Being able to communicate in real time via speech and text using basic cellphones has already proved invaluable for communities that were never connected by landlines. Ajedi-ka, an organisation that works to promote human rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, distributes phones to local teachers, elders and business leaders so that they can report incidents of children being drafted as soldiers. The phones make reporting faster and easier. Meanwhile, health workers across the developing world have started using cellphones to monitor disease outbreaks in real time. In Kenya phones are being turned into mini-ATM machines via Vodafone’s M-PESA program, which allows users to load money onto their phones in shops and then send it via a text message to someone else, in their village say. They can also withdraw the money at another location using a password, which in Kenya can be much safer than carrying cash.
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