This article has two facets, one is the very serious issue that is hunger, poverty and hardship suffered by women in developing nations and the other being the privileged lifestyle that Cherie Blair and Hilary Clinton enjoy which I suggest is not only out of touch with what the majority of us experience as life, but maybe, I suggest out of reality.

So how do you help people in a country where day-to-day life is a struggle?  How do you even start to comprehend the issue when for many in the developing countries the challenge is finding enough to eat to keep their family alive? Well to me, it appears that in-between shopping trips and coffee mornings, Blair and Clinton have the answer.  Yes, what charities and organisations have tried to tackle for years our Tech Twins B&C have solved.

The answer? Give them mobile phones of course!

At first when I saw a one line mention of this on another site, I thought it a joke.  I conducted the usual google search waiting for the punchline and after a little digging around,  found to my horror that this is all too true and there won’t be any punchline.

So with the brave new mobile world that B&C are going to introduce to the women of developing nations, one has to wonder what the reasoning is behind this great idea of theirs.

The BBC has this to say about the subject and I can’t help thinking that it’s a tongue in cheek dig at the pair who I don’t believe have ever experienced poverty in any form.

Nearly half a million people, described by the UN as “the poorest of the poor”, will soon be able to make mobile calls.

Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/6986804.stm

One of the arguments put forward into justifying this “scheme” is that there will be possibly be an emergency number for healthcare, but then in places which the UN describes as:

…located in hunger ‘hotspots’ where chronic hunger is widespread, often accompanied by a high prevalence of disease, lack of access to medical care, and a severe lack of infrastructure

One has to wonder who would respond to an emergency call anyway and if the infrastructure doesn’t exist to support a phone call whats the point?

Then there’s the issue of cost, if you are reading this thinking the “lucky” recipients are going to get free calls, think again.  There’s tariffs for the people who get a B&C Mobile (albeit allegedly cheaper),  so whilst the developing nations are entering this brave new world of technological empowerment, there’s a price to be paid?

The other question would be, what mobiles are going to be given away?  If I was suspicious minded I could think that this “scheme” is a great way for countries to keep old tech out of landfill by packaging them off to developing countries under the guise of charity, that way they are the recipients problem and its their soil which will get polluted when the phone finally expires.  Taking that one step further maybe the Gates Foundation could get involved and dump all the unsold Kin’s on them? or maybe if/when Windows Mobile 7 fails to sell, they can pump that platform into developing countries and claim the “new” Windows mobile platform as a success?

Can anyone clarify if the developing world are going to be sent brand new phones, or merely keeping our old junk out of landfill?

After B&C have got mobile phones sorted, whats next? Gucci handbags?

Heres part of Techwatch’s report:

The mobile phone industry is unsurprisingly behind the scheme, as it represents a financial opportunity to the tune of $13 billion for them.

Source: http://www.techwatch.co.uk/2010/10/09/cherie-blair-and-hilary-clinton-back-mobiles-for-women-scheme/

Or how about the Inquirer?

The scheme has the backing of the mobile phone industry, which obviously intends to make an estimated $13 billion if they pull it off.

Source: http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/1741296/plan-women-mobiles

Lets help the people less fortunate than ourselves, but let’s do it properly.

Goblin – bytes4free@googlemail.com

If you are new to this blog (or have not yet read it) please take time to view the OpenBytes statement, here.