We met Yael SchwartzmanÂ from Mexico at the MobileActive08 conference in Johannesburg last year, where she shared her on-going ICT4D project with us.
Yael currently works as a researcher at the University of California. As computer scientist she is involved in the development of a mobile phone application for coffee farmers in Mexico. The application, which is designed for fill in surveys, supports internal monitoring. This is important for the farmers to achieve better accountability, higher quality and improved efficiency, which in turn allows them to get access to a premium market.
To learn more about the application and the situation of coffee farmers in Mexico watch the full interview below. Muchas Gracias Yael!
PSI (Population Services International) is
a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. that harnesses the vitality of the private sector to address the health problems of low-income and vulnerable populations in more than 60 developing countries [from the PSI homepage].
The organization especially tries to tackle health issues in less developed countries – e.g. malaria, HIV or tuberculosis, but also tries to operate as economically successful as possible. Depending on the most effective way of business, PSI cooperates with local entrepreneurs or health institutions to market their products and promote a lifestyle avoiding diseases (e.g. hygienic measures or contraception).
One very innovative approach of the organization is how the success of their business is measured. By collecting statistical data and utilizing internationally accepted measures such as DALY (Disability-Adjusted Life Years = life-years that sick persons would lose without treatment), the outcome of their actions can be displayed in a comprehensive way.
The “Annual Health Impact Report” of PSI shows these numbers in several graphs and is definitely worth taking a look at.
Frederico Dava represents Centro Terra Viva (Living Land Center), a NGO based in MoÃ§ambique. He is coordinating an ICT program which works for making information available to areas in his country where there is no distribution or access to TV, radio or newspapers. He explains that mobile technology is being used today for collecting basic information in the health- and cultural sectors, but that the technology needs to be distributed on a larger scale in the society, so that the benefits of communication and information technologies becomes widely accessible for the people. He continues to say that this is an issue that needs more attention and promotion, especially in a developing country like MoÃ§ambique, but that they are open to sustainable solutions and that there is great potential for the uses of mobile technology in the future.
The event should facilitate a knowledge exchange between IT specialists, voluntary workers, NGOs and even donors and scientists in the area of social work in general.
There were five presentations about topics ranging from social entrepreneurship to platforms for the coordination of voluntary work (more details here).
I like the general idea of creating this kind of a platform for networking and exchange of experience – and to get to know people with similar interests. The meeting yesterday was a good start, but I have some suggestions for next time to improve the “social experience”.
- Less formal setting – the spacial setting was quite strict and prevented interactions beneath the audience of the presentations to some extent
- Broader time frame – the schedule was quite narrow, maybe plan some time for informal interaction at the same place (maybe there were interesting talks at the restaurant afterwards – but I didn’t go there)
- Agree on one specific topic – in my opinion the presentations were to diverse to lead a coherent discussion, maybe agree on one specific topic in the forefront of the next SocialBar
However, I enjoyed taking part in this event and I’m looking forward to see it evolve in the future. Also, I really liked the mixture of people attending. The next meeting will be held in February – check it out!
In the recent issue of brand eins there is an interesting article on “Design for the other 90%”. It is about an exhibition in New York and Toronto which focuses on simple solutions for big problems – various articles designed for “the other 90%” of the world’s population. The designers focused on an easy and feasible production process so the products can be manufactured in less developed countries by local craftsmen – innovation from constraint.
There are some ingenious pieces such as solar powered battery chargers, simple and easy to use water pumps, water filters and purificaton tools and also some which were already mentioned in posts of Ethan on or on Afrigadget.
Check out the website of the exhibition – it’s really worth visiting.
A little update about our mobile phone documentary from Africa and Zanzibar. A first draft is now finished and can be read in its full context on our webpage. I have outlined the main ideas we want to express, what we have done so far, the characters ans stories we like to present and more. The picture below shows the sewing machine of the local tailor on Hurumzi street who produced 200 awesome DVD covers made out of recycled Kangas (and by the way, we found out that uzi in swahili means “thread”). Next step in the post-production process is the making of a trailer. Stay tuned & read all about it!
Jambiani was the first village in Tanzania that started with seaweed farming. The practice began almost 20 years ago and the harvesting was and is still done almost exclusively by women. This was once one of the only ways for women to earn their own money, giving them a greater independence in the household. Jambiani is considered a good place to farm since the weather and environmental conditions are optimal. Seaweed can be used for the Pharma industry, cosmetics, plastics and a variety of other uses. Sadly, the profit does not make it back to the community. Two main companies run the show, a Tanzanian state and a Japanese company.
We arranged for a private course in Swahili at the Jambiani Primary school. The school is located in the exact center of the village and teaches about 1.200 pupils. For one month, three days per week, we attended school classes; sitting on benches made for 7-year old kids. Mr Faridi was our tutor and mentor- he unlocked the code of Swahili for us. Mr. Faridi even arranged a special class about mobile phones for us. We met and discussed with other teachers as well regarding their views on the possibilities and challenges of mobile phones.
In this interview JÃ¸rn KlungsÃ¸yr, who works as researcher and developer at the University of Bergen, demonstrates how their EpiHandy system allows setting up large-scale surveys at much lower costs than traditional surveys. He points out the importance of connecting workflow and forms by using mobile phones and explains how this was incorporated in the EpiHandy project.
JÃ¸rn KlungsÃ¸yr further talks about their recent collaboration with Makerere University in Uganda and with the open source project OpenRosa.
Just a short announcement of an event we will be present at:
COOPERATION 2.0 is an international space for meeting, reflecting and building awareness about the need to promote and integrate the use of ICT in development policies, programmes and projects.
In its first edition, it tried to set a national and international reference for ICT and networked Development Cooperation.
It facilitated the exchange of experiences among cooperation agents to generate greater knowledge about ICT applications in the work of Cooperation, granting visibility to experiences under way.
The second edition, Cooperation 2.0 2009, follows along in continuity and will focus this time on the issue of â€˜Innovation in ICT for Human Developmentâ€™ [from here]
It will take place from 10 to 12 February in Gijon, Spain and we will try to shoot as many videos as possible and provide general coverage on the conference.
This is the page of the event, check it out.
This includes our German bylaws, which are published under this URL.
Statuten des Vereins
Austrian Network for Information and
Communication Technologies for Development â€“
Verein zur Bewusstseinsschaffung Ã¼ber das Potential von Informations- und Kommunikationstechnologien fÃ¼r Entwicklungszusammenarbeitâ€œ