Acouple of weeks ago I sent out an open invitation for people to contribute to the ICT4D Postcards Project. The idea was to gather a collection of postcards from people working in international development who had a technology theme – or influence – in their work. Postcards have been coming in since, and I thought it would be a good idea to post a few up here, ahead of the full collection that will be posted online in the coming weeks.
In short, a postcard consists of a photograph and short narrative that explains why the image is important – or how it relates – to that person’s work. The idea is to go beyond usual explanation and website narrative to reveal more personal insights and motivations of the people who work in our field.
Here’s a selection of five that have come in so far, in no particular order.
In 2003, mobile phones were just appearing in Rwanda. Penetration was just 1.5 per 100 people (1.5%) then. It is over 33% now. I organized some studies to ask microentrepreneurs about how they were using their new phones. Everyone was quite accommodating, letting us ask details about each of the last 10 calls recorded on the phones call log. Though we learned a lot about business processes and productivity, our data also demonstrated just how intertwined these phones had already become into daily life – two-thirds of the calls were with friends and family. I suspect these trends still hold. At this moment, the interviewer (Nicole K. Umutoni) was probably looking back at me and wondering why I was taking this picture. Now we know! Continue reading