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Can tech save the poor?

Mattermap door Gemma van der Kamp 26 juni 2014

Apps to help the poor; do they make a difference?

  • Not effective

    • Before the Soccket, there were PlayPumps, an innovation hailed by Laura Bush and AOL co-founder Steve Case that would use the power generated by kids spinning on a merry-go-round to deliver water. PlayPumps cost four times what a regular water pump did. Aid workers reported that they broke and were hard to fix. And, according to an analysis by the Guardian, it turned out that kids would have to "play" for 27 hours a day to meet the target of delivering water to 2,500 people per pump. ...»
      Charles Kenny Senior Fellow Center for Global Development Columnist Bron: Foreign Policy 24/06/2013
    • The newest feel-good initiatives from Silicon Valley have met with limited gains and are far from eliminating poverty [....] Many of these organizations boast lofty, too-good-to-be-true missions that merit a healthy degree of skepticism. Despite centuries of major technological transformations and recent drops in poverty over the last decade, more than half the planet still lives on less than $4 a day. ...»
      Rachel George PhD candidate in International Relations London School of Economics Bron: Policy Mic 13/08/2013
  • No, just an app can't make a difference

    • Suppose: you will need the bath room. In Ghana only one in six toilets performs accordings to hygiene standards. That means, 85 procent of Ghanaian still relieves nature in a hole in the ground, in the open air, in a pan or bucket or in a plastic bag. There's has yet been found an app for that.

      Totdat je naar de wc moet. Want in Ghana voldoet minder dan een van de zes wc’s aan de eisen van een hygiënisch verantwoord toilet. Dat betekent dat 85% van de Ghanezen nog steeds z’n behoefte doet op een gat in de grond, in de buitenlucht, in een pan of emmer, in een plastic zakje. Daar is nog geen app of lening voor gevonden.
      ...»
      Lonneke van Genugten Adjunct OneWorld Development Magazine Bron: OneWorld 12/01/2012
    • An app for the poor is just development work that is given a new look. There have been many trends in development work, such as micro financing. With all these initiatives you're trying to reach as many people and consumers as possible but I'am not sure if it will make a difference on the long term. What you need is a growing economy, small bussinesses that make money and eventually create jobs. You won't achieve that with a simple app or tech idea without the power of a big company that backs it. ...»
      Thierry Sanders Director and Founder of BiD Network Bron: Bid Network 25/06/2014
  • No, these inventions are only driven by the ideology of solutionisme'

    • All these efforts to ease the torments of existence might sound like paradise to Silicon Valley. But for the rest of us, they will be hell. They are driven by a pervasive and dangerous ideology that I call “solutionism”: an intellectual pathology that recognizes problems as problems based on just one criterion: whether they are “solvable” with a nice and clean technological solution at our disposal. Thus, forgetting and inconsistency become “problems” simply because we have the tools to get rid of them — and not because we’ve weighed all the philosophical pros and cons. ...»
      Evgeny Morozov writer, researcher studies impacts of technology Bron: The New York Times 02/03/2013
    • Silicon Valley and Wall Street are competing for the same talent pool, and by claiming to solve the world’s problems, technology companies can offer what Wall Street cannot: a sense of social mission. The ideology of solutionism is thus essential to helping Silicon Valley maintain its image. The technology press — along with the meme-hustlers at the TED conference — are only happy to play up any solutionist undertakings. ...»
      Evgeny Morozov writer, researcher studies impacts of technology Bron: The New York Times 03/03/2013
    • Getting them right is important. To move forward, a shared spirit of collaboration—rather than a hyper-competitive silo mentalit - proves crucial [...] The biggest problem of all? The fact that the tech community hasn’t yet disrupted what disrupts so many lives in the developing world. ...»
      Chelsea Clinton Bron: Readwrite 11/03/2014
    • Beneath it all is the huge amount of money flowing into “innovative” technological solutions to global problems. Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Apple set the stage for the Gold Rush. Thousands of idealistic young people are now flocking here with dreams of striking it rich. Some make it, most don’t. Nonetheless, there’s been a natural attraction between the region’s so-called liberal dynamics and the influx of computer nerds. And they are linking up to save the world; tech devices with charity ideologies. I mean, hey, why not save children and, at the same time, make lots of money doing it? [...] We all know how much Silicon Valley loves clean and simple solutions: bright, colourful apps and cozy websites. ...»
      Chad Mcclymonds works in public radio From: Silicon Valley and its akward relationship with Africa Bron: Africa is a country 24/10/2013
  • Yes, it's great news for developing countries

    • Now imagine all those people who are hungry for communication and information have apps. Imagine what could be unlocked with the power of iOS.
      Vanessa Barnett Technology/internet lawyer Law firm Charles Russell Bron: Wired 07/07/2012
    • Both pessimists and optimists about the newest feel-good startups will surely agree: Silicon Valley cannot single-handedly save the world. But if anyone is poised to tackle the globe's most pressing problems, Silicon Valley's tech-savvy, entrepreneurial-minded stars may be just the right people to take a crack at some of the most challenging dilemmas facing the world's poor. ...»
      Max Chafkin writer mostly for Fast Company Bron: The New York Times 08/08/2013
    • The gold of today is mobile, mobile is the enable that makes all of this possible. While the rest of the world is updating statuses and playing games on smartphones, Africa is developing useful SMS-based solutions to everyday needs. For example, from a guy called Bright Simons: you take medication, some people might spend the entire month salary on and you read the code, send to a number that ells if it expired or effective. ...»
      Toby Shapshak Journalist Focus on innovation Bron: TED 05/06/2013
    • When they (people who use lower-end mobile phones in the developing world) see a smalI screen, they don't just see a small screen. They see a great opportunity [....] still am not sure whether a full-blown education on mobile (technologies) is going to be on the cards in the next few years. But I definitely see mobile being a greater supplement to education taking off. ...»
      Nickhil Jakatdar Founder Vuclip Mobile video company Bron: Mindshift 16/02/2014
    • Many of us know that the work of the big NGOs is not always as efficient as it seems, in the sense that it doesn’t help people living in rural Africa with creating a self-sustainable environment and culture for themselves. On the other hand, there’s a new generation of young talented and driven social entrepreneurs who are not only in it for the money but who are taking into account a positive return to society as well. They work together with local entrepreneurs to solve local problems.

