So if computers with internet connection could play a role in addressing development issues, then cellphones with GPRS/3G/4G connection should potentially play bigger roles. Cellphones are predominantly personal, so instead of fostering 'community development' (which is prone to elite capture), they do a great job in fostering something more essential: 'individual/personal development.' They're cheap(er than computers), handy, easy to use, and very contextual to the user. The rate of cellphone ownership is increasing at an exponential rate in many developing countries. In Indonesia, the number of cellphone subscribers have reached 30% of the population, and 90% of the population are covered by cellphone coverage/signal.
ShareIdeas.org is an online community and a wiki for sharing ideas on how to use mobile communications for social and environmental benefits. Here you can learn (and contribute) stories of how to use the cellphone for:
- civic engagement (i.e. monitoring a presidential election and reporting child rights violations)
- economic empowerment (i.e. mobile-banking and rural microfinance)
- education (i.e. using mobile games to build HIV/AIDS awareness)
- environment (i.e. mobilizing volunteers to respond to disasters)
- health (i.e. collecting vital health data), and
- humanitarian relief (i.e. sending donations through text message)
"Groups like ours would really benefit from a resource that shows us how to use mobile technology to carry out our work more effectively," said Ndidi at a Nokia stakeholder event of NGO and corporate leaders.
ShareIdeas.org was created in response to Ndidi’s request, with support from Nokia and Vodafone. And since a large part of its intention is to help groups like Ndidi's, ShareIdeas.org also has information and practical examples for NGOs on “how to” use mobile technology in their daily work, including
* Collect field data
* Distribute information
* Manage finances
* Manage your organization
* Respond to emergencies
* Track people/products
Check it out.