Last mile connectivity – Bangladeshi InfoLadies

Good piece in the Guardian about how Bangladeshi women, armed with  a netbook, GSM mobile, blood pressure monitor and pregnancy kit, are ‘champions’ by people who used to think it was a scandal. The project, run by D-Net (disclaimer – with Panos Im helping D-Net develop a tool for NGOs to work out how to use mobile phones in their work) aims to provide information people need in areas such as agriculture, health, sanitation and disaster management.

Its a particularly good piece, because it makes the point that these efforts are filling in where the State is failing:

“The success of the InfoLadies is making the failure of the state more noticeable. “We have corruption and political interference in every sector,” says Gullal Singha, a state executive officer of Sagatha sub-district. Sagatha is severely affected by soil erosion and is home to the poorest of the poor. “Even the ultra-poor entitled for food relief are segregated as Bangladesh Nationalist Party poor or Awami League poor,” says Aziz Mostafa, an elected representative of a local civic body.”

Its striking how much innovation in the area of communications in Bangladesh.

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