      By combining creativity and an innovative spirit, they have invented brilliant low-tech solutions which presently help thousands of citizens already, and will help millions more in the near future.
      ...»
      Rudy de Waele CEO of Nyota Medi Bron: The Next Web 17/05/2013
  • No, developers don't listen to the people they're trying to help

    • Technical projects for African countries. Every single project in Africa failed and I was destroyed. Everything we touched, we killed. Italians decided to teach Zambian people to grow seeds. Instead of asking them why, they just did....want to help someone? shut up and listen! ...»
      Ernesto Sirolli Social enterprise Training community leaders Bron: TED 01/09/2012
    • If these young people want to work for Africa development, they should otherwise focus their creative mind and energy on creating Food processing or conservation startups, energy distribution research project, water purification devices, new methods for mass education, African languages revival and adoption initiatives, etc. We need captain of industries, innovators, managers addressing the big problems, not another web app or mobile game [....] the best entrepreneurs are the ones that first serve the community in which they live, then expand what they do to other communities or nations. Happiness comes from the satisfaction you get when you can meet and have a drink with people using your product or service. ...»
      Mawuna Remarque Koutonin Editor SiliconAfrica.com Social Activist Bron: Time 24/02/2013
    • As the development community gathers evidence of the transformative power of ICT, we
      need to recognize that the challenge is not only technological. It demands better
      understanding of the poor, their resources, the difficulties they face, and the information
      they lack.
      It requires building the capacity of local information intermediaries and
      grassroots innovators. It requires piloting, experimenting, and taking smart risks. And it
      demands that governments create the enabling environment to bridge the digital divide.
      ...»
      World Bank/ Nagy Hana Harnessing the Transformative Power of Technology to End Poverty Discussion paper Bron: World Bank 01/10/2013
    • So if you're going to help the developing world, you can't just airlift in supplies we use in the rich world. You need to deeply understand how the people there live, then design things that make sense for their specific conditions. ...»
      Tim Brown journalist Bron: Wired 11/12/2013
  • The odds of failure are heigtened when tackling problems in the developing world

    • “The Obama administration has advocated an increased focus on technology within its global development policy, a position that enjoys bipartisan support. Silicon Valley inventors, scientists and researchers from leading universities, and a new breed of impact investors from the financial sector are shifting their attention toward these same goals and are potential partners to advance government efforts [...] If only it were this straightforward. Despite an endless supply of creative technologies to support the world’s poorest people, only a tiny fraction can expect to be brought to a scale where they will benefit millions. Most succumb to the “valley of death” that characterizes the transition between early-stage discovery and a proven,
      rolled-out business model.
      The odds of failure, which are high in any innovation process, are heightened when tackling the challenges of the developing world. Even where a technology proves successful in one setting, such as mobile money in Kenya, the assumption that it can be seamlessly replicated elsewhere—the external validity principle—does not withstand scrutiny.” ...»
      Brookings Roundtable 2012 Bron: Brookings 01/01/1970
    • Apps are a perfect way to quickly distribute information, but in order to be succesfull you need a working local infrastructure that connect investors to the start-ups. Often that networking happens off line, not online. Thereby, in development countries there is way more competition for products and services. ...»
      Thierry Sanders Director and Founder BiD Network Bron: BiD Network 25/06/2014
    • Most of the innovators are following trends and their dreams, inspired mostly by the stories of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs making it without a clear business plan or any structured road map when they started their businesses many years ago. The reality check has not yet taken place in the minds of Africa’s innovators and lots of time is being wasted on unrealistic desires. ...»
      Jordan Huxley Spot1mentoring Supports young entrepreneurs in Africa Bron: mariemejamme.com 01/08/2013
  • Not yet

    • It's too early for apps to make a difference in Africa as only a small percentage of the population has access to a smart phone. SMS and voice are still the most widely used - thats our focus.
      Arjen Swank Business Development Manager Text to Change Bron: Personal interview 25/06/2014
    • Sometimes we download Apps in order to be able to read certain statistical programs or in my case to access growth charts of children. But otherwise I have not downloaded any Apps related to my profession. I guess the awareness about health apps and possible costs (many of us do not shop via the internet, do not have credit cards which are internationally accepted) would hinder the wider use. ...»
      Tina Oneko Pediator in Kenya Bron: Personal Interview 03/07/2014
    • If you talk about mobile tech applications for smartphones: no. If you talk about feature phones and normal smsing: maybe
      Tim Weiss PhD in tech start-up in Nairobi www.timweiss.de Bron: personal interview 22/07/2014
  • It is too early to draw conclusions

    • It is too early to judge whether tech in Africa has real impact. Thereby, the error rate or start-ups is generally higher. Of every 1000 start-ups, only 150 will muddle on, 50 will get off the ground and one or two proves to be succesfull. ...»
      Peter van Lieshout auteur 'minder pretentie, meer ambitie' lid WWR Bron: Persoonlijk interview 01/01/1970

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