Posts Tagged ‘gsma’

Delivering New Services for the Poor

March 8, 2012

The Mobile World Congress has ended, but the excitement generated by discussions of helping the poor through mobile phones remains high. For those of us working in international development, it was heartening to see this issue no longer relegated to “corner discussions” or side conversations in the hallways between sessions. As noted by Heather Thorne, Grameen Foundation’s Vice President for Information Solutions, this time the valuable role of mobile phones in global development was front and center. Telecom operators and others are now seeing the opportunities for developing products and services for the poor.

One highlight for Grameen Foundation was the announcement of our collaboration with MTN Uganda and CGAP to research and develop mobile financial products for the poor. The need is clear: 2.7 billion people – most of whom live in developing countries – still do not have a bank account. This is largely because many low-income communities are underserved by financial institutions, which typically offer products that are more suitable for higher-income clientele.

Though the growing number of mobile money services is helping to address the access issue, we still need products that are appropriate for low-income consumers. Our goal with this new initiative is to drive innovation that can yield a full array of services that are affordable and accessible for poor clients, while being commercially viable for the financial service providers involved.

Ensuring that Healthcare for the Poor Is Just a Call Away

March 6, 2012

The annual Mobile World Congress is the place to see the latest mobile phones and applications before they hit the market. But that’s not why Tim Wood is there. As director of Grameen Foundation’s Mobile Health initiative, he’s more interested in how the mobile industry can help improve health outcomes for people who can barely afford a $20 phone.

Tim was part of a panel discussion on mobile health for development – the first of its kind to be held at a Mobile World Congress. He hopes this will galvanize even greater awareness of, and support for, the life-changing opportunities that a simple phone can provide to poor people around the world.

Grameen Foundation’s Mobile Health solutions focus on improving patient care for the poor by helping healthcare providers become more efficient, and by making modern medical information easily accessible and relevant to the poor themselves. In Ghana, we have been working through our MOTECH initiative with the Ghana Health Service on a “Mobile Midwife” service that sends weekly messages to pregnant women and new mothers reminding them of appointments and providing health tips that reinforce advice from their local nurses. In addition, nurses can update their clients’ data on their mobile phones and access their records as needed. Since 2010, we have registered more than 11,000 pregnant women and families in the country’s remote Upper East Region.

Be sure to follow our coverage of the Mobile World Congress 2012 to learn more about how we can deliver products and services to poor, rural communities through the 4 billion phones that are already in developing countries and emerging markets.

AppLab Wins Best Use of Mobile for Social & Economic Development Award

February 26, 2010

Eric Cantor recounts his story from Barcelona.

My heart was racing as I sat in an auditorium with several hundred of the 45,000+ attendees of 2010 GSMA Mobile World Congress . We were there to hear which of the 100 finalists out of 500 nominations for the Global Mobile Awards – recognizing the top achievements in the mobile world from the prior year – would get the one of the top honors in the industry.

The category of Best use of Mobile for Social and Economic Development was the reason for the aforementioned anxiety, because along with our partners in the AppLab and Google SMS endeavors of the last 2.5 years, Google and MTN Uganda , we had two entries out of the seven finalists. As the results were announced, we weren’t sure whether we would win or not. Then the announcement came, it was us – we won the award!

They called my name and we went up on stage to accept the trophy, say our thank you’s and give a brief acceptance speech. In my shock, I’m not sure what I said but I am hopeful it was fitting for the moment. This recognition comes at a critical time for Grameen Foundation . Since the inception of AppLab in late 2007, Grameen Foundation and its partners have been focused on leveraging the most successful technological innovation of our time, the mobile phone, to improve lives of the low-income individuals and communities who are always the last to be reached by the market.

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