September 7, 2010

Aid groups using cellphones to reach the world's poor

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A wonderful article from The Washington Post on how text messages and other mobile applications are reaching the most remote farms and crowded urban slums of Africa, Asia and Latin America. And how aid groups like The Grameen Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are using this technology.

quotemarksright.jpg The Grameen Foundation, a Washington-based group known for helping women with the smallest of business loans, has two dozen people in a technology lab here developing mobile Internet applications to help spread its microfinance model. It's warning farmers in Uganda about banana crop rot through text messages and collecting data on spreadsheet applications on smartphones.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has dedicated $12 million to help village farmers in Tanzania, Cameroon and Rwanda save money through electronic mobile phone deposits. It has launched a $10 million contest in Haiti to fund the best mobile banking ideas to channel earthquake relief to people who would otherwise stand in long lines at overwhelmed bank branches to collect cash. quotesmarksleft.jpg

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