MobileActive08: Ugo Vallauri

In this interview Ugo Vallauri from the Royal Holloway University of London (Department of Geography) talks about the role of ICT4D for grassroots rural community development. In his research he also looks at previously available technologies, like radios, and their value for grassroots development. He points out the importance of bridging the divide between the old and the new, stating that people often get excited about new technologies and forget the value of already existing technologies.

Ugo also briefly introduces some other projects, which sound interesting and promising, like low-power computing for rural areas and an open source software project for blind and visually impaired people. (Ugo, can you provide links?)

This is the 6th interview from our MobileActive08 video podcast series, shot at the conference in Johannesburg (organized by MobileActive and sangonet).

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MobileActive08: Ugo Vallauri
was published on 05.12.2008 by Martin Tomitsch. It files under sub saharan africa
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MobileActive08: Peter Wakholi

In this interview Peter Wakholi, vice head of a department unit and lecturer at Makerere University (the largest university in Uganda), talks about his work on open source applications that allow people to gather data in the field using mobile phones. Some projects involve partners from South Africa, the U.S., and Norway. (See also our earlier blog post about the EpiHandy project.)

There was just the set up of a mobile development lab, supported by Nokia, at his university. The lab aims at developing mobile applications that fit the African context.

We shot the interview at MobileActive08 (organized by MobileActive and sangonet) in Johannesburg last month, as part of our interview podcast series.

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MobileActive08: Peter Wakholi
was published on 28.11.2008 by Martin Tomitsch. It files under global
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MobileActive08: Erik Hersman

This is the fourth interview from the video podcasts that we shot at MobileActive08 in Johannesburg last month (organized by MobileActive and sangonet).

In this interview Erik Hersman talks about Ushahidi, an online platform that was developed as a response to post-election violence in Kenya. (See also this and this blog post.) He further says that there is no lack of innovation in Africa, but rather a lack of capital, or lack of willingness to take risks by people who have that capital.

Erik Hersman also writes a great blog about high-tech mobile and web technology change in Africa (White African) and also contributes to another blog, which is about low-tech ingenuity and microentrepreneurs in Africa (AfriGadget).

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MobileActive08: Erik Hersman
was published on 22.11.2008 by Martin Tomitsch. It files under global
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MobileActive08: Gary Marsden

We had the opportunity to interview Gary Marsden at MobileActive08 in Johannesburg (organized by MobileActive and sangonet). Gary is associate professor at the Department of Computer Science, University of Cape Town.

In the interview he talks about internationalization of user interfaces. While working in Africa he made the experience that translating text into local language and changing icons is not sufficient. There are other issues that people from non-western cultures have with computing interfaces. For example many of them have difficulties understanding hierarchies. Gary describes his approach to address these issues, which he calls Empowered Design. The idea of this approach is to create technology that allows people in Africa to create their own applications, rather than having researchers dictating which applications people in Africa should have.

Gary also introduces briefly some projects to illustrate his approach to mobile interaction design in Africa. One of the applications he mentions is Big Board – a public display that allows people to download media for free – which he also presented at the MobileActive08 conference.

Anyone who’s interested in this topic, should also check out his book on Mobile Interaction Design (that he wrote together with Matt Jones) and his article on Empowered Design.

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MobileActive08: Gary Marsden
was published on 14.11.2008 by Martin Tomitsch. It files under sub saharan africa
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MobileActive08: David Barnard

This is the first of the video podcasts we shot at the MobileActive08 conference in Johannesburg a few weeks ago. In the interviews conference attendees were talking about their projects and sharing their opinions and insights on the use of information technologies for development.

The interviews were recorded using a Nikon D90 camera and an H2 Zoom audio recorder. We will publish a new interview video podcast every Friday.

In the first interview, David Barnard, Executive Director of the Southern African Non-Governmental Organisation Network (SANGONeT) and organizer of MobileActive08, talks about the event and how it will impact activities at SANGONet. He underlines the value of mobile phones to enhance the work on development in many different dimensions. He also talks about funding, and mentions a session for and with funders that took place at MobileActive08. Enjoy!

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MobileActive08: David Barnard
was published on 31.10.2008 by Martin Tomitsch. It files under global
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MobileActive08

So there we are. We had three great days at MobileActive08 in Johannesburg so far. MobileActive brings together researchers, professionals and donors in the field of ICT4D.

MobileActive08: Unlocking the potential of Mobile Technology for Social Impact. A global Summit about Mobile Technology for Social Impact.

It has been a wonderful experience, so many people, so many ideas and already mature projects. We were quite impressed. The conference included different sessions like the SIMlabs (test driving mobile applications), SIMplace (show casing projects and products), Mini Talks (short presentations and QA) and the self organized sessions (where people came up spontaniously with their thoughts, BarCamp style; we also hosted one). All of them allowed people to share their ideas and experiences. It proved to be a really good format for a conference on a new field like this.

We connected with a lot of attendees and speakers and did about 25 short interviews (5 minutes each) with our film equipment: Gary Marsden, Erik Hersman (aka white african), Alex Comminos, Ugo Vallauri, Yeal Schwartzman, Kutoma Wahunuma, Chris Williamson, David Barnard, Jacob Korenblum, Andi Friedman and many more …

We will publish all interviews as Creative Commons video podcast in about 3 weeks.

Tomorrow we are heading to Lusaka, Zambia. Stay tuned!

[Image by whiteafrican]

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MobileActive08
was published on 15.10.2008 by Martin Konzett. It files under sub saharan africa
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