«CONTENT BY SUPPORTED BY Technology for Good at a Glance Technology for Good identifies ten technologies being used by charitable organizations in ...»
Health workers use simple, low-end mobile phones to text information that they would have normally recorded on paper. They may send information on drug supplies and disease outbreak. The data is then coded and transferred to an online platform that can be viewed by healthcare workers and public health officials, among others. 54 One strength of the mTrac program is that it doesn’t require additional work for Uganda’s overburdened healthcare providers. Instead of filling out a form, workers send in an SMS, making it a subtle not drastic shift in their duties. Another strength is that mTrac is sustainable. While the U.K.’s Department for International Development provides the initial investment, such as building the mTrac software, training local workers, and setting up an Internet connection, the maintenance cost for the Ugandan government is low.
Since the workers use their own phones, the monthly cost of mTrac may be as little as US$14 per month for each of Uganda’s 113 districts. That’s only US$182 a month to address the entire country.55 The Earth Institute’s Modi Research Group is also working on addressing the need for timely and accurate data, citing it as the “single greatest component of making socially impactful decisions.”56 It created a free data management application known as FormHub that also collects texted data online.
Matt Berg explains, “The big question is: Can we replicate a paper registry on a phone?” A charity utilizing FormHub first creates a survey by using Excel. After the Excel file is uploaded to FormHub, it is transformed by the site into an easy-to-use survey. Field workers then collect data either on a laptop or through a web-based application on their phone. Finally, FormHub offers ways to visualize and analyze the data through maps and photos, as well as upload the data to software analysis tools.
54 Belinda Luscombe, “Tracking Disease, One Text at a Time,” Time, 15 August 2012, http://healthland.time.com/2012/08/15/disease-canthide/ 55 Ibid.
56 Formhub, http://formhub.org/faq/
Source: http://50.usaid.gov/learning-out-of-poverty/ Good/Corps is a media and community platform that works with charities on better marketing their campaigns. Data visualization is one of their areas of expertise.
Tools like Infogr.am allow any user to quickly make online charts and data visualizations, making it accessible to everyone, not just designers. This Latvian-based startup is only a year old, yet it has created close to 600,000 infographics to date.
Technology for good Data management technologies | 25
6. RADIO/TV Overview While radio is nearly a century-old technology, it has resisted the test of time and is still one of the most universal mass communication mediums. It plays a particularly important role in disseminating information across rural, developing communities. While Internet penetration in Africa is only 15.6 percent across the continent, compared to 37.7 percent worldwide, radio penetration ranges from 70 percent to 90 percent.57 The national radio is still often the first choice for getting news.58 Now, coupled with newer technologies like mobile phones, it is being adapted to improve agricultural techniques and fight corruption.
Which of these media do you personally regard as the MOST IMPORTANT in keeping you well-informed about events in...?
Regional median for 23 countries in sub-Saharan Africa
0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% Source: http://www.gallup.com/poll/108235/radio-chief-medium-news-subsaharan-africa.aspx. Reprinted with permission of Gallup, Inc.
57 Internet World Statistics, http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats1.htm; Future Radio Africa, http://futureradioafrica.org/about-fra 58 Cynthia English, “Radio Chief Medium for News in Sub-Saharan Africa,” Washington Post, 23 June 2008, http://www.gallup.com/ poll/108235/radio-chief-medium-news-subsaharan-africa.aspx
Internet users (per 100) across the world and in the six countries in Africa that have highest Internet usage Source: http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/IT.NET.USER.P2/countries/1W-KE-CM-NG-ZA-UG-SD?display=graph Technology for good Radio/TV | 27 Agriculture Kevin Perkins, executive director of Farm Radio International (FRR), explained, “Radio has been used to provide agricultural extension services to smallholders in Africa for decades.”59 FRR created a participatory radio campaign (PRC), allowing farmers to actively select and develop a range of agricultural topics for their radio stations. FRR worked with 25 radio stations in five countries to create 49 PRCs that reached 40 million smallholder farmers.60 In 2007, the African Farm Radio Research Initiative (AFRRI) began a 42 month research project in partnership with World University Service of Canada (WUSC) and with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Specifically, AFRRI looked at whether FRR’s PRC actually had an impact. It discovered that farmer participation in creating radio broadcasts led to greater adoption of the practices.
“From our research we know that the more farmer voices are featured on a given program, the more likely farmers will listen and subsequently gain knowledge,” says Perkins.
“This is even more so when radio programs are designed with farmer input, and when broadcasters solicit feedback from farmers and use it to improve their programs.”61 The AFFRI research project revealed an average 39 percent of farmers adopted the practices discussed on the radio in communities that engaged with local radio station programming.62 Engagement could be as simple as phoning into the station to request a topic or providing information. Due to the scalability of radio, participatory radio campaigns have the potential of encouraging thousands or even millions of farmers to utilize better agricultural practices.
Good Governance In Bukavu, a small town located in eastern DRC, a group of young Congolese women formed the South Kivu Media Association or Association Rwandaise des Femmes des Médias du Sud Kivu (ARFEM), using radio to fight violence against women. Since 2003, they have provided educational programming and journalism training to arm women with tools and skills. They work with 350 women who are a part of local radio communities.
In 2006, they created a radio program called “Challenging the Silence: Women Media Against Sexual Violence” and for the first time, literally broke the silence on rape and violence. While it was incredibly difficult to encourage women to share experiences of rape with a broader audience, one testimony led to another. Chouchou Namegabe, the director and co-founder of AFREM, has since testified before The Hague International Court of Justice and the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee about rape and violence against women in the DRC. While the statics are not definitive, publicly documented stories do serve as powerful testimony to fight human rights violations and widespread atrocities.63 education Over the last several years, radio and other broadcast stations have begun providing a new brand of programming — one that both entertains and educates. These soap operas or telenovelas address critical issues surrounding HIV/AIDS, disease, nutrition, contraception, and even conflict.
