ISSN : 1796-2021
Volume : 4    Issue : 3    Date : April 2009

Turning the Cellphone into an Antipoverty Vaccine
Diju Raha and  Sorin Cohn-Sfetcu
Page(s): 203-210
Full Text:
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Information and communications technologies have yet to impact more than 4 billion poor and
illiterate people who are still deprived of the basic means of economic, social and health
betterment. The potential role of cellphone based services as an effective tool of economic
emancipation and social improvement is highlighted in this paper. The time has come to harness
the adoption of cell phone by the poor in a top-down systemic way. This will require rollout of
cellphone based “citizen services platform” to enable the masses of poor people to reach
unprecedented levels of achievement through “just-in-time” information-&-decision-&-action on the
economic, social, education, health and, yes, political fronts, thus achieving a Connected
Opportunities (Mobile) Revolution similar to what has been done with the Green Revolution in the 50’
s. To achieve such goals, it will be necessary to develop new classes of service and employ
different modalities for userservice interaction. It will be necessary to use inexpensive and readily
available services to overcome illiteracy and avoiding the expensively complex web-based type
approaches. Naturally, the services will have to offer several classes of user interfaces, in order to
satisfy different types of users (and devices) and allow for evolution in step with the dynamic
evolution of population.

Index Terms
Mobile revolution, Cellphone services, Services platform, Services for the poor, Just-in-time
services, C-services, Iconic service interfaces, Empowering the poor, Social transformation