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What We Do:

Thought Leadership and Innovation


Thought Leadership and Innovation

Our Thought Leadership & Innovation program produces studies that give governments, civil society groups, and the private sector research and recommendations on how to use technology—especially wireless technology—to effectively address some of the world’s toughest challenges.

 
PUBLICATIONS

 Mobilizing Development, the final report in the UN Foundation and Vodafone Foundation Technology Partnership’s Access to Communications publication series, examines the partnership that bridged the United Nations, the world’s largest humanitarian system, with Vodafone, one of the largest global mobile operators.  The report explores how this collaboration has mobilized innovative partnerships in the use of technology for development, celebrates successes, and identifies trends and lessons learned.

  More about the Mobilizing Development publication

 

Disaster Relief 2.0: The Future of Information-Sharing in Humanitarian Emergencies, analyzes how the humanitarian community and the emerging volunteer and technical communities worked together in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, and recommends ways to improve coordination between these two groups in future emergencies.  The report was commissioned by the United Nations Foundation and Vodafone Foundation Technology Partnership in collaboration with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), and researched and written by a team at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative.  

  More about the Disaster Relief 2.0: The Future of Information-Sharing in Humanitarian Emergencies publication

 

Health Information as Health Care: The Role of Technology in Unlocking Data and Wellness was commissioned by The United Nations Foundation and Vodafone Foundation Technology Partnership, in collaboration with the mHealth Alliance. The discussion paper provides a landscape analysis of the role of ICT in facilitating health information-sharing in the three core domains of healthcare:  surveillance systems, supply chain, and human resources. The research then identifies roadblocks and chokepoints in data sharing, and recommends ICT-based solutions to increase the quantity and quality of health information and care.

More the Health Information as Health Care: The Role of Technology in Unlocking Data and Wellness discussion paper

 

Barriers and Gaps Affecting mHealth in Low and Middle Income Countries was commissioned by the mHealth Alliance and written by The Earth Institute at Columbia University. The report provides an in-depth analysis of the current obstacles hindering the scaling and success of mobile health (mHealth) projects in developing countries. Still in its infancy, mHealth -- the use of mobile technologies for health -- runs the risk of not realizing its full potential. This report identifies the policy barriers and research gaps that are currently undermining the field of mHealth and offers recommendations on how to maximize its benefits.

Download the Barriers and Gaps Affecting mHealth in Low and Middle Income Countries publication


New Technologies in Emergencies and Conflicts: The Role of Information and Social Networks looks at innovation in the use of technology along the timeline of crisis response, from emergency preparedness and alerts to recovery and rebuilding. It profiles organizations whose work is advancing the frontlines of innovation, offers an overview of international efforts to increase sophistication in the use of IT and social networks during emergencies, and provides recommendations for how governments, aid groups, and international organizations can leverage this innovation to improve community resilience.

Download the New Technologies in Emergencies and Conflicts: The Role of Information and Social Networks publication


mHealth for Development: The Opportunity of Mobile Technology for Healthcare in the Developing World examines issues at the heart of the rapidly evolving intersection of mobile phones and healthcare. It helps the reader to understand mHealth’s scope and implementation across developing regions, the health needs to which mHealth can be applied, and the mHealth applications that promise the greatest impact on heathcare initiatives.

Download the mHealth for Development: The Opportunity of Mobile Technology for Healthcare in the Developing World publication


mHealth for Development: Mobile Communications for Health outlines the opportunity presented by the growing field of mobile health (mHealth). The 12-page brochure provides a landscape analysis of the rapid adoption of mobile technologies by developing countries to improve health data collection - ultimately precipitating improvements in general health and patient care in some of the most remote and resource-poor regions of the world.

mhealth2

Download the mHealth for Development: Mobile Communications for Health publication


Wireless Technology for Social Change: Trends in NGO Mobile Use examines innovative uses of mobile technology by groups working to achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals. The report identifies emerging trends in "mobile activism" through 11 case studies in the fields of mobile heathcare, environmental construction, and disaster response. The report also highlights the results of a global survey of NGO usage of mobile technology.

