According to the Global Multidimensional Index of Poverty (MPI) approximately 1.6 billion people worldwide are living poverty. MPI calculates these figures not just by income level, but access to healthcare, quality of housing, and access to education as well. Although this is very disheartening, it is uplifting to know that these numbers are nearly half of what they were 20 years ago. A large reason why poverty levels are improving is due to the continuous strides in technology – creating jobs. Technology helps create demand in the job market, but also helps to close the gaps in accesses to education and healthcare. With the aid of global SMS practices and mobile technology (such as mobile phones), many organizations are looking to improve the world for those struggling in poverty.
Literacy and Learning With Mobile
Education is one of the most important aspects to breaking the cycles of poverty. However, many families lack not only the monetary needs to send their children to school, they may also live miles away from the closest school. To make education more accessible for students in poor rural areas, UNESCO implemented a mobile solution. Worldwide Reader is a learn-to-read mobile app. It was distributed to highly impoverished nations to test out if a mobile tool can help raise literacy levels. The mobile app grants users access to reading education materials as well as books for practice reading. Not only did literacy rates increase, but school performance and attendance increased as well. Now there is more demand to provide similar services to aid in literacy for local languages in addition to English.
Mobile Access to Healthcare
Staying in healthy can be challenging for those living below the poverty line. Poor sanitation, unsafe living conditions, and a lack of proper medical facilities can mean disastrous effects on one’s health. One study is looking to change this using global SMS as the solution. To improve adherence to medical advice in rural Nigeria, health care professionals are using global SMS to HIV patients reminding them to take their medication. SMS solutions are also assisting in the distribution of valuable medical information: such as newborn care support for new mothers, sending and receiving prescription orders, and showing where pop-up vaccine clinics will be. Photo Credit: UNESCO
Income distribution is always a hot button topic in global politics. Although poverty levels are lowering, war and drastic environmental changes can lead many to poverty in an instant. Simple SMS integration can, thankfully, provide many in poverty the chance at a better life by helping with everything from healthcare and education to banking. This only proves that global SMS is both good for business but for the world as well.