Grameen Foundation Launches Mobile Services for Uganda’s Poor

The Grameen Foundation launched new mobile services today, targeting Uganda’s poor and disadvantaged. This field-based program in Uganda is based on an innovative partnership that strategically combines the resources and experience of Grameen Foundation, Google, and MTN. For eighteen months, GF’s Application Lab (AppLab) has been researching and designing these services. The applications deliver services and information that were previously unavailable to Uganda’s poor and disadvantaged communities. According to GF’s Press Release, these applications provide real-time information, including:

Farmer’s Friend, a searchable database with both agricultural advice and targeted weather forecasts;
Health Tips which provides sexual and reproductive health information, paired with Clinic Finder, which helps locate nearby health clinics and their services;
Google Trader, which matches buyers and sellers of agricultural produce and commodities as well as other products

The services are SMS-based and designed to work with basic mobile phones to reach the broadest possible audience. Users can access the services quickly and privately. For those who do not have a mobile phone, the services will still be easily accessible through existing Village Phone Operators (VPOs).

AppLab is researching more “sustainable and scalable models”. Like the first five applications, future endeavors will continue to ” put critical information and knowledge directly into the hands of poor people who have access to mobile devices, in an effort to further alleviate poverty”.

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