For the past five years or so, Panoply Digital co-Founder/Director Alex Tyers and I have been producing the Gender and Mobiles newsletter. It started out initially as the Gender and Mobile Learning newsletter but we quickly found that there was not enough content being written in that area to fill our coffers. This evolution benefited us and our readership greatly as we have been able to highlight a wider range of fascinating stories that illustrate the increasingly complex relationships between women, men, girls, boys and mobile phones.
Our latest issue was just sent out today.
You can view it here and subscribe as well.
Many of our past issues have unintentionally had mobile maternal health themes; this is perhaps an indication of how much is going on in this space. For example, this month we spotlighted an initiative from Tanzania that combines what is arguably the most famous sharing economy innovation, Uber, with the one of the first and most successful ever M4D platforms to scale in multiple countries, M-Pesa.
At the top of this post is a photo of Omari Mabula. Mr. Mabula is one of the ambulance taxi drivers who is serving two districts in rural Tanzania with the goal of helping women going through high-risk pregnancies access medical care in emergencies. Mothers-to-be can now call a toll-free emergency line to request an Uber-linked ambulance taxi to get to the hospital when they need to. Estimates suggest that as many as 225 women and babies a month could be saved through this service.
Given that the Vodafone Foundation is one of the lead participants in this initiative, it is plausible to believe that it could be a big success given they helped bring us M-Pesa, and contribute to another successful mobile maternal health program which has now been running for more than five years. Transport My Patient helps women in Tanzania repair fistulas they develop after birth by getting them diagnosed by mobile nurses, transport to hospitals, and free medical care, most all of which is paid via M-Pesa.
It will be interesting to see if more sharing economy players will take the opportunity to combine their profit-making/PR endeavors with doing good in emerging markets. AirBnB might take a cue from EmergencyBNB, another sharing economy platform which enables people to offer rooms to victims of domestic violence or to host refugees.
Also in this newsletter issue The World Wide Web Foundation released the Women’s Rights Online Digital Gender Gap Audit. The audit examines the digital gender gap in the following countries: Colombia, Egypt, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, the Philippines, and Uganda. The aim of the audit is to help the respective 10 countries examine their policies so that they might be created and/or amended in ways that support women's and girls' access to the web.
Why we liked this study is because it provides a greater degree of granularity to an issue that continues to mystify governments around the world, and yields guidance and actionable insights that may well produce positive changes by the time the Sustainable Development Goals are revisited in 2030.
There are six more interesting stories that we have curated in the newsletter. We welcome contributions from others and suggestions for future themed issues. Similarly, feedback is appreciated as we seek to grow our readership!