CIS2 - Millennium Development Goals - Summer 2015

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Millennium Development Goals - Add links to your three research resources, along with a brief description of the impact this work has in solving the MDG and your ideas to solve the problem with technology

... Add your research and technology solutions

1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger

This article, while a little dated, provides information on a very exciting new movement. United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is incubating startups in major universities in America to tackle hunger and poverty problems. One example of this is Gram Power. Gram Power, a Silicon Valley startup, aims to remediate poverty in India and over the world by providing a hyper efficient transport of electricity. The main way this company hopes to end poverty is by providing power to India. I believe that this is a great idea and has high potential to benefit the whole world. By using this technology we can supply cheap energy to not only third world countries but to the entire world and thereby decreasing energy costs and the need for fossil fuels. I would use this technology to solve MDG #1 by providing power and energy to communities. This can alleviate poverty through the development of infrastructure and cooking food, otherwise considered inedible without head. - Venkata Sai Aditya Gollakota

This article describes how the World Food Program (WFP) is using technology to alleviate poverty and hunger in high target areas. The WFP uses satellite imagery to predict, identify, and react to areas in need. This technology is vital to preventing hunger and poverty by quickly identifying and responding to areas in need. It uses imagery to detect areas where there are droughts or architectural/natural disasters and will send people to those areas for support. I would continue to expand on this technology by creating a realtime application that took data from these satellites and allowed people all over the world to view and donate to those specific areas. - Venkata Sai Aditya Gollakota

This page is from the San Jose State University (SJSU) chapter of Engineering Without Borders (EWB). Engineering Without Borders in general is an organization that aims to tackle issues of hunger and poverty by providing innovating engineering solutions. The SJSU EWB chapter took a trip to Haguerito, Honduras, a poor and slowly growing community. Lacking a proper water system and needing many upgrades, students from SJSU went and provided a new water tank solution and effective utilizations of it. - Venkata Sai Aditya Gollakota

This article introduces 10 non profit companies that are working to help eradicate poverty in third world countries. With a simply description of each, we are given a complete picture of how different organizations are changing education and improving access to technology to reduce poverty. One of the most notable on the list, One laptop per child, is a program that provides laptops for schools in third world countries to give students access to the internet, computer programming, and provides students with a learning device that gives them experience with computers from a young age. is another organization that hopes to improve interest in computer science in the US and other countries. They have also helped make STEM courses a vital part of education and has helped write course curriculum for many schools around the country. Organizations like these give us a clear understanding of how poverty can be conquered: through education and technology.

This article explores how gene editing can help solve the world's hunger problems. Poverty and hunger are very closely related and much of the world with a large densely populated environment causes these hunger problems. The article shows how editing the genome of plants can be used to make foods more health and less susceptible to decay. Creating crops that can grow faster, provide more crop with a higher rate of nutrients may be very important for helping the poor deal with health concerns and help provide a larger yield to feed more people. The article also explores the problems in editing a genome and that the process is not full proof. Changing the genetic makeup of certain plants and animals may have a negative affect on the environment and may introduce new foreign agents to the environment. Making a mistake in gene editing on a larger scale could be catastrophic to a population. Therefore, a balance with regulations is required to make sure that too many changes are not made and the right modifications are made to make crops more efficient in growth, nutrients and number while avoiding negative environmental effects. and - Christy Chen

Providing clean water in third world countries has always been a major issue since the lack of sanitary water has been a leading cause of disease. This page provides a brief description of a few inventions meant to provide inexpensive water purifying technology to such communities. There are both stationary and portable water filters, but I decided to take a closer look at the "lifestraw." This tool removes dirt and water borne pathogens to prevent diseases like typhoid, cholera, dysentry, diarrhea, etc. The plastic filter is portable, does not require electricity and is able to clean the water by the time it hits the user's mouth. Because the device easily filters water, it is much easier for households and schools to obtain clean water without traveling farther distances to obtain water.

