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Mobiles for Development
MOBILES FOR DEVELOPMENT
Global exponential expansion of mobile technology is a predominant trait of modernity but what major opportunities exist for those seeking effective and impact driven results in International Development?
Last year researchers at Cubate produced the first in a series of papers on timely topics. In December 2010 our ‘Mobile Giving’ paper (accessed via: http://www.scribd.com/doc/45037335/CubateMobile-Giving-Paper ) entered public debate on the potential of new technology to galvanise and increase the UK populations giving habits. The paper entered wide ranging forums being mentioned in online journals such as the ‘ThirdSector’ and ‘Philanthropy UK’ while also entering UK Government dialogue through the Cabinet Office’s Green Paper on ‘Giving’. The goal of the second paper in Cubate’s series is to make use of our global philanthropic experience, exploring examples of how organisations and NGO’s have utilised mobile technology to help deliver sustainable services in the developing world. It will examine and highlight case studies while primarily focusing its attention on activity within the African continent. The paper goes on to suggest that the main benefit of mobile technologies is the facilitation of good peer to peer dialogue, flow of resources and increased transparency across the developing world. Especially in regions previously hindered by severe infrastructural challenges. Resting its attention on the use of mobile phones in microfinance schemes it calls for concerted action to help realise mDevelopments full potential in the area of microfinance and mobile money transfers. The use of mobiles in development is simply one dimension of the age of technological empowerment and the increasing personalisation of technology. As this occurs we usher in the onset of the data economy and the social web paradigm.
“Mobile Connectivity is the single most important instrument for Development we have”
Jeffrey Sachs Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University Author of ‘The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time’
Mobiles for Development
Mobiles for Development ....................................................... Error! Bookmark not defined.
“Mobile Connectivity is the single most important instrument for Development we have” .............. 1
Section One - The Vision to Provide Solutions ................................................................... 3
What is the overall problem? ............................................................................................................. 3 Cubate’s Overarching Vision ............................................................................................................... 3
The New DNA of International Development and Entrepreneurship .................................. 4
Case Study: The Acumen Fund............................................................................................................ 5
Section Two - Mobiles for Social Transformation .............................................................. 6
An Overview ........................................................................................................................................ 6
Mobile Statistics - Africa ................................................................................................... 7 Which sectors do mDevelopment schemes already function in? ........................................ 8 Evolution of Mobile Technologies ..................................................................................... 9 African Case Studies ....................................................................................................... 10
FARM-Africa ...................................................................................................................................... 10 FrontlineSMS \o/ ............................................................................................................................. 12 JamiiX Social Exchange ...................................................................................................................... 14 The SHM Foundation ........................................................................................................................ 14
Scope for Mobiles in International Development ............................................................ 15 Section Three – Peer to Peer Microloans in International Development Error! Bookmark not defined.
Microfinance – History......................................................................... Error! Bookmark not defined. Case Study – Kiva The cutting edge of peer to peer lending ............... Error! Bookmark not defined.
African Advancements in Mobile Money ................................ Error! Bookmark not defined.
Case Study – M-PESA ........................................................................... Error! Bookmark not defined.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Mobile Money .............................. Error! Bookmark not defined. Existing cases of African Mobile Giving and Lending Schemes . Error! Bookmark not defined.
Case Study – GiveDirectly .................................................................... Error! Bookmark not defined. Case Study - Musoni – the first exclusively Mobile and cash free Microfinance Institution ...... Error! Bookmark not defined.
Assessing whether an opportunity exists ................................ Error! Bookmark not defined.
Mobiles for Development
Section One - The Vision to Provide Solutions
What is the overall problem?
1.4 billion People, equivalent to 1 in 4, live in extreme poverty (on less than $1.25 a day). Over 3 billion 1 people live on less than $2.50 a day. The World Bank’s Global Economic Prospects 2010 estimated that the poverty count was 64 million higher than if there had been no financial crisis. This amounts to about 40 million more working poor 2 living in extreme poverty in 2009 than would have been expected on the basis of pre-crisis trends. Nearly a billion people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names. On a global 3 level girls still lag behind boys in secondary school participation. With 81 million young people out of work globally in 2009, youth unemployment remains a concern in 4 almost every country. Women comprise 70% of the 1.4 billion people living in poverty. Of the world's 27 million refugees 5 80% are women.
Cubate’s Overarching Vision
"Who is my neighbour? In the old days maybe it was the guys down the street; but actually now it is these guys in Africa. I feel responsible to connect in and be a part of the solution”.6
Modern globalisation and the ease of transnational communication mean that the community I can connect with in South Africa is essentially my poor neighbour. Global is now local, I can fly and be with them in a matter of hours and chat daily over Skype. Therefore, I feel personal responsibility to work towards a solution for communities trapped in cycles of poverty all over the developing world. We all need to use our expertise to connect into solving endemic problems. - David Erasmus speaking to the Ambassador(s) for Philanthropy, 2009 What is our vision for modern philanthropy? It is crucial to champion the role of enterprise in the education of young people and to create hubs of entrepreneurial employment opportunities which expose individuals to an environment full of hope where they can develop a strong sense of identity. At the root of poverty is despair and sense of dependant apathy which needs to be addressed and overcome. Simply exposing people to an idea that they can do what they want to and treating them with dignity is vitally important. Programmes must promote relational activity, as sustainable results can be found in community partnership which are locally owned and bring a sense of interconnectedness. In many developing countries communal styles of living are already an asset and if we harness these we can nurture environments where people learn, share and thrive together. For this reason many of the projects we support are found at a grass root level. At a DNA level the projects that we like to be involved with must be Traceable, Transparent, Relational and 7 Communal. An emphasis on fostering good quality relationships which help cement identity and promote dignity is pivotal.
