Iqbal Quadir, Director of the Legatum Centre at MIT, in this interview with Toronto TV, talks about the opportunities that have been created in developing countries because of access to communications. He refers to cell phones as a social technology because of the many benefits it brings to low income groups – in terms of education, communication, networking, mobile banking and business.
“Ushahidi”, which means “testimony” or “witness” in Swahili, was initially developed to map reports of violence in Kenya after elections in early 2008. Since then, the name “Ushahidi” has come to represent the people behind the “Ushahidi Platform”.
The original platform was used to map incidents of violence and peace efforts throughout the country based on reports submitted via the web and mobile phones by around 45,000 users in Kenya.
Subsequent to the Kenya violence the founders of Ushahidi realized that a platform like this could be used by people from around the world.
And it has indeed been used by others including during the earthquake and flood relief effort in Pakistan. The tools have been used for democratizing information, increasing transparency and lowering the barriers for individuals to share their stories.
It comprises of Free & Open Source software which is downloadable from the website and is released under the GNU Lesser General Public License. )LGPL)
The Ushahidi platform provides the ability to visualize information through Interactive Mapping tools. It also allows you to track your reports on the map and over time. You can filter your data by time and then see when things happened and where, as it’s also tied to the map. It allows you to easily collect information via text messages, email, twitter and web-forms. A perfect way to crowdsource information and share it so that duplication of efforts and supplies does not take place and emergency efforts are made much more efficient.
When in 2009, Telenor Pakistan acquired a majority stake in Tameer Microfinance Bank people actually wondered why. Some could not see what role this acquisition could play in creating an impact for the two organizations and for Pakistanis consumers in general.
Looking at the landscape in Pakistan, however, it is easy to see the rationale for the introduction of Easy Paisa into the marketplace. Over 60% of Pakistan is rural, approximately 90% of the population of 180 million is unbanked with no access to the formal banking and financial sector of the country. The poverty rate is high so microfinance makes a lot of sense.
On the flip side the mobile density is about 60% and hence what better channel for the delivery of microfinance services than the cell phone? So now the branchless banking solution that Tameer came up with begins to make sense to even the most skeptical of analysts.
The service is now available from more than 12,000 agents across Pakistan. With more than 500,000 unique users in the last month alone conducting more than 1 million transactions with a value of Rs2 billion in throughput, Easypaisa appears to be filling a void that existed and is providing people across Pakistan with an alternative to the conservative banking network.
According to a recent study conducted by Telenor Group and Boston Consulting Group, “wider access to mobile financial services in Pakistan could lead to the creation of 1 million new jobs by 2020. An estimated US$2 billion could be added annually to government revenues, helping raise Pakistan’s GDP growth by 3% by creating increased access to credit, hence prompting new business creation, and by formal remittances and increased savings. Mobile financial services can facilitate public services by providing e-government options and help reduce costs of financial transactions.”
According to the study, the percentage of Pakistan’s adult population using mobile financial services could go up from the current 2% to 35% by 2020. Talk about potential impact!
So what are people using the Easy Paisa service for? Transfering small amounts of money to family based in different parts of Pakistan; settling their bills conveniently; and some are even using the service as a Mobile Bank Account to transfer funds, check balances, withdraw cash, etc. With thousands of retail outlets providing the service almost 24 x 7 it has created a new concept of banking for those whose trust in the large banking structure has always been very low.
The socio-economic impact of such a service can be huge because it empowers people with low incomes access to financial services in a way that is easier for them to understand and use. In the most simplistic of terms, it makes life easier for someone like a low income worker who has moved to the city but worries about how to send his monthly salary to his loved ones back home in the village. He can now do that very easily using his mobile phone without having to resort to the services of a relative or friend.
The Interactive Research & Development (IRD) Indus Hospital, in collaboration with Johns Hopkins Blookberg School of Public Health’s Department of International Health, has been using RFID technology to measure the incidence of pneumonia in infants in Karachi Pakistan in order to track how often infants contract penumonia due to Pneumococcal disease.
In the initial test run 4000 infants were given a waterproof RFID bracelet encoded with a unique ID number that is linked to the baby’s medical history. When the infant is brought into a healhcare facility, the doctor scans the bracelet with a mobile phone to see if the infant in fact requires pneumonia testing or treatment. If he/she does then an SMS alert is sent out and a team whizzes in to take care of it.
