Libraries for Everyone in Uganda


Ugandan telecom company MTN wanted to  promote its cell phone service while doing something good for the youth in Uganda. So they placed full page ads in newspapers in Uganda which displayed books, which became virtual libraries. Ugandan children then used their feature phones to access the books. 


The brand asked people who saw the ad to tape the “virtual library” up wherever they wanted, so they could share the books with their community. To read a particular book, users texted that book’s USSD code (a mobile system similar to SMS accessible via feature phones) to a special number. They were then sent the text of the book to read on their feature phone. 


Why I’m Curious

We saw a similar example of a brand taking old phones and putting books on old cards memory cards that could be loaded into children’s feature phones. This seems to take it to the next level with more community-sharing functionality. 

I’m curious to see if there are other simple or old technologies out there that can be used to better share information or resources. With Amazon Kindle, we currently can rent books or be part of a lending program. The same is true for iTunes music, which is available on 5 devices. What are some other things we could reasonably share to defray costs? 


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