Re: [GKD] Using Instant Messaging with Volunteers

2002-11-26 Thread Richard Labelle
Volunteers excepted, Instant messaging based on PCs has limited
application for the public at large in many countries in the developing
world when compared to the use of equivalent applications associated
with hand held devices.

These include mobile phones with microbrowsers or more likely SMS and/or
voice over mobile telephony. While the latter two apps would not permit
the point and click utility that you have programmed into the instant
messaging application, it would be very useful nevertheless (and I
presume point and click could also be implemented using microbrowsers).

Let me reiterate the importance of SMS and mobile tepephony here in
Botswana. In May there were 332,000 mobile phones in Botswana  and about
150,000 land lines for a population of close to 1.7 million people.

Just today I learned that as of Sept. 02, there are exactly 367,254 cell
phone users in Botswana. A stunning increase of about 35,000 over a few
months. In all, it is estimated that there are 65,000 PCs in Botswana,
and most of these are in the urban areas and in schools (every one of
the 250 secondary schools in the country for example). Could it be that
mobile phones diffuse sufficiently in countries like Botswana such that
we can start talking about universal service and not just universal
access?

Guido, write apps for handhelds... Consider their use for enabling
access to info of local import: local and regional market info, weather,
account enquiries with banks and utilities, breaking news, local stock
market quotes, etc.

When the number of community access centres achieves a penetration
similar to that of mobile phones (on a public access basis), consider
Instant Messaging as well (there are virtually no community access
centres in Botswana, although this is set to change very quickly).

Richard Labelle
Consultant, UNDP, Gaborone, Botswana Human 
Development Report 2002-03 (Science and tech. for human 
development).


Guido Sohne wrote:

 Instant messaging does not have to solely be limited to use of widely
 distributed chat clients. I wrote an application earlier this year
 that utilized instant messaging technology but worked by embedding the
 technology into the application itself.
 
 The business case was to improve the situation of businesses trying to
 source scarce foreign exchange in an economy where the telephone
 system was quite bad, making it a pain to comb several commercial
 banks and forex bureaux looking for foreign exchange. Calling eight
 banks could easily take the whole afternoon, and foreign exchange,
 especially in large quantities, can often take a long time to source.
 
 The answer was to create an application that published foreign
 exchange rates, allowing banks and forex bureaux to publish their own
 rates. Users could click on a price and chat with the person who set
 the price. In addition, due to the use of store and forward
 technology, disconnecting from the network and later reconnecting to
 the network resulted in all price updates being received in such a
 manner that each party using the system would see up to date prices in
 all the major currencies.
 
 This may not necessarily be instant messaging work with volunteers,
 but I think that it is interesting all the same and wanted to share it
 with others, especially since I was the one who wrote the application,
 so it was a labour of love.




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Re: [GKD] Using Instant Messaging with Volunteers

2002-11-26 Thread Richard Labelle
Volunteers excepted, Instant messaging based on PCs has limited
application for the public at large in many countries in the developing
world when compared to the use of equivalent applications associated
with hand held devices.

These include mobile phones with microbrowsers or more likely SMS and/or
voice over mobile telephony. While the latter two apps would not permit
the point and click utility that you have programmed into the instant
messaging application, it would be very useful nevertheless (and I
presume point and click could also be implemented using microbrowsers).

Let me reiterate the importance of SMS and mobile tepephony here in
Botswana. In May there were 332,000 mobile phones in Botswana  and about
150,000 land lines for a population of close to 1.7 million people.

Just today I learned that as of Sept. 02, there are exactly 367,254 cell
phone users in Botswana. A stunning increase of about 35,000 over a few
months. In all, it is estimated that there are 65,000 PCs in Botswana,
and most of these are in the urban areas and in schools (every one of
the 250 secondary schools in the country for example). Could it be that
mobile phones diffuse sufficiently in countries like Botswana such that
we can start talking about universal service and not just universal
access?

Guido, write apps for handhelds... Consider their use for enabling
access to info of local import: local and regional market info, weather,
account enquiries with banks and utilities, breaking news, local stock
market quotes, etc.

When the number of community access centres achieves a penetration
similar to that of mobile phones (on a public access basis), consider
Instant Messaging as well (there are virtually no community access
centres in Botswana, although this is set to change very quickly).

Richard Labelle
Consultant, UNDP, Gaborone, Botswana Human 
Development Report 2002-03 (Science and tech. for human 
development).


