Dost Education empowers parents of any literacy level in India to get their 3-5 year old kids ready for school. By simply dialing a number, parents join Dost’s program and receive daily, 2-minute podcasts on their phone about topics like numeracy, language and socio-emotional well-being. Typically, Dost customers are mothers who are motivated to get their kids the best education but have minimal education experiences themselves. They love Dost because the podcasts are entertaining, actionable, and integrated into their daily routine. Voice calls are a powerful way to reach the estimated 35 million illiterate mothers in urban India who now have access to a mobile phone.
Globally, 200 million people are at risk of irreversible, crippling deformities by drinking groundwater contaminated with fluoride levels exceeding the WHO limit (1.5mg F-/L). Although many defluoridation technologies have proven to be effective in labs, most have not scaled sustainably in remote rural regions of the developing world. We propose to implement and scale up our bauxite-based Scalable and Affordable Fluoride Removal (SAFR) process in India, through our recently created nonprofit social enterprise (Global Water Labs). Rigorous lab testing has shown that our SAFR process has the potential to be (a) locally available/affordable, (b) highly effective at remediating a wide range of fluoride concentrations, (c) culturally appropriate, (d) technically feasible and robust in a rural setting, and (e) operated and maintained with minimal labor. We need additional funding to further test our SAFR process in the field setting, which will allow us to iterate our technology and business model prototypes.
Most fertilizers today are produced in large-scale, capital-intensive units that are mostly located in Europe, China, and the Americas, and then shipped to the emerging markets. Due to the high logistical mark-up, many rural farmers in emerging markets are paying 2-3 times the world price for their fertilizer. Because of their limited income, farmers can often only afford the cheapest, synthetic fertilizer varieties that over the long term actually degrade and acidify their soil. Safi Organics uses technology to downsize and decentralize the fertilizer production process, making it feasible to be implemented profitably in rural villages using locally available resources, labor, and waste. We therefore drastically cut down the logistical cost of conventional fertilizer, and provide farmers access to a higher-quality product. We produce Safi Sarvi, a carbon-negative fertilizer blend that help rural farmers improve their yields by up to 30%.
The problem of poverty faced by millions of smallholder farmers in developing countries is largely due to financial exclusion. Due to limited cash to pay upfront, these farmers face difficulties in buying farm inputs (seeds, fertilizers, etc.) at the start of a growing season, resulting in exploitation by informal lenders who charge them over 100-150% APR. Ricult solves the problem through providing high-quality farm inputs to farmers on credit at affordable rates, using an innovative risk assessment mobile platform. Creating a tailored credit score for the farmers through applying advanced machine learning technique to nontraditional data sources, we provide loans at five times lower interest rate than money lenders and offer a repayment schedule that matches the crop cycle. Our pilot market is Pakistan where there are over 20 million farmers facing the problem.
In Uganda, the most common type of water tap is manual, requiring a user to open and close it with their hand. If the tap is at a public water point, there is 60% chance that the person will walk away with an infection, since adherence to recommended practices, such as rinsing the tap after use is low. Other solutions like sensors are either too costly or not readily available thus preventing their wide scale adoption. PedalTap technology is modifying the existing water tap system to create a no touch cost effective solution for developing countries. We are using metal scrap which is readily available at low cost on the market. With PedalTap, reduced potent and infectious diseases spread, reduced nosocomial infections, better hand washing behaviour and reduced water wastage at water points. There is no hand contact so no risk/ fear of picking infection from the tap at public water point.
We live in an era of technological opportunity, where information sharing and exchange is at the forefront of technological innovation, and the pace at which it can be distributed is aggressively evolving. But this technology hasn’t been utilized to solve widespread public safety problems, like household fires, despite having simple applications to it. In Berkeley and similar cities, firefighter response time is a brisk 3-7 minutes, but unknown traffic and fire scene conditions can add up to 5 minutes before fire fighting begins. Paladin Drones, a Berkeley-based drone startup, aims to eliminate this uncertainty and further decrease response times. Paladin’s drones autonomously rush to a fire scene well before first-responders, analyze hotspots and traffic conditions using a thermal camera, and relay the stream to units through a webapp. With access to this stream on their firetruck laptops while en route, firefighters can start firefighting immediately upon arrival, dramatically decreasing response times.
Information for Action (IFA) is dedicated to social change powered by citizens and technology. IFA deploys user-centered design strategy and believes communities should determine features and technology solutions. After months of gathering community feedback, IFA is launching the first-ever browser extension and web application to link news to action. When a natural disaster strikes and you read about it online you will be able to click the IFA icon and immediately sign up to hand out meals to victims, distribute supplies, and help people find shelter. Community organizations can post actions to advocate for their work, then see views, clicks, and RSVPs of their posts through a personalized account integrated with other social media platforms. These organizations can also subscribe to advanced analytics tools. The IFA team is comprised of experts in journalism, community organizing, policy and planning, and technology development.
Reach 1600 Foundation provides free, adaptive SAT preparation for students in underserved communities. The organization collects and analyzes data on students’ academic strengths and areas of growth, as well as their psychological assets and needs. Using insights distilled from this data, the SAT curriculum, pedagogical methods, and psychological approaches are customized to each student Reach 1600 interacts with. This personalized approach fosters students’ intrinsic motivation, supporting them to achieve goals beyond the SAT. Students achieved an average score increase of 410 points in 2015 in Reach 1600’s pilot.
The skyrocketing popularity of dating apps like Grindr, Tinder, and Jack’d has fueled recent increases in the transmission of HIV and other STDs. This has caused great concern among dating app users as well as heightened response by the public health community. While prevention efforts have been varied, recent strategies focus on dating app-facilitated dialogue about sexual health, widespread campaigning for HIV and STD testing, and targeted HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). Yet as each approach has its drawbacks, the worry and risk of HIV/STD infection continue to grow. Our innovation, Serify, aims to reverse these trends. Developed through a fall 2016 interprofessional entrepreneurship course at UCSF, Serify allows dating app users to conveniently verify and share their negative HIV/STD test results. In this way, users can boost their sexual desirability and minimize their worry and risk of HIV/STD infection.