Skip to main content
You are not a member of this wiki.
Knowledge Sharing Tools and Methods Toolkit
Pages and Files
What is your context?
About the Toolkit
About the Toolkit
Support the Toolkit
Tips for Editing
Toolkit in the News
CG ICT-KM Site
FAO Knowledge Forum
KS Share Fair
Mobile telephony for development
" is a discipline which aims to investigate how mobile phones can be used as communication tools in support of development projects. Phones can be used as stand alone applications or in combination with other media and ICTs.
"I can't live without. Difficult to believe that we use to live without them! How did we manage?...
In many places there is not always available or affordable internet connection. An alternative to connecting people is the use of mobile phones. There is both growing access to phones across the developing world, and new applications for phones that enable agriculture support and development.
Mobile telphony in addition to other media
Mobile telephony (and related knowledge sharing applications) can refer to both web enabled smartphones (such as iPhone, Blackberry, Android phones etc.) that allow complex functions to be performed, or simple "non-smart" cellphones phones which use only voice dialing and SMS functionality.
When to use:
Mobile phones can be very effective in any location where other kind of media are not able to deliver their content. Rural areas, being traditionally disconnected, are very suitable places to adopt mobile telephony in support of communication strategies. At the same time, in those areas, it is possible to adopt cellphones in conjunction with other tools like
, or the Internet when available.
Same approach can be adopted also in urban areas where, even if other media can be available (radio, TV, newspaper), their access can be still difficult or impossible.
The list of topics that can be addressed by mobile telephony is quite long:
How to use:
Depending on the kind of technology mobile phones are using, different services can be implemented:
to start with,
is very basic but effective to support the distribution of text and simple data; while
Mobile Visual Services
, using graphical approach, can be suitable for more advanced level of communication and interaction.
Tips and Lessons Learnt
Examples & Stories
Many different examples have been collected on a
where you can see the
world wide distribution of development projects
adopting mobile telephony.
Claire Bure wrote on the
mailing list: "I'm now working with DataDyne.org to implement a project called DatAgro (
) in the crop producing region of Chile. The project uses open source technology for small-scale farmers to receive (and eventually rate) locally-produced information via SMS text messaging. Content is created locally, and covers anything from market prices, changes in micro-climate, agricultural data to local news. A local partner has donated 30 mobile phones for our primary group of testers, and interestingly, the phones can connect to the radio. We're now trying to make the connection with radio by highlighting content on community radio programming (Chile even has it's own agricultural radio station:
. Here's the project video if it interests:
Who can tell me more?
Luca Servo (luca.servo [at] fao.org)
Related Methods / Tools / Practices
about rural telephony:
about the use of mobile phones and farming in Africa:
Mobile Phones for Social Change in Africa"
Who is Using Mobile Phone for Development
. A list of examples by Luca Servo:
Mobile for development
section on talk-share-learn blog
links related to mobile telephony for development
The First Mile project
Empleo efectivo de mensajes de texto (SMS) para mejorar la comercialización de productos agrícolas de pequeños productores
help on how to format text
Turn off "Getting Started"