http://econ.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/EXTDEC/EXTRESEARCH/0,,contentMDK:21882162~pagePK:64 165401~piPK:64165026~theSitePK:469382,00.html (accessed 22/11/11) 2 http://www.un-ngls.org/spip.php?article3511 (accessed 22/11/11) 3 http://www.unicef.org.uk/Latest/News/Report-2011/ (accessed 22/11/11) 4 http://www.unicef.org.uk/Latest/News/Report-2011/ (accessed 22/11/11) 5 http://www.globalpovertyproject.com/infobank/women (accessed 22/11/11)
During the past two years David has been working alongside Dame Stephanie Shirley and the other Ambassadors for Philanthropy. He is featured on the website: http://www.ambassadorforphilanthropy.com/d_erasmus.html
Mobiles for Development
The New DNA of International Development and Entrepreneurship
The language of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and the Accra Agenda for Action focussed attention on Ownership, Harmonisation, Alignment, Results, and Mutual accountability defining how the international community worked towards the Millennium Development Goals targets for2015. Key thinkers have successfully pioneered a more results driven and transparent agenda. The present Government has displayed commitment to spending 0.7% of national income on Overseas Aid by 8 2013 and the Labour party is in agreement that despite cuts there must be “no slipping back" on overall aid. Aid has come under attack in publications such as ‘Dead Aid’ by Dambisa Moyo, while Bill Easterly in ‘The Elusive Quest for Growth’ argues that ‘trillions of dollars’ have had little effect in reducing global poverty. Other key thinkers such as Jeffrey Sachs in ‘The End of Poverty’ have defended aid and argued that it has brought about measurable substantial improvements in people lives. The ‘more aid’ and ‘no aid’ arguments increasingly reads as a false debate, with many practitioners on the ground urging governments to combine the best of both worlds. Efforts to make aid effective, to reform the aid architecture and promote better international development policy continue to hold an important place in the reduction of global poverty and it is important to learn from those who have been grappling with poverty reduction for the last 50 years.
However, there is little doubt that there is a new and growing force at work in International Development
which has the potential to introduce a paradigm shift. Matthew Bishop and Michael Green term this new sphere of philanthropic activity ‘Philanthrocapitalism’. They note that this movement is focussed around successful wealth creators who apply business techniques and 9 ways of thinking to their philanthropy “tackling the world’s toughest problems through effective giving”. The buzz words which dominate dialogue highlights their businesslike approach; giving is strategic, market conscious, impact orientated, knowledge based, often high engagement and is always driven by maximising the leverage of the donor’s money. Seeing themselves as social investors, not traditional donors, some engage in ‘venture philanthropy’. As entrepreneurial individuals they love to back social entrepreneurs who offer innovative solutions and 10 promise impact, expansion, sustainability and further job creation. Philanthrocapitalists are also increasingly trying to find ways to harness the profit motive to achieve social good.
“New initiatives are using business-orientated approaches to ensure that money is spent efficiently and effectively to increase economic opportunity in Latin America, Africa and U.S. cities.”
Bill Clinton (Clinton Global Initiative)
“Eradicating Polio makes economic sense...the Global Polio Initiative could save the world up to $50bn over the next 25 years...showing that smart investments in health and development can pave the way to amazing success.”
