had the great pleasure to meet Krista Dong and Zinhle Thabethe from iTeach who are at the frontlines of treating and preventing AIDS in South Africa, the epicenter of this global crisis. These amazing, committed and inspired women talk about their daily experience working with people with HIV and AIDS in Kawazulu Natal and how they think mobile phones could expontentially scale their work. As Krista says, "To deal with the scope of this problem, to even beging to make a dent, we need new ideas, crazy ideas. And everyone, everyone has a cell phone." Watch if you want to hear from frontline workers how mobile phones can revolutionize their social change work.

This interview was conducted at PopTech. The video was shot entirely on a Nokia N95 mobile phone, courtesy of PopTech and Nokia. Click on the video below or go here for a larger screen.


Cell Phones in Health: UNICEF and Women's Net Report on South Africa

HIV/AIDS is one of the most significant human, health, and development issues facing Africa today. NGOs and health care providers are increasingly turning to mobile phones to address the unique challenges of AIDS awareness, prevention and treatment. "HIV/AIDS is arguably the most pressing development problem facing South Africa – and Africa," asserts a report by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF ) and Women'sNet, a South African network of people who use ICTs in gender-related advocacy and support.


MobileActive at PopTech: Stories from the Field

Mobile empowerment was the theme of the PopTech session with Nokia, Eprom, and MobileActive. Nathan Eagle, a researcher and passionate mobile advocacte for entrepreneurs in Africa, talked about the EPROM project that trains African computer science students in mobile application development and research on mobile applications and value-added services within in African context. Joe MacCarthy from Nokia's Research Lab in California described Nokia's support of mobile initiative in health and education, including MobiSus in Brazil, and Mapya in Kenya.


Mobile Empowerment: MobileActive at PopTech (It's a mobile revolution, baby)

MobileActive's Katrin Verclas will be at PopTech in Maine for a special two-hour session on 'mobile empowerment." Together with Joe MacCarthy from Nokia and Nathan Eagle from MIT's EPROM project, we will explore how mobile phones are used in civil society, particularly in the developing world.

MobileActive will focus on civic empowerment and democratic participation, of course, and on economic empowerment. We will tell some of the stories of the mobile pioneers for social change around the world who are part of the MobileActive Community. Join us live!


MobileActive's NDI and Pambazuka Win Recognition by Politics Online

Two organizations who are part of have been recognized by Politics Online as two of the Top 10 Who Are Changing the World of Internet and Politics. This award seeks to "recognize the innovators and pioneers, the dreamers and doers who bring democracy online." And pioneers they are.


Political SMS Ban for Ruling Party in Togo

file under:
election, sms, togo

The government of Togo has banned the use of SMS by the Rally of the Togolese People (RPT), the Togolese ruling political party, reports Highway Africa News Agency. The High Authority for Audiovisual Communications (HAAC), a press regulation body, has prohibited the messages because voters viewed the SMS as intimidation, calling them "unfair propaganda" and an "illicit practice."


MobileActive Releases New Strategy Guide: Guía de Móvil Activismo para Latino América

Hoy introduce MobileActive un recurso nuevo para los activistas movilistas. Esta guía de estrategia en español tiene información detallada sobre el uso de los teléfonos celulares en América Latina y estudios sobre los celulares usados por el activismo social en varios países latinoamericanos.

Today MobileActive introduces a new resource for mobile activists. Our first Spanish-language Strategy Guide provides detailed information about the use of mobile phones in Latin America and case studies of mobiles used for social activism in different Latin American countries.


Grant Opportunities for MobileActives

We have come across several grant opportunities for MobileActives in health care and education.


MobileActivism in Egypt: An Interview with Noria Yunis

MobileActive's roving reporter Noel Hildago or the Luck of 7 interviews Noria Yunis, an activist from Egypt using mobile phones to organize.


