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The Social Media tidal wave is gaining momentum, are you prepared?

Cell phones as currency--brought to us by Internet Protocol

I met with Woody Collins (an esteemed member of this group) to discover more about his organization Congo Helping Hands--. I highly recommend checking out his blog-- I discovered an interesting short video on his blog regarding cell phones in developing countries.

Views: 19

Comment by Amy Stark on July 12, 2008 at 9:04am
The following discussion occurred on Smaller Indiana within the group called, "I P on Everything" (I P = Internet Protocol).

Originally posted by Amy Stark on May 28, 2008 at 4:48pm in I P on Everything!
Comment by Amy Stark on July 12, 2008 at 9:11am
Replies to This Discussion

Reply by Matthew Theriault on May 30, 2008 at 10:57am

What an amazing concept. It really does support the idea that nothing productive happens without communication. And the cell phone is such an integral part of that communication today. Even in our home, we use a home (land) line for 911 service and our DSL connection. Our voice communications take place via cell.

But to see this extension of the microloans for businesses growing from "here's money to start a small business" into a development of "now here is a tool for you to communicate your business to the next village, to the next region, or to the world", that's really inspiring.

Of course, the independent in me just laughed at the "governments have been a hinderance, and will continue to be a nuisance" comment...


Reply by Amy Stark on June 25, 2008 at 6:31pm
Wow Matt, I just now saw your entry. I thought I set it up to have automatic emails sent to me whenever I got a comment. I am sorry I did not respond sooner.

I could not agree more heartily with your Government comment. I can name just a few things that OUR government got right, and comparatively they are better than most. I'm reminded of the phrase, "Ours is the worst form of government except for all others". Was that Churchill, I can't remember.

Reply by Jeff Jones on June 24, 2008 at 10:20pm
I think this is a very important and relevant topic. I was in the back country of Malaysia and noticed that they didn't have paved roads or sidewalks, but a huge percentage of the population was walking around with cell phones! Here in the US and in most developed countries we spent billions and billions wiring up the nation. Many third world nations have skipped the hard wiring and have gone directly to wireless technologies. This allows them access to information, banking and a host of other services that they have never had available to them in the past. It provides a huge market for services and a huge audience for information!

In this forum should we focus on a specific application and help implement it? Just educate each other? In short, where do we go from here?

Banking is a good example. People can now perform banking transactions from anywhere on their cell phones. Until now they didn't have access to banking because it was too expensive to have a branch in the boonies. Now a person can make the transaction on their phone and go to a local store and get cash.

Reply by Woody M Collins on June 25, 2008 at 10:43am
After reading to Sullivan's book, You can hear me now, my paradigm shifted from the US view of a cell to the Third World view of a cell.

In the Third World, like Congo, cell phones are used more like a business tool than communication tool. The cell phone is used a wallet, bank account, phone notebook, computer, and modem.

I think the mecca for mobile (cell) business will be the Third World or Europe versus the US. We have been spoiled and jaded by the fixed and wired landline. It will interesting to see how long it will take us to embrace the mobile business paradigm.

Reply by Amy Stark on June 25, 2008 at 6:31pm

Perhaps this should be a focal point for the group. Embracing the mobile/ cellular/ business paradigm. Maybe we could collaborate on a project that could help establish a virtual mobile telephone business for one of your contacts in the Congo? I am just throwing it out there as a thought. The day will soon be here when we will ALL be given an IP address at birth to use for all our various mobile communication devices throughout our life. I'm not kidding! I will have to find the company in the UK that is pushing this initiative.

I wonder if the mobile business paradigm will work here? We are spoiled rotten and very jaded, we just sometimes forget that fact. Thanks for commenting, Woody. You need to chat with Mary Pat McKee... she is always looking for speakers for her Sertoma club that meets on Wednesdays. You would be ideal... and they may donate to CHH. I can also check with my Kiwanis group.

