In a recent post, I mentioned the progress that three of our grantees had made over the last few months, the impact they had enjoyed and the challenges they had faced. Continuing along that same theme, here are some more updates from our grantees:

  • Mobile Consortium Ghana hosted one of the country’s first ever events dedicated to mobile app development. Despite some challenges with regard to internet connectivity and the reliability of electricity access, the interest and enthusiasm stoked by Mobile Consortium Ghana has led some large mobile operators and manufacturers to look at the possibility of hosting their own events in Ghana. The increased awareness of and interest in mobile app development has been the biggest success of this project, according to MCG’s Kwesi Eyison:

‘[Our biggest success is] the fact the we were the first to host an event in Ghana primarily aimed at promoting mobile technology and its impact on the community. We managed to get the dialogue of local development into place and now more people are interested in knowing more about the impact of mobile technology.

  • In September, we announced that we were funding Map Kibera Trust to carry out outreach work and create a directory of organisations working in Kibera. One of the things that impressed us then and continues to impress us now is the simplicity of their outreach work. Aware that for many in Kibera internet access is a luxury, Map Kibera Trust have designed a series of offline outreach activities to bridge the digital divide. As well as video screenings and presentations at community meetings, the team will also be handing out paper copies of the maps and creating murals throughout Kibera. For more on how the Trust is reaching out to the people of Kibera, why not take a look at their blog post here?
  • Although Project Kopano is yet to start, SHM Foundation are already giving serious thought to documenting its (potential) impact. The project, which seeks to provide young HIV+ pregnant women with an SMS support group made up of their peers, is due to launch in the next few months. On the issue of impact and value-for-money, SHM’s director, Anna Kydd comments:

‘If we can show that the model can have a considerable impact on PMTCT [Preventing Mother-To-Child Transmission] rates then we believe that it would be cost effective for government agencies to provide this model to all pregnant women diganosed with HIV/AIDS in South Africa.’

This evidence-based approach to development is one that we wholeheartedly endorse and in times of economic difficulties it’s an approach that has clear and obvious benefits. Only by building up a robust evidence base can organisations and individuals interested in the power of technology for development create a compelling argument for investment in such approaches.