Bill Gates (Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation)
A paper outlining our views on the DNA of philanthropy can be accessed through the following link: http://www.scribd.com/doc/30168902/The-Future-of-Philanthropy-Giving-in-a-New-Generation 8 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-12599969 (accessed 22/11/11) 99 Matthew Bishop & Michael Green, ‘How Giving Can Save the World; philanthro-capitalism’ (A&C Publishers Ltd, 2008) pp. xi 10 Ibid. pp. 6 11 The Big Issue July 25-31, 2011 No. 959 Bill Gates, ‘Making Polio the first disease to be eradicated’ pp. 23
Mobiles for Development
Case Study: The Acumen Fund
The Acumen Fund was founded in 2001by Jacqueline Novogratz author of ‘The Blue Sweater ’. Its model invests patient capital in businesses that deliver critical, affordable goods and services to those living in poverty. It operates across the sectors of water, energy, healthcare, agriculture, housing and education. From ambulances to electricity, over the past decade, the Acumen fund has made $60million worth of 12 approved investments in 57 breakthrough enterprises. Investments have leveraged more than $140 million of additional capital into companies that have created more than 35,000 jobs, brought tens of millions of affordable services to underserved markets and transformed industries to include low-income individuals. For the Acumen Fund patient capital is the key to their approach and understood as a debt or equity investment in an early-stage enterprise. Typical commitments range from $300,000 to $2,500,000 with payback or exit set at 5 to 7 years. Investment therefore needs to have long term horizons and should also be motivated by desire to jump start enterprises which will achieve maximum social impact. A return is likely to 13 be in the 5 - 10 percent range, rather than the 35 percent expected by many venture capitalists. Acumen also sits with the company and provides management support services which nurture it to scale. National governments in developing countries are critical in establishing the scale and partnerships are often formed 14 through subsidies with the aim of bringing long term sustainability. “Between pure charity and pure financial return, there is an unexplored space with tremendous 15 opportunities for innovation, social impact and lasting change”. Projects achieving scale; There was no federal emergency medical system in India and no national equivalent to 999.ZiqitzaHealthcares Dial 1298 was founded with the aim of addressing his critical gab. Since its establishment 10 ambulances in Mumbai have increased to 514 across Maharashtra, Bihar, Kerala and Rajasthan. To date 1298 have carried out over 210,000 emergency responses. The company’s success and “access for all” philosophy, where people pay on a sliding pricing scale, helped shift attitudes across India, demonstrating that emergency medical services could be provided in a professional, cost-effective way. Those working at the Acumen Fund would argue that their pattern is a type of non-dogmatic philosophy, more 16 than simply an investment model. The seed of the Acumen way of thinking is the elevation of human dignity, arguing that for too long development created platforms assuming we know what those living in poverty need. In everything the Acumen Fund does the organisation strives for a balance between generosity and 17 accountability, humility and audacity, listening and leadership. “Philanthropists should find innovations that realise the energies of people. Individuals don’t want
to be taken care of – they need to be given the chance to fulfil their own potential. Too many projects create dependence that helps no one in the long run”. Jacqeline Novogratz, extract from ‘The Blue Sweater’.18
http://www.acumenfund.org/ten/ (accessed on 20/09/2011) http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9806E6DF163EF933A15757C0A9619C8B63&sec=&spon=& &scp=2&sq=patient%20capital&st=cse (accessed 20/09/2011) 14 http://www.acumenfund.org/about-us/what-is-patient-capital.html (accessed on 20/09/2011) 15 The Acumen Fund, ‘ON THE GROUND Acumen Fund 2009/10 Annual Report’ (New York, 2010) Can be accessed online at;http://www.acumenfund.org/investment-story/annual-report.html 16 th Interview carried out with James Wu, part of the European Team of Acumen Fund on 20 June 2011 17 http://blog.acumenfund.org/2011/09/12/the-brand-essence-of-impact/ (accessed on 20/09/2011) 18 Jacqueline Novogratz, ‘The Blue Sweater – Bridging the Gap Between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected world’ (Rodale Inc, 2009) pp.123
Mobiles for Development
Section Two - Mobiles for Social Transformation
By the close of 2010 there were roughly 5.4 billion global mobile subscriptions. This is equivalent to 76 percent of the world’s population. This represents unprecedented growth considering that one decade ago 19 there were only 720,000 and a huge increase from 2009 when the figure stood at 4.6 billion. In 2012 the number of subscriptions is expected to rise above 6 billion meaning that mobiles will become the most 20 ubiquitous communication platform known in human history. This also provides millions of people with something they have not previously had before; access to quick communication and information gathering. In 2010 alone, people around the world sent 6.1 trillion text messages, tripling the 1.8 trillion messages sent in 21 2007. Industry analysts predict that more than 10 trillion SMS messages will be sent in 2013. Mobile growth is being strongly driven by demand in the developing world. India and China collectively added 300 million new mobile subscriptions in 2010 which is more than the total number of mobile 22 subscribers in the USA. Penetration rates in developing countries reached roughly 68 per cent by the end of 2010, meaning a full 64 per cent of all mobile phone users can now be found in the developing world.
Mobile cellular subcriptions, by level of development
Developing Developed Developing
Total 719 million
The developed/developing country classifications are based on the UN M49, see: http://www.itu.int/ITUD/ict/definitions/regions/index.html
Total 2.2 billion
Total 5.4 billion
Source: ITU World Telecommunication/ICT Indicators database ICT4D/m4d With penetration rates rapidly rising, Ken Banks poses the question, “If mobiles truly are as revolutionary and empowering as they appear to be – particularly in the lives of some of the poorest members of society – then do we have a moral duty, in the ICT for Development (ICT4D) community at least, to see that they fulfil that 23 potential? At Cubate we find this question a highly provoking one and are presently carefully examining ways we could add our mobile knowledge into the mix to see how Mobile technology can be fully utilised to help tackle endemic causes of global poverty.
