Saturday, April 12, 2008

The power of mobile phones

A cellphone shop in Accra, Ghana, carries and repairs a variety of handsets (photo credit: Shaul Schwarz/Reportage, for The New York Times)

My first couple of posts on this blog focused on mobile phones, and I've been sorta quiet on the subject since...mostly because I've been trying to focus on one subject at a time (right now its water, because its one of my specialties). But information about the power of mobile phones and how they are improving connectivity, and REALLY impacting the lives of the poor is everywhere. Today I read a brilliant article on Jan Chipchase's work in the NYT, which got me all excited again. I had to share it and in addition, while I'm on the topic, I thought I'd add a bit more...

Here are three things that I believe will really make you consider the amazing impact mobile phones are having on the developing world:

1. Jan Chipchase's work on mobile phones and their impact on the Third World have been captured most recently (this morning) in print in The New York Times, and on video this weekend on TED.

2. Iqbal Quadir knew about the impact of mobile phones in his native country of Bangladesh. This Wharton grad returned to Bangladesh to start Grameen Phone which brought mobile access to the poorest of the poor. Suddenly they were all connected, and they could reach beyond their village into the larger international space. It changed everything. Here Quadir talks about his project and how it worked:

3. Pangea Day (that I blogged about earlier) will broadcast live across the globe on May 10, 2008. To make sure EVERYONE has access, the four hour independent film festival will be broadcast so that mobile phones will have access. This way even the poorest in some of the farthest regions of the globe will be able to connect. So you better be there, viewing with your own home, office or shack!

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