How NGOs are utilising mobile apps to help change the world for better

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Just a few months ago an earthquake devastated Nepal, and a cry for help went through social media. Facebook came up with a donate button within its app and collected over $10 Million in relief funds for the victims, which is even more than what Washington donated for the cause. This illustrates the impact of technology in humanitarian aids.

NGOs are one the best examples of mobile revolution. Mobile has revolutionized the way they work, improved efficiency, transparency and their reach within the society. Some of the most common fields where NGOs deploy their apps are data collection, reporting, managing operations, hiring volunteers, spreading awareness and fundraising. Here are some of the NGOs that are using apps for good.

Plastic Soup Foundation

Also titled as “tiny time bombs”, Microbeads are small plastic particles (< 2mm). They are found in majority of our personal care products. They are harmful and banned in many places, but there are industries that won’t replace them, so they end up washing up into oceans and then in our food chains. Plastic Soup Foundation developed an app that scans product barcodes and tells if the product contain microbeads.

Mission Rabies

According to WHO, 55,000 people die from rabies every year, 40% of these are children. Mission Rabies is an NGO dedicated to eliminating Rabies from the world by 2030, they have vaccinated over 210,000 dogs till date. They need to vaccinate 70% population of dogs in an area for three years to achieve their goals. But planning and managing such operations in an area of an unknown number of dogs is extremely difficult. Mission Rabies utilizes a mobile app to log hard data and operations in their system. They are currently working on a new app for better functionality and increased usability. This next app is sponsored by DogTrust and is developed in collaboration between Simform, an app development agency and Mission Rabies.

Jayalaxmi Agro Tech

India still has a majority of population working in Agriculture, but contributes towards less than 20% of economy. Farmers struggle to raise their productivity due to lack of crop education. Jayalaxmi Agro Tech compiled audio and video instructions in the form of apps that can be used offline. Rather than giving instructions in general for all, they developed apps individually for each crops in the local language that makes it easy to understand and follow.

Yooou

This Spanish NGO developed a mobile app called Ufeed which helps feeding starving children in the third world country. The app is focused on reducing user’s compulsive eating habit. Whenever the user feels a sudden urge to eat or drink, he/she can share food/drink by tapping a button on the smartphone app. The food or drink then can be shared to any NGO present in the user selected region. When a user shares app information on social media a bowl of rice gets donated to an NGO of user’s choice.

Sakker Al Dekkene

Sakker Al Dekkene is a corruption fighting NGO that helps shame and collect data on corrupt bureaucrats. With the widespread use of smartphones and in order to provide an easy way of report corruption Rabih Sfeir of Sakker launched an app in May, 2014.

Maternity Foundation

Maternity Foundation is a Danish NGO committed towards saving lives of mother and children during childbirth in rural areas. Every Day 800 women die during childbirth. They found that maternal mortality can be reduced if a skilled and well trained health worker is present. But finding such workers in these area is extremely difficult, putting child and mother to the mercy of situation. Maternity Foundation then came up with a unique app designed to teach health workers and attendants on handling deliveries. The app utilizes video to deal with emergency obstetric and neonatal care.

Concern Worldwide

No one can predict accurately when an earthquake will strike, but a more accurate prediction of when and where for aftershocks can be done. Concern WorldWide’s app can predict based upon seismic data and recommend locations that are relatively safer. While the project is still undergoing, the app will serve as a tool for emergency response teams and can help setting safe temporary housings and aid distribution locations.

Global Campaign for Education – US

To provide children with access to quality education, GCE creates advocacy and policy strategies to influence and educate policy makers and US public to support universal quality education. The GEC-US app developed for iOS and Android Stores puts valuable information in the hands of users.

The Mekong Club

Dedicated towards eliminating human trafficking especially in supply chains, The Mekong Club developed an app to help that with their cause. The lack of detailed translation hampers identifying possible victims of trafficking. With pre recorded video questions in four languages (Thai, Burmese, Lao and Khmer) this app aids police officers, NGOs and other staff to communicate with the victims.

Clínicas del Azúcar

Health care access distribution varies greatly between low and mid to high income people in Mexico. Diabetes amounts to a high number of mortality, blindness, amputations and even suicides in Mexico. Clínicas del Azúcar developed an extreme affordable diabetes care system that aims to reduce annual cost of diabetes health care to less than $100. The app helps distributing articles and educating diabetes patients.