When it comes to helping the poor, more eyebrows are raised. Oddly, one of the greatest ways in which the poor are being aided in the 21st Century is through mobile technology. Yes, there are foundations and societies that offer relief to local communities, and even some that have national programs available in all 50 states, but it is through mobile technology that advances are being made on a large scale. Government programs that offer free phones to those qualified within a certain bracket of poverty give them access to communications that would otherwise be inaccessible. Not only is mobile technology offering relief to the poor but it is that same technology that enables relief efforts to reach the desired portion of the population.
Is technology truly helping the poor? Here’s why we think it does:
1. Demographic Analysis
It would be virtually impossible to serve the needs of the poor without being able to analyze needs and areas where those needs are greatest. Through mobile technology it is easier than ever before to conduct surveys and polls in an effort to identify demographics in need of assistance in any given city, rural region or state. With free cell phones sponsored by the federal government, agencies can conduct polls via SMS messages and get results in real time to keep current on demographic analysis.
2. Access to Education
Some of the poorest of the population live in outlying rural areas too far from colleges and technical schools to even think about secondary education. With the advent of mobile technology, more students than ever before are able to access online classes even in areas where cable isn’t available for high speed connections. Mobile devices are able to connect to the internet so that these students can study and also, parents of younger children can stay apprised of their children’s progress through SMS messaging from teachers and school administrators.
3. Access to Market Data in Agriculture
Where once farmers had to actually make the trip to market to stay informed of market prices, they can now access that data via mobile devices. There are also apps that warn of inclement weather and offer such things as reminders for feeding. There are so many applications available for agricultural uses that a farmer need never leave the field to access the information needed at any given moment for a multitude of reasons.
4. Access to Mobile Health & Self-Assessment
Within the past few years, mobile health technology has been advancing at such a rate that many people no longer need to take a trip to the local clinic for routine assessments. There are now health apps for keeping track of meds, recording levels of glucose in the bloodstream and monitoring heart rates and rhythms in patients suffering from cardiovascular disease. If something is amiss, the mobile device sends information to the doctor or clinic where immediate action can be taken in real time. If the medical practitioner deems it necessary to see the patient, a quick call can be made to schedule an appointment. At other times the information is simply placed in the patient’s file.
5. Access to Banking
There are so many people around the world who live in areas void of banking services that mobile banking is quickly banking the unbanked. One area that is particularly served by mobile banking is Africa where it could be literally hundreds of miles between brick-and-mortar financial institutions. With the availability of mobile banking, there is no longer a need to go without a bank account to pay bills and transfer money as needed.
And number 6!
6. Access to charity organizations across the world
Fundraising has never been much easier these days without the advent of mobile technology. With the responsiveness in most mobile websites, poor people can easily get access to fundraising organizations across the world. Website like FoodForPoor has certain feature that enable poor people to have their say-and yet-get instant food and social amenities support within a short period. This wouldn’t have been easier if there’s no such system in place to make room for that. Mobile technology has really touched all and sundry, helping the poor is among them.
These are just a few of the ways in which mobile technology is helping the poor. However, by these few examples it is clear just how much of an impact this technology has made for the less fortunate within our society. There are many other ways technology is helping the poor and less privileged people lead a better life in our society and we’d be glad if you can add your own voice.
Which way do you think technology is helping the poor around you that worth mentioning? Use the box below.