Imagine you’re arrested and your cell phone is taken away. You have only few minutes to make one phone call through a public line to a number you know by heart. Who do you call? Have you memorized their number? Do you have a qualified lawyer available to represent you?
These are the questions that four social tech entrepreneurs set out to solve with Good Call, a free 24/7 legal hotline serving New York City’s Bronx borough.
“We heard dozens of stories from people arrested for either really trivial reasons, like hopping a turnstile or forgetting to pay a ticket, or for no reason at all—just for fitting ‘the description,’” explains Gabe Leader-Rose, co-founder and project manager of Good Call. “They all said how hard it was to get in touch with …
Massive floods are common during Indonesia’s monsoon season. Houses and roads are often inundated with floodwaters, and extreme weather sometimes displaces thousands of residents and causes dozens of fatalities each year. Government early warning systems exist but are unreliable, rarely reaching those living in the poorest and most vulnerable communities. However, most Indonesians have a mobile phone, making SMS communication a natural fit for critical communications in the region. Realizing this, Atma Connect turned to text-based communications to deliver locally relevant alerts to its users.
The organization’s flagship tool is AtmaGo, a web- and Android-based social networking app designed to foster neighbor-to-neighbor communication in traditionally underserved urban communities. Users have taken to AtmaGo to share real-time information about floods and other disasters, help community members find jobs, keep others informed about food …
Turnout in American elections is uniformly low. In presidential election years, roughly 60% of Americans vote, but that number falls to 40% in midterm elections and the low teens for municipal races. Although voter apathy is a factor, the primary culprit is the voting process itself. The majority of non-voters find it complicated and confusing.
Democracy Works is fighting to shake up the status quo with TurboVote. The online app helps Americans register to vote, track local and national elections, submit absentee ballots, and learn other critical election information. The organization’s goal: 80% turnout in U.S. federal elections by 2024.
An key to reaching such an ambitious goal? Engage voters where they are.
Engaging voters with every text
When Democracy Works first built TurboVote in 2010, mobile phones accounted for only 15% of …
In Zambia’s Southern Province, the fight to end malaria begins with a knock on the door. An army of community health workers, dedicated volunteers chosen by their communities, are trained and equipped to test and treat their neighbors for malaria.
A positive malaria cases triggers a targeted response: the community health worker visits the home of the patient and tests everyone there. If anyone tests positive for malaria they are given treatment. Then she expands the search for the malaria parasite out to 140 meters—about the length of a football field.
Zambia is using this community surveillance approach because malaria infection tends to cluster. It’s the latest step in the country’s long fight to end malaria for good.
Malaria in Zambia
Ten years ago, targeted attention to individual malaria cases was not happening. …