Susan Teltscher, Head of Statistics, Telecommunication Development Bureau, ITU via MobiThinking; http://mobithinking.com/interview-susan-teltscher-itu (accessed on 26/10/11) 20 Ken Banks, ‘Mobile Technology and the Last Mile’, Innovations Journal, Vol 6, Issue 1, pp. 8 http://www.kiwanja.net/media/docs/Innovations-Last-Mile.pdf (accessed 14/11/11) 21 “Global Mobile Statistics 2011,” MobiThinking, February 2011 http://mobithinking.com/stats-corner/global-mobilestatistics-2011-all-quality-mobile-marketing-research-mobile-web-stats-su 22 Susan Teltscher, Head of Statistics, Telecommunication Development Bureau, ITU via MobiThinking; http://mobithinking.com/interview-susan-teltscher-itu (accessed 26/10/11)
http://www.kiwanja.net/blog/2009/03/time-to-eat-our-own-dog-food/ (accessed 22/11/11)
Mobiles for Development
Mobile Statistics - Africa
The International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the UN agency for ICT, estimates that there are currently 360 million mobile subscribers in the African continent, giving a penetration rate of roughly 45.2 per 24 cent. Recently a GSM Association report highlighted that the continents subscription rates have grown almost 20 per cent each year for the past 5 years. It has also predicted that there will be more than 735 million 25 subscribers by the end of 2012. This growing ubiquity of mobile phones and their reach in developing countries is a central element in the promise of mobile technologies to help obtain MGD targets. Particularly as the internet and traditional forms of telecommunications have much lower penetration rates. As Hermen Heunis, the founder of South African based MXit highlighted “mobile phones are likely to be the only connection to the internet for the vast 26 majority of Africans for many years to come”. In this new age of empowerment and personalisation of technology, mobiles increasingly offer the chance of interconnectness to many who had previously been left behind by the ‘digital divide’. Jeffrey Sachs stating 27 “mobile connectivity is the single most important instrument for development we have”. Naturally there are a tremendous number of variables displayed within penetration figures across the African continent. For example, different regions and countries display huge disparities - in Kenya rates stand at 61.63% (with 21 million people have access to a mobile), while neighbouring Somalia 6.95%, Ethiopia 7.86%, Rwanda 33.40%, Uganda 38.38%, in West Africa Nigeria 55.10% (with 93 million people subscribed), Sierra 28 Leone 34.09%and in South Africa penetration rates reach as high as 100.48%. The deregulation of the telecommunication industry is a very important factor in the propensity of mobiles In Uganda (38.38%) a healthy amount of competition drives down prices, but in neighbouring Ethiopia (7.86%) there is only one Government run mobile phone operator (Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation) with 29 consequential high calling costs. There are still predominate divides between urban and rural subscription rates, with the majority of phones in 30 villages being manufactured before 2003. There is also a clear gender gap in access to mobiles and as the 31 Cherie Blair Foundation highlights women are still 23% less likely to own a mobile phone in Africa. It is also notoriously hard to produce reliable penetration statistics as ownership numbers are disguised by individuals from upper income levels owning two phones on different networks, or conversely many people 32 within a community sharing a single handset. “When examining the use of mobiles as aids in international development their use and scope across Africa highlight developments that are at the cutting edge and are leading global innovations”.
Key ICT indicators for the ITU/BDT regions; http://www.itu.int/ITUD/ict/statistics/at_glance/KeyTelecom2010.html (accessed 26/10/11) 25 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-15659983 (accessed 14/11/11) 26 http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/poverty-matters/2011/jun/24/activate-mobile-phoneafrica-development?CMP=twt_gu (accessed 10/10/11) 27 http://www.kiwanja.net/blog/2011/11/the-networked-society-forum-in-tweets/ (accessed 14/11/11) 28 ITU World Telecommunication / ICT Indicators Database; (accessed 27/10/11) 29 SokariEkine, ‘SMS Uprising; Mobile Phone Activism in Africa’ (Fahamu books, 2010) pp.x 30 Ibid.pp 6 31 http://www.cherieblairfoundation.org/uploads/pdf/women_and_mobile_a_global_opportunity.pdf (accessed on 31/10/11) 32 Ibid
Mobiles for Development
What Sectors do mDevelopment schemes already function in?
When Sokari Ekine was asked what mobile technology was being used to do across Africa, her reply was “practically everything – monitoring of elections, mobilising, disseminating information, gathering information, capacity building, mapping and broadcasting”. The breadth of mobile activity within Africa was displayed with 33 clarity at the Guardians Activate 2011 conference. Mobile technology is already being utilised for the provision of services across sectors as disparate as: Public Health (clinical/systems and administration) for example; DataDyne.org – Provider of mobile health data solutions. Medic Mobile- Medic Mobile uses appropriate technologies to create connected, coordinated health systems. These tools support community health worker coordination and management, community mobilization for vaccination and satellite clinics, referrals, routine data collection, and mapping of health services. Education (Continuing medical education/Ubiquitous learning) for example; MibilED - In South Africa, the MobilED project aims to design teaching and learning environments that are enhanced with mobile technologies and services. The Digital Enhancement Project (DEEP) - Researching the impact of mobile technologies on teachers' pedagogy and practice through the use of handheld technologies. The first study took place in 24 primary schools in Egypt and Eastern Cape, South Africa. Governance (Election Monitoring/Civic Accountability) for example; Freedom Phone – Developed in Zimbabwe this is a information and communication tool, which marries the mobile phone with Interactive Voice Response (IVR) for the benefit of citizens. It provides information activists, service organisations, and NGO’s with widely usable telephony applications, to deliver vital information to communities. ‘Voices for Africa’- the creation of citizens journalists, individuals are trained for 6 – 9 months in how to make short videos via mobile. These are then sent via email and published online. The idea being that civic involvement