SDC

The Revolutionary Optimists

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The Revolutionary Optimists is a multi-platform advocacy campaign mobilising children in Kolkata, India, to go door-to-door with home-made megaphones, mobile phone technology, and global positioning system (GPS) maps. They encourage neighbours to participate in polio vaccination programmes and track and collect data around health issues that impact them - water, sanitation, and infectious diseases.

Communication Strategies: 

The Revolutionary Optimists is captured by a documentary to be released in 2013. Filmed over the course of several years (beginning in 2008), The Revolutionary Optimists follows social entrepreneur Amlan Ganguly, who uses popular media to engage and educate children in an interactive, problem-posing approach, and "the Daredevils", a group of youth in one of Kolkata's squatters colonies - a place that cannot even be found on the map. The Daredevils undertook to make their own map of their colony and have been tracking and collecting data around health issues that impact them: water, sanitation, and infectious diseases. One storyline: "By mapping their un-mapped community and collecting data about the problems that they face, [11-year-old] Salim and his fellow child activists hope to convince the government to give them a water tap" As documented in the film, the Daredevils have turned a trash dump into a soccer field, lobbied for electricity, and decreased diarrhoea and malaria rates in their neighbourhood.

 

Map Your World adds technology to this equation. Using cell phones, the Daredevils can upload data at the moment of collection into a database that is linked to a digital online community map. For example, they can track each child born in their colony and record bi-weekly updates about vaccination statistics by sending an SMS text from their cell phone directly to a database. Map Your World automatically links this data to a map, hand drawn by the children, that is overlaid to actual GPS coordinates. The live online map will show them which children need polio vaccination each month and where those children live, so they can target their outreach campaigns and make sure those children get to the polio booth. Map Your World also allows them to print out evidence of the impact they have made.

Development Issues: 

Children, Health.

Key Points: 

Approximately 40% of children had visited the vaccination centre prior to the launch of the programme. That has risen to 80%, and activists are hoping to get close to 100% vaccine-uptake rates in the years to come.

 

The short version of the film premiered at a TEDx event in April 2012. The feature film was part of the 2011 Sundance Documentary Edit and Story Lab at the Sundance Resort.

Partner Text: 

Independent Television Service (ITVS), Sundance Institute, Skoll Foundation, the Fledgling Fund, The Global Fund for Children, The Greenwall Foundation.

See video
Source: 

VaccinesToday and The Revolutionary Optimists website - both accessed on August 9 2012.

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Digital Freedom of Expression in Uzbekistan

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An Example of Social Control and Censorship in the 21st Century

Author: 
Sarah Kendzior, PhD
Publication Date
July 18, 2012

"...D]espite the efforts of the government to control user activity, the internet serves a valuable purpose for Uzbeks willing and able to circumvent state prohibitions."

Source: 

New America Foundation website. Image caption/credit: Uzbeks protest violence in Andijon outside of the embassy in Brussels. Photo licensed CC by Radio Free Europe.

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Can Your Preschooler Learn Anything from an iPad App?

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Author: 
Lisa Guernsey
Publication Date
May 2, 2012
Affiliation: 

Early Education Initiative, New America Foundation

"...[W]e have to keep testing interactivity's value: Is that touchscreen triggering actions and ways of thinking that could come in handy in the real world - or merely leading our kids to touch another button?"

This article from Slate explores a few of the studies that have been carried out to understand how interactive screen time - touchscreen tablets and e-readers - affects early childhood development and learning. Author Lisa Guernsey calls for more such research.

Source: 

Sesame Workshop website, August 6 2012. Image credit: Sesame Workshop

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Ten Trends in Technology Use in Education in Developing Countries That You May Not Have Heard About

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Author: 
Michael Trucano
Publication Date
June 26, 2012
Affiliation: 

World Bank

This blog entry exploring issues related to the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in education around the world looks into trends "that are sometimes not widely reported on in the international media (including some exciting 'innovations at the edges')." In brief, the 10 trends cited here include:

Source: 

World Bank EduTech blog, August 3 2012. Image credit: World Bank/EduTech

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Innovative Smartphone Partnership Fights Polio in Northern Nigeria

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Publication Date
July 1, 2012

This article describes a public-private partnership to fight polio in Nigeria that harnesses the power of smartphones to monitor real-time performance of vaccination teams during door-to-door campaigns. Using global positioning system (GPS) data, a specially designed android application helps map the location of communities in high-risk areas for polio and enables monitoring of the quality and coverage of campaigns in real-time.

Source: 

Polio News [PDF], July 2012. Image credit: (c) UNICEF/2012/L. Andriamasinoro

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Tracking the Polio Virus down the Congo River: A Case Study on the Use of Google Earth™ in Public Health Planning and Mapping

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Author: 
Raoul Kamadjeu
Publication Date
January 22, 2009
Affiliation: 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

This paper explains, through the example of polio eradication activities in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the use of Google Earth™ (GE) as a planning tool and shares the methods used to generate public health maps for advocacy and training, as well as to help understand the relationship between the entities involved in the polio outbreak and response.

