Media and Communications in peacebuilding
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Avoiding the Digital Divide Hype in Using Mobile Phones for Development | ICTWorks

Avoiding the Digital Divide Hype in Using Mobile Phones for Development | ICTWorks | Media and Communications in peacebuilding | Scoop.it

Avoiding the Digital Divide Hype in Using Mobile Phones for Development

To all of you digital divide warriors out there – nice work. With over 483 million mobile phone subscriptions in low-income countries - an estimated 44.9% penetration rate, few will deny the success of your efforts to expand mobile technology in the developing world.

Rapid mobile growth rates further exhibit success in dissemination, and stats such as, “There are more mobile phones than toilets in India,“ and “There are more mobile phones than light bulbs in Uganda,” make us smile and feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

While it’s true that, in most cases, these numbers exhibit stimulation in local economies, there are some fuzzy lines when it comes to determining what these numbers mean in terms of mobile phone access and development. The data shows that mobile technology is expanding, but does this necessarily mean that access to technology is coinciding with the expansion?

Unfortunately, the answer to this question is somewhat blurred. UNDP’s report, Mobile Technologies and Empowerment, attempts to thoroughly and accurately depict the current contexts of mobile technologies in the developing world and then goes on to recount and suggest effective means for applying them to promote sustainable development.

Practitioners can throw out all sorts of promising data about mobile phone subscriptions, but the fact is that these numbers do not equate to mobile phone ownership. In fact, according to the report, only 10% of the population in the world’s least developed countries has an individual mobile phone subscription, and 40% of the population in these countries is not even covered by mobile phone networks.

Why is ownership so much lower than penetration?

The report goes on to point out that costs for mobile technology ownership in the least developed countries remain high, potentially amounting to 15.75% of monthly average per capita income. In such cases, “mobile phones [can] actually undermine development if they only create further expenses for poor people.” While the poorest individuals in a country may not be able to afford a mobile phone, others may have more than one subscription, boosting penetration percentages. Access to mobile phones becomes even blurrier when considering that an estimated 80-90% of the people in these countries can access a cell phone within their community regardless of financial status.

I hope that this doom and gloom spiel on the current standings of mobile technology didn’t dampen your spirits too much. Knowing where we stand in terms of mobile technology penetration is pivotal to successful M4D initiative development. Now that we’ve clarified the context of mobile penetration, it is possible to highlight some considerations for mobiles in development.

1) Like it or not, the digital divide still exists. Don’t ignore it.

With relatively few individuals in developing countries actually in possession of a personal mobile device, expansive development initiatives need to avoid the expectation of ownership. The report asserts:

Given the still relatively high cost of mobile phones and services in developing countries, specially in the LDCs, projects targeting broad development goals such as democratic governance, health, education, and justice, for instance, should not fall in to the "digital divide" trap and emphasize ownership of devices.

2) A mobile in the hand is worth nothing without effective means for use in the bush.

By themselves, mobiles do not have the power to alleviate poverty. They should therefore always be part of larger development programs that address broad development goals. Getting phones in the hands of individuals is meaningless if the users do not understand the ways in which they can be leveraged.

The point here is that mobile phones alone are not a solution to any problem, but, with well-developed planning, they can be effective tools for solving a problem. UNDP’s report describes numerous instances where mobile technology was effectively used as a tool for addressing a broad development goal within the context of the developing world.

The advantages that mobile technologies can provide over other ICTs in developing countries are irrefutable. They’re less expensive. They enable two-way conversation. They don’t require high literacy. The list goes on.

There’s no question that mobiles can play a significant role in the developing world, but their implementation requires consideration of concrete contexts and plans for sustainable goal achievement. UNDP’s report describes these contexts and provides considerations for implementing mobile technology in order to empower people in developing countries.

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Libya: UN official impressed by pace of returns to cities emerging from conflict

Libya: UN official impressed by pace of returns to cities emerging from conflict | Media and Communications in peacebuilding | Scoop.it
A senior United Nations official who has visited the Libyan cities of Bani Walid, Sirte and Misrata, which saw some of the most intense fighting during last year’s military campaign to oust Muammar al-Qadhafi’s regime, said today he was impressed...
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Angelina Jolie’s Bosnian War Movie Triggers Anguished Memories - Businessweek

Ermin Sijamija was at home in Sarajevo during the Bosnian War when he got a phone call from a former high-school classmate.
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Congo: 'The world forgets we are survivors' - Congo Elections - Al Jazeera English

Congo: 'The world forgets we are survivors' - Congo Elections - Al Jazeera English | Media and Communications in peacebuilding | Scoop.it

Images of conflict and violence dominate media coverage of the DRC, creating vicious cycle that perpetuates problems. Conventional media is mostly "conflict media" "peacemedia" is telling the full spectrum of what it means to be Congolese today. Media covering Congo- local and International media needs to change tactics.  This article is a rallying call for peacebuilders working in media... where are the peace journalism and media interventions in Congo???

