Google and Grameen launch mobile services for the poor

30 Jun 2009

The Grameen Foundation has announced the launch of a suite of mobile phone applications developed with Google and MTN Uganda for Uganda’s poor and disadvantaged communities, writes TelecomPaper. The suite of five mobile services, provided using Google SMS Search technology and the MTN network, includes Farmer’s Friend, a searchable database with both agricultural advice and targeted weather forecasts; Health Tips, which provides sexual and reproductive health information, paired with Clinic Finder, which helps locate nearby health clinics and their services; and Google Trader, which matches buyers and sellers of agricultural produce and commodities as well as other products. The services are SMS-based and designed to work with basic mobile phones to reach the broadest possible audience. The launch makes available the first suite of applications resulting from an endeavour initiated by Grameen Foundation 18 months ago called the Application Laboratory (AppLab). AppLab Uganda, which is located in Kampala and directed by Grameen Foundation’s Technology Center, focuses on creating opportunities for poor people to share and access essential information through innovative uses of mobile phones. The new services in Uganda can be accessed by existing Village Phone Operators (VPOs) who extend service to people without mobile phones as well as by people who have their own phones.

Uganda, MTN Uganda