Grameen

Tag: ICT4D

  • Mobile Data at the BOP


    Posted on October 29, 2011

    Luke Kyohere is Senior Technology Manager, at Grameen Foundation

    There was a time when all that handsets could do was make calls and send SMS.

    Then mobile data arrived, the first versions of which simulated an analog modem/landline setup. These gave way to GPRS, 2G and finally 3G. In Uganda today, mobile data is available almost everywhere that GSM connectivity is.

    This fast proliferation of 2G and 3G has been influenced, in part, by recent MNO competition and price wars, as well as last year’s drastic drop in internet prices upon go-live of the Seacom and...

    Read more
  • A Weekend with Simon Obwoya, Community Knowledge Worker


    Posted on May 27, 2011

    Heather Thorne Matthews is the Director of Information and Communications Technology Innovation at the Grameen Foundation’s Technology Center.

    I spent a weekend in early May with Simon Obwoya, one of Grameen Foundation’s Community Knowledge Workers, near Opit, Lalogi Subcounty, about 50km south-east of Gulu in Northern Uganda.  Simon is 43, and is married, with 8 children, ranging from 6 months old to 19 years old.  He and his family have 3 simple thatch-roof, mud brick huts in close proximity to their neighbours. They have no electricity, but have a bicycle,...

    Read more
  • First Village Phone Operator graduates from AppLab Indonesia Solutions for the Poorest program


    Posted on May 22, 2011

    Grameen Foundation’s AppLab Indonesia, in partnership with Qualcomm’s Wireless Reach initiative, and social business PT Ruma, operate a mobile microfranchising program to provide the poor and poorest with business opportunities based on the mobile phone.  Currently the micro franchisees sell mobile phone airtime credits to their customers.  Most poor people start their micro-franchise with $11 for working capital.  For the poorest of the poor this can present a challenge.  Grameen Foundation designed a program to enable the poorest to participate in the mobile...

    Read more
  • Congrats to OpenIDEO challenge winners using MOTECH!


    Posted on May 12, 2011

    OpenIDEO along with Nokia and Oxfam recently ran a challenge on maternal health entitled “How might we improve maternal health with mobile technologies for low income countries?”  The challenge brief was:

    OpenIDEO has partnered with Oxfam and Nokia to explore how mobile technologies can be used to improve maternal health (particularly in pregnancy and childbirth). We’re asking you, the OpenIDEO community, to come up with inspirations and concepts around improving the knowledge and access to maternal health services, specifically where mobile technologies can...

    Read more
  • Update from AppLab Indonesia – Serving the Poorest


    Posted on March 28, 2011

    Jason Hahn is Business Development Manager ICT Innovation, at Grameen Foundation Seattle.

    UPDATE: 04/06/2011 We just released a case study on using Grameen Foundation’s Progress Out of Poverty Index (PPI) with PT Ruma to help them ensure they reach their goal of working with the poor and poorest.  You can read the case study here. 

    In addition to the Grameen Foundation’s AppLab activities in Ghana and Uganda we are also very proud of our AppLab Indonesia and the innovative work we do there in conjunction with our local social enterprise partner, PT Ruma. ...

    Read more
  • The Community Knowledge Worker Platform


    Posted on March 21, 2011

    For those of you who are frequent readers of the AppLab blog you will have seen quite a few references to the Community Knowledge Worker program.  We think of the CKW program as providing a human, technology and data analytics platform for socially minded organizations seeking to reach small holder farmers.  Heather Thorne, Director of ICT Innovation and Applab, breaks down how CKW provides each platform: 

    • First, it offers a human platform, introducing known, trusted points-of-presence in the village who serve as a two-way distribution channel for...
    Read more
  • The Difference a CKW Makes


    Posted on March 18, 2011

    Lydia Namubiru is Partnership Analyst, CKW program, at Grameen Foundation Uganda.

    For a long time, Charles Mukonyi of Gamatui parish in Kapchorwa had a problem with his chickens – the hens died off soon after hatching new ones. Three months ago, he was visited by his neighbor Tabitha Salimo who told him that she had a phone that has huge amounts of agricultural knowledge to answer many of the problems farmers face. Naturally, the first thing Charles asked about was the hen problem. Tabitha checked her phone and informed Charles that his hens were likely to be...

    Read more
  • Simple mobile tools to combat fake agricultural inputs


    Posted on March 17, 2011

    Whitney Gantt is Partnerships Manager, CKW program, at Grameen Foundation Uganda.

    Poor farmers in Uganda routinely struggle with access to agricultural inputs, such as fertilizer and improved seed varieties, that would boost their crop yields.  Access to improved inputs is one of the highest impact scenarios for improving farmer productivity.  In the right context, the application of fertilizer can significantly increase  yields, by up to 300% – which means the potential to triple income.

