An Analysis of Community Mobilization Strategies of a Voice-based Community Media Platform in Rural India
We define community mobilization as offline activities typically required in ICTD initiatives to train users and drive adoption for the sustained use of ICTs within the community. Community mobilization forms an important but under-discussed component of ICTD initiatives. In this article, we present a case study of a voice-based community media platform in rural central India and the experiments it has undergone with multiple community mobilization strategies over a period of five years. We analyze different phases of community mobilization and draw insights related to how technology platforms can be appropriated by specific actors to drive their own agendas, how organizational control can be imposed to prevent undesirable appropriation, yet give communities the flexibility to use the platform according to their needs, and how group structures and hybrid financial-social incentives can be created to build sustainable networks that can be replicated and scaled in a standardized manner. We use the Actor-Network Theory, along with Olson’s Theory of Groups and Incentives to explain our observations. Our methods can be generalized and applied by other ICTD initiatives to evaluate their own community mobilization strategies.