Back in October 2007, the Millennium Villages Program at the Earth Institute at Columbia University, USA entered into a partnership with the Swedish firm of Ericsson to include wireless connectivity in all of the project villages, and to co-develop applications aimed towards ending poverty and enhanced quality of life and well-being. As a first step, a team is now rolling out basic and enhanced access to mobile phone infrastructure and technology to the MVP villages in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda.
At the same time, the team is integrating mobile telephony with its Open Source medical record software, the Millennium Global Village-Network.
I spent some time with Ericsson's strategic team talking to them about how mobile and radio make an impact on life in communities. Anna Kramers, who does strategic planning for Ericsson, has been closely involved with the Millennium Villages project from the start and explains here what challenges Ericsson is helping to solve. I think there is clearly an overlap between what mobile is doing and projects involving community radio. I like the phone shown at the end, where the display is made from plastic recycled from old milk containers.
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