Certain nonprofit organizations not only raise awareness and funds for their cause through campaigning, they also use and develop cutting edge technology to help save the world. Here are a few ventures that are using hi-tech solutions for social or environmental causes:
InSTEDD, which stands for Innovative Support to Emergencies, Diseases and Disasters, is a nonprofit organization committed to saving lives and reducing suffering through use of innovative technology.
InSTEDD has developed a number of free and open source technologies that can be used by other non profits working towards improving early detection and response to natural calamities. Here are some of their products:
- InSTEDD GeoChat A mobile communications service which enables its users to communicate via sms, internet, satellite phone and even twitter. It connects field and local communities with the nonprofits headquarters.
- InSTEDDMesh4x designed to share data information over any chosen network. For instance, if a natural calamity hits a region, hospitals can immediately notify the number of beds available for the victims. All the hospitals on that network will then know where to send patients.
- InSTEDD Evolve An early detection system of diseases, disasters and emergencies.
- Tracknews.net An information service covering health, humanitarian and tech news.
2. Africa Aid
Africa Aid runs a program called MDNet, a low-cost, high-impact healthcare initiative which aims to improve communication between health care professionals in Africa. Africa bears over 24% of the global burden of disease, but has only 3% of the global population of health care workers. This means an average of two doctors per 10,000 people, which is by far the lowest physician density in the world.
MDNet creates free mobile phone networks between physicians working in African countries, which improves the transfer of medical knowledge and emergency response, which increases access to healthcare for larger populations of people and ultimately saves more lives.
3. Amazon Conservation Team
The Amazon Conservation Team (ACT) works to preserve and protect the rainforests of Amazon. It does so with the collaboration of the local governments and the indigenous people of Amazon.
Using modern technologies, such as Google Earth, GPS, and online mapping tools, ACT enables indigenous tribes to monitor their territories for illegal incursions such as mining, logging, and cattle ranching. Through GPS mapping, the tribes create maps of their ancestral territories which they then use in legal disputes over boundaries and natural resources. A byproduct of this practice is the creation of ethnographic maps, which document the culture & history of the different tribes, from locations where epic battles occurred, to places where medicinal plants can be found.
4. Save The World Technologies
Save The World Technologies is all about saving the forests. However, their approach is a little different. Instead of preserving fast dwindling forests that the world has, they are in the business of reforestation.
They’ve developed Super Kiri Trees” through advanced cloning technology which they plant in an effort to balance the environmental deterioration done by mining.
They plant their forests near coal mines in Australia as they believe that mines do the most damage to the environment. The Super Kiri Tree grows fast, reaching maturity in just seven years and has the highest level of Carbon Dioxide sequestration.
5. Makani Power
Makani means wind or breeze in Hawaiian. Makani Power uses technology to harvest high altitude winds for producing renewable energy. Their aim is to produce renewable energy at a cost that’s cheaper than coal powered energy plants.
High altitude wind is found at a height twice as a high as birds fly. The good thing about it is that it’s present everywhere. High altitude wind produces more energy than wind turbines and is also more dependable.
Makani Power is developing technologies that will enable it to extract high altitude winds for producing cheap renewable energy.
6. Solar Aid
Solar Aid is a UK based charity that aims to combat both climate change and poverty by bringing clean, renewable energy to the poorest people in the world. The organization accomplishes this ambitious goal by setting up DIY solar projects in Sub-saharan Africa, where the need is greatest. Solar Aid trains local communities to build small scale solar devices, such as solar powered radios and lanterns, and helps install small solar systems for community centers, medical clinics, schools and other such communal infrastructure. Solar Aid enables small scale entrepreneurs to set up solar microbusinesses, by providing micro-finance loans to purchase equipment that can be used to build and repair small solar products as well as training in business management. These small scale solar businesses help reduce the community’s dependence on harmful and expensive kerosene, while jumpstarting local entrepreneurship.