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Recycling Phones to Raise Funds for mHealth Initiatives

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, December 19 2013

What can your old phone do? (Flickr/Phil Roeder)

A nonprofit organization that runs mHealth programs in 20 different countries has started a campaign that collects old cell phones and recycles them, using the profits to fund their humanitarian work. Hope Phones is one of those classic kill-two-birds-with-one-stone organizations: tackling the problem of cellphone waste and fundraising for their humanitarian mission at the same time.

According to one estimate, one phone can bring “50 – 250 families onto the health grid.”

Recently Hope Phones ran a campaign to raise funds for EveryMotherCounts. Instead of naming a dollar amount, they sent out a call for “10,000 Phones for Mothers in Need.”

Most of the money raised by Hope Phones goes to the organization Medic Mobile, which uses technology to tackle health problems around the world. The company CEO, Josh Nesbit, is one of the “reluctant innovators” who contributed a personal account of his work to Ken Banks' new book, The Rise of the Reluctant Innovator.

Medic Mobile is characterized by “simple, flexible software applications,” as they say on their website. It's interesting to see that same simplistic approach applied to their funding methods as well. And, the idea of using retired technology to fund technology-based projects is also satisfying and appropriate.

Personal Democracy Media is grateful to the Omidyar Network and the UN Foundation for their generous support of techPresident's WeGov section.

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