and agency will increase as people can report what they see. Disaster Relief (Mapping/Emergency response) for example; Ushahidi- Meaning ‘testimony’ the website was initially developed to map reports of violence in Kenya after the post election fall out of 2008 “we built the Ushahidi platform as a tool to easily crowd source information using multiple channels, including SMS, email, Twitter and the web”. Further examples are: SwiftRiver / Crowdmap.org Télécoms Sans Frontières - Provides communications in the aftermath of political conflicts and natural disasters. As the Poverty Matters Blog highlighted, with so many smaller pilot projects around the use of mobiles taking 34 place, there is danger of duplication and “reinventing the wheel”. One suggestion is that a large mapping exercise needs to plot what is happening, where, and with what results. Two clear leaders in producing research on ICT4D/m4d are the UN Foundation – Vodafone Foundation 35 36 technology partnership and GSMA’s Development Fund. Academic institutions are also starting to take an 37 interest in this area - the Governance and Human Right Centre at Cambridge University to name but one.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/activate-conference (accessed 21/10/11) http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/poverty-matters/2011/jun/24/activate-mobile-phoneafrica-development?CMP=twt_gu (accessed 10/10/11) 35 http://www.unfoundation.org/what-we-do/campaigns-and-initiatives/mobile-technology/technologypartnership.html (accessed 10/10/11) 36 http://www.gsmworld.com/our-work/mobile_planet/development_fund/ (accessed 17/10/11) 37 http://www.polis.cam.ac.uk/cghr/research_sms.html (accessed 17/10/11)
Mobiles for Development
Evolution of Mobile Technologies
The trends in mobile development look set to be those which have characterised technological progress over the past 40 years: greater speed, increased functionality and cost reduction. The table below produced by the UN and Vodafone foundation partnership predicts mobile advancements characterised by more uniform, faster and more affordable broadband access, helping push mobiles beyond simple one way data services. In Africa 84 million mobile handsets are already capable of using the Internet and 7 out of 10 mobile phones 38 are expected to be Internet-enabled by 2014.
Source: Vital Wave Consulting. mHealth for Development: The Opportunity of Mobile Technology for Healthcarein the Developing World. Washington, D.C. and Berkshire, UK: UN Foundation-Vodafone FoundationPartnership, 2009 pp. 20
However within the field of International Development, debate continues over the most appropriate and sustainable form of mobile technology to be utilised within the African context. While larger multilaterals can often afford to use more complex models, Ken Banks, founder of Kiwanja.net, advocates using basic mobile phone models that are not dependant on the internet. In Zimbabwe, where there is currently 3 per cent internet penetration “if your amazing, whizzy mobile tool needs the internet you have lost 97 percent of people before you start”. When the Dillon Dhanecha's company tried to distribute training through the internet in Rwanda, it fell into the trap Ken Banks described “we were developing short YouTube clips and so on, but I was in Rwanda a few weeks ago and trying to access our site from my Smartphone, and it just wasn’t happening”. Grassroot NGO’s often need simple and affordable models. FrontlineSMS are quick to acknowledge that there are different ways to tackle rural and urban poverty and different mobile models for different communities. While remote and rural area (those traditionally most vulnerable to African Case Studies abuse and exclusion) need something that does not require a lot of infrastructure and is “Flexible, Lightweight and Approachable”. If you are looking to interact with urban areas mobile web applications and Smartphones could aid 1 work. For example see: http://www.praekeltfoundation.org/young-africa-live.html
http://www.itnewsafrica.com/2011/10/africa-84-million-mobile-devices-are-internet-enabled/ (accessed 01/11/11)
Mobiles for Development
African Case Studies
Over the past 20 years there has been a chronic lack of investment in agriculture, yet food security is in vital need of investment with over 80% of people in Africa living in remote rural areas reliant on the food they grow 39 and animals they keep to survive. FARM-Africa’s aim is to empower and support small holder farmers, pastoralists and forest communities, helping increase their productivity through training and increased awareness of new markets. In 2010 FARM-Africa made a real impact on rural African communities, reaching an 40 estimated 649,000 people directly through their work.
Operational Countries: FARM-Africa works in South Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania. The Project: The use of mobile telephony in delivering community based decentralised animal health services
in Mwingi and Kitui Districts, Kenya.
Objective and Results: Kenya’s Kitui and Mwingi districts experience the worst food insecurity in the
Eastern Province with more than 60% of people living in poverty. Poor awareness of animal health, combined with a bad communication and transport infrastructure required that an alternative animal health delivery system be implemented. To improve farmer livelihoods FARM-Africa implemented the Kenyan Dairy Goat and Capacity-Building Project (KDGCBP). The main objective was that animal diseases, which threaten goats and other livestock, would be carefully monitored, diagnosed and treated quickly. FARM-Africa approached the Safaricom Foundation to provide a telecommunications structure with the hope this would enable Community Animal Health Workers (CAHWs) to connect with Animal Health Assistants (AHAs). The use of telecommunications helped improve communication between CAHWs and AHAs, overcoming the infrastructure challenges experienced in the arid districts. The use of mobile phones reduced transaction costs (the cost of farmer and vet transport and the cost of their time travelling). Case referrals and diagnosis took place over the phone, often via SMS which meant farmers no longer had to walk long distances. Reporting and monitoring of CAHWs / AHAs’ performance was made a lot easier. Mobiles played a key role in fighting livestock disease outbreaks. Outbreaks could be reported quickly and were more likely to be contained by the veterinary departments. The KDGCBP beneficiaries were also more informed about the environment around 42 them, particularly in relation to the livestock market.
