The Info Ladies of Bangladesh

Abstract Fantasy PinkToday I’ve written about a subject that’s somewhat off our usual Internet Security theme, but it’s touched my heart and I want to share it.

We in the First World countries consider access to the Internet, by one or more of our personal computers, as a commonly available necessity. We take for granted our access to Facebook, Google, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social networks. We gladly pay whatever it takes to have 24/7 access to it.

In contrast, the remote villages in the Third World country of Bangladesh receive their access to the Internet by way of Info Ladies on bicycles. Yes, bicycles.

“Dozens of “Info Ladies” bike into remote Bangladeshi villages with laptops and Internet connections, helping tens of thousands of people — especially women — get everything from government services to chats with distant loved ones. It’s a vital service in a country where only 5 million of 152 million people have Internet access.

The Info Ladies project, created in 2008 by local development group D.Net and other community organizations, is modeled after a program that helped make cellphones widespread in Bangladesh. It intends to enlist thousands more workers in the next few years with startup funds from the South Asian country’s central bank and expatriates working around the world.”

This virtual “bike net” sounds so primitive to us, but is an innovative idea. It’s heart-warming to know that this project is providing a great service in spite of not having any of the broadband infrastructure that enables our access to the Internet. In fact, they’ve not let that hinder their task. We can take much inspiration from the Bangladeshi people in this instance.

Reference: Associated Press Article

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