tech for social change

Download the Wireless Technology for Social Change: Trends in NGO Mobile Use publication


In our first publication, the UN Foundation-Vodafone Foundation Partnership collaborated with the Consultative Group to Assist the Poor (CGAP) and South Africa’s Finmark Trust to examine the role of mobile phones in delivering banking services to the poor. The study aims to improve the ability of governments, NGOs and service providers to give poor people access to banking and other financial services needed to relieve poverty, raise standards of living and create economic development.

mobile low income report

Download the Mobile Phone Banking and Low-Income Customers study

 
EVENTS

The UN Foundation and Vodafone Foundation Technology Partnership periodically hosts events that broaden and deepen the public dialogue about the use of technology to promote social good. Examples include:

mHealth Summit

The 2010 mHealth Summit, a partnership of the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health (FNIH), the National Institutes of Health and the mHealth Alliance, is the leading U.S. conference advancing cross-sector collaboration in the use of wireless technology to improve health outcomes. The 2010 mHealth Summit, to be held November 8-10 at the Walter E. Convention Center, will connect leaders in government, private sector/industry, academia and not-for-profit organizations to advance discussion and decision-making related to the intersection of mobile technology, health research, and policy in the United States and abroad.

Confirmed keynote speakers include Bill Gates, Co-Chair and Trustee, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Ted Turner, Chairman, United Nations Foundation; Aneesh Chopra, U.S. Chief Technology Officer; Judith Rodin, President, Rockefeller Foundation; Francis S. Collins, Ph.D., Director, National Institutes of Health; and Dr. Julio Frenk, Dean of Faculty, Harvard School of Public Health and former Minister of Health, Mexico. A debate on the digital efficiency of mobile health will cap the 3-day event. Learn more about this event.

The Technology Salon

The Technology Salon is a monthly, invitation-only event that is designed to facilitate informal, in-person conversations between information and communication technology experts and international development professionals. Technology Salon topics focus on the ability of technology to facilitate international development. Attendance is capped at 15 participants to encourage frank dialogue. The sharing of ideas, opinions, and predictions is actively encouraged through the Chatham House Rule. For more information about past events, click here.

Making the eHealth Connection

With the Rockefeller Foundation, we co-hosted a weeklong discussion of mHealth challenges and opportunities at the conference “Making the eHealth Connection: Global Partners, Local Solutions.” It was designed to develop a roadmap and global partnerships to support emerging digital technologies to improve public health. Twenty-five private sector and public health leaders explored the challenges, opportunities, and way forward in building mHealth systems to improve the access, efficiency, and quality of health services in the developing world. A direct outcome was the formation of the mHealth Alliance. Click here for more information.

 

STORIES OF IMPACT

Phone calls and nets comfort DRC refugees

We're helping more than 60,000 refugees in Uganda who fled the conflict in Democractic Republic of Congo by giving them protective bed nets and getting them in touch with their families through emergency communications.

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Solar Lights Bring Hope to Haiti

Almost a year after the earthquake that rattled Haiti on January 12, 2010, the UN Foundation continues to support the United Nations in its efforts to help Haitians rebuild better than ever. So far, supporters of the UN Foundation have helped to raise nearly $4 million to help the UN secure and deliver food, provide jobs, repair streets, keep diseases in check, keep women safe from sexual assault and violence, and ensure women have healthy pregnancies and babies.

More >

RESOURCES

  • Mobilizing Development

    Mobilizing Development, the final report in the UN Foundation and Vodafone Foundation Technology Partnership's Access to Communications publication series, examines the partnership that bridged the United Nations, the world's largest humanitarian system, with Vodafone, one of the largest global mobile operators. The report explores how this collaboration has mobilized innovative partnerships in the use of technology for development, celebrates successes, and identifies trends and lessons learned.

  • Disaster Relief 2.0: The Future of Information Sharing in Humanitarian Emergencies

    Disaster Relief 2.0: The Future of Information Sharing in Humanitarian Emergencies analyzes how the humanitarian community and the emerging volunteer and technical communities worked together in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, and recommends a four-part framework to improve coordination between these two groups in future emergencies.

 
CAMPAIGNS & INITIATIVES