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.

Read more …

6 Responses to How cell phones can help improve livelihoods

  1. marjurhy says:

    The innovation and growth of mobile phones have been nothing short of astonishing. It is likely becoming the uber device since it becomes more indispensable than it is now. It’s one of the most explosive developments ever to have taken place in the telecommunications industry.

    I was amazed by this study because it shows how useful mobile phones are nowadays not just for social purposes but also for livelihood. True, it really has a great impact into people from all walks of life. It adds convenience, greater personal security, explores convergence and enables people to get connected and communicate with each other. For business/livelihood, it enables employers to monitor their employees from a distance or even beyond working time. It also gives businessmen the ability to take advantage of slack time to do business.

    I’ve asked a vendor once about the importance of cellphone in her life and she said that it helps her get connected to her friends and customers which makes her business more productive. According to her, without a cellular phone, she would be quite lost in connecting others.

    Therefore, i can say that mobile phones are really a lot of help to people not just for social aspects but as well as in the field of business and livelihood.

  2. leinefe says:

    This study is amazing. Yes it is very true that mobile phone is of great help nowadays. Its function does not just stop on communicating friends or relatives but also for the betterment of our livelihood. A businessman can still monitor his business even though he’ s not physically present.

    The existence of mobile phones despite of its disadvantages is still of great help. It serves as hands that will reach out people and transmit information and bring development.

  3. gabriella marie says:

    I’ve had my own cell phone back when i was in 2nd year high school as my papa’s birthday present. i was super happy coz finally, i now have my very own cell phone (for the first time!). it really did helped me a lot in different aspects of my social life. my cellphones served as my alarm clock, my personal watch, and even as my closest friend.
    nowadays, different models of cellphones are available in the market. you can just choose whatever model your heart wants. there are lots of advantages that a cell phone can offer. especially as a student, a cell phone has a lot of uses. it can be used in emergencies.
    you can listen music to it,you can play games with it, you can take photos and share with friends,be contactable and you can communicate with friends from different parts of the globe, can use it as a GPS and will not get lost, you can use it as a torch light, you can work, check emails and use it as a business tool with it, you can check time in other countries, you can use it as a unit converter when you forgot the value of a certain unit (100cm=1m).
    before, these things were impossible. with the help of the experts who improved cell phones, really did help improve livelihoods.

  4. jovelyn says:

    Cell phone. I barely know someone without it. Anywhere I go, there’s always this thing clutch in every person’s hands. What is it? It spells C-E-L-L-P-H-O-N-E. Cell phones have become a need for many people all over the world. These are the ideal way to keep connected with others and provide the user with a sense of security. It indeed plays a big role in every individual’s life especially in the modern age group. Everything seems to be in a rapid motion that you just have to cope up with other people.

    However, there’s always this misconception that cell phone is merely a luxury, a sort of entertaining people. It’s as if like you just have to get a hold with it to go with the flow and be in the group. But then, cell phone is more than a display. It helps improve livelihoods. The ability to keep in touch with business associates, family and access to email are some of the things that a cell phone can go through. You can communicate easier and faster with less effort and complexities.

    Take for instance the situation of our dear farmers. They have to devour their strength in tilling the land. If they wish to connect with other farmers or with their consumers perhaps, they don’t have to spend another extra effort to get to meet or connect with them. But with just a text or call away, it is made possible.

    Today, advanced cell phones are capable of not only receiving and placing phone calls, but storing data and taking pictures. What more can people say, the use of cell phone cannot be underestimated. Next to internet, it appears to be the virtual trove treasure of information.

  5. tonkii says:

    TONKII/ 10-Oct 8:00Am

    Its indeed a very timely and relevant study. Knowing both the pros & cons of cellular phone, I should still settle for what is best. Besides the load expenses, the distraction it brought about during my busy hours and the “pangungulit” of my mom over the cell if I can’t text her back her inquiries right away.

    It’s practically true that cellular helps in advancement of people’s livelihood. During the time when cellular is not yet as rampant as nowadays, the connotation is, “ cellular are only for businessmen, high ranking government officials, politicians and those people who have in life.” Because of its cost and money value on the airwaves usage. But now, almost everybody has. Its just like having ballpens in their pocket. Each individual has at least one or two cellulars with him. Market vendors & peddlers have, jeepney & tricycle drivers, even farmers & fishermen do have.

    One remarkable advantage of having such which is common to all is the easy access to contact to business prospects, customers and suppliers. The moment a market vendor is in need for more merchandise, all she has to do is call or text her supplier; whenever a passenger is need of a special trip, jeepney driver is just a text or call away. A farmer who has just harvested his crops could easily call his buyer and have his crops delivered to the market. Fisherman do easily contact his buyer while still in the middle of the sea and he will be in the port at certain time if that buyers wishes to purchase fresh sea product.

    Indeed, cellular phone as a means of communication is indeed very significant. Gone are those walkie-takie style of relaying information in order to enhance business & livelihood. Walkie-takie means, one has to walk to where the person whom he need & talk to him his purpose. A time consuming and very inconvenient means of endeavor.

    I think there is an acceptable increase in income for these small entrepreneurs due to using cell if we will try to ask them.

    Its good, some of the network provider nowadays are offering a discounting call & text rates which makes a bit lighter expense feelings on the part of the end users.

  6. analou says:

    Yes. I say the worth of cellphones is not only isolated to Tanzanian fishermen. I recall, one Sunday morning, when my parents were busy marketing, I and my brother happened to watch some indigenous people who were busy preparing their breakfast. As we watch them having their breakfast, my brother noticed that one of them owns a cellphone- a more advance one. Both of us were surprised of what we saw. How lucky he is to have such phone (hehehe). Well, we don’t know how he’d get it. But the thing is he has a cellphone and he uses it.
    These native groups have businesses in their own. They are the ones who go door to door selling their own made pearls. They can also be seen at the terminals carrying their boxes of pearls.
    With cellphones, they can improve the way they transact businesses. Usually these groups separate with each other to earn more money. And at the end of the day, they fuse their earned money to reach the amount of food they will to eat for dinner. I know this because we happened to interview them once. Having cellphones, they can easily communicate with each other while they are doing transactions separately. This can lessen their effort and even make their job light. They can also make more improvements in their business and even have more customers though contacts.
    This happening only implies that technology is becoming more prevalent nowadays, not only to fishermen or any folk but also to indigenous people.

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