What are the main advantages have you found in the use of mobile technology in your grass root projects?
“The main advantage is the new interconnectedness that mobiles bring, especially for remote and
rural areas. Mobiles make communication much more effective. Data on markets is critical to disseminate, effectively helping enter farmers into a broker position – mobiles have a role to play in this. The use of pooled community knowledge means that barriers in literacy and lack of resources can be overcome”.43
http://www.farmafrica.org.uk/what-we-do/what-we-do (accessed 17/10/11) FARM-Africa ‘Partnering for Growth’ Annual Review 2010/11 (London, 2011) pp. 4 41 Ibid, pp. 8 42 FARM-Africa ‘Keeping up with Technology: the use of mobile telephony in delivering community based decentralised animal health services in Mwingi and Kitui Districts, Kenya’ Working Paper (London, 2007) pp. 18/19 43 Interview carried out with the Programme Operations Manager and Head of Communications from FARMAfrica Head Offices, Clifford’s Inn, Fetter Lane London 25 July 2011.
Mobiles for Development
What main hindrances have you experienced? “In some cases picture SMS have been experimented with to speed up the accuracy and diagnosis time, but the cost of sending images via mobile remains an issue”.44
At the beginning of the project the remote districts of Mwingi and Kitui did not have mobile phone networks. Therefore the project was reliant on Safaricom gradually installing more aerials. Mobile handsets also require regular charging of their batteries, which is not easy for the CAHWs as they operate in areas without electricity. They had to rely on neighbours with solar panels for their handsets and a cost is usually incurred through this. Table 1: The below table displays the cost of KDGCBP organising a meeting for 30 CAHWs Description Without Mobile With Mobile SMS Travel (700 km) Driver Salary (2 days) Official Salary (2 days) Subsistence (2 days) SMS Cost Calling Cost Miscellaneous Total 35,000 2,000 4,000 8,000 0 0 5,000 54,000 0 0 0 0 75 0 50 125 Calling 0 0 0 0 0 600 100 700
Note: All costs are in Kenya Shillings (KES) when £1 = KES 136 Table 2: Average cost of a CAHW or AHA referring a case to a supervisor (this can also be applied to the cost of a farmer seeking veterinary service) Description Without Mobile With Mobile SMS Transport SMS Cost Calling Cost Time spent (10 Hours**) Total 400 0 0 500 900 0 2.50 0 0 2.50 Calling 0 0 20 0 20
**The distance to reach a veterinary advisor was long and time consuming.
Mobiles for Development
Founder: Ken Banks
Operational Countries: FrontlineSMS software is being utilised in over 80 countries including Kenya, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Nigeria, South Africa, and Egypt.
At the root of developing FrontlineSMS was a desire to better communications and provide tools to enable the efficient exchange of information. FrontlineSMS’s software enables a computer (desktop or laptop) and mobile technology to become a two way messaging hub and efficient feedback loop. This allows non profits working in developing countries to run automated text messaging services within rural and communication-challenged environments. You can use the software with very little skills and experience and once the software is 45 downloaded and installed to a mobile there is no need for the internet access. As an organisation FrontlineSMS does not deploy the software but simply makes it available to existing grass root organisations. Their role, therefore, is one of building tools but then allowing local people who own problems to solve them. Since its launch in 2005,with a single user to Zimbabwe, FrontlineSMS has been utilised by NGO’s on over 80 countries and has been downloaded more than 19,000 times. Different areas of activity include SMS: Credit, Learn, Medic, Legal and Radio with the software being made more functional for each sector.
First Project: ReclaimNaija- the Monitoring of the 2011 Elections Objective and Results: The objective of ReclaimNaija was to “enhance the
participation of grassroots people, organisations and local institutions in promoting electoral transparency, accountability and democratic governance 46 in Nigeria”. In the past citizens have been extremely frustrated by missing names, seeing ballet boxes stuffed, or even stolen and witnessing other types of fraud. In 2011 grass root organisations joined together in an effort to provide the electorate with a way to report on the elections in real time. RecliamNaija documented how citizens where experiencing the elections by using FrontlineSMS to receive SMS reports, while Ushahidi (an online crowd source mapping tool) was utilised to visually map the election reports. NITS Limited, a Nigerian company helped set up the technical side of the monitoring system. During the January 2011 Voters Registration Exercise, ReclaimNaija received 15,000 reports from the public over two weeks. Although the platform offered reporting via email and phone calls, they found that SMS was the most utilised medium both during the Voter Registration Exercise and the aborted National Assembly Elections. This was 47 credited to the familiarity and high penetration rates of mobiles. Reports became a viable source of information for the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) who collated information from ReclaimNiaja in real time. Observations and concerns from specific areas where 48 then cross checked and sent on to other EU monitoring bodies. Ken Banks comments “the idea that everyday citizens could actually report things changed the way people thought about how to go about trying to swing an election...that has had a wider impact all around the world”. This was the first time African NGO’s were able to monitor their own elections using mobiles and will, no doubt, set many future presidents.
