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#INFOPOVERTY It is a privilege to speak here today at the 14th InfoPoverty World Conference. My name is Neelley Hicks, and I am the Director of ICT4D Church Initiatives at United Methodist Communications which is the global communications agency of The United Methodist Church. I invite you to engage this presentation on Twitter with the hashtag #INFOPOVERTY.
"Send me a desktop computer that I have no way to power & I will have a nice stool to sit or prop my feet. Send appropriate technology & I will transform my community." P Chabata #INFOPOVERTY On Wednesday, I heard perhaps the best quote of the week, from a Zimbabwean gentleman Phillip Chabata: "Send me a desktop computer that I have no way to power & I will have a nice stool to sit or prop my feet. Send appropriate technology & I will transform my community." We can understand why information poverty is still so prevalent, when we all are trying to eradicate it using tools not exactly made for their context.
Cost for ruggedized laptop with modem and FrontlineSMS? $450 Impact: Means of sending group text messages for health, education, wellbeing (without need for Internet) #INFOPOVERTY Yet, United Methodist Communications has found affordable, appropriate and accessible tools that do work – when coupled of course with intentional human interaction! This simple ruggedized laptop when equipped with an open source software called FrontlineSMS can send group text messages without the need of Internet. Rev. Betty Kazadi Musau calls this laptop her magical rural instrument because its battery runs up to 9 hrs, and she uses it to send messages to her community telling them to boil water when there is a cholera outbreak.
Cost for solar light with cellphone charger? $40 Impact: Better health, more income to spend on things that matter #INFOPOVERTY We have found that simple solar lights like this one which also has cellphone charger can reappropriate the wages of someone living in poverty – away from kerosene purchases and into simply making life better and healthier.
#INFOPOVERTY We have found that solar powered computer labs can educate girls like Angeline by day, and her mother at night. Program Manager James Lazarre said that Angeline’s mother came to the lab to see what her daughter would not stop talking about, then she said she wanted to know what her daughter knows, so she too is taking classes there. And even in the poorest of schools that do not have space for labs, a solar power computer cart with water filtration can quench the thirst for knowledge, and clean drinking water. This summer, we will focus on monitoring and evaluation through Matthew Kam of American Institutes for Research, in collaboration with Emory University, and will release a report in the Fall.
#INFOPOVERTY We have found that community health workers like Karen in Malawi can put more money back in her own pocket if we not only set up Internet access for computers, but also through phones on a network. This means that her mobile minutes are for her own use, not for her work. ICT villages like this one can be created not through Americans going in and building the ICT infrastructure, but by using local capacity who are trained to implement, repair and maintain systems.
#INFOPOVERTY Don't reinvent the wheel! There is already amazing technology out there that is working in extreme settings! We have found that by partnering with others like the Emergency Telecommunications Cluster, we can connect those working to respond in disaster situations like Typhoon Haiyan so those providing water, food and shelter reach those who need it most.
Ultimately, United Methodist Communications as a faith-based organization operates on a moral imperative to focus not on those who already have access but the many who do not. We are striving together with partners to do this work well, so that we do not lose time which is the most precious commodity available. #INFOPOVERTY
Introducing Bruce Baikie, CEO of Inveneo; #INFOPOVERTY
Introduction: Sean McDonald, CEO of FrontlineSMS #INFOPOVERTY
and Marc Abbyad – program manager at MedicMobile. #INFOPOVERTY
#INFOPOVERTY and Firdaus Kharas, multi-award winning animator of behavior change communications developed to address issues such as domestic violence, malaria, HIV/AIDS and adoption of solar power to eliminate the need for kerosene.
Go to www.umcom.org/gamechangers to register. The workshops we've been giving this week are a sneak peek into our conference September 3-5, 2014, which I hope you will attend. Thank you.