M is for Mobile: Exploring Technology for Social Development in India

The demand for information and communication is being reshaped around the globe, especially in the Asia-Pacific region, which represents one of the world’s fastest-growing telecom markets.  It is widely accepted that the ‘next billion subscribers’ will come from emerging markets such as India, China, Brazil, Russia and Indonesia.  Given that the emerging economies in South Asian combined have the largest number of poor people, many of these new subscribers will come from the ‘Bottom Of the Pyramid’ (BOP) population.

Recent studies and experiences show that mobile phones have been responsible for shaping the economy at the BOP in emerging markets.  However, there is very little evidence available to suggest whether the widespread penetration of mobile phone and technology can be effectively marketed to improve social development – such as access to education and health, which are critical factors for poverty alleviation in these countries.  With questions around ownership of mobile phones, gendered access to mobile phones and perceived usage of mobile phones by the BOP population, there is scope to explore possible use of mobile and converging technologies to make quality education and health services accessible to a population that could stand to benefit the most.

Given that there is now widespread interest in the use of mobile technologies for development and examples of how mobile technologies already are being built, implemented, tested, and successful around the world, the potential for harnessing this platform to create a model to address social needs in India is great.

Workshop Overview

The 2 ½ day workshop will bring together experts from mobile manufacturers, research, digital technology, service providers, donors, nonprofit organizations and policy makers to brainstorm and arrive at a road map for India (and possibly replicated across other countries).

Expected Outcomes

  • · Identify challenges and opportunities for use of the mobile technology in India and other emerging markets
  • · Devise possible new models (and list  their pros and cons) for reaching marginalized populations
  • · Build a network of stakeholders in the telecommunication for social justice field.
  • · Identify best practices that can directly influence mobile policy and regulation.
  • · Produce documentation/report of the workshop to be disseminated to all participants and networks

Suggested Workshop Agenda

The agenda outlines a tentative agenda for the workshop.  We are in the process of identifying suitable presenters/experts for each of the roundtable discussions. Note: all speakers listed are tentative.

Workshop Agenda

Time Item/Activity
February 28, 2011
6:00 PM Registration, Cocktail Reception & Simultaneous Technology Showcase
6:30 PM Welcome Note :  Ravina Aggarwal (Ford Foundation)
6:45 PM Welcome Note : Keynote Speaker (TBC)
7:30 PM Closing of Day 1
March 1, 2011
8:30 AM Breakfast
9:15 AM Welcome
9:30 AM Potential of Mobile Technology for Social Development

Presentation on teleuse@BOP by Ayesha Zainudeen (LirneAsia)

Moderator: Ravina Aggarwal (Program Officer, Ford Foundation)


1) Osama Manzar ( Digital Empowerment Foundation)

2) Phet Sayo (IDRC)

3) Angad Bhatia (TEMA)

11:00AM Chai Break
12:00 PM Innovative Case Studies/ Pilots: Part I (Opportunities, Challenges & Best Practices)

Moderator: Ram Bhatt (Ford Foundation grant recipient)

Presentations by

1) Indrani  Vedula  (MILLEE – Mobile and Immersive Learning for Literacy in Emerging Economies)

2) Gustav Praekelt (Praekelt)

3) Rikin Gandhi (Digital Green)

1:00 PM Lunch
2:00 PM Innovative Case Studies/ Pilots: Part II (Best Practices Continued)

Moderator: Anil Bairwal (Association for Democratic Reform)

Presentations by

1) Aadi Seth (Gramvaani /IIT)

2) Steve Vosloo (Shuttleworth Foundation Fellow)

3) Nand Wadhwani  (The Mother and Child Health and Education Trust)

3:00 PM Chai Break
3:15 PM Presentation By Gustav Praekelt: Sesame Mobile Project

5.00 PM Networking over dinner
March 2, 2011
9:15 AM Welcome
9:20 AM Achieving Sustainability, Scale & Impact

Moderator: Charlotte Cole (Sesame Workshop)


1) Sunil Saxena (Gaon Ki Awaaz)

2) Anuraj Gambhir (Ericson)

3) Vibodh Parthasarthy (Centre for Culture, Media, and Governance)

4) Jonathan Donner ( Microsoft)

11 AM Small Group Session

1 PM Lunch
2 PM Group Presentations and Discussion
4 PM Closing of Workshop


About galligallisimsim

Galli Galli Sim Sim is a multi platform initiative that combines the power of television and educational outreach to help children prepare better for school and life. The first pillar of this initiative is the Galli Galli Sim Sim television show that harnesses the power of media to provide access to engaging, high quality, educational experiences that have an impact on children’s educational and developmental outcomes. It airs on two of India’s leading television channels: POGO and Cartoon Network reaching approximately 11 million viewers across urban and rural India. The second pillar, is an extensive educational outreach, a project supported by Michael & Susan Dell Foundation that reaches out to children resident in the urban slums of India. Galli Galli Sim Sim facilitates young Indian children’s basic academic skills as well as life skills, while celebrating India’s rich cultural diversity, in order to promote their overall learning, health, and development. We also build capacity of caregivers and educate them about the importance of early childhood development, and conduct intensive research to monitor and evaluate our content and process.
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