Kiva.org is currently piloting in Uganda and Kenya a solution which allows partners to update the Kiva.org website from their cell-phone.
Kiva.org's partnership with Microsoft Research through the Digital Inclusion project brought to our attention the difficulties our African partners have been overcoming to access the Kiva system. Electrical power in East Africa is very often provided only every other day, and internet connections are at best extremely slow and sporadic. These conditions make uploading required content (business descriptions and updates) extremely cumbersome.
As many third world countries have greater cell-phone than internet access, Microsoft Research recommended that we leverage cell-phone technology to find a solution which would allow our partners to post without third world infrastructure difficulties. Over the last few weeks our developers have been designing a system, using all Open Sourcetechnology, to allow partners to update the Kiva.org website using the MMS capabilities of their cell-phones in their native countries. In short, this solution allows our partners to update the Kiva.org website using cell-phones and completely by-passing computers.
This system is currently being piloted in Uganda and Kenya after a successful testing period on the American continent. We hope to have updates from cell phones on the live web site in the coming weeks, and we'll certainly keep you updated on our success.