    Two of the chief constraints for a smallholder farmer to buy these...

    Read more
  • GF President visits CKWs in the field


    Posted on March 16, 2011

    Grameen Foundation President Alex Counts recently visited Uganda and met with several of our Community Knowledge Workers.  Here Alex (second from right) heard from CKW Albert Somiko (right) of Kamunarukut about the impact of information distributed by CKWs on banana disease control.  Later that day CKWs presented Alex with a gourd for storing milk which is a traditional gift for a warm welcome to Uganda.  We hope to publish more news from Alex’s trip to Uganda, Kenya, and Ghana after he returns.

    Read more
  • How much can I get for my coffee?


    Posted on March 16, 2011

    Jason Hahn is Business Development Manager ICT Innovation, at Grameen Foundation Seattle.

    As readers of this blog know, Grameen Foundation’s AppLab is building a network of Community Knowledge Workers (CKWs) in Uganda.  These CKW’s,  equipped with mobile phones and customized agricultural apps, bridge the last mile of agricultural extension work.  Below you will find the story of farmer Michael Kipsang’s experience working with his local CKW and we answered his coffee question. Thanks to Edward Chelangat, one of our field officers in Uganda, for passing...

    Read more
  • Partnering with the community is important!


    Posted on March 09, 2011

    Whenever AppLab launches a new project or  begins offering services in a new place we do it in full cooperation with the community.  This might mean using our rapid iterative in-community process of software design to build user centered software or in the case of the Community Knowledge Worker (CKW) model mean using meetings with the community and local authorities to build buy-in and knowledge about the CKW program.

    While the positive effects of partnering with the community are many we realized a very practical effect over the past few days.  Gwoktoo...

    Read more
  • How did James Amadi benefit from his local Community Knowledge Worker?


    Posted on March 01, 2011

    Edward Chelangat is CKW Field Officer Kapchorwa , at Grameen Foundation Uganda. 

    “James Amadi is a farmer who uses CKW services.  He has benefited from coffee tips and price information.  His coffee trees are green in a dry season largely because of following CKW advice on manure application.  James also said the CKW has helped him identify diseases in his coffee plantation, for example leaf rust which he though it was coffee berry disease. He sprayed orious fungicide which cleared it off.”

    Read more
  • How can mobile phones be used to reduce poverty?


    Posted on February 27, 2011

    Heather Thorne is Director ICT Innovation, at the Grameen Foundation Technology Center. This is the second in a series of three blog posts on the M4D space.

    Grameen Foundation approaches all of its work from a “Theory of Change” perspective, using this as a starting point to ensure activities and outputs are logically linked to the desired outcomes of each program.  AppLab’s Theory of Change is based on research showing that gaps in access to information and services (e.g., health, financial services, agriculture, markets, job opportunities, etc.) contribute...

    Read more
  • A few tweaks in the CKW intervention can deliver more impact to farmers


    Posted on February 16, 2011

    Lydia Namubiru is Partnership Analyst, Community Knowledge Worker program, at Grameen Foundation Uganda.

    Samuel Olara’s chickens were getting weak and sleepy. He feared they had caught something that would kill them and he didn’t know how to save them. Fortunately, he knew someone who might know. He walked 2 kms to the local CKWs’ home to consult on chicken diseases and their treatments. The CKW in turn consulted his phone and advise Olara to treat his chicken with soda ash. They quickly recovered and were doing well three weeks later when a Grameen...

    Read more
  • Introducing MoTeCH to Communities One Durbar at a Time


    Posted on June 10, 2010

    Kirsten Gagnaire is Project Manager MoTeCH, at Grameeen Foundation Uganda. 

    Durbars are community entry ceremonies that must be done in all of the 11 zones where we are working with Mobile Technology for Community Health (MoTeCH) .  They include bringing offerings to the Chief, telling the community members about MoTeCH, dancing and hopefully getting the community members to formally “accept” MoTeCH as a valuable health service.  Durbars last for several hours, usually take place under a tree and we’re holding them for all 11 zones this week so we can...

    Read more
  • Community Knowledge Worker Pilot Report and Program Launch


    Posted on May 19, 2010

    Lydia Namubiru is Partnership Analyst, CKW program, at Grameen Foundation Uganda.

    In early 2009, Grameen Foundation went to Uganda with the idea of creating a fluid and effective two way communication channel between rural farmers and the world of agricultural experts, development agencies, traders and commercial players. Through this loop, rural small holder farmers would be given livelihood saving agricultural information generated by the experts and the big  players would keep informed on conditions on the farm from adoption of best practices to available...

