3 mobile tools changing how NGOs interact with communities they serve

Teenagers read text messages on mobile phones in the West Point neighbourhood of Monrovia, Liberia. The girls, who are “U-Reporters,” are helping to raise awareness in their community about Ebola and how to prevent its spread. Photo by: UNICEF

The rise of mobile technology has allowed aid to expand its reach to the world’s poorest populations. More than 6 billion people have gained access to cellphones in the past 25 years, but what does this mean for international organizations looking to impact individuals at the last mile?

Devex spoke with several development communicators from UNICEF, UNFPA and Blum Center for Developing Economies at University of California Berkeley, to find out which mobile tools are making communication between implementers and the communities they serve more efficient, transparent and operational.

Here are three tools you should know about if your organization wants to work even closer with the communities you serve:

VOTO Mobile

Who’s behind it: Co-founded by Louis Dorval and Mark Boots in 2012, the tech startup and social enterprise is headquartered in Ghana.

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About the author

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    Carine Umuhumuza

    Carine Umuhumuza is the Associate Director of Communications at Devex. She has launched over a dozen major campaigns in partnership with leading communicators from a range of development agencies, major corporations, NGOs, and social enterprises. Her passion for connecting people and creating impact through stories is homegrown, inherited from her father — a journalist at one of the leading newspapers in Rwanda. Carine got her journalism and storytelling chops at Syracuse University's Newhouse School and moved to D.C. to start her career in social media and digital strategy. Starting her career at the cusp of the social media boom, Carine has a digital-first approach for storytelling and content curation. As the resident social media guru, she's often an early adopter of new tools and techniques for storytelling, mastering them and teaching others how to use them too.

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