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[liberationtech] Fwd: [liberation-techology] Liberation Technology Seminar Series- Feb 10, 2011

Kevin Donovan kdonovan11 at
Tue Feb 8 21:17:50 PST 2011

There is more information about the project here:

As I understand it, it aims to decrease information asymmetries in the same
manner as other virtual marketplaces like CellBazaar in Bangladesh or Manobi
and Esoko for agricultural products. This time, it's just aimed exclusively
at water in Kibera.

The possibility that it will exclude the very poorest is likely, given that
mobile ownership is still exclusionary, but I'm more sanguine than some that
increased information symmetry in a market has effects that do not likely
include undermining collective action.

As a contrast, consider the Katitika Water Project that seeks to create
sustainable and safe water through the use of M-PESA. This project brings a
whole host of additional considerations, including routing drinking water
through a proprietary standard.


Briefly surveyed here:

On Tue, Feb 8, 2011 at 11:20 PM, Yosem Companys <companys at>wrote:

> Michael sent the following email to the list, which seems to have bounced
> for some unexplained reason.  Here it is again.
> Best,
> YC
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> From: Michael Gurstein <gurstein at>
> Date: Tue, Feb 8, 2011 at 1:27 PM
> Subject: RE: [liberation-techology] Liberation Technology Seminar Series-
> Feb 10,2011
> To: ciresearchers at,
> ci-research-sa at
> Cc: Kathleen Barcos <kbarcos at>,
> liberation-techology at, CDDRL <
> cddrlresearchseminar at>, Yosem Company <
> companys at>, Knight's Fellowship Program <degarcia at>,
> CSLI <allison at>, Ruth Kricheli <ruthk at>, Kelly
> Leigh Rosellen <rosellen at>
>  I could be wrong and if so I would be delighted to be corrected but is
> not the project described below precisely the problem with a solely mobile
> phone approach to ICT for D.
> What I understand from the below is that the system described provides a
> means for individual cell phone users (those with the financial resources to
> own and use a cell phone for this purpose) to acquire information that will
> be of value to them as individuals (and their families) i.e. "information
> about water availability, price, and quality".
> This information will presumably assist the individual system user to
> respond effectively to the problem of clean water in Kibera but will do
> little if anything (in fact perhaps even undermining) the only means by
> which the problem could be resolved for the mass (millions) of those living
> in the slum which is a collective and community response to ensure that the
> means are put in place for all to have access to clean water; and not simply
> those who are privileged whether by locality or by their access to ICTs and
> this particular ICT app.
> Best,
> Mike
> Michael Gurstein, Ph.D.
> Director: Centre for Community Informatics Research, Development and
> Training (CCIRDT)
> Vancouver, CANADA
> Cape Town, SA (in conjunction with Izandla Zethu SA)
> -----Original Message-----
> *From:* liberation-techology-bounces at [mailto:
> liberation-techology-bounces at] *On Behalf Of *Kathleen
> Barcos
> *Sent:* Tuesday, February 08, 2011 1:07 PM
> *To:* liberation-techology at; CDDRL; Yosem Company;
> Knight's Fellowship Program; CSLI; Ruth Kricheli; Kelly Leigh Rosellen
> *Subject:* [liberation-techology] Liberation Technology Seminar Series-
> Feb 10,2011
>  [image: Program on Liberation Technology]
>  Can ICT Improve Clean Water Delivery Systems in Slums? Lessons from
> Kibera
> *CDDRL, PGJ, Program on Liberation Technology Seminar Series*
> Date and Time
> February 10, 2011
> 4:30 PM - 6:00 PM
> Locatiion
> Wallenberg Theater
> Bldg 160
> Stanford University
>  Speakers
> *Katherine Hoffman* - International Policy Studies, M.A. Candidate,Global
> Health concentration at Stanford University
> *Sunny Jeon* - Ph.D. Candidate,Political Science at Stanford University
> *Abstract
> *Water is scarce, costly, and contaminated in Kibera, Nairobi -- one of
> Africa's largest urban slums. On good days, the women and children spend
> just under an hour finding clean water in their community. On bad days, the
> price of water increases tenfold and the search takes all day. Often, people
> ask jokingly whether it is water or cholera they are buying.
> Many slums like Kibera lack access to clean drinking water, but they don't
> lack access to mobile phones. This is the insight behind M-Maji, a start-up
> non-profit project that uses mobile phones to empower communities with
> better information about water availability, price, and quality. This
> seminar will introduce the M-Maji system, and describe some of the
> challenges to designing for such a complex social environment.Background:
> M-Maji emerged from the Designing Liberation Technologies course in the
> Stanford, which focused on using mobile phone technology for health
> improvement in Kibera. M-Maji has since received funding to run a pilot from
> the Program on Liberation Technologies and the Center on Philanthropy and
> Civil Society at Stanford
> *Sunny Jeon* is the principal investigator to M-Maji research, and is
> currently making frequent trips to Kenya to prepare for a randomized impact
> evaluation of their water program. He is also a Ph.D. Candidate in the
> Stanford Department of Political Science, where he is working on a
> dissertation project that studies the economic and political returns to
> ethnic diversity.
> *Katherine Hoffman* is a co-terminal student completing a B.A. in
> International Relations and Economics and an M.A. in International Policy
> Studies with a focus on Global Health. She has been involved with M-Maji
> since it began in Spring quarter, and has just returned from a trip to Kenya
> in December to begin laying the groundwork for the project implementation.
> Her primary interests include economic development and health improvement
> in low-resource settings. Past experience includes internships at the Bonn
> International Center for Conversion in Bonn, Germany and at the Institute
> for Financial Management in Chennai, India; she has also volunteered at the
> Center for the Working Girl in Quito, Ecuador and studied abroad for a
> quarter in Moscow.
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Kevin Donovan
Georgetown '11: SFS
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