Mobile Web For Social Development (MW4D) Interest Group Charter

The mission of the Mobile Web For Social Development (MW4D) Interest Group, part of the Mobile Web Initiative Activity, is to explore the potential of Web technologies on Mobile phones as a solution to bridge the Digital Divide and provide Information and Communication Technology (ICT) based services to rural communities and underprivileged populations of Developing Countries.

The four main goals of the MW4D Interest Group are:

  1. Challenges to Identification: To understand ICT-access issues in rural communities and underprivileged populations, and document needs, challenges, and use cases.
  2. Roadmap Definition: To identify, for each challenge, promising solutions.
  3. Community Building: To create an interdisciplinary forum for discussing how mobile phone technologies can help bridge the digital divide.
  4. Contribution to Universal Web Access: To help ensure that W3C is fulfilling its mission of making the Web available to all.

Join the Mobile Web For Social Development (MW4D) Interest Group.

End date 31 May 2009
Confidentiality Proceedings are public
Initial Chairs Ken Banks (kiwanja.net) and Stéphane Boyera (W3C)
Initial Team Contacts
(FTE %: 40)
Stéphane Boyera
Usual Meeting Schedule Teleconferences: bi-Monthly
Face-to-face: Once Annually


This section describes the activities that the Interest Group may pursue, organized by the goals defined in the introductory section.

Challenges to Identification

Roadmap Definition

While identifying the key challenges of deploying ICT-based solutions on mobile phones is important, it is even more critical to also investigate what are potential solutions to address them. Here, the MW4D IG may explore the needs of:

Community Building

The success of the MW4D IG relies on the participation of people and organization with different background, including:

The MW4D will therefore work to engage all the relevant parties in its work through the organization of event (including W3C Workshops), the launch of public collaboration tools (mailing-list, blog, wiki,...), and the establishment of liaisons with important players in the field.

Contribution to Universal Web Access

The MW4D IG has also the goal to identify how the W3C community can contribute to bridging the Digital Divide and help reach the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. Therefore, it is within the scope of this Interest Group to:


MW4D IG will include the development of following deliverables according to the outlined below.

W3C Interest Group Note(s) on Challenges of Mobile Web for Development

A (set of) Note(s) identifying the potential and the challenges of using the Mobile Web as a tool for social Development, and the potential direction to explore to tackle them. It will identify the key challenges to make the Mobile Web accessible, relevant, usable and useful in Social Development actions. This note should cover the whole domain, from the technological aspects till the social aspects (e.g. adoption and appropriation factors), including e.g. sustainability, replicability, and scalability points. This (set of) Note(s) will contribute to the goals 1, 2 and 4 described in the introductory section.

Two Workshops in Latin America and Africa

The organization of the first workshop on the Mobile Web in Developing Countries in Bangalore, India, at the end of 2006 showed that international travels is a challenge for people working in the field. Therefore, most of the grassroots experience and use cases presented during this workshop were coming from India. In order to capture the specificities of each Developing Region, and to gather feedback from different continent, MW4D IG will organize 2 new workshops, one in Latin America and one in Africa. These events will contribute to the goals 1, 2 and 3 described in the introductory section.

Directory of Information about Device Markets and Mobile Infrastructure in Developing Countries

W3C's "Mobile Web Best Practice 1.0" relies on the definition of the Default Delivery Context, which represents the most common characteristics of mobile Devices and infrastructure existing in Europe, US or Japan. It is important to gather similar information about Developing Regions in order to take those specificities into account when identifying the challenges of Mobile Web Access in these countries. This directory will contribute to goal 1 described in the introductory section.

Directory of Organizations/Companies/Individuals working in the field of ICT4D

The Interest Group will create a directory of Organizations/Companies/Individuals working in the field of ICT for Development ("ICT4D") and more particularly those focusing on the use of mobile phones. The aim of MW4D IG is to create an inter-disciplinary forum that will gather people from the technology side, and people with background in Social Development. There are already numerous initiatives or projects going on all around the world on the use of ICT in Development. It is important to identify them, and gather the existing expertise, use cases and so on, that would serve as the basis for MW4D IG work. This directory will contribute to the goals 1 and 3 described in the introductory section.