Mobile Phone Powers an Internet Cafe in Bangladesh

Abu Sufian's small room in Fultola, Bangladesh looks like a standard Internet cafe. There are four workstations -- each with a mouse, keyboard, and monitor -- where customers can check email or browse the Internet. But this isn't just any Internet cafe -- the center is all made possible by one mobile phone.


Mobiles in Development Unplugged. Abi Jagun on the Mobile Hype. series on mobiles in development continues. Here is guest writer Abi Jagun from the University of Manchster who deconstructs the hype on mobiles in civil society:

By the end of 2007 about half of the world’s population will be using mobile phones; and it is likely that this proportion will continue to increase as more people - predominantly in developing countries - get connected to mobile telecom networks.

The benefits of mobile phones continue to be widely publicised. In particular, they allow people to receive and communicate information interactively and/or simultaneously by voice and data -- beyond the physical limitations imposed by geography. But is the hype useful for a throughtful exploration of the potential of mobiles in development, or, in fact, a hindrance?


Join us for MobileActive07 in Sao Paulo! meets again! Join us for the second MobileActive gathering, this year at Mobilefest, in Sao Paulo, Brazil. MobileActive07 will take place November 24-25, 2007.

We know that you are interested and passionate about what the mobile revolution means for social good. and Mobilefest have partnered to bring together leading thinkers, practitioners and technologist in the mobile revolution from around the world to explore how mobiles are fundamentally changing the way we organize ourselves, do business, and make the world a better place.

MobileActive07 is an intensive camp of NGO practitioners, technologists, researchers, and activist who use mobile technology in their work to make the world a better place. With highly interactive working sessions and workshops, and tool and strategy speed-geeks, MobileActive is a focused and collaborative learning space for people with interest and experience in mobile tech for humanity.


VON is seeking NGO Use Cases for Mobile App Development

Do you have a mobile technology solution that you would like to explore, but lack the technical expertise to do so? On October 29, the Innovation Track at the VON Conference in Boston, USA will convene a group of world-class programmers to develop a mobile solution for the NGO with the best idea.

The programming team will create an application using voice and text technologies to support the goals of the selected nonprofit or NGO. Areas for NGOs to consider include:


Culture of Mobiles In Rural Areas: Beeping, Flashing, Rapelle Moi - and Your Mobile as a Flashlight

The rural mobile market is growing, and carriers are working to meet the unique demands and challenges of this sector of the population. Even in the poorest countries -- like Sierra Leone, which ranks 176 out of 177 countries on the UN's 2006 Human Development Index -- mobile phones have become a growing necessity, creating a unique set of cultural norms and practices.


Mobiles in Development: id21 Profiles Projects and Research

Mobile use and prevalence is exploding throughout the developing world. As Tim Kelly writes in id21 insights's September newsletter, in 1990 there were only 14,200 mobiles in Africa, which by, 2005, grew to a total of 137 million. Id21 predicts that the majority of the world's poor will have mobile access within the next generation. This number continues to increase, showing just how important mobile phones have become in development.


A Day of Red For Burma. Today.

file under:
burma, human rights, protests

The community stands with the people who so courageously demanded a free and democratic Burma. Our thoughts are with you on this dark day for human rights and democracy.

Update on Myanmar/Burma Protests and Mobile Phones

The Myanmar military continued to suppress demonstrations in Burma/Myanmar today with harrowing pictures of tear gas, guns, and beatings directed at the monks and many more civilian protesters, estimated at 70,000 people. We wrote earlier about the use of mobile phones in transmitting information. The BBC today has an update on the use of the Internet in getting information out of Burma, as the country is called by democracy supporters and dissidents. The article notes that mobiles were used to get information out of the country, but also as a tool by the military junta to disseminate rumors and false information.


United States Carrier Verizon reverses Refusal of Abortion Rights Text Messages

In a quick move, the US carrier Verizon today revsersed its refusal to issue a short code to abortion rights advocacy organization NARAL. According to a statement by Verizon:


Verizon Refuses to Carry Pro-Choice Text Messages

Verizon Wireless, a phone carrier in the United States, has rejected a request from an abortion rights group to use its network for an SMS program, according to the New York Times.


