Rural India is the hotbed for mobile innovation and while there are seeds of broadband and technology innovation that is being implanted, communication is still a big challenge.
I have a fundamental belief that urban India is still solving the rural India challenges with the urban mindset – and what we miss out is understanding the local flavour of the market.
Gaon ki Awaz is an interesting project, launched in Rampur-Mathura village and is defining how local news is delivered in the rural villages, which are devoid of TV/Internet and other medium [especially for hyperlocal context].
A couple of people in each village, chosen as reporters, gather the stories. Be it about thefts, fires, holes in the road, floods, births, deaths, prayer meetings etc, the stories are recorded in the local dialect and sent them to an editor, who can filter and perhaps add in region-wide information on crop prices, weather forecasts or even advice on sanitation or childcare [source].
The news/update is sent via voice calls twice a day – and is probably the most useful info for the villagers during the day.
If you look at such initiatives, they bring in a strong sense of localization [media firms, take note of this], while companies like Nokia are trying to bring in the urban context to rural part [Life Tools services].
One is an inside-out attempt to bridge the information gap, while other brings in outside-in perspective.
All of them matter.