While technology is the root of some profound instances of disconnection between people, it’s worth noting that many positive forms of interaction have also stemmed from the digital age – particularly in the nonprofit world. Charitable organizations have increasingly started to soak up technological innovations and approaches to solving societal problems in recent years. From mobile health and telemedicine to educational apps and micro-finance, digital advancements have greatly benefited a number of nonprofits, giving them the tools to create lasting change. The following four organizations are particularly innovative in their uses of technology for tackling today’s most pressing social issues.
While many of us may miss the smell and feel of a paperback, the advent of digital books has been enormously useful for this nonprofit. Worldreader is working towards “creating a literate world.” According to UNESCO, literacy has the power to be a game changer. It can lead to a higher income and help break the cycle of poverty. Despite this great potential, 250 million school-aged children do not have elementary reading and writing abilities and 740 million people are illiterate. As Worldreader tells us, 50 percent of African schools have zero (or close to zero) books.
Worldreader works to increase access to books and the experience of reading. Realizing that the primary way of achieving this is through technology—specifically, e-readers—they launched Worldreader Mobile, enabling anyone with a cell phone or tablet to utilize the organization’s digital library.
Worldreader also works on curating books with genres that are accessible to children in different areas—such as books by African or Indian authors—recognizing that the more interested and engaged children are when they read, the more they want to read.
-Geraldine Kaye Medrocillo