Newswise — Mobile Voices/Voces Móviles, the microblogging project designed in collaboration with USC Annenberg and the Institute of Popular Education of Southern California, or IDEPSCA, has won a United Nations-sponsored World Summit Award for innovative mobile applications. The collaborative project is one of five winners in the "m-Inclusion & Empowerment" category, targeted to those apps that "support integration within the global information society."

Mobile Voices is an open-source platform that lets mobile phone users post text, photo and video content to a publicly available website. Day laborers and household workers across Los Angeles, as well as members of the Los Angeles Community Action Network (LACAN), have used the interface to report news, distribute information and share stories about their work, lives, and their points of view.

IDEPSCA's Popular Communication team, which is made up of the day laborers and household workers who developed the Mobile Voices system, prepared the following statement:

"This is an effort of more than 2 years, where IDEPSCA's day laborers and household workers, in collaboration with USC, worked collectively in a participatory method. Today, we fulfill our goal of consolidating Mobile Voices as a window to the universe where the voices of those who for centuries have been excluded from the word can be heard. Silence has been broken and our voice was heard in a far away place in the Middle East. There is no work done in vain."

"This effort has been transformative and inspiring," said Amanda Garces, Mobile Voices project manager at IDEPSCA. "Winning this award truly reflects the essence of the Mobile Voices project. IDEPSCA's popular education methodology has created the path for the workers to become subjects of their own reality. The workers truly live IDEPSCA's motto of reading reality to write their own history. Their commitment is invaluable."

"One of the unique strengths of VozMob is that it was designed from the start in close collaboration with the immigrant workers it serves," said communication professor François Bar, one of the USC Annenberg scholars on the project team. "This United Nations award brings global recognition to the value of our participatory design approach."

"The award is a great honor for everyone who has worked hard to make VozMob a success -- IDEPSCA and LACAN workers, community organizers, Annenberg students and open-source programmers," Bar said.

The awards are given by the United Nations in recognition of online and mobile content that promotes global digital access and inclusion in the communication revolution, especially in developing countries and underserved communities. More than 420 products from nearly 100 countries were considered for awards.

Other winners in Mobile Voices' award category included a German application providing resources for handicapped people and an SMS-integrated program linking remote communities in Guatemala.

The winning project teams will receive their awards in December at the World Summit Award Mobile Winners' Gala, Conference and Expo in Abu Dhabi. In addition to an awards ceremony, the three-day conference brings together global leaders in mobile application development for networking and knowledge exchange.

About IDEPSCAThe roots of the Instituto de Educacion Popular del Sur de California (IDEPSCA) trace back to 1984, when a group of students and parents met in Central Park in the City of Pasadena to confront racism, educational inequalities and the lack of affordable housing. Stories of joy, struggle and hope became mirrors for educational and organizing processes. This experience, and systematic practice that evolved from it, has given IDEPSCA the tools and methods to successfully work with low-income workers and others groups committed to solving problems in their own communities.

About the USC Annenberg School for CommunicationLocated in Los Angeles at the University of Southern California, the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism is a national leader in education and scholarship in the fields of communication, journalism, public diplomacy and public relations. With an enrollment of more than 2,200 students, USC Annenberg offers doctoral, graduate and undergraduate degree programs, as well as continuing development programs for working professionals, across a broad scope of academic inquiry. The school's comprehensive curriculum emphasizes the core skills of leadership, innovation, service and entrepreneurship and draws upon the resources of a networked university located in the media capital of the world.

About the World Summit Award-MobileOrganized by the International Center for New Media in Salzburg, the World Summit Award-Mobile is a global initiative within the framework of, and in cooperation with, the United Nations World Summit on the Information Society, in collaboration with UNESCO, UNIDO and the United National Global Alliance for ICT and Development. The WSA-mobile is the only ICT event worldwide that reaches the mobile community in over 160 countries and is able to promote the best mobile content and innovative applications out of this huge selection.

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