United Methodist Communications
NASHVILLE, TN – United Methodist Communications, the communications agency of The United Methodist Church, today called on members of the church to learn about how the increasing availability of low-cost communication technologies can be used as tools for community organization – strengthening global social and economic development.
To support this call to action, the agency released the discussion paper Using Technology for Social Good, in preparation for the upcoming Game Changers Summit on September 3-5, 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee.
“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,” he said.
The discussion paper released today captures best practice in the use of mobile phones and other low-cost communications technologies through a series of interviews with experts and practitioners. Interviewees include:
• The head of the mobile solutions team at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) who describes the agency’s efforts to use mobile phones to pay teachers in Afghanistan, reducing money lost to graft;
• The founder of FrontlineSMS, one of the most widely scaled mobile text messaging-based information sharing programs, who provides his top 10 tips for effective use of technology for social good;
• The chair of the Health Board of The United Methodist Church in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, who describes how using FrontlineSMS is changing the way information is shared in the context of acute health emergencies, such as cholera outbreaks; and
• The program manager of the Thomas Food Project in Thomas, Haiti, who describes how low cost solar power is being used to power a new computer center and generate income that supports a school feeding program.
“For a technology for social good project to be successful, the technology needs to be cost-efficient, sustainable, adapted to the local environment, and have the ownership and buy-in of the local community,” said Hollon.
“Access to information is critical to education, economic development, disease prevention and treatment, agriculture and income generation. Increasingly there are tools and tactics that enable us to bring this critical information link to all United Methodist Church communities.”
The purposes of the discussion paper and the Game Changers Summit are to inform and engage The United Methodist Church community in some of the established best practices in this area, and to build the network of individuals empowered to undertake this work.
The ‘Using Technology for Social Good’ discussion paper is available for download at umcom.org/ICT4DBestPractice. The Game Changers Summit registration page can be found at umcom.org/gamechangers.
About United Methodist Communications
As the communications agency for The United Methodist Church, United Methodist Communications seeks to increase awareness and visibility of the denomination in communities and nations around the globe. United Methodist Communications also offers services, tools, products and resources for communications ministry.
About the ICT4D Church Initiatives Program
United Methodist Communications’ ICT4D Initiatives programs works with local churches that seek to help people in developing countries who are struggling to overcome poverty and lack of access to modern communications. We work toward solutions that can improve education and foster development, and connect churches with technology that is appropriate for the environment.