http://frontlinesms.ning.com/video/video-frontlinesms-curry-stone-design-prize-winner (accessed 10/11/11) http://reclaimnaija.net/cms/about-us/mission-a-objectives (accessed 12/11/11) 47 Ibid. 48 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/6570919.stm (accessed 12/11/11)
Cubate Limited Second Project: HarassMap - Egypt
Mobiles for Development
Objective and Results: The four women who envisioned HarassMap
were concerned with the frequency of female harassment on Egyptian streets “there is a social acceptability... people will often just stand by and 49 let it happen”. HarassMap therefore seeks to challenge this intimidating 50 behaviour and counter the disempowerment victims often experience. FrontlineSMS technology has been utilised to create an SMS short code allowing instant reporting of touching, indecent exposure or catcalling. Ushahidi is also utilised to identify prevalent areas of harassment. Volunteers are then dispatched to the pinpointed regions to organise neighbourhood based events and hand out flyers with HarassMap’s SMS number. The use of SMS has provided an instantaneous platform to report abuse. When a report is received an atomised SMS response is sent back with information on how to access other forms of support. Since December 2010 HarassMap have received almost 600 reports of sexual harassment and have recruited 51 roughly 500 volunteers. Requests have also been made to replicate this system in 15 further 52 53 countries. HarassMap clearly illustrates the empowerment and agency gained in being able to be heard. In FrontlineSMS’s experience what are the main benefits of utilising mobiles in development? “The facilitation of SMS enables a very personal form of communication - most SMS are read within 15 minutes of receipt. It is also a discreet form of communication, removing barriers and enabling a more intimate medium to be utilised. This can provide valuable assistance when functioning in areas people are reluctant to speak face to face about, such as domestic abuse. SMS can also provide for anonymity of reporting and allow for instant feedback which is reassuring”. “It is also very easy to see through cost benefit analysis that mobiles help make development more efficient”. What are the main hindrances you have experienced with SMS? “You have to approach issues around illiteracy, the lack of knowledge/education about use of mobile technology as well as cultural barriers. For example, in some communities people think that SMS messages can appear impolite and invasive of personal space. There is also a demographical dimension, to use a mobile you have to have manual and visual dexterity and in many global communities older people do not have strong visual capabilities”. “There are ways to litigate against all of these things but they do require finances and careful thought”.
http://www.frontlinesms.com/2011/03/08/mobile-phones-give-harassment-victims-a-voice-in-egypt/ (accessed on the 13/11/11) 50 http://harassmap.org/ (accessed 14/11/11) 51 http://bikyamasr.com/47052/harassmap-launches-new-sms-aid-for-reporting-sexual-harassment/ (accessed 14/11/11) 52 http://bikyamasr.com/47259/harassmap-launches-new-anti-harassment-campaign-as-its-services-arerequested-globally/ (accessed 14/11/11) 53 http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/2011/02/18/crowd-sourced-data-hold-potential-forpositive-change-and-human-rights-abuses/ (accessed 14/11/11) 54 Interview carried out with the Head of UK Operations and Community Support Officer from FrontlineSMS London Offices, 10 November 2011
Mobiles for Development
JamiiX Social Exchange
Founder: Marlon Parker Project: Jamiix is the name of software package designed and
used in Drug Advisory Centres in Cape Town, South Africa.
Objective and Results: Being designed with the belief that to
come off and stay off drugs, instant ongoing support at the moment of need is in vital. In poor communities talking on the phone and sending standard SMS is expensive, but at a hundredth of the price, Mobile Instant Messaging is aiming to be affordable and user friendly. It enables one councillor to 55 connect with many clients simultaneously over mobiles by using MIM. In August 2011 500,000 contacts had engaged with JamiiX exchanges (chat channels) and JamiiX has not gone 56 global being engaged in partnerships with a further 63 countries.
“We have seen a transformation in the lives of former gangsters and drug users at the centre and this has been supported by using mobile phone technology. We maximise the use of our volunteers, as in a typical one hour session, Jamiix enables 8 councillors to have approximately 300 IM conversations with our clients, supporting them wherever they are”.57 Marlon Parker
“What we are impressed about is the way that technology has enabled conversations. It is these conversations 58 and the relationships that develop from them that have led to transformational change”. Peter Holt
The SHM Foundation
Project: Kopano– Creating mhealth Support Networks for pregnant women living with HIV in Pretoria, South
Objective and Results: Many pregnant women living with
HIV in South Africa face considerable challenges that include a lack of emotional support, and high levels of stigma and consequentially isolation. This three-month pilot project was established in February 2010 and aimed to support programmes tackling prevention of mother-to-child transmission (PMTCT) of HIV. This support was offered by giving women access to mobile phones where they could communicate in a group via SMS about issues affecting their lives during the critical period of their pregnancy. During the project, participants used their mobile phones to discuss 59 medical treatment, breastfeeding, unemployment, and how to talk to others about being HIV-positive. In 2010, the UN Secretary-General introduced the Global Strategy for Women and Children's Health, which for the first time identified the role ICT can play in accelerating progress toward safer pregnancies and births.
