Innovations Fighting Poverty
Many citizens of developing countries struggle with poor living conditions and a low quality of life. They often do not have access to what they need to stay healthy, and are no stranger to the issues of malnourishment, disease and high infant mortality rates. Luckily, people around the world have begun to take notice, developing innovations designed specially to combat these issues. These innovations are being produced and delivered across the globe, saving countless lives. Here are five of the leading innovations fighting poverty.


Some infants are unable to breastfeed due to medical conditions, premature birth or the death of their mother. Unable to get the nourishment they need, these babies are at risk of malnourishment and death. The NIFTY Cup is designed to help infants receive breastmilk without the risk of choking and other complications. The cup is made of soft silicone that holds a small amount of breastmilk, which flows into a small reservoir at the edge, allowing the baby to drink easily. This simple invention is helping to save the lives of children in Malawi and Tanzania, especially premature babies, who are less able to breastfeed safely.

Embrace Warmer

The Embrace Warmer is another among many innovations fighting poverty by treating hypothermia in infants. It is a portable warmer specifically designed for infants, and is much less costly than other warmers and incubators. Many hospitals in developing countries are ill-equipped to save the lives of hypothermic babies due to underfunding and overcrowding. The cost-effective Embrace Warmer, therefore, is just what hospitals and mothers need to keep their children safe and warm. So far, it has reached over 200,000 infants in 20 developing countries.

Jet Injector

Developing countries often have issues with sanitation, and diseases can run rampant. Vaccination is important to keep the population of a developing nation safe, but ensuring the cleanliness of the needles can prove to be a challenge. The Jet Injector reduces the risk of using improperly sterilized needles by using “a high-pressure, narrow stream of fluid to penetrate the skin.” It offers the same protection as a vaccine given through a traditional needle while reducing the risk of infections due to improper sterilization.

Lucky Iron Fish

Iron is an essential nutrient especially important to pregnant women and infants. Unfortunately, it is easy to develop a deficiency, particularly in developing countries. Lack of a sufficient amount of iron can lead to the development of anemia, a condition in which one’s body weakens from the inability to get enough oxygen. The Lucky Iron Fish is an easy-to-use supplement that combats this issue, and it is much more affordable and long-lasting than typical iron pills. When left in water or other liquid-based meals, it releases iron that enriches the food. One fish costs less than $50 and can be reused for up to five years.

Life Saving Dot

Iodine is another important nutrient commonly found in seafood and vegetables. It can be a challenge for those in developing countries to obtain iodine if they do not have access to either of these food groups. Iodine deficiencies are especially widespread in India, where the soil is notoriously iodine-poor and many citizens are vegetarians. The Life Saving Dot, another among many innovations fighting poverty, fuses culture and innovation to solve this problem. While a bindi is a traditional dot Hindu women wear on their foreheads, the Life Saving Dot is a bindi adhesive with added iodine that absorbs into the skin, providing wearers with the dose of nutrients they need. It is extremely affordable, simple to make and easily incorporated into these women’s lifestyles.

These innovations fighting poverty are saving lives and keeping people healthy in developing countries, showing just how powerful technology can be in the fight against poverty. Through current and future innovations, conditions will hopefully continue to improve for the impoverished.

Alison Ding
Photo: Needpix

Products Tackling Global Poverty
People who live in poverty-stricken communities typically do not have access to simple products that can be the difference between life and death. Below are five products tackling global poverty.