Reply by Amy Stark on June 25, 2008 at 6:31pm
I would like for this group of highly intelligent and thought filled people to come up with an idea that can spread globally. With each of us contributing just a little piece of our expertise. I am wide open to suggestions. I prefer to target children because if we want the world to be more humane and safe for our progeny, long lasting and stable change will have to start with them. Some children will have a device (laptop, or cell phone) with a connection to the Internet before they ever have running water or electricity. What ideas can be shared to affect true societal change?

You are dead on, Jeff, about the hard-wired vs. wireless scenario. Cell phone towers are just big erector sets that can be built in a day. But they are tenuous, and can be just as easily dismantled. That's why I personally will always have a land line, and I want fiber coming into my home just as soon as I am able to get it. Underground fiber is more resilient than wireless options. Think of the movie "Independence Day," when the satellites were taken out, we had to use Morse code to communicate globally. Old technology is always good for a back-up. Or maybe I just watch too many movies.

William McDonough sponsored a nonprofit Web site where he asked architects to donate their expertise to solve a water problem for a school house in Africa. That collaboration resulted in a water pump, made with local materials and local labor, that doubles as a merry-go-round. While the kids are playing at recess, they are pumping clean water for the school. I'm not sure how they sent the blueprints to this village, but their collaborative efforts using Internet Protocol. Wouldn't it be cool if we came up with some kick ass idea that affected a societal change?

I have expertise in social media and viral marketing, and I know Internet Infrastructure, from the end user to the root servers. I can talk about ICANN all day, and would if given the chance! I also know philanthropic theory and legal issues surrounding the nonprofit world in the US. What bits of expertise can you share?

Reply by Woody M Collins on June 25, 2008 at 7:57pm
Here's a project, Internet Access for school children. Provide rural schools with a laptop with internet access via a internet-ready mobile phone. A solar power charger to service the computer and phone. Approximate cost about $800 each.

Reply by Amy Stark on June 28, 2008 at 11:56am
How about we get the Democratic Republic of Congo Government to buy laptops from the XO foundation (Microsoft and Intel are doing the same thing) for every child in the DRC between the ages of 6 - 13. They would be making a tremendous investment in their countries' future.

The cost to the government? $100.00 per child. Knowledge symmetry is an ideal worth championing, especially in a fledgling democracy. Perhaps your 501(c)(3) should set up a matching fund foundation to accept donations from Smoosiers and we can approach the government to match the donation to invest in their greatest natural resource, their children.

Once the devices are in their kids hands, the connectivity to the entire world can follow. All contagious healthy ideas that have had real impact on the betterment of a culture began with a contagious idea, (eg. every major religion began this way not to mention the US and all not-for-profit organizations in recorded history) began with a single collective thought, followed by a collaborative effort that spread virally through the grassroots. This sustains organic growth.

An Intranet within a village may be easier to accomplish than a connection to the outside world. I know nothing about the Congo's network infrastructure, but connectivity providers (historically) have either been a for-profit enterprise (at&t, Verizon, Sprint), or government owned and operated. In China they have 2 ISPs Both Government Owned! They do deep packet sniffing and block content (such as the word Democracy). Compare that to over 1 million ISPs in the US.

The Internet supports a person-to-person (or grassroots) dialog via email or Web sites world wide, an extended word-of-mouth conduit NOT restricted by time or space. You are able to put an idea out there and collaborate on a project during those few minutes a day that are convenient for you. I don't know the answer to this question, but do you think local expertise would be more important for a village to share initially?

Do you know of a specific village that we could use as a starting point? A village that has a few dozen up to a 2,000 people who are geographically spread out, most who have little access to power or communication infrastructure? Don't you think they could benefit from sharing expertise within their community first? Like the best way to build a well with local materials, or basic health care best practices? Please forgive any lack of cohesiveness to these thoughts but I am just brainstorming here and would be thrilled to get everyone's input.

