With the release of the iPhone 5, cell phones are currently on nearly everybody's minds. We use them on a daily basis just as we use our cars, bikes, tv's, computers and on and on. We need them because they are vital to our everyday. But they have a life cycle and for cell phones, it's short. What do you do with your phone after you're done using it? Throw it away? Return it to the store? Keep it in a drawer because you never know when you might need to use it again? Well, there's an answer that extends the functionality of your phone and contributes to improving global health communications initiatives.
Why You Should Donate Your Phone
Donating to Hope Phones does a couple of things that are worthwhile. First, when you donate your phone, they take that phone and recycle it so that it doesn't end up in a landfill somewhere. Second, donating this phone funds the initiatives of Medic Mobile who is working to improve Community Health Workers communications in 11 countries that desperately need it. A typical smartphone is worth about $80 from their recycling partners. This money is then taken to create communications, tracking and record-keeping software that can help
Purpose of Medic Mobile and Hope Phones
Hope Phones was created in 2009 as an initiative to fund the work of an organization called Medic Mobile. Medic Mobile works in the field to improve communications for community health care workers. They focus on using SMS technologies because workers on the ground tend to have cell phones and providing them is a low cost way of gathering information.
Medic Mobile was started by a group of college students who saw the power of Open Source free software for communications. They were using a program called FrontlineSMS. This was freely available software that allowed for quick SMS text messaging. Working in conjunction with the developers of FrontlineSMS, they've created a suite of software and services to help Community Health Workers to mobilize and track their patients. This allows for more accurate record keeping and patient location, which can literally be life and death for the people in these regions.
Currently, Medic Mobile has been deployed in 11 countries and they are covering 4 and 1/2 million people. Because of these numbers, keeping these resources low cost and freely available is key. Low overhead means they can cover more areas and grow faster.
So, donating your cell phone is key to helping Medic Mobile continue on their path. You can contribute in the following ways and it's free:
- Print a shipping label from Hope Phones(free)
- Set up a phone drive at your work or school for Hope Phones using their resources (free)
- Give money directly to Hope Phones.
- Spread the word about Hope Phones on Facebook or Twitter.
Here's to the Hope Phones Initiative and Medic Mobile!
Do you know of other causes who have a similar model? Let us know in the comments below!