Although it is an easy way to provide clean water, note that each device is valued at approximately $19.95 online. This is no small price, particularly in developing countries. The company claims to have delivered 1,646 devices to over 301 schools (over 157,975 students) in Kenya in 2014; this amounts to 97 students per device at a total market value cost of $31,274 (not including other shipping or overhead costs). The company does not mention how many uses each device can sustain. Either there needs to be more funding sought out to support the manufacturing of these devices, or alternative means should be used to purify and provide clean water. For instance, a water filtering device that can be used by more people in a community which does not come in the form of a straw (which is still a cause for concern due to bacteria that may be transferred from saliva. - Christy Chen

The website describes the development of a low-cost drip-irrigation system to help farmers increase crop yields. Driptech, is a private for-profit company that manufactures such systems for small-plot farmers in developing countries. By working with local farmers, non-profits and governments, the company has distributed via channels through China and India and hopes to expand in the future. Increasing crop yield and taking advantage of arable lands allows farmers to increase their ability to sell in the marketplace. It claims that within six months, the cost of the system is repaid through water savings and increased crop yield. Additionally, in more arid climates, the irrigation system can help farmers conserve water as needed and have enough to use during droughts.

Though the drip-irrigation system may help farmers produce quality crops, if many farmers use the same methods, will the market become too saturated? If so, competition may push down the market value of certain foods. While this is beneficial for consumers, farmers may struggle to make enough profit to justify the costs of the system. - Christy Chen

In many countries, GMOs have become a topic of concern. Although countries like America believe GMO products, which are genetically modified to resist pests, herbicides and provide more nutrition, many small farmers and organic farming advocates fear that such products can contaminate local crop varieties, have toxic impacts on the natural environment, and cause health risks to consumers. The GMO monopoly also creates fears that the companies may become oppressive to local farmers. In the Philippines, the GMO debate also touches upon the sustainability of such products and food security concerns. The belief is that the genetically modified seeds provide more harm than good to society in the forms of "dangers to human health, the environment, the livelihood of small farmers, and ultimately, to food security. As such, it is believed that GMO products are not, in the long term, effective in providing food to local consumers. If this is the general concensus, there needs to be more research in finding alternative ways to support both local farmers and consumers - perhaps through low-cost irrigation technology or other ways to better manage farmlands. Regardless, if the government wants to reject GMOs, then it needs to find alternative measures to provide food security.

2. Achieve universal primary education

The Tanzanian government has made great progress in their fight to get full enrollment for primary education. They have reached an eye-opening 99.6%. This progress was a result of the government cutting fees for schooling and constructing schools so primary education is available in every village. Technology helped achieve this goal through awareness and building the schools.

This article gives a brief but informative history of the goal to achieve universal primary education. The fund for the IDA (International Development Association) donates on average $2.8 billion a year to finance poor and even middle-income countries. This is possible through spreading awareness across the internet. Advancements in technology like online education, have helped bring awareness to world goals like this one. The advancement of mobile learning plays a crucial step in reaching world goals like universal primary education.

This article has a unique viewpoint on problems with the education system in Nicaragua. A lot of the article deals with child labor, and the fact that children are no longer obligated to go to school after age 12. With the impoverished state of the country, many children said they were "bored" in school and would rather work to be able to provide support for their families. Awareness of the dangers of child labor and the law that only requires education until age 12, is one way technology can help improve the state of Nicaragua's primary educational system. The poverty issue seems to lead to all of the child labor and educational problems in the country, so that is where to start a solution.

ENOVA is a business centered around bringing technology based education to rural Mexico.  The founder wanted to bridge the gap between the lowest socioeconomic classes by bringing education during a time when the internet was growing.  He believed that the technology provided the tools for these people to increase productivity and profitability as well.  The company took the ideas that had been used in the past, such as technology centers for free access, and found ways for improvement, such as providing better operators.  They also saw the lack of accountability in these programs that had failed, due to multiple levels of government involved.  Because no one group was in charge, no one took the blame and responsibility when these programs failed.  This program also took to the streets and looked at why different groups didn't connect with technology and what use it could fill for them.  They began teaching these people about technology and how it could be of use for them, and not just for big businesses or rich people.  They also took each case individually and focused on what the educational level was for the person they were working with at the time.  This person-to-person interaction made a big impact on introducing technology to an elementary school child who may already be behind in their education.

Also a third-party auditor does an impact assessment twice a year to judge how well the students are doing on standardized tests.  This is to help predict the long-term impact of these programs, possibly leading to more students in university settings and increasing the economic impact in the country.  They measure the teachers' performance, understanding and training in the new systems, students' overall performance in the class and in standardized tests, and the overall infrastructure of the program.

