A pilot project gets underway soon to test whether mobile phones can be used to help educate the poor. It's estimated three quarters of the world's poor have access to mobile phones.
More and more people are downloading application software – better known as apps – to their mobile phones. They can be used to play games, navigate, surf the web, shop and much, much more. Now, a project announced at the recent World Economic Forum will use an app to help alleviate poverty and improve education.
It's called AppBridge. The idea is to link software developers with communities and non-governmental organizations, or NGOs. The pilot project is led by a World Economic Forum community called Young Global Leaders. It's made up of about 700 people under age 40 from business, civil society, government and academia.
"There's an incredible opportunity to be able to deliver simple educational or job skill training tools to those who already have phones and are most in need. There's an incredible opportunity to help educate and reach them with something they already have in their hands," said Margo Drakos, founder of AppBridge.
AppBridge will be initially aimed at those who own feature phones. These not smartphones like the Apple iPhone. Nevertheless, they still have features that put them a level above a standard mobile phone that only can make and receive calls.
"This is really about providing simple tools to those individuals who have feature phones through SMS and to be able to accelerate penetration to smartphones or 3G access," she said. SMS, or Short Message Service, is for text messaging. 3G, or 3rd generation mobile telecommunications, allows the user to access the access the Internet, text message, make video calls and much more.
"So we started this concept of creating an online platform that would really allow local organizations and local partners on the ground to identify specific community needs and/or submit local content that they need to get out to individuals. And then to pair the local organizations on the ground with a global community of mobile app developers in tandem with universities," she said.
The early apps are expected to provide skills training.
"In some cases," Drakos said, "these are going to be very much technically oriented skills, like learning simple automotive or simple electrical or simple plumbing. To get the app through their phone and to know that it's not spam and it's not going to be costing them additional funds or so forth. So, there'll be a distribution way for them to access this in tandem with local partners on the ground.
Apps could also be used to link entrepreneurs with micro-credit lenders or with markets.
"In some cases, women are not able to go and sell their goods from their home unless they know that the store is open and the stores don't open at a consistent time. So, something as simple and basic as having an alert when the store is open for them to be able to leave their home and go sell their goods," she said.
Drakos wasn't always a technology entrepreneur. She used to make her living as a cellist, performing at concerts around the world.
AppBridge is working with telecommunication companies, educational institutions and non-profit organizations. Early versions of some of its apps could be available in March
越来越多的人下载应用软件程序，很多人下载苹果应用程序到自己的手机上。它们可以用来玩游戏,导航、上网、购物或者更多。现在, 世界经济论坛宣布一个项目，最近将会使用一款应用程序来帮助减少贫困、提高教育素质。该项目的名称是App Bridge。
“通过手机短信服务给这些人的手机提供简单工具,智能手机或3G接入能够更快。”她说道。 短信,或者是短信息服务,是为了发短信。3 G,或者是第3代移动通信、允许用户上网访问、发送消息,视频电话及更多。