In Rwanda, Urunana disseminates important health information through comedy and powerful storytelling. “People can laugh at the way the issues are addressed and the language we are using. It’s an entertainment — a blend of education and entertainment,” says Narcisse Kalisa, the show’s Director.64 The show won the U.K. One World Media Award for Development Media in 2008. A report from the World Bank in 2007 revealed an 8 percentage point drop of HIV/AIDS in 2000 — from 3 percent to 11 percent — and cited grassroots education as having played a significant role in combatting the spread of HIV/AIDS.65 59 Caspar van Vark, “New Versus Old Media: how best to get information to smallholder farmers.” 60 Ibid.
63 Wanda O’Brien, “Women Use Radio to Fight Sexual Violence,” Guardian, 30 May 2012, http://www.guardian.co.uk/journalismcompetition/ longlist-women-use-radio-to-fight-sexual-violence 64 BBC, “Rwandan Sex Soap Opera Wins Award,” 13 June 2008, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7453044.stm 65 Ibid.
66 César Chelala, “Learning from Soap Operas,” The New York Times, 3 June 2010, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/04/opinion/04ihtedchelala.html 67 Audiencescapes, http://www.audiencescapes.org/country-profiles/kenya/media-and-communication-overview/television/television-324 68 Mediae, http://www.mediae.org/makutano_junction
health Dotsub is a for-profit company that provides video translation and subtitling services for a wide range of charities. For example, they translate or add subtitles to videos for organizations like TED so they are accessible to a global audience. They only use human translators, however. “Nothing involved is automatic translation,” said Michael Smolens, founder of Dotsub. “It’s technology that allows professionals and crowds. Quality of machine translation is inconsistent and poor.”69 In June 2011, Dotsub was called to action when a Paris-based charity needed immediate translations for its “Let’s Go” or Yalla Film Festival competition that challenged Arabic filmmakers to create two- to three-minute videos using mobile phones. Judging the competition was a panel of renowned filmmakers from the U.S. and France who did not speak the various Arabic dialects. Dotsub was able to quickly translate all of the materials and make them accessible to the judging panel.
Dotsub’s particular strength is translating already complicated health materials into challenging dialects and languages.
Healthphone is an organization in India that provides mobile information for women’s health. It utilized Dotsub to translate health-related materials into 22 different Indian dialects. In addition to the translations, Dotsub also enabled the phone to use its GPS capabilities to select a language based on where the user was located. “So if Malalian is the primary language in a region, it will default to Malalian,” said Smolens.
Videum was created in 2011 and is a joint effort between Dotsub and Publicis Healthware International to build a social network for health videos that is accessible in any language and on any video-enabled device, including mobile phones. It’s a new effort to provide universal healthcare information in a world where most of the healthcare-related videos are in English or in other common Western languages.70 Smolens is also pioneering a project called Video for Villages, which is still in its initial stages. He is working with Translators without Borders, Healthphone, and Video Volunteers in India and has so far piloted the program in three Indian villages. They aim to deliver content to people in their native villages, whether it be educational, entertainment, or spiritual.
“There are now 3 billion people living in villages and none of the big media companies are addressing their needs. These people don’t have smartphones and probably don’t 69 Interview with Michael Smolens, Founder, Dotsub.
70 Videum, http://www.videum.com/spread/358/transcribe-and-translate-spread-the-knowledge.html
education Amara is a nonprofit company that offers crowdsourced translations for videos created by other charities. Nicholas Reville, Amara’s co-founder, considers it “a Wikipedia for subtitling and video.”71 It currently has a community of over 14,000 volunteers translating materials for TED alone. Since its launch two years ago, it has attracted around 100,000 volunteers from around the world to provide quality translations for charities in esoteric languages like Cree, Quechua, and Manx.
Reville believes that the reason for such a high volume of quality volunteers is that it is usually fans doing the translation work, eager to help out with a particular charity. “There are very few translation opportunities online that bring benefits back to the charity,” he said. “It’s hard for charities to find volunteers and fans to help you do to spread message and spread your work. Subtitling is a concrete way to get volunteers to work for them.” 71 Interview with Nicholas Reville, co-founder, Amara.
Disaster Relief During the Haiti earthquake, some relief workers used the Eagle Suite for Disaster Management system to create a single crisis map that could be shared with various charities. This technology also allowed them to share information with other relief workers. The Eagle system was a collaborate effort, using technologies developed by Microsoft, Geodan, a Dutch geo-information consulting company, and Esri, a company that produces geographic mapping software. 72 When Microsoft launched the HelpBridge, a disaster-relief mobile application, it used cloud-based services to partner with five charities to assist with the multiple components of the application. Mobile Giving Foundation handled all the donation-related texts; Guide Star and Network for Good dealt with providing a PayPal donation function; Aid Matrix assisted with the donation of goods and supplies portion of the mobile app; and Volunteer Match worked to share opportunities to help with volunteers.73 education The Kalgidhar Trust, based in Northern India, provides various social services to remote rural areas in the region. The trust operates 70 educational facilities and 16 universities using cloud technology to integrate its various academies through one management system. It also used cloud technology to create an education portal and develop a virtual classroom for remote learning. It aims to open 500 more schools in the future and needs an efficient way to coordinate activities and communicate with each other.