Reply by Jeff Jones 16 hours ago

A couple of semi-random thoughts to consider:

Congo and Sudan (along with a number of other countries that I can't remember) are currently in a state of extreme strife. While these people need help in the worst way, wouldn't an effort like this be more effective in a less troubled area?

I am also troubled by the thought that if people are worrying about where they will get the next meal for their kids why will they "waste" their time on the village toy. We need to have a value proposition to them that can relate to their immediate needs.

Finally, is there a satellite based technology that could be deployed? That wouldn't be restricted by government blocking and would be available without any extensive infrastructure needs. If there isn't one, can we create one?

Reply by Amy Stark 14 hours ago
wow... those are some good random thoughts. Let me cogitate a bit on these before I post. Thanks for the input Jeff.

Reply by Woody M Collins 12 hours ago
The "village toy" should be apart of a bigger and broader support to eliminate poverty via development, education, and health. You are right a computer of starving child does not make sense.

In our village of Bulape, we are supporting education initiatives in the schools like scholarships, books, desks, and renovation. Next we are developing a center learning center (cultural center) with books, games, meeting rooms, movies, and a computer lab. We plan to build a cellular hotspot for telephone calls and access to the internet.

The center supports health, education, and community development.

Reply by Woody M Collins 12 hours ago

The DRC government is a government in name only. They do not provide for the benefit of the people.

The internet as we know is not going to make to the developing countries. The wired infrastructure is not in place. And computers are too expensive and require too much power. But you will see the mobile phones.

Mobiles are not as costly. For example, a good Motorola internet ready phone cost about $100. And most other phones are much less.

Mobiles are more energy-wise. They can be easily carried to the point of power in the village.

Text messaging is efficient and cheap. Mobiles allow voice and data communication.

There are more mobiles in the developing world than the developed world. Developing countries leap-frogged wire phones. Soon, developing countries will pioneer and transact more business over mobile phones than we do.

We are going mobile whereas most developing countries have gone mobile out of necessity!

Reply by Amy Stark 12 minutes ago

There are three kinds of philanthropy all are of equal value to us as a species. The first type is charitable philanthropy or something that helps an immediate need-- e.g. soup kitchen, homeless shelters, and all organizations providing basic necessities of life... The second type of philanthropist can be characterized by their desire to create a better tomorrow-- e.g. all educational institutions, habitat for humanity, disease research...

The third type is the evolutionary philanthropists. They are “lovers of humanity” who want to affect societal change for the better forever. I call it kinetic philanthropy—it is a gift that keeps moving from generation to generation. All three are vital to the health and continued betterment in our species.

I consider myself to be an Evolutionary philanthropist—I want to give something that will not just make a difference tomorrow, but dramatically help ALL subsequent generations. Like a ripple effect. I trust the locals who know the real issues to come up with beneficial ideas to spread at the grassroots level.

All cultural paradigm shifts began with a thought from one individual. Then the thought spread to a small group of Individuals who became actively involved, and eventually passionate evangelizers. This early adopter group spread the word within their circle of influence and encouraged the message to keep moving, like ripples through all subsequent generations.

Are there any major cultural paradigm shifts that did NOT occur this way? Christianity, The civil rights movement, and the very formation of the U.S. all followed this pattern. So did Hitler's Germany. The Buddha introduced compassion, and Copernicus told us the earth was NOT the center of the Universe. These ideas have continued to ripple through time. But cultural paradigm shifts are easy to spot in hindsight.

I am passionate about the one laptop per child initiative, because it sets up a village intranet over a mesh connection. Solar panel repeaters can be nailed to a tree, to intensify the signal of the mesh network if required. Every 6-13 yr old kid within a village, who never had electricity or telephones being able to send messages to each other at night—that just seems so cool to me.

I haven't checked the latest numbers, but the numbers are hovering close to $100 per laptop and $100 per repeater. We would have to commission the XO team to devise a keyboard. Language is so unifying.

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