web 2.0 for development

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FAO in emergencies mobile App

After long, but good work, we released the NEW FAO in emergencies mobile App for iPhone and iPad.

It is publicly available on iTunes and it is free.


With the App is possible to access most of the content of the FAO in emergencies website, with a specific focus on the emergency projects that FAO is implementing.


Is “push” technology on mobile phones so helpful for your job?

Some thinking on the never ending discussion on “push” and “pull” technology, with particular implication for mobile phones.

I keep on reading commercials and articles about the importance, for professionals, of push access to email.  I’ve always thought that time and concentration are key while working. Usually we don’t have time to do things or, whenever we find some, we have to fight with “noises” like phones ringing, people asking, email coming, people talking, etc.

So, from the point of view of a professional, the question is: what’s the need of being bothered by ringtones and messages coming to my phone when I don’t  “need” them? Why being forced to receive emails if I don’t have time to read or  reply because I’m working on something else?

In the past, the problem was to have people connected, in a way or another. Today, in most of the cases this is not a  problem anymore. Once we are sure that people are connected, responsible and able to manage their affairs in the best way is possible, do we really think that “push” technology is so important to guarantee their productivity?

I do this reflection because I keep on hearing that BlackBerry potentiality for business is so much higher because of the “push” technology this kind of phone provides, maybe like no other phone. And that the other phones, like iPhone, which have “push” feature only as addition and just recently, cannot compete  for professionals. In parallel I heard many, if not all those who received a BlackBerry from their company, complaining for the fact of being hammered in by incoming mails. As a result, I find all this promotion of “push” technology very strange.

I’d like my device to allow me to connect to my mailbox whenever I do want it and not necessarily whenever one server does. So, I consider the “push” feature interesting but anything more and I appreciate more the option of being connected or “isolated” only according to my needs of the moment.

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Marketing of mobile telephony in Tanzania

Back from my trip in Tanzania I have to show an interesting collection of images about marketing of mobile telephony around the country. As you can see they are pretty aggressive!

From cars to charts

From walls to houses

From billboards to shops


And they have clients of every age!  🙂


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More and more integration and convergence

The Digital World Forum “Africa Perspective on the role of Mobile Technologies in fostering social and economic development” held in Maputo 1 – 2 April 2009 seemed to have produced numerous interventions in support of the idea of convergence between tools.

Have a look at this two interviews with Ken Banks of FrontlineSMS on “Using SMS for climate adaptation activism”:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

and Bartholomew Fisher Sulivan of Farmer Radio International on “Connecting farmer radios to mobile phones”:
Vodpod videos no longer available.

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Numbers of the world of mobile phones

A very useful summary of the International Telecommunications Union’s 2009 edition of  Measuring the Information Society – The ICT Development Index (PDF, 1.53MB) has been published by Antonella Pastore on the blog of the ICT-Km Program.

A very interesting question comes out of the analysis: “is this the end of the Web as we know it?

The question is originated by the fact that mobile growth is so strong, also in comparison with the fixed line network, that mobile communication could overpass it pretty soon. Have a look at the stats about the cellular penetration growth in The Gambia and in Africa between 2002 and 2007:

The Gambia mobile communications growth

So doing, we go back again to the question that we have been treating many times in this blog: what’s next? What is the shape of the future communication and knowledge sharing tool/platform/device?

We arrive again to the matter of convergence between mobile and the Internet and the features it will have as you can read in the some related postings:

Who is using mobile phones for development

Who is using mobile phones for development – part 2

This closer marriage between Mobile and Internet

Will cellphones replace other ICTs?

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\o/ FrontLineSMS new release

kiwanja is releasing a new version of its famous software FrontLineSMS, the leading SMS management platform. Now the software allows users to manage forms to collect and share data:

You can read more on afromusing, an interesting blog on innovation, technology and beyond or on Ken’s blog.

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Share Fair 09 Session Report on “Mobile Telephony in Rural Areas”

On January 21, 2009, during the Share Fair 09 I was calle as panel expert at this interesting session on Mobile Telephony in Rural Areas“. The session is the follow up of the Online discussion on the same topic that I facilitated in November ’08.

In this report you can read more about the topics discussed during the session.

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Blogging from your iPhone

WordPress released an application with which you can blog directly from your iPhone. You can download it form here.

I’ve been starting using it!


Can you imagine what does that mean in addition to another app which can record voices, the images you shot with the embedded camera and the video you can ultimately shot with the same camera? The list on the Appstore is already very long!