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Mobile phones help bring aid to remotest regions

Souktel's AidLink uses basic text messaging to help relief workers learn what's happening and give out information on where people can find aid.

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Souktel’s services are only one example of constructive mobile phone programs. Phones can now be used as ATM cards for Africans without bank accounts, allowing them to build credit. Rural farmers are receiving updated weather alerts, helping protect their crops, and food prices at market, helping eliminate predatory middle men.

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The BBC also reports that Kenyans have donated roughly $200,000 via SMS messaging to neighbors affected by 2011’s food shortages and drought.

Mobile communication provides exciting opportunities for international development workers and otherwise-isolated rural dwellers to connect. When seconds can mark the difference between starvation and survival, it’s encouraging to know that instantaneous information is on the way.

Joseph Zaleski is a research intern for the Nourishing the Planet program.

To read more about mobile technology: What Works: Turning Farmers into Businessmen and Women, Cell Phone Banking Could Lift Africa’s Farmers, Texting on the Farm: Mobile Technology Provides Farmers with useful Information in India, From Phones to Fields.

To purchase your own copy of State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet, please click HERE. And to watch the one-minute book trailer, click HERE.

This article originally appeared on Nourishing the Planet, a blog published by the Worldwatch Institute.

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