Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Technology for Social Good

Technology has huge potential to be used for social good. Mobiles and mapping software can be used to gather data, and visualise patterns and trends; predictive analytics can be used to help translate 'big data' into useful statistics; unmanned aerial vehicles can monitor real-time crises; and social media helps mobilise groups around the world.

These technologies are getting more accessible to diverse groups by the day. Just as mobile phones and cameras have spread across the world and are now in the hands of people and organisations in remote areas, some highly advanced technologies that seemed to be once reserved for computer scientists and technology firms are becoming increasingly available to non-government organisations.

Connecting the raw data to the human stories is key, for example, the International Centre for Advocates Against Discrimination (Icaad), Nazdeek, and Promotion and Advancement of Justice, Harmony and Rights for Adivasis (Pajhra) are developing a programme to combat maternal mortality in Assam, India. The programme marries community mobilisation with mobile and mapping applications and the potential for legal intervention. The aim is to make reproductive health services more accountable.

—Hansdeep Singh is the co-founder and director of legal programmes at International Center for Advocates Against Discrimination. Jaspreet Singh is also a co-founder, and director policy & advocacy. They tweet @IcaadGlobal. Linda Raftree is on the board of directors at Icaad. She tweets @meowtree.

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