The Vodafone Americas Foundation fosters social change in global and local communities through connected solutions. We mobilize social good by analyzing the needs of a community, collaborating with expert partners, and creating vehicles of knowledge sharing and learning.
We foster entrepreneurship and innovation to encourage new approaches that impact social change. We take advantage of the resources of world-class researchers and institutions, the knowhow and experience of NGO’s (Non-Governmental Organizations), and local communities to bring relief to underserved people around the world and improve people’s lives. We encourage incubation of new ideas not only in development, but also in pioneering methodologies to best employ technology. We also support the ecosystem to promote entrepreneurship through training and collaboration. The programs we support utilize technology in innovative ways and engage the community in developing and implementing the solution. The Vodafone Americas Foundation’s Wireless Innovation Project™ (WIP) is an annual competition that provides up to $600,000 in awards to promote innovation and increase the development of mobile and wireless technology for a better world. The WIP provides up to $600,000 in awards to support projects of exceptional promise. Projects must demonstrate significant advancement in the field of wireless-related technology applied to social benefit.
The 2016 WIP winners are:
- Neopenda, Biohealth Innovation – An affordable wearable newborn vital signs monitor that transmits data to nurses to help provide early detection when a newborn is in distress.
- EyeSee, University of California, Los Angeles – A vision enhancement and tele-rehabilitation system to maximize the residual vision and enable independent living in hemianopic patients.
- c-Air, University of California, Los Angeles – A high-throughput sensor for rapid quantification of air-quality based on the integration of computational imaging and mobile-sensing techniques.
The Vodafone Americas Foundation supports nonprofit organizations to develop and utilize connected solutions that increase opportunities for learning, promote health, safety, and sustainability, and save lives. We believe technology can be the bridge between the resources available and those in need. The programs we support take advantage of innovative tools to improve society by connecting, educating, and empowering individuals. The services they provide are scalable, adaptable, accessible, and resourceful.
- Crisis Text Line – Provides critical support to people in crisis via text to help to save lives.
- Soko – A WIP winner, Soko is an e-commerce marketplace that empowers female artisans from the developing world to reach the global market.
- Mobile4All – Program that provides homeless people with low-cost mobile phones and services to access social services and employment.
- Labor Link – Deploys anonymous mobile surveys for groups to respond rapidly to workplace violations, inform company policies, and deliver services for workers.
- TechSoup & Caravan Studios’ “Safe Night” – A mobile web application that assists domestic violence victims to quickly locate available shelter space
Strengthening the Global Development Sector
The Vodafone Americas Foundation invests in the power of wireless to connect individuals with resources for better lives. We support research, information sharing and programs that provide tools to engage and advance the field as a whole. Technology is the backbone of connectivity. In order for us to form a better society, people must share ideas, skills, and resources. We invest in the power of wireless to connect individuals to each other in order to distribute both services and information, with the ultimate goal of bettering humanity.
- Seva Sustainable Sanitation – A mobile-based, self-diagnosing technology for wastewater treatment systems empower local community members to operate and maintain sanitation in areas that lack sufficient infrastructure.
- Youth Tech Health – Helps raise awareness and mitigate cyberbullying through a national online privacy campaign that uses peer-generated video messages to influence existing beliefs and attitudes.
Empowering Women and Girls
Our goal is to provide women and girls with greater economic opportunity and help close the gender gap. The Vodafone Americas Foundation sees now as a powerful time to support women and girls.
Statistics show that investing in girls and women improves communities enormously; that girls and women spend 90% of their earned income on their families, while men spend only 30–40%. Specifically, supporting technology grants to women and girls will be effective because statistics show that by 2015, 90% of jobs in all sectors will require tech skills. That is why the Vodafone Americas Foundation supports technology programs that empower women and girls.
We look for programs such as STEM projects for girls that provide opportunities for them to learn new skills, sustain their interests in the field and allow them to thrive and excel. We support advocacy and gender work for women in and through technology that strengthen their stance in the sector. We’ve already supported agencies for their development of technology that provides safety and protects women from violence, allows new and speedy ways to seek services to support their families, and created solutions for women-specific health issues. We’d like to continue to help build a future where women have a voice not only in the technology sector but within their communities and the world.
With Vodafone’s new global partnership with the Malala Fund, the Vodafone Americas Foundation would like continue to support Vodafone’s involvement with women and girls. Current supported causes include:
- Girls Who Code – a national nonprofit organization working to close the gender gap in the technology and engineering sectors through immersion programs covering tropics ranging from introduction to computing, robotics, graphics/animation, data structures/algorithms, to mobile app development.
- TechGirlz – a nonprofit dedicated to reducing the gender gap in technology occupations, has been able to extend its technology workshops to increase girls’ interest in technology careers.
- Internews – an international non-profit working at the intersection of media, information, and development to ensure people are fully empowered with the information they need.