Mobile phones empower women in Bangladesh

Update on the PROTIC project which is now in full swing; this project is a collaboration between Monash Faculty of IT and Oxfam Bangladesh and led by COSI researchers Larry Stillman and Tom Denison.

Bangladesh Women

Mobile phones with internet access have been distributed to women living on isolated farms in two rural areas of Bangladesh. The phones connect women to an interactive community service that provides information relating to agriculture practices, weather forecasting, housing and health. The service can also provide advice about livestock and disease and can issue flood alerts and weather warnings.

For example, livestock can be moved to higher ground and not risk disease or death if the farmer has been forewarned of the danger. Or if there is a sick animal, advice can be sought straight away about appropriate medicines.

Whilst the pilot is now complete and funding secure for the next three years, there is a need to attract further funding to extend the project. Early results show there has already been a significant improvement in the quality of life and well-being of these women and their families.

Provati, a female farmer, can now use the internet to search for the best ways to make worm compost and how to cultivate vegetables more efficiently. She now sells the compost to other local farmers and contributes financially to the family.

It’s easy to see how something we take for granted, can make such a huge difference to disadvantaged groups around the world.

To take part in this community development project, expressions of interest are sought for a PROTIC “Resilient Communities in Bangladesh” PhD Scholarship. Applications close on 28th August. For more information please contact Associate Professor Gillian Oliver at COSI, Faculty of IT. Or visit the application page here.

Photo credit: Fahad Kaizer