Mobile phone facilitated learning is being utilized in rural areas of Asia to increase the access to education through mLearning.  mLearning programs were initiated in six locations and measures were taken in educational outcomes of two areas: improving access and promoting new learning.  It seems that mobile phones can be utilized to increase the access to current way of learning, but not in learning new materials.

Perhaps one of the most exciting news pertaining to universal primary education is Google’s effort to launch satellites in order to provide internet to areas that currently have no access.  Should this project succeed it would open the door to third world countries to receive education through the internet.  No longer will kids be afraid to walk to school when they can learn math from the safety of their home. - David Chen

If Google is able to provide the gateway to the internet, non-profit online school Khan Academy will be able to provide an education to those who are less fortunate.  Khan sums it up perfectly when he expresses his aim to create ‘the world’s first free, world-class virtual school where anyone can learn anything’.  Khan Academy has already impacted many in the US with over 3 million users a month.  - David Chen

While countries are waiting to get internet access, innovative technology like the MobiStation is assisting teachers by providing the things they might not be privileged to have, and all in one product.  The MobiStation has low power projector, audio, and a low powered laptop.  Best of all?  It’s powered by solar!  - David Chen

3. Promote gender equality and empower women

In most foreign third world countries women are responsible for a lot of manual labor. Small scale technology will help women conserve energy, improve health and overall improve women’s lives by the year of 2020. A great example of what is working is the Hippo Water Roller Project designed for women to roll bails of water long distance instead of over their heads. Efforts are being made for the equality of women all over the world by new technological developments designed to protect the overall health of women.

Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action was adopted by 189 countries. Section J of this declaration was set forth for women to participate in the development of information and communications technology (ICT), advocating for women’s freedom of expression, and working to prevent technology-based violence against women.

The Women in Science and Technology Policy Project has been set forth to study the importance, presence and influence of women in science and technology policy at the federal level. The purpose of this is to determine how the presence of women has an impact on the organizations and field within which they work. Studies like this one have been funded by grants and are being set forth to advance our understanding of the capabilities of women in the technological workplace. They are also empowering women and closing the gender gap.

4. Reduce child mortality

Nothing But Nets, advertised by Basketball players, CEOs, NBA Cares, and Major League Soccer, is a global campaign to fight against malaria. A $10 donation sends an insecticide-treated bed net to Africa. The face value of the advertisements from people of popular culture has helped in the promotion of malaria awareness and has raised more than $45 million since 2006.

This is a nonprofit that provides nutritional and medical support for malnutrition in sub-Saharan Africa and beyond. It produces Ready-to-use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) consisting of peanut paste, powdered milk, vegetable oil, sugar, and vitamins/minerals (foods rich in protein and zinc) in local factories and distributes them at mobile clinics and sells them to governments and aid organizations. The mobile clinic is used for check-ups and to check children for edema.

Birth registration is vital for infant care, without their birth certificates they are denied health care and education. MobileVRS (mobile vital records system) is a records system using SMS to register births and deaths on a web-based application. The impact that this has on the goal is the right for the infant or child to health care.

HIV Point of Care (PoC) technologies (CD4 testing, Early Infant Diagnosis (EID) and Viral Load (VL) testing) could be utilized by non-laboratory technicians to access diagnostic tests, HIV prevention and treatment centers, and decrease loss of patient follow-ups with little to no training. In the case of the Goal 4 specifically, the Early Infant Diagnosis tests the child's HIV status.

The ARIDA (Acute Respiratory Infection Diagnostic Aid) is used to diagnose pneumonia. To determine respiratory rates, the Acute Respiratory Infection (ARI) timer was developed in the 90’s and required counting however some community health workers could not count. So then, another method was developed so that those that did not know how to count would use strands that had age-specific color-coded beads to interpret breath count. This device was the start-up for the development of a device with no need for counting and no reliance on power currently underway.

MTrac is an SMS-based system that utilizes phones to monitor and alert officials in the Ministry of Health of disease outbreaks, drug stock outs, and overall data of malaria, malnutrition, and artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACT) and amoxicillin stocks categorized by district and issue area. The three sources of data are given by health care workers, village health teams or volunteer community health workers, and the anonymous hotline. This technology gives real-time data, accountability for medicines, and the monitoring and tracking of malaria death rates in over 57 districts.

ViVa (Visibility or Vaccines) is a monitoring system that alerts of vaccine stock outs or overstocking. Most stock outs are due to delayed funds resulting in deaths. This database monitoring system is used by UNICEF, WHO, and the country all together and works with the Expanded Programme on Immunization.

