The above Millennium Development Goals (MDG) logos were originally created by McCann Erickson for the Brazil MDG campaign, Nos Podemos. As an illustration of a best practice for campaigns, Nos Podemos deserves a special feature in Devcompage. Since this post is about a topic related to MDGs, it is fitting to show the logos here.
To help achieve the MDGs to end poverty, extreme hunger and disease, information and communication technologies (ICTs) play a central role. Innovative applications of ICTs for development (ICT4D) have been reported in the literature — linking ICT4D with community radio in Sri Lanka, the AgriBazaar project in Malaysia, and a telemedicine system for primary community health care in Indonesia are recent examples.
A vivid illustration of how ICT4D can be used to improve livelihoods is tackled in the 2006 bachelor’s thesis of Jonas Myrh and Lars Nordstrom from Uppsala University. They noted that prior research has shown that mobile phones have great value for social networking and reducing vulnerability to risk. Their research question was:
But how does mobile phone use affect the way fishermen live their lives, how they pursue economic activities and how they protect themselves from vulnerability to risk?
Using qualitative research, they conducted semi-structured interviews with 13 fishing boat captains in Tanzania. Results revealed that increased access to information through mobile phones brought positive effects to livelihood indicators, empowerment, opportunity and vulnerability to risk. Mobile phone use, according to Myrh and Nordstrom (2006) empowers, both through increased bargaining power and increased control over external events. Mobile phones give increased knowledge about market opportunities and a possibility to work more efficiently. Furthermore, mobile phones give fishermen a possibility to take measures to decrease the risks they are exposed to, such as emergencies out at sea. The negative effects of mobile phone use were found negligible. These effects are most likely not isolated to Tanzanian fishermen.