These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.
“As the desire to utilize mobile phones in international health projects has increased in the last few years, organizations continually ask a similar question, “We want to use mobile phones. Now what?” But the decision to introduce or start a mhealth project needs to come after answering many questions before “now what?” especially when dealing with behavior change communication projects. Enter Abt Associates, FrontlineSMS, and Text to Change. Two guides have recently been released to help organizations assess whether or not mobiles are the right tool, and if they are, the process moving forward. One is from Abt Associates and is entitled mBCC Field Guide: A Resource for Developing Mobile Behavior Change Communication Programs. The other one was created in collaboration between FrontlineSMS and Text to Change and is entitled Communications for change: How to use text messaging as an effective behavior change campaigning tool.” READ MORE
Pushing Forward G8's Anti-Corruption Agenda
“This piece is part of a series of blogs by leading NGOs to call attention to a range of issues that should be raised at the G8 summit at Camp David in rural Maryland from May 18-19.
In India more than 200 million people live without secure access to food, the most of any county in the world, the Wall Street Journal reported last month. As the report argued, this is not because India lacks the resources to provide for its population. On the contrary, India's domestic food production would be more than enough to feed its population of 1.2 billion. However, a lack of adequate infrastructure to transport and store harvested crops results in significant losses. And according to the Wall Street Journal report, corruption and inefficiency are among the main reasons why infrastructure in India is lagging behind, thus slowing down investments that could help feed millions.” READ MORE
“I recently had the honor of co-chairing InterAction Forum 2012 along with Carolyn Miles of Save the Children. This year’s Forum brought more than 1,000 representatives of InterAction’s member international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) together to listen to thought-provoking speakers, share ideas, and participate in conversation on the ever-changing landscape of international development. The take-away from this event was that all sectors of development are anticipating and preparing for big changes.
In his plenary speech on the democratization of development, Deputy Administrator of USAID Don Steinberg announced that USAID seeks to obligate 30% of its assistance through local systems—governments, NGOs, and private firms—by 2015. He reminded us that donor government assistance is no longer the main driving force behind development. Private capital flows to developing countries are seven times larger today than a decade ago, and foundations, NGOs, faith-based organizations, and corporate social responsibility are significant contributors.” READ MORE
“In Africa, where mobile news and digital innovation are growing but startup capital is too often scarce, innovators have a unique opportunity to help reinvent media: the African News Innovation Challenge. The newly launched contest, modeled on the Knight News Challenge, will award $1 million (in increments of $12,500 to $100,000) to projects that create new ways to tell stories, distribute the news, and make money. It will also give technical advice, startup support and mentoring to the contest winners. African Media Initiative (AMI) launched the contest May 10 with backing from Omidyar Network, Google, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and others.” READ MORE
“The ninth and tenth papers in the UNESCO Series (introduced on EduTechDebate here) examine mobile learning in Africa and the Middle East.
Mobile and policies
The first paper, Turning On Mobile Learning in Africa and the Middle East: Illustrative Initiatives and Policy Implications, describes a range of mobile learning programs and explores how these programs address educational needs in the region. It also surveys national and local policies related to mobile learning and analyzes their impact.
The number of mobile phone users in Africa and the Middle East has exploded in the past decade and a half. Africa, the continent facing the most urgent educational challenges, is expected to have over 735 million active mobile phone subscriptions by the end of 2012. In 1995 there were only 600,000 subscriptions.” READ MORE
Photo credit: Flickr user fdecomite