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Egypt medics struggle in Tahrir clinic

Before doctors can treat the steady stream of casualties brought to their makeshift hospital in Tahrir Square, they must first treat themselves for the effects of the tear gas which fills the air.
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The Peace Exchange

The Peace Exchange | Media and Communications in peacebuilding | Scoop.it
Sharing experiences of the Peace it Together network in Cyprus and beyond (RT @UNDP_Europe_CIS: Check out Peace Exchange, the new blog about peacebuilding in #Cyprus http://t.co/4kiXLrMW...
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Villages shelled as Syrian conflict escalates

Villages shelled as Syrian conflict escalates | Media and Communications in peacebuilding | Scoop.it
Syrian troops fired tank shells and mortars at two northern villages on Thursday during a three-hour assault that injured eight people. The eight-month conflict has recently escalated with the rise of an armed insurgency.
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Syria's Assad: 'The conflict will continue' - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

Syria's Assad: 'The conflict will continue' - Middle East - Al Jazeera English | Media and Communications in peacebuilding | Scoop.it
President says Damascus will not bow to international pressure as Arab League deadline to end crackdown expires.
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Lina Srivastava Presents Transmedia Spotlight on Africa

Lina Srivastava Presents Transmedia Spotlight on Africaon Transmedia New York City on Livestream - Watch live streaming Internet TV. Broadcast your own live streaming videos, like Transmedia New York City in Widescreen HD.
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Video: Transmedia for Social Documentaries

Video: Transmedia for Social Documentaries | Media and Communications in peacebuilding | Scoop.it

Very interesting topic of transmedia storytelling and media convergence: expanding the use of film or social change.

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Youm7 English Edition | Egypt's army extends prominent blogger's detention

Youm7 English Edition | Egypt's army extends prominent blogger's detention | Media and Communications in peacebuilding | Scoop.it

#freealaa has been the battle cry: he represents more than 12,000 civilians who have undergone military trials.  His father is a human rights lawyer, his mother on a hunger strike and his very pregnant wife is smuggling messages from prison to news outlets and posting on his own blog.  This is the story of a man who dares to stand up to the #scaf.  The UN has asked for his release saying Spokesman Rupert Colville said his agency is "concerned about what appears to be a diminishing public space for freedom of expression and association" in Egypt. 

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‘Brutalities against women on the rise in conflict zones’ : Odiaa.com | Orissa News | Orissa regional news | National news | Orissa Sambad

‘Brutalities against women on the rise in conflict zones’ http://t.co/AGgH2nKj...
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Taliban 'got jirga security plan'

Taliban 'got jirga security plan' | Media and Communications in peacebuilding | Scoop.it
The Taliban in Afghanistan say they have obtained a government security plan for this week's grand assembly of leaders in Kabul.
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Reporting on Conflict | Peacemakers Trust Media Watch Blog » Media and Peacebuilding: Trends in 2011 and Looking Ahead to 2012

Headlines: Media and Peacebuilding: Trends in 2011 and Looking Ahead to 2012 http://t.co/0UGIRJoU...
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UNDP explores applications of crowdsourcing in conflict prevention

UNDP explores applications of crowdsourcing in conflict prevention | Media and Communications in peacebuilding | Scoop.it
Beth Liebert, a Google Project Manager who presented at the discussion, highlighted the speed and impact of such tools. Referring to the use of crowdsourcing in the immediate aftermath of March's earthquake in Japan, Beth explained that ...
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Person of the Year 2011: The Protester

Person of the Year 2011: The Protester | Media and Communications in peacebuilding | Scoop.it
Once upon a time, when major news events were chronicled strictly by professionals and printed on paper or transmitted through the air by the few for the masses, protesters were prime makers of...
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Could ‘ubuntu’ help the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

Could ‘ubuntu’ help the Israeli-Palestinian conflict? | Media and Communications in peacebuilding | Scoop.it
The philosophy of kinship and cooperation could pave the way for a two-state solution. (RT @palestine: Could 'ubuntu' help the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?
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Ugandan students shine in online peace journalism course - Peace and Collaborative Development Network

I always learn more from teaching than my students learn from me.This was certainly the case with my just-completed online Advanced Peace Journalism course.
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Comparative Education, Terrorism and Human Security: From Critical Pedagogy to Peacebuilding? | Critical Pedagogy Bookstore

Comparative Education, Terrorism and Human Security: From Critical Pedagogy to Peacebuilding? | Critical Pedagogy Bookstore | Media and Communications in peacebuilding | Scoop.it
Comparative Education, Terrorism and Human Security: From Critical Pedagogy to Peacebuilding?. Crtical Pedagogy...
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Cape Town loses Saracens game

Cape Town loses Saracens game: English rugby club Saracens will no longer play in Cape Town after conflict arose...
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Mind Tools - Management Training, Leadership Training and Career Training

Mind Tools - Management Training, Leadership Training and Career Training | Media and Communications in peacebuilding | Scoop.it
Eight Causes of Conflict - Communication Skills Training from http://t.co/dAQrcxDO http://t.co/KuAfsnrt via @mind_tools...
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Bin Laden was 'tender and kind'

Bin Laden was 'tender and kind' | Media and Communications in peacebuilding | Scoop.it
Osama Bin Laden is described as "refined" and "gentle" in a video released by the man believed to be the new head of al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri.
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Sign In to Crisis Mappers Net - Crisis Mappers Net

Sign In to Crisis Mappers Net - Crisis Mappers Net | Media and Communications in peacebuilding | Scoop.it

A must read! Desperate Plea for Help from Mexico: Bloggers lives are threatened by drug cartels. 

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Horn of Africa and Wikileaks - Melles Zenawi gets money from Piracy

Thomas C Mountain explains the situation in the Horn of Africa and some diplomatic cables recently released through Wikileaks.
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Community 3x02 "The Geography of Global Conflict"

Community 3x02 "The Geography of Global Conflict" | Media and Communications in peacebuilding | Scoop.it
Chang gets used to his new job. Britta reacts to a friend being taken hostage in a foreign country. Annie asks the group to help bring down her new friend. Professor Cligoris struggles to behave appropriately.
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