“This project is essentially all about fostering a network and sense of community via SMS”.60
http://nimbus.mobi/events/ (accessed 14/11/11) http://jamiix.com/site/?p=299 (accessed 14/11/11) 57 Marlon Parker, speaking at ‘Mobile Technologies for Social Transformation’ 5 October 2010, London 58 Peter Holt, speaking at ‘Mobiles for Social Transformation’ 5 October 2010, London 59 http://www.shmfoundation.org/kopano.php (accessed 14/11/11)
Mobiles for Development
Scope for Mobiles in International Development
What do these case studies communicate that mobiles are doing well? Identifying the basic building blocks for sustainable ICT4D/m4d programmes:– Mobiles are clearly perceived as an accessible and familiar form of technology in many developing countries, much more so than the internet and traditional forms of ICT. 1. It is clear that mobiles are providing a sense of interconnectedness– they are enabling flow of data and exchange of knowledge peer to peer to become much more fast and functional, overcoming previous logistical barriers. 2. New instant communication is critical in situations when time is a vital commodity i.e. to report the outbreaks of disease or enabling instant individual empowerment by reporting abuse in real time. 3. In terms of cost analysis there are clear benefits and increased efficiency of expenditure. 4. With the increase of mobile penetration SMS can help facilitate more relational and personal forms of communication. This can be critical in tacking base causes of poverty such as the spread of HIV or tackling drug abuse. SMS provides two way flows of communication enabling highly relational support networks and a mobile community to be fostered. What obstacles are hindering m4d and what questions do these provoke? Poor infrastructure such as the lack of network coverage and masts, particularly in rural areas – How do you reach remote and resource poor communities? Do development agencies fully understanding the infrastructure challenges in environments found in the developing world? Phone regulation in countries such as Ethiopia means that there is no competition as the only service provider is the government in conjunction with the Chinese Government. Does this mean that globally Governments need to make the link between telecommunication policy and development? The cost of the handsets / air time / the price of SMS and picture messages. For small NGO’s even the cost of frequent SMS can be an issue. Do simple and affordable handsets need to be developed? Lack of electricity supplies are an issue when phones have to be charged. Increasingly people are relying on the use of solar panels which, while creating micro businesses linked with the spread of mobiles, also incur further costs. How can additional items be made affordable? Lack of knowledge and education around the use of mobile technology. How can knowledge be better disseminated – could this be through formal education channels? Levels of illiteracy and language act as a barrier–for example, regional linguistic differences and the inability to convert script to SMS can be an issue for poor communities who are frequently tribal or nomadic. In north Pakistan people frequently use SMS, however, in vast swaths of the south there is no appropriate transcript to relate to SMS. What creative avenues could be explored to overcome the need of proficiency in literacy and language? The emergence of gendered dynamics in the use of mobile phones. Women are 23% less likely to own a mobile phone in Africa and 37% less likely in South Asia. In an ideal situation a women would have ownership and control of the phone to send SMS and make calls – this would lead to a more pure form of empowerment but this is in reality rarely the case in many developing countries – How can mobile access more women friendly? Can product be developed with this in mind? Cultural barriers to the use of mobiles – For example, in some cultures SMS is seem as impolite and invasive – How do we approach M4D with cultural sensitivity? Does the development community fully understanding the specific cultural and geographic needs of the people living in diverse geographical localities?
http://www.itweb.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=42740:mobile-links-mothersmedicine (accesses 14/11/11)
Mobiles for Development
As the collated research displays mobiles are increasingly being utilised to provide services (access to health care, financial services etc) to individuals living in the developing world. The leap in mobile penetration rates means that phones are an increasingly familiar and accessible tool. They are enabling unprecedented flows of information to occur between peers, breaking down environmental and infrastructural barriers and strengthening networks of activity through facilitating quick communication. There are still many barriers blocking their full utilisation. However, the general consensus in the development community is that these are not insurmountable. With careful thought factors such as lack of technological education and illiteracy amongst certain groups can be overcome. As this field develops over the next decade our collective response to these challenges will become more informed. For example, interfaces on new models of mobiles will need to be reworked to become simpler to use. As we progress and examine the ways in which we can add our complimentary expertise into this equation it is also important to work in partnership with NGO’s that already know the local environment. When organisations are familiar with cultural and behavioural patterns they can truly incorporate the users need in their mobile programmes.61 It is also crucial that we start to litigate against trends we are already witnessing in the m4d world. While we naturally look ahead to future technological developments, we should avoid accelerating a new ‘digital divide’ between grassroot NGO’s and large scale multilaterals. Globally women are already less likely to have access and control over their own mobile phone. We therefore need to design programmes which are female friendly and that have the aim of helping close this gender gap at the core of their DNA.
“I would argue that everything we see in the social mobile application ecosystem today is ‘work in progress’, and is it likely to remain that way for some time. The debate around the pros and cons of different tools needs to be a constructive one – based on a work in progress mentality – and one that positively feeds back into the development cycle”.62 Ken Banks
Thank you very much for taking the time to read our paper. For more information on Cubate please see; http://www.cubate.com/ or contact CEO David Erasmus directly on firstname.lastname@example.org. The Cubate team would like to acknowledge the valuable research and writing assistance of Anna Caffell - Cubate’s Advisor on Mobiles for International Development. We would also like to mention staff at the Acumen Fund, FARM-Africa, FrontlineSMS, Nimbus and The SHM Foundation who have been so generous with their time and expertise. The assistance from each of your organisations is highly valued.
http://www.kiwanja.net/blog/2011/08/anthropologists-in-a-global-village/ (accessed 14/11/11) Ibid.
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