Using Technology for Social Good

An Exploration of Best Practice in the Use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) for Development

“Technology is a tool for economic and social development that can aid in the reduction of poverty and change lives.” – Larry Hollon, Chief Executive, United Methodist Communications


This discussion paper captures best practice in the use of mobile phones and other low-cost communications technologies through a series of interviews with experts and practitioners. Interviewees include:

  • The head of the mobile solutions team at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) who describes the agency’s efforts to use mobile phones to pay teachers in Afghanistan, reducing money lost to graft;

  • The founder of FrontlineSMS, one of the most widely scaled mobile text messaging-based information sharing program, who provides his top 10 tips for effective use of technology for social good;

  • The chair of the Health Board of The United Methodist Church in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, who describes how using FrontlineSMS is changing the way information is shared in the context of acute health emergencies, such as cholera outbreaks; and

  • The program manager of the Thomas Food Project in Thomas, Haiti, who describes how low cost solar power is being used to power a new computer center and generate income that supports a school feeding program.

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IMPACT

The Thomas Project: Bringing Appropriate Technology to a Haitian School

Using FrontlineSMS to Raise Malaria Prevention Awareness in DR Congo

Communications as Relief

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