Real mobiles: Kenyan and Zambian Smallholder Farmers' current attitudes towards mobile phones

Wyche, Susan P and Densmore, Melissa and Geyer, Brian S (2015) Real mobiles: Kenyan and Zambian Smallholder Farmers' current attitudes towards mobile phones, Proceedings of 7th International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies and Development (ICTD '15), 15-18 May 2015, Singapore, ACM.

[img] PDF

Download (1MB)


What are rural farmers in sub-Saharan Africa's current attitudes towards their mobile phones? We draw from qualitative studies of smallholder farmers in Kenya and Zambia to answer this question. A review of ongoing efforts to develop mobile phone services for farmers paired with critiques of the "colonial impulse" embedded in future-oriented visions of technology use guided our study. Our findings suggest there is a mismatch between the design of mobile phone applications and our participants' perceptions and usage of their devices. We also discovered several understudied barriers that hinder adoption of mobile services: the influx of counterfeit and substandard mobile phones, distrust of the content being delivered via SMS and reservations about the spiritual and health consequences accompanying phone use. We use these findings to encourage Information and Communication Technology and Development (ICTD) researchers and practitioners to re-examine the mobile phone. Specifically, we suggest developing interventions that teach farmers how to better use phones and present recommendations for improving their design.

Item Type: Conference paper
Uncontrolled Keywords: Human-Computer Interaction (HCI); mobile phones; agriculture; rural; sub-Saharan Africa; qualitative research, postcolonial computing; HCI4D, ICTD
Subjects: Information systems
Alternate Locations:,
Date Deposited: 26 Jan 2016
Last Modified: 10 Oct 2019 15:32

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item