"Solving the problem of mass communication in rural Africa using the technology in people’s pockets – the mobile."

Entrepreneur
Helen Williams, Oonagh Mannix
Link
Polorum

Entrepreneurs: Oonagh Mannix, Helen Williams
College/School: Science & Engineering
Company: Polorum

The Story: Polorum is solving the problem of mass communication in rural Africa using the technology in people’s pockets – the mobile phone. Where traditional infrastructure is lacking, mobile usage in Africa is on the rise. They see this as an opportunity to create a speedy, cost-effective channel through which locals, NGOs and public services can deliver the messages they need over isolated, spread out populations. Over 40,000 phone numbers can be stored in the Polorum system, which sends out regular texts to all the mobile phones in a community. Run by locals for locals, this system is sustainable because its messages are trusted.

Polorum will enable communications that can:

  • Save Lives In the event of an emergency or disaster, rapid communications spread awareness and help locals protect themselves.
  • Educate Useful messages to give families a hand, from healthy recipes to first aid.
  • Boost Local Economies Basic advertising services can help locals increase productivity and expand small businesses.
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