5 Products Tackling Global Poverty

  1. The Shoe That Grows: The Shoe That Grows produces a shoe for kids living in poverty. It expands up to five sizes and lasts for years. Kenton Lee founded the shoe after he traveled to Nairobi, Kenya. He lived and worked with kids at a small orphanage and noticed that many of the children either had broken, worn shoes or none at all. He came up with the idea of a shoe that expands to prevent soil-transmitted diseases and parasites that can cause children to miss out on their education and even death. As of now, the company has distributed over 200,000 pairs of shoes to 100 different countries. The organization sent 30,000 of those to Ethiopia alone.
  2. NIFTY Cup: The NIFTY Cup is a device that some use to feed premature babies in Malawi and Tanzania who are unable to breastfeed. Unlike the metal cups and spoons that people in poverty-stricken countries often use, the NIFTY Cup contains durable, soft silicone that one can shape to allow all nutrients to reach babies’ mouths without causing them to cough or choke. The cup serves as a life-saving resource for mothers who do not have the necessary medical assistance necessary to keep premature babies healthy. Donors have made it possible to send over 6,000 NIFTY Cups to hospitals in Malawi and Tanzania.
  3. The Lucky Iron Fish: The Lucky Iron Fish is a tool used to fight iron deficiency in developing countries. Families place the iron fish in boiling water before cooking to add proper nutrients to meals. One of these iron fish is equivalent to five years of iron pill bottles. The Lucky Iron Fish company works on a one-to-one donation scale. This means that when people in developed countries buy one of the fish, the company donates another to a family in a developing country. As of 2018, the company impacted 54,000 lives because of the buy-one-give-one system. The impact fund has distributed the fish to Nicaragua, Tanzania, Cambodia, Haiti, Benin and more.
  4. Embrace Warmer: Embrace Warmer is a life-saving tool that developing countries use. In these places, newborn babies often suffer hypothermia due to being premature and low weight. The tool is essentially a sleeping bag that helps regulate the body temperature of newborn babies during their first few days of life. Embrace Warmer began as a class project at Stanford, when students had to design a cost-effective product to help battle neonatal hypothermia. Eventually, the product expanded to rural India and has now helped 200,000 infants in developing countries.
  5. Flo: Flo is a reusable menstrual hygiene kit that Mariko Higaki Iwai designed to provide a solution for women and girls in developing countries to take care of their bodies. The kit allows girls to wash, dry and carry reusable sanitary pads. This kit makes it easier for girls to stay in school, prevent reproductive diseases and illnesses and take care of their menstrual cycle in privacy. Flo is still a prototype but people working in the field in developing countries have been trying to make Flo available for their communities. The team is currently seeking manufacturers to make this possible.

These life-saving products are working at tackling global poverty, while also giving those who live in poverty-stricken communities a better chance at having a healthy lifestyle.

Juliette Lopez
Photo: Flickr


Millions of newborn babies in developing countries face death due to the inability to feed properly. These infants may be born prematurely, have facial abnormalities or other special needs that impacts their ability to effectively suckle and nurse.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), newborn deaths account for 45% of all deaths among children under five, the majority in developing countries. It is estimated that two-thirds of newborn deaths can be prevented, if effective measures are implemented within the first week of life. One such effective measure to prevent neonatal deaths is to ensure that babies receive adequate nourishment.

Michael Cunningham, who leads craniofacial  medicine at Seattle Children’s Hospital, experienced firsthand children dying from the inability to receive nutrition within their first few days of life. He came up with the idea for the NIFTY cup to solve this issue, and partnered with PATH, a nonprofit organization specializing in global health technologies, to design it.

The NIFTY part of this nifty solution stands for Neonatal Intuitive Feeding Technology. This cup is a simple, yet brilliant device that can have major impacts on children worldwide.

The cup is designed to replace the act of breastfeeding while allowing infants to receive adequate nutrition. It is a soft, plastic cup that has a unique reservoir for holding milk. Mothers collect their breastmilk in the 40- milliliter cup and then feed it to their baby. The cup allows the baby to eat at its own pace, with minimal spilling.

“We just knew that there had to be a simple intervention that could be life-changing for this population,”Cunningham said.

The NIFTY cup would not be truly impactful if it was expensive and unavailable. The NIFTY cup resolves this, too. The cup only costs one dollar. They have been used successfully in India, and are becoming accessible in many African birthing institutions.

This creation has the potential to save millions of babies from the effects of malnutrition at birth. It may even save their lives.

Sydney Missigman

Photo: Flickr