Can Technology End Poverty? - Susan Davis by Susan Davis | 10:00 AM March 22, 2013 If you believe the hype, technology is going to help us end global poverty. Advances have indeed made a huge difference in the lives of the poor, but there’s also a healthy amount of skepticism out there. The organization I’m part of, BRAC, is known for going to scale with solutions that are often radically low-tech. But I’m hardly a naysayer when it comes to tech. The trick is making sure everyone shares in the coming abundance — or at least has a fair shot at doing so. To do that, it’s vital that technology be suitable and relevant to the lives of its users. We can take some lessons from Bangladesh, where BRAC is heading full steam into mobile banking with bKash (bikash means “growth” in Bengali), which is now the largest mobile banking provider in the country. Even though it was designed to save time for hard-working families, asking borrowers to forego their passbooks in favor of SMS confirmations made them extremely uncomfortable.
6 Ways Mobile Technology Has Transformed the World's Poor | Clara Tsao Mobile technology is rapidly changing the face of communication in the most remote areas of the world. Today, out of the seven billion people in the world, approximately six billion are cell phone subscribers. In response, companies, governments, and NGOS alike have realized the potential of this tool in addressing today's most pressing global challenges. Last week I attended the Mobiles Conference with 150 thought leaders and decision makers to discuss the present use of mobile technologies to increase development impact. Here are some key areas where mobile technology has had the greatest success. 1. In education, mobile technology has helped provide schools, teachers, and parents access to meaningful data and tips to help students succeed. 2. Grants for projects in international development are heavily data driven. Advancements in surveying have also allowed Uganda to develop childbirths and death registry tools. 3. 4) Banking the Unbanked 5) Data Analysis 6) mHealth
How Homeless People Use Technology Homeless Teens Say Cell Phones as Important as Food Homeless teens value smartphones as much as eating or a drug habit, underscoring the importance of the devices for day-to-day survival. The USC School of Social Work’s study revealed that 62 percent of homeless teens have cell phones and place a premium on paying the monthly subscription to a data plan to stay in touch with friends, parents, and current or potential employers. Because homeless teens can often get food and other basics free from shelters, a cell phone is one of the first resources homeless youth worry about when they try to sort out their declining situation, according to the study. “Cell phones have changed what it means to be a homeless teen as these youth can look for help beyond the streets,” said Eric Rice, lead author on the study. The news raises the potential of using mobile technology to extend the safety net for homeless youth, since the ability to stay in touch provides more opportunities to find a stable home. “Teens are very resourceful.
A Homeless Man With a BlackBerry Shows Us What Determination Looks Like. | 2machines Just becomes he doesn't have a home mean he doesn't deserve a life. I could tell he was different the moment he walked in the coffee shop. It wasn’t his appearance. He looked presentable, if a little rough around the edges, clutching an old BlackBerry to his barrel chest. It was how he moved: warily, shoulders hunched over and eyes darting. He ordered a coffee, carefully counting out coins on the counter. Did someone have some cash jobs for him? Bert isn’t unsheltered. He made it clear: he hadn’t given up. It wasn’t easy to engage him in conversation. He made a joke about people acting as if poverty was an infectious disease. His phone, then, functions as an important conduit. E-mail and text is especially important. Ironically, all this is easier to manage over text and e-mail than the phone. Despite nearly everyone owning a cell phone, we think of them as luxuries, especially as data plans approach $100 a month. Yes — phones. I Want More Stuff Like This! Published In: Beyond Technology
Digital Divide: Canada's Poorest Sacrifice Basic Needs To Get Connected Yuji Toyozato clutches his ringing phone and panics. He has no idea how to answer it. How could he be so stupid? He’s owned the thing for two damned months, but still feels like a baby holding a grown-up’s toy. No. Why is something so simple for everyone else so hard for me? Stupid, stupid. Yuji hands me the Samsung Galaxy S3. Why did Samsung screw up so badly? Stupid, stupid company. The phone stops ringing. He first touched a computer at 56, almost 40 years after moving to Canada. I first touched a computer when I was around 11. His Japanese accent is cotton balls-in-his-cheeks thick, masking his sophisticated vocabulary. For most of his life, Yuji’s excessive curiosity and erratic personality have left him on the fringes. Canada has a digital divide, a demographic that isn’t fully connected to the online world. The digital economy has created a new underclass made up of groups that already face many obstacles. Story continues below slideshow Loading Slideshow “Can you do it?” At 7:30 a.m.