When technology is deployed smartly and strategically, it can usher in tremendous progress in development. Especially considering that 4.9 billion people on the planet own cell phones—many more than own computers—mobile technology in particular has the potential to connect people and institutions with each other and with information to stimulate ideas and catalyze change.
Approach and Expertise
We don’t start with technology, we start with people. As we implement information and communications technology for development (ICT4D), we start with the location, the need, and the available resources and infrastructure. Whether its increasing digital access to government information, connecting value chain actors with on-demand services, or our Geekcorps subsidiary bringing creative technology “hacks” to remote areas, we deliver appropriate interventions that solve real problems.
Our Work in Action
In Mali, Geekcorps volunteers built or refurbished radio stations on the edges of the Saharan desert, fashioning makeshift FM antennas out of soft drink bottles. The stations gave local communities an independent source of information and delivered messages and information about the democratic process that contributed directly to U.S. counter-terrorism objectives in the region.
In Tanzania, we developed a mobile app and desktop platform to help entrepreneurs and businesses find local business development services such as marketing, accounting, or financing. We engaged young volunteers from the African diaspora to advise on the design and user experience of BizFundi, which means “biz fixer” in Swahili.
In Sri Lanka, we are developing a mobile app to connect rural dairy farmers and processors with a range of products and services, from cattle feed to cold storage to artificial insemination services.