SEATTLE, Washington — More than three billion people in the world live on less than $2.50 per day, but every day there are innovative people putting their energy into solutions to global poverty. Whether aiming to improve global health outcomes, help children learn to read or open remote business markets to the world, new technology helps to fight the global poverty crisis. Here are five promising examples of technological innovation being used right now.
- The Gifted Mom App
Gifted Mom is a combination of text messages and apps that work together to help expectant and new mothers. In Cameroon, where the app was originally launched, more than 7,000 women die every year because of pregnancy complications. By enabling pregnant women to subscribe to life-saving text messages that provide information about vaccines, prenatal care and general reproductive health, the Gifted Mom App aims to reduced mortality rates. So far the app has gained significant traction, with more than 6,500 women subscribed in Cameroon and Nigeria alone.
- Worldreader Mobile
Worldreader is a nonprofit with the mission of creating a more literate world. Recent studies indicate that more than 250 million children do not have basic reading and writing abilities, and more than 700 million people in the world today are illiterate. Further, an estimated 50 percent of schools in Africa have little or no books at all. Worldreader Mobile was launched to increase access to books using e-readers. Now, anyone with a cellphone can enjoy the educational benefits of Worldreader’s digital library.
- XO Laptop
Many communities in the developing world do not have access to the technology necessary to provide a quality basic education to the students. The XO Laptop was created to help solve this problem. It is a small, low-cost but highly efficient computer designed to function in direct sunlight. It has built-in wireless internet that enables students in remote areas to connect globally. More than 2.4 million children in Peru, Kenya, Nepal and Afghanistan are currently using donated XO Laptops.
- Red Tracker
At a recent event organized by Developers Without Borders, a new app called Red Tracker was announced. The app is designed to educate women about reproductive health and fertility, and help them keep track of ovulation and menstrual cycles. It also relays this information to local community health workers. If a woman using the app does not have her period on time, a health worker is notified to visit that woman, administer a pregnancy test and provide any additional necessary care.
The number of people using smartphones is predicted to nearly triple globally by 2020, a trend that presents opportunities to fight the global poverty crisis in innovative ways. With only a smartphone, people can access life-changing information, including finding work. That’s precisely why programmers created Jooble, a worldwide search engine that focuses on finding jobs. With Jooble, Bolivian creator Marcelo Gutierrez hopes to connect employers and employees despite geographic, economic and political barriers.
The barriers to entry into fields of technological innovation are getting smaller every day. Anyone with dedication and a computer can create products with the potential to impact millions of lives, and the proliferation of these kinds of projects is a very encouraging development in the fight to alleviate the global poverty crisis.
– Ashley Henyan