Where technology meets anthropology, conservation and development
Random header image... Refresh for more!

Restricted mobility

On my travels it’s not unusual for me to find a dozen or more Village Phone operators in a single village. It’s also not unusual to find them with pretty-much the same phone, quite often the same price plan, and the same signs and posters. And just to rub it in, their shops and kiosks are often the same colour, too. Standing out from the competition can be quite a challenge in an environment like this, but it can be done.

Making a phone call on a Village Phone can hardly be called a private affair. First of all you’re likely standing out in the open, the phone owner usually hangs around a couple of feet away, and children crowd around because that’s what children do. In an attempt to break the mould – and gain a little competitive advantage – this Village Phone operator decided that customers should be allowed to put some space between her, the children and their private conversation. So her customers can take the phone ‘away’ somewhere where it’s a little more private. To stop them running off with it, she attaches a length of wire which leads back into her shop. Simple, but clever.

Maybe the wire could double up as an aerial extension for places with poor reception (now there’s one for Nokia to consider, or Motorola in this case)?

Sometimes, living in a wired world can have its advantages…

Further reading
Unplanned adolescence“, a Fast Company article on what happens to Village Phone operators when local mobile ownership increases (and my response to that), and “Africa’s grassroots mobile revolution – A traveller’s perspective“, a photo essay I wrote a couple of years ago for ‘Vodafone receiver’

33 comments

1 changefeed { 08.24.10 at 4:47 pm }

->@kiwanja: Restricted mobility http://bit.ly/awseiw

2 Ken Banks { 08.24.10 at 5:05 pm }

Phone ladies, entrepreneurship and standing out from the crowd. "Restricted mobility". http://is.gd/eB5W7 #villagephone #uganda

3 WITNESS { 08.24.10 at 5:07 pm }

RT @kiwanja: Phone ladies, entrepreneurship and standing out from the crowd. "Restricted mobility". http://is.gd/eB5W7 #villagephone #uganda

4 iPayStation { 08.24.10 at 5:16 pm }

RT @kiwanja: Phone ladies, entrepreneurship and standing out from the crowd. "Restricted mobility". http://is.gd/eB5W7 #villagephone #uganda

5 Shikoh Gitau { 08.24.10 at 5:19 pm }

RT @kiwanja: Phone ladies, entrepreneurship and standing out from the crowd. "Restricted mobility". http://is.gd/eB5W7 #villagephone #uganda

6 haamid99 { 08.24.10 at 5:24 pm }

RT @kiwanja: Phone ladies, entrepreneurship and standing out from the crowd. "Restricted mobility". http://is.gd/eB5W7 #villagephone #uganda

7 hetal mavani { 08.24.10 at 5:25 pm }

RT @kiwanja: Phone ladies, entrepreneurship and standing out from the crowd. "Restricted mobility". http://is.gd/eB5W7 #villagephone #uganda

8 Douglas Bowlby { 08.24.10 at 5:27 pm }

RT @kiwanja: Phone ladies, entrepreneurship and standing out from the crowd. "Restricted mobility". http://is.gd/eB5W7 #villagephone #uganda

9 Ryan Turner { 08.24.10 at 8:12 pm }

Phone ladies, entrepreneurship and standing out from the crowd. "Restricted mobility" http://is.gd/eB5W7 #villagephone #uganda RT @kiwanja

10 Iris Lapinski { 08.24.10 at 9:01 pm }

RT @kiwanja: Phone ladies, entrepreneurship and standing out from the crowd. "Restricted mobility". http://is.gd/eB5W7 #villagephone #uganda

11 OLPC NYC { 08.24.10 at 9:07 pm }

RT @kiwanja: Phone ladies, entrepreneurship and standing out from the crowd. "Restricted mobility". http://is.gd/eB5W7 #villagephone #uganda

12 jranck { 08.24.10 at 9:07 pm }

Restricted mobility | Build it Kenny, and they will come… http://bit.ly/9XsnU9

13 Emeka Okoye { 08.24.10 at 9:14 pm }

RT @jranck: Restricted mobility | Build it Kenny, and they will come… http://bit.ly/9XsnU9

