Interview with Ken Banks about mobiles for development

Having introduced Ken Banks just recently I already found an interview with him on CBC radio about mobile phones for development.

This morning [June 16th actually], Nora interviewed Ken Banks of They talked about the “The Grassroots Mobile Revolution” in Africa — design and innovation, informal businesses built on the back of the cell phone industry, and how mobiles can be used for development work. [snippet from here]

He’s talking about the changes mobile phones implied in particular in Uganda where he has been to several times, and about the innovative ways mobile phones are used there.

I’m sure Martin, Anders, Karola and Martin will make as interesting experiences in southern Africa in October/November and report about them here.

Check out the interview

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Interview with Ken Banks about mobiles for development
was published on 05.09.2008 by Florian Sturm. It files under global
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Interesting people: Ken Banks

One thing which was on my mind these days was to write a blog post about the project FrontlineSMS – because it is a fascinating project which uses sms, a technology available for everybody with a mobile phone in a really innovative way and also because it is a big success and found a lot of resonance in the blogsphere – Ethan, Mobileactive blog posts.

Another thing which struck me just today was Ken Banks’ recent blog post. It is about the D in ICT4D – how skills in anthropology, development studies and hands-on practise are vital for developing useful and feasible solutions in ICT4D.  He writes:

“Understanding the realities of life in ‘developing countries’ is essential, I believe, if we’re to fully grasp what today’s emerging mobile technology means to people. That means spending time on the ground, getting our hands dirty and trying things out.” [snippet from here]

Anyway, Ken Banks is the creator of FrontlineSMS, so I finally decided to introduce him. The picture is taken (without permission) from his homepage.

Being born in Great Britain and having stayed longer in several countries in Africa, he lives right now in Stanford and Cambridge. He is involved with quite many projects (short list in the blog entry) and has become a renowned authority for the application of mobile phones in development issues. Together with Stéphane Boyera he chairs the W3C MW4D (mobile web for social development) Interest Group.

His work is focusing mostly on the application of mobile technology for social change, he developed several tools for helping NGOs and grassroots-movements.

To find out more about him and his work check out his page and his bio. Furthermore there ist a great article of his about “Mobile Phones and the Digital Divide” on PCWorld.

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Interesting people: Ken Banks
was published on 02.09.2008 by Florian Sturm. It files under global
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