25,000 Women: How Teenage Texting Can Change a Woman's Life in a Developing Country

08/10/2013 09:21 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017


The world of entrepreneurship can be a challenging career path in western society, but when you focus on female entrepreneurship in developing countries, the opportunities are finite. I recently came across a new campaign, 25,000 Women, that connect teenagers to a cause - helping improve women's working conditions in developing countries such as Kenya, Pakistan, Mongolia, Philippines, and El Salvador. DoSomething.org has partnered up with Kiva, a non-profit dedicated to ending global poverty through microfinance lending services, to launch a campaign that promotes female entrepreneurship and teenage engagement.

25,000 Women is uniquely positioned to educate and reward participants through empowering women in developing countries. The campaign is targeted at young people (teens) and involves a text-message based game. An idea I didn't quite buy into until I researched related efforts.

Based on a similar campaign focused on bullying, DoSomething.org had 76,000 teens participate last year, and is expected to re-launch in the next few weeks. Another campaign, the Pregnancy Text, where you can impregnate your friend's phone with a 'phone baby' that texts you throughout the day to demonstrate life as a teen parent, has run for two years and had over 200,000 young people participate.

So why women? DoSomething.org reports, "Women represent 70% of the world's poor and experience the most extreme working conditions on the planet (crazy). Women will also invest 80% of their resources into their children when given the tools, so by investing in a woman, you'll not only change her life, you'll change the world."

25,000 Women has a simple strategy: Once you share your text-message experience, Kiva.org will lend $25 to a female entrepreneur of your choice. You can choose which female entrepreneur and business you'd like to donate the money to on Kiva's website. It's free for the participant (excluding text message charges) and educates young people on the poor working conditions of women in developing parts of the world.

Here's an example of the text-message based gamification strategy:

DoSomething: You're thirsty from working in the fields. Would you rather: A) drink the murky water your employer provides? Or B) go thirsty and risk dehydration?

User: A

DoSomething: Whoa, only 59% of drinking water is actually safe? You could get a waterborne disease that puts you out of work for days (yikes!). Text 2 for question 2.

As a young person who may not have the necessary funds to help someone in need, this campaign provides a creative and fun way to educate, transform, and inspire. Microfinance lending programs are impactful as they are purposed to help low-income individuals succeed in their professional endeavors. This financial method combined with a gamification model provides a platform to fight poverty and empower individuals with the social and economic resources to improve their conditions.

These campaigns are inspirational because they offer young people a fun and engaging way to discuss important issues with friends on a platform they love, while making a global difference.

What do you think of the 25,000 Women campaign? Would you recommend it to a friend? If you're a parent, is this something you would encourage your teen to participate in? For more details on the campaign, check out DoSomething.org.