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Reflections on MobileActive08 and the M4D Landscape

Jonathan Donner, Katrin Verclas, and Kentaro Toyama


This paper revisits presentations at the MobileActive08 conference in Johannesburg to critically examine the current diversity of projects and approaches in mobiles for development (M4D). We identify four common choices facing individual M4D projects (intended users, technical accessibility, informational links, and market links) which collectively mark the current landscape of M4D. Discussions of M4D projects have tended to be delineated by traditional development domain (health, education, agriculture, etc). By focusing on choices that cut across domains, we highlight elements which vary across M4D projects, but which to date have not been observed to correlate with project success. We discuss these four choices in light of the broader course of the field of information and communication technology and development (ICTD). Further, we argue that choices made at the project level may create different M4D landscapes, with implications for the breadth and depth of the technologys impact on development.


Publication typeProceedings
Published inProceedings of the First International Conference on M4D
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