4 thoughts on “Cell phones as social activist tools

  1. In Sri Lanka, 5.4 million people are reported to have cell phones. That’s about 28% of the population– a vast improvement over land lines (less than 2 million, or about 10%), but still not universal. A cell phone costs $30, and the typical daily wage is $2. That’s a lot of days’ work for a laborer.

    The cell phone has revolutionized communication within the NGO sector, where information was formerly communicated in person, often requiring a full day on a bus. But they are by no means universal– and are typically purchased and operated with money from rich foreign donors. Not exactly a sustainable technology.

  2. The article also mentioned that disposable cell phones are popular in the Third World because they cost less and, for activists, provide anonymity. In fact, such countries may use cell phones as the standard, and not even bother much with landlines.

  3. Last time I checked, the wait for a landline in Sri Lanka (in those places where one is available) was about 4 years. Cell phones have given the middle class the ability to communicate. (But the middle class isn’t all that big.)

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