Dozens of healthcare facilities in the city are connected to the IRD so that the infant does not have to be taken to a particular facility to be monitored or treated.
Of course the sharing of medical data in itself opens up questions regarding the privacy of the child’s health data so there need to be rules which safeguard and restrict access to only those who absolutely require it.
This is an example of how mobile and RFID technology can be used to track and treat diseases. cvs Depakote
Social Innovation is a term that is not easy to define. Very simply put, it is an innovative idea, process or product that provides benefit to a segment of society or to society as a whole – especially to downtrodden, deprived and victimized individuals such as those suffering from poverty, physical disability, lack of empowerment, lack of access to health, communication, employment and business opportunities, literacy, citizen services, etc.
Anything that can be done to alleviate this deprivation and do public good can be termed as social innovation.
So for example microfinance was a form of social innovation that provided access to capital and to financial services for those who did not benefit from the conventional banking and financial system. This new form of financial access allowed them to start micro-enterprises hence providing them an escape from the depths of poverty.
Similarly access to market information would allow people in small towns and villages to reduce or eliminate the role of the middle man who does not get them a fair price for the products they grow or create. Access to health and education services is another area that is a constant battle that can be tackled kids games using simple technological innovation. Add to this access to citizen services which would make people”s lives easier and would add an element of efficiency resulting in increased productivity.
Technology can be the enabler for a lot of these every day problems. It can also assist in cases of disasters and emergencies. What is needed are simple and creative ideas that can facilitate the use of technology to provide the solutions that kasino are needed.
And that is what this Fund is meant to do. Spot a problem in your city, town or village. Think of how the use of technology can alleviate the problem for the community. Submit the idea, show how it will work and show how you will keep it sustainable once the initial seed money has run out. The best ideas will receive a grant, and will be provided guidance on how to take the idea forward.
Do you have such an idea? Is it unique? Is it innovative? Are you capable of taking the idea forward? All you need is money and advice? Then fill in the Application Form now and we will get back to you first week of September to let you know if yours is one of the ideas that has been selected.
Agriculture contributes more than 60% foreign exchange to Pakistan”s economy. It is also the sector that is responsible for the livelihoods of 62% of Pakistan”s population who live in rural areas.
However many small farmers lack access to context specific, localized, timely and actionable information required for taking appropriate action to avoid crop failure.
DFID funded a study, carried out by CABI, to see how emerging mobile applications can help the agriculture sector.
The study investigated the opportunity presented ?????? by the mobile phone market and telecom infrastructure to overcome the problems faced by agriculture extension. The findings and recommendations of the research were very interesting indeed and are presented in this video.
The counterfeit drug market worldwide is a grave threat to public health because the medicines sold are sub-standard resulting in a lot of deaths.
Through an investment from Acumen Fund, Sproxil is combating the global counterfeit drug market through a Mobile Product Authentication™ (MPA™) solution that enables consumers to verify the authenticity of pharmaceutical products.
Sproxil’s MPA solution allows customers to send a free text message containing a code found on a drug to Sproxil’s servers, which immediately respond and indicate whether the drug is genuine or fake. Sproxil has set up casino online uk Africa’s first national mobile-based anti-counterfeit service in Nigeria, and Acumen Fund’s investment will enable the les machines a sous spielautomaten online company to expand into Kenya and India.
It is a simple solution. Customers get a scratch card with a one-time user code. To verify a product, they send the code via SMS to a 911 for fake drugs number. Sproxil either sends a response authenticating the drug or sends a hotline number for customers to call and report the drug if it is found to be fake.
The complete case study of this project is available here.
Social Innovation can be defined in many ways but generally it means developing new concepts and strategies that can solve social problems. This could include extending education to areas where it isn”t available or finding new and innovative ways to educate. It could include creating access to health for those who don”t have it. It could also include new processes for monitoring and improving crop development. It could perhaps solve a social problem like ending violence or empowering women. It could be a casino spiele online process for improving access to communication and/or to knowledge. It could be ways of improving job opponew and organizations that meet social needs of all kinds – from working conditions and education to community development and health – and that extend and strengthen civil society
Naseer A. Akhtar
Mr. Naseer Akhtar is the Chairman of P@SHA and currently serves as the President and CEO of InfoTech. As a successful entrepreneur, Mr. Naseer Akhtar founded In
Amin Hashwani belongs to an established family in Pakistan with diversified business interests . He is/has been the President/Chairman of numerous business and
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