IMPACT

Aid Groups Help World's Poorest With Cellphones

09/08/2010 01:15 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

More international aid groups are turning to mobile technology to solve global poverty, the Washington Post reports.

"Mobile penetration is at almost every single level of geography and income, and given that situation, we are asking how that technology can be used to increase social and economic benefits," said Chris Locke, managing director of development programs for GSM World, a global wireless trade group.

Cellphones can spread information and funds to people in rural areas without the slew of bureaucratic challenges that usually accompanies aid efforts, the article explains.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has dedicated tens of millions to exploring the technology, including mobile phone deposits for farmers in Tanzania, Cameroon and Rwanda, which would save on bank transaction costs.

The Grameen Foundation, a microfinance organization started by Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, is using text messages to help parents improve their prenatal care in Africa. Text messages can also be used to warn farmers about potential problems with their crops and collect data on farming trends.

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To read more about the innovative uses of cell phones in developing regions, read the full story at WashingtonPost.com.

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