January 19, 2010

Save resources & money with Better World Telecom

A telecom that does good from JD Lasica on Vimeo.

JD LasicaUntil I met Salem Kimble (who earlier covered GoingGreen for Socialbrite), I had never heard of BetterWorld Telecom. With a tagline of “Change the world. One call at a time,” they’re a socially conscious telecom provider for nonprofits and mission-driven businesses that donates 3 percent of its revenues to social causes.

Salem Kimble, who runs the company’s social media efforts, says BetterWorld is a triple bottom line business that embraces the principles of economic justice, environmental values (“we carbon offset”) and social causes.

You won’t see them advertising on Desperate Housewives or CSI – they chiefly market through word of mouth. What people are mostly talking about is the average 28 percent in cost savings over providers like AT&T and Verizon. Their customers include Greenpeace, Green Mountain Coffee, Patagonia Clothing, Honest Tea, Yes! Magazine, Ode Magazine — chiefly organizations and nonprofits focused on environmental and social justice issues.

Check out my 6-minute chat with Salem at the most recent NetSquared conference:

Watch, embed or download the video on Vimeo


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January 30, 2009

Mobile phones join the rural radio mix


kiwanjaA little over a year ago I found myself sitting in the San Francisco offices of an international humanitarian NGO. Their main focus at the time was a major human-rights treaty, and they wanted advice about mobilizing rural communities to lobby their governments to ratify it. There was clearly great potential for a mobile phone-based solution, and they wanted me to help them understand how text messaging – and FrontlineSMS in particular – could be of use.

So, it came as something of a surprise when I recommended they look more closely at rural radio instead. Although I’m a great fan of mobile phone technology, it isn’t by default the best tool for reaching out to rural communities. Radio – far from being outdated and irrelevant – remains a powerful, relevant and far-reaching medium. Unrivalled, in fact.

Radio stations existed in Africa long before many of its countries reached independence. Over the last twenty to thirty years, however, liberation of the airwaves in many of these countries has opened the door to a new wave of broadcasters including commercial, private, community and public radio stations. This expansion has created some new and exciting opportunities.”

kiwanja’s latest PC World article looks at the potential of mobile phones and rural radio stations to jointly deliver relevant, timely and useful information to rural populations in developing countries, and allow listeners to engage with radio programmes in a new way. Projects highlighted include initiatives in Africa by Farm Radio International and Developing Radio Partners.

Head on over to the PC World website for the full article.

This post originally appeared at Kiwanja.net.