The following is a press release prepared by Indigo grantee, Farmerline, regarding their work to tackle the Ebola crisis in West Africa.
Ebola is Spreading
The Ebola outbreak appears to be far from over. As of 29 September, 6,574 cases of the hemorrhagic fever caused by the Ebola virus have been reported in Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Senegal. The fatal virus has ravaged parts of West Africa and this past week, the US Center for Disease control reported its first case of Ebola in Dallas, Texas. While the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other global health organizations have invested millions of dollars to combat the spread of the disease in West Africa, Farmerline has teamed up with local health professionals to send out Ebola prevention tips to over 2,000 small-scale farmers across Ghana.
Farmerline Leading ICT Approach to Ebola Education
Farmerline is a mobile messaging platform that allows businesses and development partners to instantly communicate with farmers in their local language through outgoing voice messages, SMS, and mobile surveys. Today, the Ghanaian company is leading an ICT approach to Ebola education with its chain of mobile communication and data collection technologies.
Voice messages detailing the Ebola virus and preventative measures have been recorded by Farmerline in six local languages and sent directly to the mobile phones of over 2,000 rural farmers in Ghana. These voice recordings are open source and freely available online at Farmerline’s SoundCloud account. The objective is to target illiterate communities, especially small-scale farmers, about the dangers that come with contracting the Ebola virus. Farmerline is additionally in the midst of creating new ICT tools that can support health workers in Africa.
The goal is to expand Farmerline’s voice messages on Ebola through an initial pilot that reaches 1 million people across West Africa.
Call for Partnership
Farmerline does not have the capacity to carry out these efforts alone. In order to reach farmers and vulnerable communities across West Africa, new audio messages must be recorded in the local languages of each region, investment from donors and foundations are required to scale up the effort, and a partnership with a Global Health Organization would be vital in reaching a maximized number of farmers in rural regions of West Africa. Additionally, Farmerline hopes to collaborate with at least two local organizations in Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Senegal. To save lives, the fight against Ebola must be a joint, international and local effort. If you want to contribute to Farmerline’s Ebola initiative, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Farmerline is a Ghanaian company that focuses on creating technology and improving information access to rural communities especially small-scale farmers. Co-Founders, Alloysius Attah and Emmanuel Owusu Addai, have recently been named 2014 Echoing Green Global Fellows for their innovation and vision. To read more about Farmerline and its efforts in empowering small-scale farmers, visit their website at http://www.farmerline.org.