Repost: Written by me, originally published by Human Network International (HNI)
With groundbreaking data on how women use mobile phones in Madagascar, HNI has made an impression on the mobile industry in Africa.
While it may seem obvious, many telecoms do not differentiate their service offerings based on gender.
HNI has seen that tailoring mobile services to women has measurable value for business while also playing a critical role in addressing development goals.
HNI’s Regional Director for East & Southern Africa, Kellen Eilerts, was featured on a panel discussion this month titled “Overcoming Barriers to Reaching Women at Scale” at the GSMA’s m360Africa conference in Cape Town, South Africa.
The panel discussion and Eilert’s remarks were picked up by mobile industry publications.
Of interest to the panel were a report and a case study from GSMA based on analysis of HNI’s 3-2-1 Service. The Service provides free audio messages in local languages to subscribers of HNI’s telecom partners.
In an article from Mobile World Live, Christopher Burns, acting director for digital development at USAID Global Development Lab, was quoted saying that telecoms do not, as GSMA and HNI have done, tend to analyze adoption of services on a gender basis.
If the mobile industry did start disaggregating its customers by male and female, we would have so much more insight into understanding the wants and needs that would then lead into developing the products and services that they want.
IT Web featured Eilert’s comments on how public-private partnerships align the interests of both NGOs and their telecom partners to improve opportunities for women:
Mobile allows women to overcome a lot of the traditional infrastructure challenges faced by people in developing countries. Mobile levels the playing field by letting women in rural areas access services that are of interest to them. This is where the importance of good local content comes in so they can see the value of having a phone in the first place.IT Web