Protests in Myanmar and Mobile Phones

Thousands of monks have taken to the streets in Myanmar within the past month in pro-democracy demonstrations. Today the Burmese government threatened the monks with legal action.

The government has shut down mobile phone service to pro-democracy supporters, activists, and some foreign journalists, writes the Agence France-Presse. A journalist and photographer from the AFP are among those who have lost phone service, and the agency has requested that Myanmar restore service to the journalists. The National League for Democracy also reports that its landline phone has been cut off, according to this article in The Economic Times.


Mobiles in Service Delivery: Homelessness and HIV/AIDS

Programs all over the world have shown how mobiles can be an effective tool in providing services to homeless individuals, people with AIDS, and other marginalized populations. Here are a few of the most effective efforts to involve mobiles in innovative ways.

The stereotype is that homeless people don't need mobiles. Why bother with a phone when you can barely afford to put food on the table or don't even have a bed to sleep in? But several different projects have shown that mobile phones can be an important stepping stone in brealing a cycle of poverty. Most importantly, mobiles allow homeless people to get jobs. Employers aren't likely to respond to a resume that lists the phone number of the local homeless shelter, or worse, one without a phone number at all.


Grameen Village Phone Ladies: Unplanned Obsolescence After A Window of Opportunity?

Grameen Foundation's Village Phone program has long been touted as the poster child for using mobiles in the economic empowerment of poor women. The program gives villagers in Bangladesh-- and now in several other countries -- access to microcredit to buy a mobile phone that can then be rented to other villagers who do not have a mobile of their own.

Much has been written about Village Phones in the media and in research reports, often describing in glowing terms the economic impact and gain in social status that the women in the program have achieved. Yet, most of these studies are fairly old at this point, predating the exponential growth of mobiles around the world.

Now questions are being raised in some mainstream media about whether renting out minutes on mobile phones is economically beneficial to the so-called village phone operators -- at a time when mobiles have become so much more ubiquitous, even in remote rural areas.


Mobile Phones, Mobile Minds: A Video About Mobile Natives

Owning a mobile is becoming an indispensable element of young people's lives all around the world. This well-done 30-min video focuses on mobiles in education, explores whether mobiles are a force for good, or an example of technology gone awry; and offers a lot of cultural analysis of how young people use mobiles.

Produced by about young people's use of mobiles (albeit UK-focused), it is a good look at the world of young people with mobile phones, and the impact on schools and education. Young people are mobile natives and schools and NGOs better take heed.


Upwardly Mobile In Africa and India: Economic Development and Mobiles

We are starting a series of articles on mobile phones in economic development this week and to kick it off, Business Week in its current issue published a few interesting summaries of the state of affairs in mobiles in economic development. This apparently just to make it easy for us to get MobileActives around the world up to speed!

Upwardly Mobile in Africa describes farmers in Kenya using mobiles to bring their products to market and mobile payments using the Keyan mobile payment system M-Pesa. The article describes Grameen Foundation's Village Phone Program that we will be featuring in our next article that is expanding into Uganda in collaboration with the local carrier MTN where there are now 13,000 Village Phone Operators renting out a mobile phone with the help of microcredit and discounted airtime.


The Future is Mobile: Ndesanjo Macha from Highway Africa

Brenda Zulu interviews Ndesanjo Macha, the Regional Editor for Sub Saharan Africa (Global voices) at Highway Africa.

He says: "Mobile technologies are cheaper, they do not require the infrastructure and investment other technologies need...Africa has the fastest growing number of phones are the key to producing content, sharing content, reading, looking at pictures and images, and even doing businesses."

He describes how mobile technology facilitates rural development and participation, linking rural farming communities with the global public sphere; mobile blogging; and mobile reporting.

Check out the blog at for other great content. Hat tip to Christian Kreutz!