Deliverables Schedule


In order to be most successful the MW4D Interest Group will coordinate with various W3C and non-W3C related groups working in similar areas. These groups include:

W3C Mobile Web Best Practices WG
The identification of specificities related to e.g the Device market in Developing Countries may induce the definition of specific requirements to the MWBP groups
W3C WAI Web Content WG
W3C WAI Research and Development IG
One of the topics MW4D IG will have to consider is the problem of illiteracy particularly affecting Developing Countries. This topic is in the scope of the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative and particularly the two mentioned groups.
W3C Internationalization Core WG
One of the topics MW4D IG will have to consider is the availability of content in local languages. How to handle them may require cooperation with I18N Core WG.
eGovernment at W3C
Deploying eGovernment services to citizens of Developing Countries is a major challenge due to the lack of infrastructure and computers. The current penetration rate of mobile phones makes them the most promising option for this deployment. On another side, the availability of government services may leverage the adoption of Mobile Web technologies. Therefore, close relationships between MW4D IG and future eGovernment work in W3C is essential.
The World Bank Global Information and Communication Technologies Department
MIT Legatum Center
GSMA "Bridging Digital Divide" Initiative
dotMobi Advisory Group initiative on Mobile Internet in Developing Countries
Those International organizations or initiatives are dealing with related goals as the MW4D IG. It is essential to develop liaisons and cooperations with them in order to share experience, expertise, and to ensure that we are all going in the same direction, in a complementary way.

Note: There is no foreseen potential commonality and relation between the MW4D IG and the MWI Device Description WG. The DDWG is not working on gathering data about device characteristics but is defining the standard way of accessing programmatically repositories of device information.


W3C has created the MW4D IG to be an an open, sustainable forum. To help ensure that the deliverables identified in this charter are produced in a timely fashion and represent the needs of a variety of communities, we therefore seek both dedicated and broad participation. We anticipate that dedicated individuals will enable the group to make timely progress, and that the diverse communities interested in the goals outlined by this charter -- companies, universities, and organizations of various types -- will be represented in the group.

The MW4D IG therefore welcomes participation from representatives of W3C Member organizations. To enable a broad spectrum of input, the MW4D IG also anticipates the active participation of individuals as W3C Invited Experts (read the policy for approval of Invited Experts) from universities, NGO and organizations. Participation from W3C Members and non-Members alike will help ensure the goals of this charter are effectively addressed. Invited Experts in this group are not granted access to Member-only information.

The W3C Team expects to dedicate the services of one staff member to serve 40% of his / her time as staff contact for the MW4D IG to facilitate discussion as well as in the publication of notes and help with the liaison to related W3C efforts.

Participation is expected to consume up to a half-day a week of each participant's time.


The MW4D Interest Group is expected to hold bi-monthly conference calls, and one or two face-to-face meetings. In addition, much of the work of this Interest Group will be done in task forces, which may hold additional conference calls or face-to-face meetings.

Communications of the MW4D will be public. This includes a public home page that records the history of the group and provides access to the public-mw4d-ig@w3.org mailing list, discussion archives, meeting minutes, updated schedule of deliverables, membership list, and relevant documents and resources.

Decision Policy

As explained in the Process Document (section 3.3), this group will seek to make decisions when there is consensus. When the Chair puts a question and observes dissent, after due consideration of different opinions, the Chair should record a decision (possibly after a formal vote) and any objections, and move on.

Patent Disclosures

The Mobile Web For Development (MW4D) Interest Group provides an opportunity to share perspectives on the topic addressed by this charter. W3C reminds Interest Group participants of their obligation to comply with patent disclosure obligations as set out in Section 6 of the W3C Patent Policy. While the Interest Group does not produce Recommendation-track documents, when Interest Group participants review Recommendation-track specifications from Working Groups, the patent disclosure obligations do apply.

For more information about disclosure obligations for this group, please see the W3C Patent Policy Implementation.

About this Charter

This charter for the Mobile Web For Social Development (MW4D) Interest Group has been created according to section 6.2 of the Process Document. In the event of a conflict between this document or the provisions of any charter and the W3C Process, the W3C Process shall take precedence.

Stéphane Boyera, W3C

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