2006 January


This is a question that is central to the mission of LIRNEasia. The link below connects to a very accessible discussion on the subject: In Conversation: Carol Weiss and Evert Lindquist on Policymaking and Research: International Development Research Centre
Microsoft Would Put Poor Online by Cellphone By JOHN MARKOFF Published: January 30, 2006 DAVOS, Switzerland, Jan. 29 — It sounds like a project that just about any technology-minded executive could get behind: distributing durable, cheap laptop computers in the developing world to help education. But in the year since Nicholas Negroponte, the founder of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Laboratory, unveiled his prototype for a $100 laptop, he has found himself wrestling with Microsoft and the politics of software. Mr. Negroponte has made significant progress, but he has also catalyzed the debate over the role of computing in poor nations — and ruffled a few feathers.
LIRNEasia organised a press conference to highlight two major initiatives in the area of hazard warning, one that it launched on providing disaster mitigation and last-mile connectivity to tsunami-affected villages and the other that it wrapped up on dam-related hazard warning system for Sri Lanka. LIRNEasia released A Concept Paper for a Dam-related Hazard Warning System in Sri Lanka: A Participatory Study on Actions Required to Avoid and Mitigate Dam Disasters in collaboration with its project partners, the Vanguard Foundation, Sri Lanka National Committee on Large Dams (SLNCOLD), Intermediate Technology Development Group (ITDG) and Sarvodaya. This work was funded by the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives. Prof. Rohan Samarajiva, Executive Director of LIRNEasia, handed over the final concept paper to U.
Dr. Muttukrishna Sarvananthan, Principal Researcher at Point Pedro Institute of Development presented some of his work on research methods for contraband trade and on general methodologies for estimating the size of trade in grey/ informal markets. Colloquium: Methodologies for estimating grey/informal markets – Power point presentation slides Some points from the discussion are below: Muttukrishna Sarvanathan (MS): official data is available for goods from Central Bank. For services, data is not as widely available. Contraband trade includes false invoicing of exports and imports (partial evasion of tariffs) and complete non-recording of trade (total evasion of tariffs) false invoicing can be detected / estimated by: Partner-country data comparison model and unit price comparison model.
Colombo, Sri Lanka, 19 December 2005: Men and women in Sri Lanka and India engage in similar levels of telephone use in low-income settings, according to a recent study carried out by LIRNEasia. A study conducted by LIRNEasia, an Asian research organization based in Colombo, explores the use of telecom services amongst people whose incomes are less than approximately USD 100 per month in Sri Lanka and India. The study provides evidence that there are few significant differences between men and women in the use of fixed, mobile or public phones at these income levels. These results challenge the findings of several prior and well-established studies……..
LIRNEasia in collaboration with The Vanguard Foundation, Sri Lanka National Committee on Large Dams (SLNCOLD), Intermediate Technology Development Group (ITDG) and Sarvodaya has released A Concept Paper for a Dam-related Hazard Warning System in Sri Lanka: A Participatory Study on Actions Required to Avoid and Mitigate Dam Disasters. This work was funded by The Canada Fund for Local Initiatives. The Concept Paper (version 2.0) and Annexes can be downloaded by following the links: Dam Safety Concept Paper (version 2.0) Dam Safety – Annexes
Throughout the past year we have debated the pros and cons of "free" (as in beer) WiFi networks in cities, especially the sustainability and fairness of using taxpayer funds to pay for the network.  An interesting commentary on the state of play in the US is given at Advocates of Wi-Fi in Cities Learn Art of Politics – New York Times
BY ANJANA Samarasinghe (Daily News) www.dailynews.lk THE Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL) has allocated Rs. 2.5 million for the “eNABLE” project this year.
Colombo, Sri Lanka. 19 December 2005: Sixteen per cent of the revenues of Bangladesh’s Grameen Phone come from four per cent of customers. And they are not the most affluent people; they are village phone ladies. This is one of the key findings of recent research conducted by LIRNEasia. LIRNEasia, an Asian research organization based in Colombo with a particular focus on issues relating to ICTs and development, today released a study titled, “An Investigation of the Replicability of a Microfinance Approach to Extending Telecommunications Access to Marginal Customers” which indicates that the widespread perception that it is not economical to serve “marginal customers”/ the poor is a myth.
As a part of LIRNEasia’s Telecom Use on a Shoestring project, a third country, Bangladesh is studied. While surveys were conducted in India and Sri Lanka, a substantial amount of similar research has already been carried out on Bangladesh, in the context of Grameen’s Village Phone program. Therefore, this part of the study is in the form of a meta-analysis of some of these key studies. A draft is available for comment here: Teleuse on a shoestring: Bangladesh meta analysis v.2.
The Pacific Telecom Council meetings where I first presented our analysis of the tsunami reponse has scheduled a major session on disaster communication at the 2006 meetings. PTC’06 Conference and Exhibition

Webhamuva yields bicycles

Posted by on January 12, 2006  /  0 Comments

As part of our partnership with Sarvodaya on using ICTs for disaster management, LIRNEasia is managing www.webhamuva.org.  The excerpt below is from the Daily Mirror of 10th January 2006(www.dailymirror.
Colombo, Sri Lanka, 19 December 2005: A recent study has shown that fifty-eight per cent of low-income telephone users are absent from conventional telecom indicators. The study also shows that they are spending more of their monthly incomes than expected on telecom services. The study supports C.K. Prahalad’s claim that there is a fortune to be made at the ‘bottom of the pyramid,’ not only at the top.
Dec 23, 2005, By: Robert Clark, Wireless Asia http://www.telecomasia.net/telecomasia/article/articleDetail.jsp?id=274336 The UN summit in Tunis last month did not turn out to be the showdown expected between the and the rest of the world.
The 3rd world view Why people still think that there is something good about being undersupplied by local inept monopolies versus getting good service from decent companies is a mystery.  But I guess this kind of thinking is the reason South Asia remains the sick man of the world. 
LIRNEasia is undertaking a project to provide disaster mitigation training and last-mile connectivity to tsunami-affected villages along the coast of Sri Lanka. The effectiveness of training and five different ICT technologies that will be deployed will be assessed with a view of rolling out the most successful strategies and technologies in 226 tsunami-affected Sarvodaya villages. This IDRC funded project is partnered with Sarvodaya, Vanguard Foundation, Dr. Gordon Gow, LSE, UK, TVE Asia Pacific, Sri Lanka and the Community Tsunami Early-Warning Center (CTEC) at Peraliya. In the aftermath of the Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004, it was evident that if Sri Lanka along with the other affected countries had an effective disaster warning system in place, many lives could have been saved.
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