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‘Using Technology for Social Good’

 

Prisca Nethulu receives her first text message sent via FrontlineSMS. Nethulu is in Madisi, Malawai.
Prisca Nethulu receives her first text message sent via FrontlineSMS. Nethulu is in Madisi, Malawai.
UMNS/NEELLEY HICKS

United Methodist Communications is calling church members to learn how the increasing availability of low-cost communication technologies can become tools for community organization — strengthening global social and economic development.

In March, the agency released a discussion paper, "Using Technology for Social Good," in preparation for the upcoming Game Changers Summit Sept. 3-5 in Nashville, Tenn.

"Technology is a tool for economic and social development that can aid in the reduction of poverty and change lives," said the Rev. Larry Hollon, chief executive of United Methodist Communications. "Improved access to communications can strengthen our ministries by providing critical information and services that enable communities to thrive."

The paper captures best practices in the use of mobile phones and other low-cost communications technologies through a series of interviews with experts and practitioners.

"For a technology for social good project to be successful," Hollon said, "the technology needs to be cost-efficient, sustainable (and) adapted to the local environment, and have the ownership and buy-in of the local community. Access to information is critical to education, economic development, disease prevention and treatment, agriculture and income generation."

Increasingly, he noted, tools and tactics "enable us to bring this critical information link to all United Methodist Church communities."

The discussion paper and the Game Changers Summit will inform and engage The United Methodist Church community in established best practices in this area and build a network of individuals empowered to undertake this work.

The discussion paper is available for download at www. umcom.org/ICT4DBestPractice. Find the Game Changers Summit registration page at www.umcom.org/gamechangers.

Diane Degnan, director of public relations, United Methodist Communications, Nashville, Tenn.