Securing a bank loan can hardly be called an easy or pleasant task for anyone. But for many in the developing world, it’s even more difficult. An estimated 2.5 billion people worldwide lack access to formal financial services, increasing their vulnerability and making it difficult to break the cycle of poverty. Fortunately, a number of innovative new startups are overcoming these limitations through advances in mobile technology. Over the past 10 years, participants in the Wireless Innovation Project® (WIP) competition have presented solutions for all kinds of issues, including financial services.
How We Connect for Good
Two billion people in the world don’t have a bank account. But that doesn’t mean they don’t use money similarly to people who do. Wes Wasson, founder of financial tech startup DreamStart Labs, witnessed firsthand the relative sophistication of informal financial networks while he was working in microfinance in West Africa. With no commercial banks in many rural villages, women create their own, called village savings and loan associations. They pool their savings, appoint treasurers, hold community meetings, and issue small loans to each other. One woman’s successful repayment of that money benefits the entire group.
Designers of an electronic collar to prevent poaching of big game in Africa share the story of their still-evolving efforts: Illegal poaching is a major contributor to declining populations of endangered animals around the world. For example, it’s estimated there are now less than 500,000 elephants in Africa, less than half of the population 40 years ago. If the pace persists, wild elephants are at risk of extinction.
“Is it too difficult for companies to achieve financial and social impact simultaneously?” This was the question being posed by One World Founder & CEO Scott Saslow at the Innovations in Corporate Social Impact Summit on Nov, 2 at Cooley LLP in San Francisco. The answer was a resounding “no,” as attendees discussed the examples of Bay Area companies who are innovation leaders in how they design their strategy, measure results and harness capital and people to create wider social, economic and environmental benefits.
Today, at SOCAP17, The Vodafone Americas Foundation announced the opening of its tenth annual Wireless Innovation Project™ competition, seeking the latest connected innovations designed for social good. The Foundation asks all entrepreneurs, startups, non-government organizations (NGOs), nonprofits and university projects to submit technologies that aim to solve critical issues facing the global community.
The Power of Mobile Data
Mobile Data Serving Humanitarian Needs
Acting on Mobile Data Today
Wireless Innovation Project 2017
The Potential for Mobile Data to Impact Social Good
In June, a collaboration between UN Global Pulse, the United Nations, and the GSMA released The State of Mobile Data for Social Good report which looks at how mobile big data can be an incredible resource in driving social good efforts around the world.
The report was produced with the support of Vodafone Americas Foundation and the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), and released at an event at the Vodafone offices in New York. During the event, a panel of experts representing the mobile data for good ecosystem—MNOs, UN, donors, data scientists— explored what opportunities mobile has opened, the challenges the field is facing, and what actions should be taken in order to improve the outcome of mobile data for global development. More
Join Us: Women and Girls Speak Up and Stay Safe: Media and Mobiles Event
Digital technology and social media have given people all over the world ways to make their voices heard, and they’ve also sparked countless meaningful conversations and interactions. However, these platforms, although well intended, do not always lead positive communication. They have unfortunately opened the door for cyberbullying and online harassment, especially targeted at women and girls.
On Tuesday, June 6th, we will host a panel with Internews, in partnership with Technology Salon NYC, to explore the safety and security of women on media platforms. More
Supporting Social Innovation Through Employee Engagement
At the Vodafone Americas Foundation, we bring people together from all sectors to address some of the world’s most pressing social issues. We also know that sometimes the biggest change starts right at home, with our own workforce. As times change, so too do the opportunities for employee engagement. Just a few years ago, employee engagement might refer to volunteering at a local food pantry, or an after-hours mentoring agency. Increasingly, however, the workforce is becoming more diverse, more technologically connected, and more interested in helping their communities in novel and creative ways. More