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Flavour of the Month Feb 2012: Mobile phones and Telecentres

Almost 70% of the world’s mobile phone subscribers are in the developing world. As an affordable and accessible means of communication, both men and women are realizing the potential of this technology to create economic opportunities and strengthen social networks in rural areas. The mobile phone is no longer just a communication tool but one that's capable of providing additional integrated functions.


Today, mobile telephony is being used to provide information on health, Agriculture, Education and entrepreneurship to rural communities through Short Message Service (SMS) and multi-media supported systems in many parts of the world. This has been made possible through public, private and NGO sector initiatives.


Mobile telephony is the most preferred technology for rural interventions because it effectively reduces the “distance” between individuals and institutions making sharing of information and knowledge easier and more effective. The benefits of mobile phones are amplified by the fact that the spread of mobile technology in some rural areas has occurred much faster than with other information & communication technologies (ICTs).

  • How have you taken advantage of mobile phones to improve communication within your projects/Telecentres?


  • Do you have experience of using Mobile phones to impact positive health behavioural change within your comunity for example to farmers?


  • Do you agree that the chances of success & sustainability of rural services that are based on mobile telephony are greater when they do not duplicate services provided by existing information sources such as telecentres, kiosks and information centres? Why?

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Wow! this is wonderful for all mobile phones users. We do this in our agricultural extension works. Great.
All our Agricultural Extension Workers in the Municipality of Banga province of Aklan use their mobile phones in reaching out farmers and the rural folks to transmit information and technology the fastest way.

That is good to hear, Gelly! I'm curious, for this project, did the municipality get a sponsor or partner up with one of the mobile telecom companies?

In Benin, by using mobile phone, people can get access to social media like FaceBook, twiter… That is not possible few years ago. You can register to get some news in the domain you want: economy, politic, agriculture. The mobile money is possible with MTN. And almost banks offer the poossibility with GSM to get querry account. RESIMAO (West-African Market Information Networkthe system) is a plateform allow people to create SMS account to get SMS messages with the latest agricultural commodities prices from regional markets in West Africa.
According to discussion on flavour of the month in French community, mobile phones reduce telecentre profitability. Because people can get access to Internet by their phones and it also cheaper. Some telecentre leaders think that mobile is an opportunity for telecentre to redefine their activities and services.

It's true that the chances of success and sustainability of rural services that are based on mobile telephony are greater when they do not duplicate services provided by existing information sources such as telecentres, . I think that's why telecentre profitability reduced in Benin as you mentioned.

Right i agree, because not everybody can go to the telecenters. Just like at LGU Farmers Information and Technology Services Center. We make a hub to the mobile phones users at farthest barangays. Other than the services we do at the FITS Satellite Centers we had established across the Aklan River and upland barangays.

The Municipality of Banga has given us the budget for mobile phones. It is our choice of what service provider. For me is use 2 phones. The Smart and the Globe units.

It is very and i really agree.............. thanks for sharing

Few Years ago Mobiles only served voice and SMS. Now with android around mobiles will make a revolution in every area of life (ie. education , health, environment ....). Ever expanding mobile network coverage will be a blessing to Telecentres. Whats needed in Innovation. In this process local language technologies are #1 priority of development.


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