Mobiles for Social Good: Photos from the mBillionth South Asia Awards


In earlier posts, we brought you creative photographs of digital products from the Communicasia conference in Singapore, innovative handicrafts at the Sampoorn Santhe 2014 (arts fair) in Bangalore, music performances from the Rainforest World Music Festival in Malaysia, and a social hackathon at BeagesLoft in Bangalore. In this showcase, we bring you face to face with the innovative teams behind award-winning mobile content at the mBillionth South Asia Awards in Delhi. Make YourStory’s PhotoSparks your regular source of photographs that celebrate creativity and innovation!

Bridging the digital gap: mobile content in Indian languages

India suffers not just from divides in literacy and digital access, but also a digital language divide – there is not enough Indian language content online in usable form, keeping millions of mobile users locked in a voice-only world. Reverie Language Technologies enables text communication for 32 languages of the world, including 22 Indian languages. Offerings include fonts and rendering engines, predictive input capability in keypads and transliteration capability to render text in multiple languages in a phonetically correct manner. Its software development kit can be used by content providers, eg. for share prices, cricket scores, mobile banking transactions, music lyrics, astrology and news.

mMitra: Hope for life for mothers and babies

A woman dying during childbirth is one of life's cruelest ironies, according to the founders of Armman, a non-profit organisation committed to improving the wellbeing of pregnant mothers, newborn infants and children in the first five years of their life. Its service mMitra Voice and Animation is a mobile voice messaging and animated film service with culturally appropriate information on preventive care for pregnant women and mothers with infants. By contributing Rs. 150 (less than $3), citizens can now sponsor the cost of enrolling one mother into the mMitra service. Every two minutes, a woman dies in childbirth, and 99 percent of them are in developing countries, according to the World Health Organization.

Mobile in hand, power to rural health

Dhaka-based mPower is a global social enterprise that offers mhealth solutions blending technology with quality healthcare in a financially sustainable manner. It recently won the best Telemedicine Innovation Award at the World Health Congress in 2009 (handed over by Nobel Laureate Prof. Muhammad Yunus, founder of Grameen). Initially conceived as ClickDiagnostics in 2008, mPower started its journey in Egypt and soon spread to other countries, particularly Botswana, Bangladesh, Ghana and Uganda. Currently, mPower has projects in Bangladesh, India and Haiti.

Safe sanitation: poo only in the loo

With design inputs from ad agency JWT, UNICEF India has rolled out the Poo2Loo campaign to promote safe sanitation practices via mobile education. Close to 594 million people in India practice open defecation – that is half the population dumping over 65 million kilos of poo in the open, leading to infections, diseases, epidemics and stench. The social campaign hopes to bring about behaviour change in urban and rural India via a range of media including mobile (see my earlier article on the UNICEF-DEF consultation). 28 million school children in India lack access to a toilet in school.

Mobile with biggest impact: content for farmers

Meet some of the mobile content developers from India’s Ministry for Agriculture! The ministry has also rolled out apps as well as an SMS portal for feature phone users, covering government officers, agricultural workers and support staff. Content is delivered in multiple Indian languages. Seven million farmers have signed up for the service already in the past year, with more to come. Content covered includes price information, irrigation practices, animal husbandry, fertiliser updates and dealer licensing.

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