You've probably heard of initiatives like One Laptop per Child (OLPC), the PlayPump and, more recently, the open-source software of Ushahidi and FrontlineSMS. You may have even heard about high-tech toilets that will be powered by solar energy or monitored by mobile phones. Technology has made development work buzz-worthy.
And it's not just enthusiasm being generated. A lot of money is pouring into these efforts. The US Agency for International Development (USAID) spent $611 million this year (almost fives times more than it did in 2008) on research and development. Last year, the for-profit company Uncharted Play raised $92,000 on Kickstarter to help create the Soccket, a soccer ball that generates electricity to power a light.
Which makes it all the more important to ask tough questions about how we use our resources. When is technology an appropriate tool for uplifting the poor? What are some of its pitfalls? What have practitioners learned about how to make technology innovations work in developing countries?
We'll be joined in this discussion on Wednesday, April 9, by three "panelists" from different parts of the technology landscape. The conversation is ongoing, and will last for as long as you'd like to keep talking. Get started by leaving your comments and questions in the thread below and by tweeting with the hashtag #trackingcharity.
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