Gonzaga Kawuma was away from his farm when his cow collapsed and could not stand up again. Gonzaga’s wife gave him the disheartening news on the smartphone he has received as part of his participating in Grameen Foundation’s Community Knowledge Worker (CKW) program in Uganda. Gonzaga relied on his smartphone to diagnose his cow’s illness. Its fall could have been caused by a number of ailments – muscle fatigue, arthritis, foot rot – but Gonzaga figured out that the problems was a shortage of calcium.
As a CKW, Gonzaga has access to a wealth of farming knowledge through mobile technology. Using the smartphone and databases available to him as a CKW, he helps other poor farmers find solutions to their problems, providing them with information about weather, crop and animal diseases, and market prices, among other things.
Using this same set of information, Gonzaga figured out that his cow had “milk fever,” which often occurs after cows give birth and experience a sudden shortage of blood calcium. When the demand for calcium to produce milk exceeds the cow’s ability to do so, they become unsteady and eventually cannot stand at all. Gonzaga’s cow had given birth just three days ago.
Gonzaga called a veterinarian, who prescribed a calcium injection. Today, his cow is healthy and currently produces between 18 and 20 liters (around 5 gallons) of milk per day. Gonzaga was able to save his cow – and his livelihood – thanks to the information he found using his smartphone.