Guido Sohne wrote:

 Instant messaging does not have to solely be limited to use of widely
 distributed chat clients. I wrote an application earlier this year
 that utilized instant messaging technology but worked by embedding the
 technology into the application itself.
 
 The business case was to improve the situation of businesses trying to
 source scarce foreign exchange in an economy where the telephone
 system was quite bad, making it a pain to comb several commercial
 banks and forex bureaux looking for foreign exchange. Calling eight
 banks could easily take the whole afternoon, and foreign exchange,
 especially in large quantities, can often take a long time to source.
 
 The answer was to create an application that published foreign
 exchange rates, allowing banks and forex bureaux to publish their own
 rates. Users could click on a price and chat with the person who set
 the price. In addition, due to the use of store and forward
 technology, disconnecting from the network and later reconnecting to
 the network resulted in all price updates being received in such a
 manner that each party using the system would see up to date prices in
 all the major currencies.
 
 This may not necessarily be instant messaging work with volunteers,
 but I think that it is interesting all the same and wanted to share it
 with others, especially since I was the one who wrote the application,
 so it was a labour of love.




***GKD is solely supported by EDC, a Non-Profit Organization***
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Re: [GKD] Using Instant Messaging with Volunteers

2002-11-21 Thread Guido Sohne
Instant messaging does not have to solely be limited to use of widely
distributed chat clients. I wrote an application earlier this year that
utilized instant messaging technology but worked by embedding the
technology into the application itself.

The business case was to improve the situation of businesses trying to
source scarce foreign exchange in an economy where the telephone system
was quite bad, making it a pain to comb several commercial banks and
forex bureaux looking for foreign exchange. Calling eight banks could
easily take the whole afternoon, and foreign exchange, especially in
large quantities, can often take a long time to source.

The answer was to create an application that published foreign exchange
rates, allowing banks and forex bureaux to publish their own rates.
Users could click on a price and chat with the person who set the price.
In addition, due to the use of store and forward technology,
disconnecting from the network and later reconnecting to the network
resulted in all price updates being received in such a manner that each
party using the system would see up to date prices in all the major
currencies.

This may not necessarily be instant messaging work with volunteers, but
I think that it is interesting all the same and wanted to share it with
others, especially since I was the one who wrote the application, so it
was a labour of love.

I am considering rewriting this and generalizing the application to work
with multiple markets but this time based of a wireless handheld GPRS
device, or cheaper handheld device that can utilize the telephone
network.

Write to me in private email if you are interested in more details.


On Tue, Nov 12, 2002 at 01:42:56PM +0100, Jayne Cravens wrote:
 Volunteer managers already have phones and email to work with offsite
 volunteers. What is the advantage of using Instant Messaging (IM) with
 such volunteers as well? UNITeS http://www.unites.org, the ICT
 volunteering initiative of United Nations Volunteers
 http://www.unvolunteers.org, has created a new article to help
 illustrate the advantages for using IM to work with volunteers, based on
 feedback from various online discussion groups, from our own staff
 experiences, and other resources.
  
--
Guido Sohne[EMAIL PROTECTED]
203, BusyInternet http://sohne.net
--
Depart not from the path which fate has assigned you.
--



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Re: [GKD] Using Instant Messaging with Volunteers

2002-11-21 Thread Sam Lanfranco
I would like to follow up on Margaret Grieco's plea, which we hear from
multiple sources, for some way of taking stock of what we know and
what we have learned in the area of ICTs for Development. The uses of
SMS for development is - of course - just a subset of that larger body
of knowledge.

It is worth spending a few words reflecting on why we are a couple of
decades into using ICTs for development and still unable to draw lines
around what works where, what doesn't work, and what we have learned.
Part of that answer is - again of course - that project funding and
unfunded grassroots initiatives seldom have a budget to do a proper
assessment of lessons learned. We are left with good news and bad
news versions of what happened, and in some cases public relations
stories about things that actually didn't happen or didn't happen that
way. Is there any way forward here?

One way forward would be to actually have an inventory of those actually
involved in the ICT and development projects, and - based on that
involvement - have some expertise in the area.  Several projects
attempting to do this have stalled at the moment so I won't mention the
respectable agencies involved.

A collaborative multi-layer network-of-networks of regional and
area-specific inventories of expertise could support knowledge
networking and collaboration across projects. Much of that collaboration
would be virtual, using the tools themselves. The parts are there, but a
strategy for efficient and effective knitting together is lacking.