Source: 

Polio News [PDF], July 2012. International Journal of Health Geographics 2009, 8:4. Image credit: "GIS Use in Public Health and Health Care" blog

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Preparing the Next Generation of Community Health Workers: The Power of Technology for Training

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Author: 
Rocio Funes
Vicky Hausman
Angela Rastegar
Publication Date
May 1, 2012
Affiliation: 

Dalberg Global Development Advisors

"...while mHealth applications proliferate, technology has not been greatly deployed in the training of community health workers, whose work is essential to reaching Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4, 5, and 6 as well as to reducing the associated burdens of child and maternal mortality and HIV/AIDS."

Source: 

D. Blog post, "Using Mobile Technology to Train Community Health Workers", by Lucy Mele, June 15 2012 - accessed on August 3 2012. Image credit: Alex Harsha, Medic Mobile

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Global Health Media Project

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The Global Health Media Project produces videos that are designed to "bring to life" critical health care information for providers and populations in low-resource settings. Worldwide distribution is achieved at low cost via the internet and mobile phones. The project produces videos in thematic series, for example: breastfeeding, newborn, small baby, childbirth, ebola, and cholera.

Communication Strategies: 

This initiative combines the teaching power of video with the dissemination potential of emerging information and communication technologies (ICTs).

 

It is based on the conviction that short, engaging videos provide a simple and effective solution to help health workers gain the knowledge and basic skills known to save lives. In low-resource settings where literacy and language are obstacles to learning, Global Health Media Project integrates step-by-step visual instruction, voiced-over in the local language. For example, the project's 2011 video "The Story of Cholera" is an educational animation in which a young boy helps a health worker save his father and then guides his village in preventing cholera from spreading. There is also a newborn care series of 35 brief live action videos that cover newborn care clinical guidelines. They are shot for the small screens of phones and tablets, on location in the developing world.

 

Video viewing can occur via a range of devices including video-capable phones, computers, laptops, netbooks, and personal data assistants (PDAs), depending on the technology available at training facilities or to individual health workers. The Global Health Media Project website is the primary means of disseminating the videos rapidly and efficiently. All the work is available for free download under a Creative Commons license. For those users who choose offline use, there are two download options on the project website: a mobile phone version (smaller file size with lower resolution) and a laptop/tablet version (medium size and resolution). In addition, videos are actively promoted through a network of thousands of global health professionals in an effort to ensure worldwide impact. For health workers without internet connectivity, training non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and ministries of health can distribute them via a USB flash drive or a memory chip in a mobile phone.

 

In an effort to increase the distribution of the newborn care videos, in particular, the project is establishing partnerships. For instance, working with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)/India and the Indian Ministry of Health, HealthPhone will be distributing the videos on a memory card for mobile phones. According to organisers, this initiative has the potential to give two million health workers access to visual training tools in 15 Indian languages without the need for internet connectivity. To cite another example, South African-based Electric Book Works (EBW) Healthcare will be incorporating the videos into their eBooks, which are self-managed learning programmes for nurses and midwives that are used across southern Africa.

 

In April 2013, the GHMP film team launched a new video series on childbirth with a film shoot at the United Mission Hospital in Tansen, Nepal.

Development Issues: 

Health

Key Points: 

In the words of the project's director: "In the spring of 2008, while leading a medical team in Sudan, I saw a newborn resuscitation go wrong. I intervened and the baby lived, but I realized that health workers everywhere needed this skill, and many didn’t have it. Why not? Dedicated health workers simply don’t have access to critical health care information. And it is not sophisticated knowledge that they lack, but basic practical information."

 

According to the Global Health Media Project, training is often unavailable to these workers and can be limited in value - lectures not understood, written material rarely read, and comprehension critically reduced by language barriers, complexity of content, and the failure to take into consideration the realities of low-resource settings.

Source: 

Global Health Media Project website, August 3 2012, and email from GHMP on June 15 2013.

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Build It, and Will They Come? Unexpected Findings From a Study on a Web-Based Intervention to Improve Colorectal Cancer Screening

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Author: 
Linda Fleisher
Venk Kandadai
Eileen Keenan
Suzanne M. Miller
Karthik Devarajan
Karen J. Ruth
Michele Rodoletz
Eric J. Bieber
David S. Weinberg
Publication Date
June 22, 2011
Affiliation: 

Fox Chase Cancer Center (Fleisher, Kandadai, Keenan, Miller, Devarajan, Ruth, Weinberg); HealthForumOnline (Rodoletz); Geisinger Health System (Bieber)

"The issue of engagement, not only from the perspective of the health communication messages and approach, but from the initial step of taking action to open or access the Web-based intervention, is critical to the ultimate test of effectiveness."

Source: 

Journal of Health Communication, 17:41–53, 2012. The JHCLink - The Practitioner's Connection to Health Communication Research, June 14 2012. Image credit: World News, Inc.

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An FAO E-mail Conference on Agricultural Innovation Systems and Family Farming: The Moderator's Summary

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Author: 
John Ruane
Publication Date
July 31, 2012

"The large volume of messages and the tremendous enthusiasm with which people discussed the various issues highlights that the topic of agricultural innovation systems and their potential impact on family farming is currently of major interest."

Source: 

Email from John Ruane to The Communication Initiative on August 1 2012; and FAO website, August 1 2012.

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