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WeGov

How Mobile Can Hold Government Accountable for Clean Water Failures

BY Julia Wetherell | Friday, February 15 2013

In India, wastewater and drinking water supplies mingle in the street (Wikimedia Commons).

National Geographic’s online series Digital Diversity is back this week with a report from the Aquaya Institute, a nonprofit research and consulting group working on public health issues in the global water crisis.   The UN may have announced last spring that 89% of the global population now has access to improved water sources, yet for thousands these sources remain unreliable, and, in many cases, still unsanitary or unsafe.  While building the infrastructure to enhance the water supply can be a long process, spreading knowledge about whether a source is drinkable is one simple solution. 

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WeGov

In Tiny Archipelago, Tensions Over the Future of Telecom

BY Julia Wetherell | Tuesday, February 12 2013

The Spratly Islands (Wikimedia Commons).

Tiny, disputed Pacific archipelagos have been in the news recently, with Japan bolstering online security against Chinese hacks related to the Japanese claim on the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands.  Now another island chain is caught in a tug-of-war between several East Asian countries – and this time, the weapons of choice are mobile networks

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WeGov

Can Technology and "Testimony" Prevent Violence in Kenyan Elections?

BY Sara Jerving | Wednesday, February 6 2013

Kenya's Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) campaigning in Kibera (credit: Sara Jerving)

Community organizers, activists and civil society workers are hoping a mix of technology and on-the-ground organizing can stave off political violence around Kenya's upcoming elections. Read More

WeGov

Questions About Who Really Gets the Hookup as Nigeria Gives 10 Million Mobile Phones to Farmers

BY Julia Wetherell | Thursday, January 31 2013

Reports this month that the Nigerian government will be distributing 10 million mobile phones to farmers have many wondering what the return on investment will be for the rest of the country. Read More

WeGov

Colombian App Uses Crowdsourcing to Crack Down on Child Labor

BY Julia Wetherell | Thursday, January 31 2013

Screengrab from Yo digo: Aquí Estoy website.

In spite of widespread regulations condemning the practice, child labor remains a grim reality for millions of children throughout the world. In Latin America, UNICEF estimates that one out of ten children between the ages of 5 and 17 are engaged in some kind of unregulated labor. Colombia in particular has seen rising rates of child labor over the economic crises over the past several years. Read More

WeGov

Can Data About Mobile User Behavior Build a Credit Score?

BY Julia Wetherell | Wednesday, January 30 2013

Cignifi generates credit scores from data collected on mobile users.

In some emerging economies, consumers seeking to take out a loan or sign up for a credit card can face a significant hassle: not having the credit history to prove monetary responsibility. Now several organizations are aiming to help potential borrowers by looking a non-traditional line of credit into consideration: mobile phone use. Read More

WeGov

In India More People Have Phones than Toilets, But Society is Not More Mobile

BY Julia Wetherell | Monday, January 28 2013

Twenty years ago, making a telephone call from a rural village in India likely meant a trek down to the lone public phone in the town square. Today, although there’s still a 50,000-person-deep waiting list for landline installation in private homes, mobile phones have radically transformed the country, breaking down barriers in communication, commerce, and access to services. Yet in society that retains its deep class stratifications, how significantly has mobile communication improved life for the poorest Indians? Read More

WeGov

Hack Day Brings Tech Solutions to Refugees Seeking Family Members

BY Julia Wetherell | Friday, January 25 2013

Developers at last weekend's Refugees United Hack Day

The world population of refugees displaced both within their home country’s borders and to harboring nations numbers in the tens of millions. Four fifths of that population is accounted for in the developing world, where humanitarian crisis cuts across communities, often separating families. On January 19, London-based developers worked to create new solutions for reconnecting these families, at the second Refugees United Hack Day. Read More

WeGov

India's IT Ministry Sets a Tech Agenda for the 21st Century

BY Julia Wetherell | Thursday, January 24 2013

Indian IT Minister Kapil Sibal (Wikimedia Commons).

Indian IT Minister Kapil Sibal has made his plans clear to digitalize government, with online portals and e-governance measures meant to streamline bureaucracy and increase accessibility. Now Sibal has put forth an ambitious one-year agenda for the for the country’s Department of Electronics and Information Technology (acronym: DEITY). Read More

WeGov

Abayima Makes SIM Cards Into E-Readers to Combat Information Blackouts

BY Julia Wetherell | Tuesday, January 22 2013

Over the past decade, mobile tech has grown into a dominant force in journalism, activism, and revolution across the globe. Yet one organization is going lo-tech to get information in the hands of the people – by transforming basic cellular phones into e-readers loaded with news that might be otherwise censored by the government. Read More