‘Saving the world’ may sound like hyperbole, but with new technologies driving innovation in development, there are now tons of easy, efficient, and no-cost ways everyday people can help make their community a better place. Here are 5 ways social media is saving the world:
1. World Bank Finances App
The World Bank spends billions of dollars on aid projects around the world, but where does this money go, and who wins bank-funded contracts? A new app from the bank’s finances team lets users find and monitor bank-funded projects in their communities, using mapping and GPS technology and will allow users to share what they find, give feedback on data accuracy issues, and report any allegations of fraud and corruption.
Every other Monday, Rwanda’s health minister, Dr. Agnes Binagwaho (@agnesbinagwaho) takes to Twitter for her #Ministermondays Twitter chats where she answers questions sent in directly from the people. “It is so important for Rwandans to be able to communicate with their government. In the Ministry of Health and throughout the central government, we strive for transparency, accountability, and accessibility,” she writes.
3. Digital Green
How can farmers, working in remote locations, feel connected and request help from others if they need it? Digital Green is a grassroots campaign, supported by international donors and the government of India, that leverages social media to share agricultural best practices. The site hosts thousands of videos by farmers, for farmers, covering topics like seed treatment and income generation. The scheme works with over 125,000 farmers, 70% of whom are women. To strengthen collaboration, Farmerbook, a social network for farmers to promote themselves, responds directly to questions and tracks how many people have adopted their suggested methods in a bid to engage a wider online audience.
Catapult is the first crowdfunding platform for projects aimed at women and girls. Catapult connects supporters to projects through social sharing, encouraging users to donate and track the progress of their donations. Projects cover a wide range of issues, such as a national push for birthing homes for mothers-to-be in rural Sierra Leone, to global initiatives such as the G(irls)20 Summit, which brings together girls aged 18-20 from the African Union and G20 nations for ten days of workshops, debates, and discussions exploring global issues, especially those affecting women.
5. I Paid a Bribe
I Paid a Bribe is an anti-corruption campaign that harnesses the power of collective voices. Protected by anonymity, users are encouraged to report on corrupt acts, through a website, email or SMS. The reports are mapped on the site and used to inform programs for better governance. The movement is active in India, Greece, Kenya, Pakistan and Zimbabwe, and will soon be coming to the Philippines and Mongolia.
-Jordan N. Hunt