14 AppLab { 08.25.10 at 12:08 am }

Phone ladies, entrepreneurship and standing out from the crowd. "Restricted mobility". http://is.gd/eB5W7 #villagephone #uganda RT @kiwanja

15 shaherose { 08.25.10 at 12:24 am }

RT @GrameenAppLab: Phone ladies, entrepreneurship and standing out from the crowd. "Restricted mobility". http://is.gd/eB5W7 #villagephone

16 Carmen Martin { 08.25.10 at 12:49 am }

RT @shaherose: RT @GrameenAppLab: Phone ladies, entrepreneurship and standing out from the crowd. "Restricted mobility". http://is.gd/eB5W7 #villagephone

17 Edward Cable { 08.25.10 at 1:24 am }

Love the creativity! Phone ladies, entrepreneurship & standing out from crowd. "Restricted mobility" http://is.gd/eB5W7 RT @kiwanja

18 Afrika Kabissa { 08.25.10 at 6:11 am }

RT @GrameenAppLab: Phone ladies, entrepreneurship and standing out from the crowd. "Restricted mobility". http://is.gd/eB5W7 #villagephone #uganda RT @kiwanja

19 Hana Dusuky { 08.25.10 at 7:04 am }

RT @GrameenAppLab: Phone ladies, entrepreneurship and standing out from the crowd. "Restricted mobility". http://is.gd/eB5W7 #villagepho

20 Ken Banks { 08.25.10 at 10:26 am }

Phone ladies, entrepreneurship and standing out from the crowd. "Restricted mobility". http://is.gd/eB5W7 #villagephone #uganda

21 Micael Herkommer { 08.25.10 at 10:31 am }

RT @kiwanja: Phone ladies, entrepreneurship and standing out from the crowd. "Restricted mobility". http://is.gd/eB5W7 #villagephone #uganda

22 Micael Herkommer { 08.25.10 at 10:31 am }

RT @kiwanja: Phone ladies, entrepreneurship and standing out from the crowd. "Restricted mobility". http://is.gd/eB5W7 #villagephone #uganda

23 eric omanga { 08.25.10 at 10:31 am }

RT @kiwanja: Phone ladies, entrepreneurship and standing out from the crowd. "Restricted mobility". http://is.gd/eB5W7 #villagephone #uganda

24 eric omanga { 08.25.10 at 10:31 am }

RT @kiwanja: Phone ladies, entrepreneurship and standing out from the crowd. "Restricted mobility". http://is.gd/eB5W7 #villagephone #uganda

25 Deborah Elzie { 08.25.10 at 10:31 am }

RT @kiwanja: Phone ladies, entrepreneurship and standing out from the crowd. "Restricted mobility". http://is.gd/eB5W7 #villagephone #uganda

26 Alexa Joyce { 08.25.10 at 10:35 am }

Phone ladies, entrepreneurship and standing out from the crowd. "Restricted mobility". http://is.gd/eB5W7 #villagephone #uganda RT @kiwanja

27 Alexa Joyce { 08.25.10 at 10:35 am }

Phone ladies, entrepreneurship and standing out from the crowd. "Restricted mobility". http://is.gd/eB5W7 #villagephone #uganda RT @kiwanja

28 Allison Hornery { 08.25.10 at 10:37 am }

RT @kiwanja: Phone ladies, entrepreneurship & standing out from the crowd: "Restricted mobility" http://is.gd/eB5W7 #villagephone #uganda

29 Parvathi Menon { 08.25.10 at 11:15 am }

RT @kiwanja: Phone ladies, entrepreneurship and standing out from the crowd. "Restricted mobility". http://is.gd/eB5W7 #villagephone #uganda

30 Ssozi Javie { 08.25.10 at 11:15 am }

RT @debelzie: RT @kiwanja: Phone ladies, entrepreneurship and standing out from the crowd. "Restricted mobility". http://is.gd/eB5W7 #villagephone #uganda

31 blogs of the world { 08.31.10 at 9:14 pm }

On my travels it's not unusual for me to find a dozen or more Village Phone operators in a… http://reduce.li/qaqyno #restricted

32 Murat Mutlu { 09.08.10 at 8:38 am }

Restricted mobility http://bit.ly/azWZMs

33 Interaria { 10.07.10 at 7:18 am }

This gives new meaning to a land line connection.

Leave a Comment