This article is sponsored by NASSCOM Social Innovation Forum in partnership with Vodafone Foundation.
In India, more than half the population works in Agriculture but it accounts for only about 15% of the economy. Although we are one of the largest agricultural producers in the world, the farm productivity is low and our farmers still live bleak lives. What causes this disparity? Farmers in India not only lack access to new farming methods but often struggle with getting information on crops due to low income. Lack of education, information and resources have led to this agrarian crisis.
To address this urgent problem, Bangalore based NGO and one of the winners of the Mobile for Good Awards 2014, Jayalaxmi Agro Tech developed an app to equip less literate farmers with crop specific information using audio/visual tools. Through this application, farmers are able to use analytics and other high tech powered solutions to build productivity leading to social transformation. Once transferred on a farmer’s android enabled phone, this app can even work without internet – a significant plus point for farmers with limited resources. Information about crop management, fertilization, dairy, weather reports and food security through this app is available in regional languages to maximize outreach.
Another example showcasing the power of mobile technology to empower and address developmental challenges is a mobile app developed by Dimagi, a privately held Social Enterprise and winner of Mobile for Good Awards 2014. This application works with ASHA workers (Accredited Social Health Activists) to provide health interventions at the community level. In an effort to enhance the government’s goal of ‘One ASHA for every village’ and reduce maternal and new born deaths in villages, this app enables the ASHA workers to record data and provide multimedia enabled counseling messages. Since 2007, over 1 million women and children have benefitted through the program and Dimagi is continuously striving to deepen impact through developing other mobile solutions for social good.
With one of the largest populations in the world and an urgent need to empower our communities, mobile technology can play a significant role in instrumenting large scale impact across the country. It can bring about healthcare where there are no doctors, access to education where there are no teachers and access to financial services where there are no banks. Mobile penetration in India stands at 72% currently and is expected to grow to 100% by 2017. This provides a potential prospect to leverage the mobile platform and address the information and developmental needs of the communities – in both rural and urban areas.
To encourage and celebrate the power of innovative mobile solutions that drive inclusive growth across the country, the Vodafone Foundation launched the ‘Mobile for Good Awards’ in 2011. Over the last 4 years, M4G Awards have supported 22 organizations using mobile technology across areas with critical funding and mentorship to build capacity.
This year, in an effort to maximize impact and support tech for good projects, the NASSCOM Foundation, through the NASSCOM Social Innovation Forum, has joined hands with the Vodafone Foundation for the Mobile for Good initiative.
The M4G Awards 2015 has 2 categories- ‘Leading Change Maker – NPO Category’ and ‘Leading Change Maker – For profit category’ and invites applications across the 4 crucial areas of Health, Education, Women Empowerment & Inclusive Development and Agriculture. The NPO category will focus on recognizing all projects by NGOs and NFPs. The For Profit category will focus on initiatives by Social enterprises and individuals. This year, a special category has been introduced for Government led mobile solutions. There will be 5 winners selected from the NGO category, each of whom will receive critical seed funding of 1.2 million each. They will also receive structured mentorship, monitoring and impact evaluation from partner institutions to build scale and capacity over a period of one year.
The 5 winners from the For Profit category will receive special recognition and an opportunity to showcase their innovation at the newly launched ‘Social Apps Marketplace’ in December. There will be one winner in the Government solution category who will receive a recognition certificate.
To apply for the M4G Awards 2015 and for additional information, visit www.vodafone.in/mobileforgood . Applications close on 31st July, 2015! For more information, write to firstname.lastname@example.org