A few months back, I heard about AppLab Uganda at a conference. It’s a pretty neat concept. They’re basically creating mobile phone applications that will help ordinary Ugandans who don’t have access to a lot of up-to-the-minute, accurate information about important topics that affect their lives (aside from perhaps radio).
Considering the increasing popularity of cell phones, even in the most rural areas, they are a great way to reach people with helpful information about almost anything- agricultural methods, weather, health information, marketing information.
I just came across a short article about this work in the NY Times: In Rural Africa, a Fertile Market for Mobile Phones.
Dialing for Answers Where Web Can’t Reach is another Times article about how an information hotline is being used to get people without internet access answers to their questions.
And some more on the transformational potential of cell phones here, from The Economist. Cool stuff.