Fight Global Poverty With These 5 Innovations

Now more than ever, technology is working hard to help those living in poverty. Although there are many innovations, here are five unique innovations fighting global poverty.

5 Innovations Fighting Global Poverty

  1. Score Stove 2: An appliance called Score Stove 2 not only cooks food but also creates electrical energy through heat combustion, an electricity source that one can use to charge up to 12 batteries at a time. To reduce deforestation, the stove requires almost 50% less wood than conventional stoves. Its energy-saving design also minimizes smoke inhalation. This environmentally friendly stove is a unique solution to a traditional stove.
  2. Hippo Roller: The Hippo Roller can carry up to 90 liters of water at a time, an efficient tool for those who need to carry several gallons of water a day to provide for their families. People can also use the Hippo Roller for irrigating crops, cleaning and cooking. Currently, 51 countries are using this appliance. It has supplied about 60,000 people with efficient water transportation. This innovation is a simple solution working to combat the water crisis and fight global poverty.
  3. LifeStraw: The LifeStraw also tackles the global water crisis, filtering and removing bacteria or parasites from water sources for those who do not have access to clean water. The LifeStraw has an unlimited shelf life, is very durable and lightweight and is an essential survival tool. Inside the shell is a membrane microfilter that remains effective for up to 1,000 gallons, or 4,000 liters, of water. The LifeStraw is now popular among hikers and backpackers. However, the original purpose of the LifeStraw was to help eradicate Guinea worms from water, making it safe to drink for those with limited access to clean water or healthcare.
  4. Life Saving Dot: Iodine bindis are saving lives in rural India as iodine deficiencies are a leading cause of brain damage and anemia. This Life Saving Dot, which people can wear like a bindi, gives a daily dose of 150-220 micrograms a day to the wearer. While the founders of the company have worked to give many away for free, Life Saving Dots generally sell at a low price to low-income families. Global poverty and health directly relate, both acting as the cause and effect of the other. Technology like this is helping to stop this cycle.
  5. Tree Planting Drones: Tree-planting drones in Myanmar are restoring forests. Biocarbon Engineering and the Worldview International Foundation have teamed up to plant trees in empty fields. The drones first collect data about the fields and then determine what plants would best survive there. The drones allow the coverage of more land at a faster rate than if people planted the trees by hand. Environmental factors, such as deforestation, flooding and drought, directly affect communities. Forests supply clean air, water resources and wood to help maintain food security and wealthy communities.

These five innovations fighting global poverty show how technology can be a powerful tool for addressing global poverty. Just one of these innovations offers so much relief to those in need; imagine what might happen if everyone in poverty had access to these technologies.

Hannah Kaufman
Photo: Flickr

a new kind of bindiWhether wealthy or poor, the women of India are proud of their heritage and embrace their unique culture. One of the most noticeable components of Indian women’s culture is the bindi. While the rest of the world views it as a simple accessory, this tiny dot that sits in the middle of the woman’s forehead is a key element of reflecting Hinduism. Today the bindi is capable of being more than a religious adornment. The Life Saving Dot is a new kind of bindi that provides its wearer with a daily dose of iodine.

Iodine Deficiency in India

Iodine Deficiency Disorder, or IDD, is especially common in India due to the lack of iodized soil and nutrition. The Life Saving Dot has not only directly improved women’s health, but has also brought attention to the importance of including iodine in the everyday diet.

IDD is common especially in India for a number of reasons. The soil in India is famous for its lack of iodization, leaving crops with an insufficient amount of iodine. A majority of Indians favor a vegetarian diet and rarely eat seafood, which is another important source of iodine. A lack of iodized nutrition and a simple lack of awareness are the main contributors to IDD in India.

Iodine deficiency leads to a number of health issues. It is the largest contributor to brain damage which is often permanent. IDD is especially common among women as it affects pregnancy and can lead to breast cancer. Although IDD can have severe consequences, the disorder itself is easily preventable with a sufficient daily dose of iodine.

The Life Saving Dot: How it Works

The technology of the Life Saving Dot is comparable to that of a nicotine patch. The wearer absorbs the nutrients through her skin while wearing the patch. The Life Saving Dot provides the wearer with 150 to 200 micrograms of iodine when worn for at least four hours. While most women wearing the Life Saving Dot report beneficial results, the effectiveness of the dot will depend on certain factors such as skin thickness and even weather. The precipitation level of the current climate has the potential to affect the effectiveness of the dot.

This small dot has had a tremendous impact on the overall health of Indian women. Women wearing this bindi have reported a decrease in headaches, a common side effect of iodine deficiency. Costing only 10 rupees (equivalent to 16 cents in USD) for a pack of 30 dots, it is easily accessible to women of all income levels in India.

Impact of the Life Saving Dot

While the Life Saving Dot has a clearly direct impact on women’s health, perhaps the most important success of the dot is the awareness it created. The greatest contributor to IDD in India is a simple lack of awareness of the importance of iodine. An easy and effective way to combat iodine deficiency is by cooking with iodized salt. However, a significant number of Indian households were unaware of its importance.

India has made great progress in the search for IDD alleviation. According to a recent survey conducted from October 2018 to March 2019, awareness of iodized salt benefits is at 62.2% in urban areas and 50.5% in rural areas. Out of the 21,406 households included in the survey, 76.3% now have iodized salt in the home.

Awareness of iodine necessity increased due to media and the efforts of the Life Saving Dot. This new kind of bindi allows women to represent their proud culture while protecting their health. The direct health benefits of the Life Saving Dot are awe-inspiring and the awareness it presents is life-saving. By improving the awareness of the importance of incorporating iodine into one’s diet, families are protected from goiter, pregnancy complications and even brain disorders. Thanks to a small dot on the forehead, Indian women and their families are protected from IDD and the potential health risks it brings.

– Brittany Carter 
Photo: Flickr