Technology for People: Software Making a Difference Part 2

Technology has no boundaries. In this two-part article, we explore how technology is used for the benefit of man. The first part of this series tackled how advanced technology can help the disabled and combat terrorism. We now continue with part two of these article series.

Individuals, nonprofits, and non-government organizations have also begun to use technology to not only spread awareness but also as a means or tool to instill their advocacy. Here are more of the things technology can do to offer solutions and a better life.

  1. Tech & NGO
  1. Eco-Friendly Apps
  1. Food Waste Apps

 

4. Tech & NGO

Nonprofit and non-government organizations have caught up on using technology to promote and drive their cause. Many have raised awareness and gathered volunteers by having a higher online presence and building an online community. Others use advanced technologies or online and mobile advantages in their advocacy.

Here are just  some of the countless nonprofits and NGOs who used technology for the better:

 

 

NONPROFIT TECH FOR GOOD

Nonprofit Tech for Good

Created and managed by Heather Mansfield, Nonprofit Tech For Good provides blogs, news, and resources on nonprofit technology, online communications, and mobile and social fundraising. The team behind the website also performs an annual research project to know how nonprofits use technology. The reports can be downloaded from their site. With a million followers on social media and over 100,000 monthly website visits, the site has become a top social and mobile media resource for nonprofits and NGOs.

 

 

WILDLIFE ALLIANCE

Wildlife Alliance

Founded in 1995, this international non-profit organization partners with local communities around the world to address causes of deforestation and illegal wildlife trade through direct on-the-ground intervention. The organization uses technologies in efforts, such as the setting advance camera traps to capture wildlife activity in the forest. They have also launched an app called Kouprey Express, Cambodia’s only mobile environmental education unit. The app not only educates people on environmental conservation but also instills behavioral changes in environmental sustainability within the community. Wildlife Alliance already has completed projects in Myanmar, Thailand, India, Russia, and Ecuador.

 

 

REACH OUT TO ASIA (ROTA)

Reach Out To Asia

ROTA offers progressive education, research, and community welfare in Asia and the Middle East. The organization employs technology to facilitate programs. These projects include providing ICT infrastructures, building schools fully equipped with computers and internet access. In the countries ROTA has identified in need of immediate assistance, the organization aims to restore its social and educational infrastructure for a better future.

 

 

CATHOLIC RELIEF SERVICES (CRS)

Catholic Relief Services

CRS is a US Catholic service working with local, national, and international Catholic institutions. As part of their community involvement, CRS use advanced technologies such as geohazard mapping to identify disaster-prone areas. This mapping is used to identify areas where natural disasters destroy the most, and also to pinpoint the location of victims. CRS has been using this technology since the earthquake in Haiti in 2010.

 

 

AFRICA’S VOICES

Africa's Voices

Africa’s Voices uses simple radio and text messaging for users to gather feedback or opinion. The idea started as Cambridge research project where a radio DJ asks questions on air and listeners text their responses. Data are collected and shared with relevant organizations. This effort has already launched several projects in response to drought in Somalia, and maternal health, among others. Opening communication between the relevant organizations and people affected by the presented issues has slowly closed the gap of finding a solution to these problems via text messaging.

 

5. Eco-Friendly Apps

People say technology destroys Mother Earth. However, some have used technology in innovative ways to help save and preserve our environment.

Here are some of the eco-friendly apps you can try:

 

Dropcountr (iOS, Android)

Screenshot from iTunes App Store

Track your water consumption and conserve water by controlling how much water you use. Dropcountr lets you connect to your local water utility via smartphone and receive customized messages such as water budget, drought, and leakage. You can also set water consumption goals, and compare with your neighbor’s water consumption. The app may not be available in selected countries.

 

 

#climate (iOS)

Screenshot from iTunes App Store

Discover climate change issues and share actions that can be done to prevent or solve these issues with this app. #climate lets you choose a climate issue you’re passionate about and share it so the issue can gain more exposure. The idea is to spread the word about the issue through sharing in social media so people can address the problem effectively.

 

 

GoodGuide (iOs, Android)

Screenshot from iTunes App Store

Scan and check how eco-friendly a product is while grocery shopping. The app shows high rated products from consumers and information on a product’s carbon footprint for the careful shopper. Unfortunately, the app currently covers US products, however, similar versions of products are available outside the US, thus consumers abroad can still use the app. Just compare the ingredients.

 

 

Forest (iOs, Android)

Screenshot from iTunes App Store

Stay focused on your goals and help plant trees with this app. The productivity app aims to let its users focus on their work, or their relationships by putting their phone down. You simply access the app, plant a seed and put your phone down and do your work without exiting the app. In the meantime, the seed you planted will grow as time passes. If you quit the app, the tree will die. By growing a tree, you will receive credits that can be used to buy and plant a real tree. The app is in partnership with Trees For The Future.

 

6. Food Waste Apps

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), one-third of food produced for human consumption is wasted. That waste amounts to 1.3 billion tons of food per year. Now imagine all the wasted food that could have gone to the bellies of starved communities. The issue of food waste has prompted several people and organizations to fight food waste using mobile technology.

Here are some of the apps from around the world fighting food waste:

 

11th hour (iOS, Android)

Screenshot from iTunes App Store

Cut down on food wastes from restaurants and food shops through this app. Users receive alerts of discounted food items when shops are about to close. The goal is to sell all the food and decrease waste from leftovers. Developed by a former hawker Tan Jun Yuan, the app is only available in Singapore.

 

 

NoFoodWasted (iOS, Android)

Screenshot from iTunes App Store

Buy marked down groceries before it expires. The app lets users check on food deals from their local supermarkets before it expires. This also aims to reduce food waste from grocery stores. At the moment, the app is only available in the Netherlands and some select parts of UK. NoFoodWasted is the first app to fight food waste.

 

 

FoodCloud (Android)

Screenshot from Google Play Store

Connects businesses with food surplus to local charities. Food manufacturers, farms, and supermarkets post their extra food to alert nearby charities connected via FoodCloud and let them pick up the food. The app is currently available in Ireland and the UK.

 

 

OLIO (iOS, Android)

Screenshot from iTunes App Store

Revolutionize the way you share food with your community. The users post their available surplus food and other household items and the neighbor who needs it picks it up. They can also browse other postings. Examples of things shared in the app are homegrown vegetables, bread, and extra toiletries. OLIO is available to be used anywhere in the world.

 

 

ImpactVision

ImpactVision

Know how fresh a meat, vegetable or fruit is using this app. ImpactVision lets you scan food produce and know the freshness level and nutrient content of that food. The app uses a combination of digital imaging with a chemical technique called spectroscopy.

 

New technology is not good or evil in and of itself. It’s all about how people choose to use it.

David Wong, American Writer

 


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