It's almost exactly ten years since I was first involved in communication between UK and Nigeria. In those days my friend, the late Peter Adetunji Oyawale, could only phone one person in his entire Oke-Ogun Community Development network. If we made a phone call it was to the landline of Chief Adetola, in the state capital Ibadan. What a contrast now. Today, from rural Ago-Are i got this text: "Mornin ma, my wiv gave birth 2 a bouncin baby boy yesterday afternoon, thanks Fola."
Not only did Fola send his information to me, via SMS he also went online through is phone and shared his news publicly through a couple of yahoo groups saying "Hi all, God gave my family a healthy,handsome,bouncing baby boy yesterday afternoon and I really wish to say this is God' revelation and manifestation in my new family. Thanks be to Him alone." The two groups be wrote to were LearningFromEachOther (one of the Minciu Sodas groups) and FantsuamSLD - self-directed learners (a group set up to demonstrate yahoo groups to participants on the SDL course in Fantsuam in 2008).
Fola was an enthusiastic participant on the SDL course, and somethin else he learned there was how to set up a blog. You can see how he got, and learn more about his life as a teacher in the bush at "Teaching in the rurals" .
Fola is exactly the kind of person that people should connect with if they do ICT4D projects and want to know about realities on the ground. See his blog for descriptions of teaching in a Nigerian village and for detailed descriptions of phone usage and local costs.
I truly believe that the information Fola has available rivals much of the infromation collected during expensive formal research projects. Anyone reading his blog will see that his main stumbling block is paying to go online, now and again Dadamac Foundation is able to send him a small donation to help with that cost. (You can give an online donation here to Dadamac Foundation - please say if the donation is to be directed to Fola).
Here at Dadamac it is our dream and vision that before Fola's son becomes a man there will be true two-way communication between rural Africa and those who presently shape policy, organise research, provide funding and such like, who at present still use uninformed top-down "20th centrury" ways. The technolgy is there. The people are there. It seems all that is laciking is the will to be better informed.