    Read more
  • Village Phone Operators are Trained to be KerjaLokal Agents


    Posted on May 02, 2010

    Ross Jaax is Program Manager, Grameen Foundation Indonesia.

    On April 28, AppLab organized a training of 20 VPOs in Tangerang, Western suburb of Jakarta, on becoming Agents for KerjaLokal, a blue collar job search service that can be accessed via the mobile phone.  The 20 new Agents will participate in our initial pilot testing of the KerjaLokal micro-site and the supporting algorithm to match job seekers with jobs they desire.

    We distributed 20 Huawei 6100 QUERTY phones that have a WAP browser.  During the pilot, Agents will sign-up job seekers using the...

    Read more
  • Harvard Business School Students Assist AppLab Indonesia


    Posted on January 05, 2010

    Ross Jaax is Program Manager, at Grameen Foundation Indonesia.

    We are being assisted this week by a crew of Harvard Business School (HBS) graduate students who have volunteered to assist Grameen Foundation and its sister social enterprise in Indonesia, PT Ruma, on developing business plans for some new pro-poor products. The HBS students will spend 2 weeks in Indonesia. During that time, they will review and further develop the business model for the AppLab-sponsored jobs market application, Kerjalokal.com.  Their recommendations will fit into Grameen...

    Read more
  • AppLab in Indonesia: New Beginnings


    Posted on November 30, 2009

    Ross Jaax is Program Manager, at Grameen Foundation Indonesia.

    As we get underway with our application development in Indonesia, we are looking at those Applications that will assist people in the informal job sector, the source of livelihoods for most poor Indonesians.  The informal sector encompasses the lower end of the labor market, for those those working as maids, gardeners, drivers, and other day laborers. It also includes millions of small and medium entrepreneurs (SMEs) who engage in such businesses as selling snack food and sundries from roadside...

    Read more
  • A Day in The Life of a (Female) Community Knowledge Worker


    Posted on November 05, 2009

    Whitney Gantt is ICT Innovation Technical Program Officer, at Grameen foundation Uganda.

    Right now we’re in a planning phase—which ultimately means we’re wrestling with the “big” challenges that become even more significant at scale.  We’re building partnerships to begin recruiting Community Knowledge Workers (CKWs) in early 2010 and that has me thinking about one of those challenges: how do we ensure that female farmers have an equal opportunity to participate as CKWs and that they have the same access to services offered through the CKW channel?

    In the...

    Read more
  • How do AppLab Programs Get Started?


    Posted on October 28, 2009

    Tim Wood is Director, Mobile Health Innovation, at Grameen Foundation Ghana.

    How do AppLab programs get started?  How do you really understand the best way to address the problems that people in poor rural communities face?  The approach we have consistently taken for AppLab projects is to conduct a broad “needs assessment” survey at the very outset of the project.  We work with experts in ethnographic research who spend hours and hours interviewing people in the field.  The end result is qualitative data which helps to guide and inform our project work.

    Read more
  • Lessons About Pregnancy and Motherhood Via Songs on a Mobile Phone?


    Posted on October 26, 2009

    Jessica Osborne is Program Officer, MoTeCH, at Grameen Foundation Ghana.

    As a part of our MoTeCH initiative, we are holding content workshops to learn more about what types of information local women want and need in relation to their health. In Accra, Ghana, Eve’s Pregnancy School has offered lessons about pregnancy and motherhood to women  for over 10 years, and has seen over 2,000 mothers through safe pregnancy and delivery. The founder, Florence, gives bi-monthly classes to pregnant women and mothers; she attended our first content workshop recently and...

    Read more
  • Agriculture and Mobile Phones Come Together With Our Community Knowledge Worker Project in Uganda


    Posted on October 21, 2009

    Eric Cantor is Director, Grameen Foundation Uganda.

    Last week in Uganda I was fortunate to attend a meeting in Busano subcounty, Mbale district, with some of the Community Knowledge Workers  (CKWs) – local farmer leaders empowered with mobile applications to improve the livelihoods of their communities by distributing and collecting relevant information about agriculture – and their clients, the smallholder farmers we all seek to benefit.  There was a lively discussion of the pros and cons of a variety of information services we have been testing nearby.  One...

    Read more
  • Grameen Foundation´s ICT Innovation Program – Approach and Philosophy


    Posted on October 14, 2009

    David Edelstein is Director, ICT Innovation, at Grameen Foundation DC

    We officially launched our Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Program two years ago, when we began our Application Laboratory (AppLab) efforts in Uganda.  This initiative, in collaboration with the mobile operator MTN and Google, built on the successful Grameen Foundation/MTN Village Phone Program.  With over 10,000 Village Phone Operators, this served as a unique testing ground for developing applications and information services tailored to the needs of the poor.  Over nearly...

    Read more