A second way forward would be for us to train ourselves to be more
careful when we talk about successess and failures. We need to describe
them in ways that lend the lessons learned to knowledge transfer. We all
know the unique properties of successful, and failed, projects: the role
of champions, and of stakeholder buy-in, the importance of attention to
context etc. We need to describe them as key parts of lessons learned.

All to often we point to the WHAT we achieved (or the technology used),
but not to the HOW we achieved it. We may waste a lot of words on the
WHY we did it when that was the obvious part. Of course, we still should
subject the WHY to ethical and strategic review and not just accept it
at face value. The three most dangerous words in the WHY of a project
proposal are don't you agree...

At a minimum we should be able to put the WHY of our successes and
failures into four categories:
1. Unique solutions to unique problems (context is everything)
2. Common solutions to unique problems (high diffusion potential)
3. Unique solutions to common problems (high diffusion potential)
4. Common solutions to common problems (why doesn't it diffuse?)

and go on with:
1. Unique failures to unique problems (low diffusion potential)
2. Common failures to unique problems (high diffusion potential)
3. Unique failures to common problems (high diffusion potential)
4. Common failures to common problems (what are we missing here?)

Just doing this on SMS would provide a start to a systematic approach
for gathering what we know, and who knows it, with regared to ICT.

Sam Lanfranco
***
   School of Analytic Studies and Information Technology
 http://www.atkinson.yorku.ca/frschasit.htm




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Re: [GKD] Using Instant Messaging with Volunteers

2002-11-14 Thread Margaret Grieco
Information communication technologies and the Volunteer sector.

Jayne Craven's email with its very useful information on Instant
Messaging initiatives is timely: the negative view on the utility of
such initiatives is still very much in play. I constantly receive
reviews of my work which doubt the utility of such initiatives and my
recording and advocacy of their importance. Indeed, to get such views
mainstreamed is no easy business. There is a need for a stronger
inventory of successful schemes in one place and better marketing of
the knowledge about such schemes in development, 'expert' and policy
circles as well as the allocation of resources for the development of
such schemes in community settings. Perhaps an INFODEV project which
did this would be a good idea: or a World Bank volume similar to its
Participation hand book which clearly advocated electronic 
participation at the community level.

Jayne Craven's email indicates the time has come to provide a systematic
answer to the suggestion that high tech solutions have no place in
resolving low income end problems.

Margaret Grieco
Professor of Transport and Society
Napier University
and
Academic Visitor
Department of City and Regional Planning
Cornell University
http://www.geocities.com/transport_and_society/ruralinclusion.html




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[GKD] Using Instant Messaging with Volunteers

2002-11-12 Thread Jayne Cravens
Volunteer managers already have phones and email to work with offsite
volunteers. What is the advantage of using Instant Messaging (IM) with
such volunteers as well? UNITeS http://www.unites.org, the ICT
volunteering initiative of United Nations Volunteers
http://www.unvolunteers.org, has created a new article to help
illustrate the advantages for using IM to work with volunteers, based on
feedback from various online discussion groups, from our own staff
experiences, and other resources.

To read the article regarding using IM with volunteers, visit:
http://www.unites.org/Html/resource/im/im0.htm

This article is a followup to the very popular online resource by
UNITeS, Handheld computer technologies in community
service/volunteering/advocacy. This article provides an overview of
examples of people using handheld computer/personal digital assistants
(PDAs) or phones as part of community service/volunteering/advocacy, and
examples that could be applied to volunteer settings. To read this
article regarding handheld computers and volunteers, see:
http://www.unites.org/Html/Resource/unites/unites0.htm

United Nations Information Technology Services (UNITeS), as part of the
UN Volunteers programme, places and supports volunteers in developing
countries to help local communities apply ICT to a number of areas
(health, education, agriculture, the environment, etc.). UNITeS also
promotes volunteerism as a key element to the success of ICT for
Development (ICT4D) activities. For information on UNITeS, including
information on how to get involved with its activities, see:
http://www.unites.org

Please forward this message as appropriate.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
Jayne Cravens 
[EMAIL PROTECTED]
Online Volunteering Specialist
United Nations Volunteers 
http://www.unvolunteers.org
Bonn, Germany

UNITeS http://www.unites.org
Netaid http://www.netaid.org/OV
Global portal to volunteering: http://www.iyv2001.org
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-






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