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5 ways you can change the world with technology


By Natalie Bannon

If you’re looking for a way to help remote parts of the world have better access to education, economic development and disease prevention, a mission trip to bring information and communications technology to a developing country may work for you. Here are five things you should know before traveling the globe.

Put people first
As you plan your project, focus on people, not on technology. Learn about the community you are trying to serve, and design a project that is cost-efficient and sustainable. Some questions to ask are:

  • What kind of technology do people already use?
  • What do people want?
  • What do they need?

Also, let people in the local community help install, test and troubleshoot the technology. After all, they have to live with it after you leave, so they need to know how to fix it when it breaks.

Think mobile
In the developing world, simple cell phones can hold a charge for a week. They can make banking transactions, check crop prices and even share life-saving news about disease outbreaks. Again, as you plan your project, consider ways to incorporate existing technology. Even in the world’s poorest countries, mobile phones are common.

Let the sun shine.
Reliable electricity is hard to come by in the developing world. In some remote places, people travel for hours to recharge mobile phones. Impoverished families burn everything from kerosene to cow dung to light their homes at night. United Methodists promote solar technology as a cost-effective and sustainable solution. Solar chargers can power mobile phone batteries, radios and more. Light from solar light bulbs is safe, clean and bright. Students can study longer, shops can stay open longer and communities can prosper.

You are not alone.
Technology that works in one part of the world may not be the best choice for another. United Methodist Communications has overcome many obstacles while implementing communications technology projects in low-resource conditions. We can advise you on getting started, get you the right equipment for the conditions and can even help you create the necessary relationships when you arrive at your destination.

Take a deep dive.
You may also want to consider attending the Game Changers Summit in September 2014, in Nashville, Tennessee. You’ll meet global experts who will share advice on how to avoid potential obstacles to your technology project. You can also network with other mission-oriented individuals.

Learn more about how technology can transform lives at If you’re ready to get started and want United Methodist Communications to help you, or if you just have questions, contact us at or 615-742-5444. And for other church communication tips, go to