The Cameroonian Government with the help of UNICEF has been trying to help reduce meternal neo-natal tenaus in Cameroon with vaccinations. They were able to get coverage through fundraising to help support the vaccines, transport them, and have health workers be able to give them out.

CIFF is the Children's Investment Fund Foundation located in the UK that strives to help better the healths of children and mothers since 2004. This group specifically is trying to work towards the reducing under 5 mortality goal during neonatal birth by sending actual people out door to door to help educate and give the help they need. These people provide medicines at an affordable price for these people.

BRAC is an organization in Bangladesh that helps to create more opportunities for the poor since 1972. BRAC has provided education and counselling to help with reducing child mortality such as training midwives so that child births go by safely. The IMNCS specifically helps those who are living in rural areas that do not have access to hospitals. They have been promoting healthcare and offer easy access to health care.

UNICEF provides high-impact health and nutrition interventions. UNICEF aims to reduce the number of young child deaths from preventable and easily treatable causes. They are the world’s largest purchaser of vaccines, producing more than 40% of all vaccines used in developing the world. Immunization rates of children in the 1970s were at 20%, in 2002, rates were at 74%. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), poor conditions is the cause of most young deaths. They’re one of the first aid organizations on the scene following an outbreak of a crisis, helping and aided those who need it most.

Child’s Dream focuses on children with birth defects due to the lack of hygiene and nutrition during pregnancy. Their goal is to provide basic health care to reduce childhood morbidity and mortality rates. They build the capacity of local health workers to provide basic services. They encourage families to adopt good hygiene practices.

5. Improve maternal health

5. Improve Maternal Health

This site stated some facts such as: maternal Mortality dropped 45% between 1990 and 2013. There are fewer teens having children in most developing regions.

This site talks how the philippines face challenges alligning health systems with the needs of the people. Health concerns are high on political agenda of reform because needs to get better.

This article says MAMA ( Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action ) users in Africa get text messages with advice on it for their children. Gives them different information that they can learn about. The texts come serveral a week. This global movement helps improve our maternal mothers today.

6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases

7. Ensure environmental sustainability


Community Based Social Marketing is a method that uses social sciences, primarily psychology, in order to get people more involved in a specific habit or community project. This is similar to education and advertising, but it is much more hands on. According to Doug McKenzie-Mohr, Ph.D., “Community-based social marketing is based upon research in the social sciences that demonstrates that behavior change is most effectively achieved through initiatives delivered at the community level which focus on removing barriers to an activity while simultaneously enhancing the activities benefits.” Many times people don’t participate in environmentally sustainable habits simply because of a lack of knowledge and convenience. Using social media and technology to seek people out, community based social marketers make their first step to remove barriers from a community to ensure better environmental practices. This type of online marketing is successful because it focuses on human centered design. If the sustainable habit becomes easy and rewarding, people are more likely to do it. The website I shared is a public forum for people trying to adopt more sustainable habits. In a way, it is like a social media site with the primary focus being environmental sustainability. The website also shares strategies for businesses to adopt better habits such as saving energy, water, and lowering waste.


According to their website, “STEP (Sustainable Technology Environment Program ) is a nonprofit organization that promotes, educates and recognizes the considerable value that Information Communication Technology (ICT) provides to Smart and Sustainable buildings.” Their focus is to integrate sustainability into designing operating technology  systems in a practical step-by-step method. This includes accounting for energy consumption and the use of raw materials. I personally think this is amazing because it is definitely a step in the right direction as far as taking care of our environment goes. By creating higher quality technologies, instead of throwing away our phones after one year of use, our possessions will last for longer and reduce damage to the earth. STEP also focuses on using information technology to make buildings smarter, waste less paper, and lower gas emissions associated with travel. The website offers a guidebook  for companies that explains how to become STEP certified and why it is important.


Stumbling across this program really excites me. My major is computer science, but I also am interested in environmental sustainability. For a while I have worried that these two interests are mutually exclusive. As it turns out, Leeds Beckett University offers several different programs for green computing. The course is the first environmentally concerned information technology course in the UK. Students develop their knowledge on environmental sustainability and information and communications technology to create strategies to benefit sectors of business and the economy as well as the environment. Education for IT students is a crucial part of improving the world’s sustainability practices.

8. Develop a global partnership for development