• The Cloud for Africa

    Luke Kyohere is Senior Technology Manager, at Grameen Foundation Uganda

    Over the past year and a half, Sean Krepp, Grameen Foundation’s Uganda Country Director, and I have been thinking a lot about what we’ve termed “The cloud for Africa”. This has been a central tenet during all our architectural planning over this period: how do we create services that are cloud based and easy to scale horizontally, but also work in Africa where connectivity & coverage are intermittent and energy & money are scarce.

    We’ve taken strategic steps to move our services to the...

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  • You still need to work in groups – even if you have a mobile phone!

    We have found that our Community Knowledge Workers (CKWs), much like the farmers they work with, often enjoy learning and sharing in a group setting.  While our model of information dissemination depends on mobile phones they don’t replace the help and support a good group can give to its members.

    In the photo at left, taken on March 9th in Kapting parish, Binyiny subcounty, Uganda the discusion revolved around creating a model farmer network, following up and getting feedback from farmers on CKW services, managing CKW challenges while at work and timely...

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  • How can mobile phones be used to reduce poverty?

    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...

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  • How can we overcome gaps in Mobile for Development (M4D) projects?

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

    The growth in the use of mobile phones in developing countries presents a powerful channel directly to the poor and poorest, and introduces a productive asset that can be used by rural entrepreneurs to generate income, and reach those who don’t yet have access on their own. 

    “Mobile for Development”, or M4D, has become one of the central areas of investment and focus in the technology and development...

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  • Introducing MoTeCH to Communities One Durbar at a Time

    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...

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  • Village Phone Operators are Trained to be KerjaLokal Agents

    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...

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  • Harvard Business School Students Assist AppLab Indonesia

    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,  Their recommendations will fit into Grameen...

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  • How do AppLab Programs Get Started?

    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.

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

    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...

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