Can technology really make a difference in the lives of the poor? Solimo, a pig farmer from rural Uganda, certainly believes so. When Solimo’s pig gave birth to 15 piglets, all but two piglets died just days after their birth. A major part of the family’s livelihood also slipped away, putting Solimo’s family at risk.
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Gonzaga Kawuma was away from his farm when his cow collapsed and could not stand up again. Gonzaga’s wife gave him the disheartening news on the smartphone he has received as part of his participating in Grameen Foundation’s Community Knowledge Worker (CKW) program in Uganda. Gonzaga relied on his smartphone to diagnose his cow’s illness. Its fall could have been caused by a number of ailments – muscle fatigue, arthritis, foot rot – but Gonzaga figured out that the problems was a shortage of calcium.
A simple mobile phone is helping Simon Obwoya bring new opportunities to a community that has faced the brunt of Uganda’s brutal civil war. Obwoya lives in Lalogi subcounty in northern Uganda, a region that is home to thousands of people who have been displaced by a decades-long insurgency. People have recently started returning to their land and learning how to farm and take care of their families again.
Grameen Foundation's Growth Guarantees program was launched in 2005 to increase microfinance clients’ access to loans by guaranteeing local funding for the microfinance institutions (MFIs) that serve them.
Grameen Foundation launched its mobile technology work in Uganda in 2002 with Village Phone and it remains a hub for many of our mobile-based initiatives. Our Community Knowledge Worker initiative combines mobile technology and human networks to give smallholder farmers access to accurate, timely information that helps them protect their crops and animals, improve their yields and get better market prices.
Grameen Foundation is part of a consortium of organizations that comprise the Africa Health Markets for Equity (AHME). Co-funded by DFID and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the partnership will improve health outcomes through the provision of quality private sector health care targeted at the poor in Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana. This will be achieved by increasing the scale and scope of private provider networks and demand-side financing in all three countries.
In Kenya, we are using mobile technology to improve access to financial services and information on agriculture. Through our e-warehouse initiative, we are also developing a mobile-based system to provide information to help smallholder maize farmers properly store their crops post-harvest, and connect them to financial services and markets for final sale.
Grameen Foundation has been working with the Ghana Health Service since 2008 to improve the maternal and neonatal care in rural communities through the Mobile Technology for Community Health (MOTECH) initiative. Using the MOTECH platform, we have also developed mobile applications that provide information on sexual reproductive health to youth.
The vast majority of the world's poorest countries are in Africa, and nearly half of Sub-Saharan Africa’s 910 million people are estimated to live on less than US$1.25 per day. Grameen Foundation has been working in Sub-Saharan Africa for more than a decade, improving the livelihoods of the region’s poor by building relevant mobile-based solutions and increasing access to financial services. Our current work focuses on delivering financial solutions and information services via mobile technology that target the rural poor, with a specific focus on agriculture, health and livelihoods.
February 04, 2013
Originally posted on our AppLab Blog. Fredrick Ndiwalana is Relationship Manager, Applab Money Accelerator, and Ali Ndiwalana is Research Lead, AppLab Money Incubator, at Grameen Foundation Uganda.