Using Technology Against Poverty. Know How This Can Be Possible

By USAID U.S. Agency for International Development (Fleet Management  Uploaded by Elitre) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By USAID U.S. Agency for International Development (Fleet Management Uploaded by Elitre) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Technology is not just about space exploration and robotics. It’s not only concerned with bionic tentacles, artificial intelligence, computing, and gadgets. It is something that can also be used to address the problem of poverty. In a recent article, it was reported that the US Agency for International Development or USAID aims to make use of technology to fight poverty. USAID plans to end extreme poverty within 15 years through a variety of ways that employ science and technology.

Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and USAID announced on Thursday a “high-tech” program aimed at fighting poverty in different parts of the world. The program is referred to as the US Global Development Program. It is a collaborative effort of multiple corporations, foundations, and academic institutions who share the goal of developing and sustaining solutions for global problems through technology and science.

As mentioned in the announcement, the following are some of the ways through which it can be viable to use technology against poverty:

1. Improved Agriculture

Agriculture is one of the major areas mentioned by USAID in its goal to make use of science and technology to address the problem of poverty. Through the engineering of crops that can survive better in less than ideal conditions, food shortage is expected to be alleviated. This is not really a new endeavor. There have been several attempts at genetically engineering or modifying crops. However, these were met with skepticism and disapproval from various sectors. The current initiative seeks to create more reassuring ways through which genetically modified crops can become more acceptable to consumers.

On the other hand, technology can also be used to develop more efficient and less costly ways to till the soil. Technology can help in propagating crops faster and with higher yields. It can improve the efficiency of planting, growing, and harvesting processes.

By U.S. Navy photo by Javier Chagoya [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By U.S. Navy photo by Javier Chagoya [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

2. Mobile Technology to Help Farmers in Marketing Their Products

Another area deemed important in addressing poverty is the trading/marketing of goods or produce. Farmers as well as other product producers (like handicraft makers) can make more for what they produce if they are able to sell their goods directly to customers, or if transactions don’t have to go through middlemen. By providing mobile technologies that make access to markets or potential buyers easier, farmers can earn more and become empowered.

3. Environmentally Friendly Home Lighting

In Africa, people are still using kerosene lamps for home lighting. It will be a big advantage and way more efficient if they can have access to environmentally friendly and low-cost lighting products and electricity. USAID aims to bring the advantages of modern lighting to the poverty-stricken people of Africa as an indirect way of helping people in overcoming poverty.

4. Mobile Devices and Apps that Detect Diseases

Disease is one of the main drivers of poverty. Because of diseases, poverty-stricken individuals fail to spend much of their time and efforts in doing more productive endeavors. Diseases also result in significantly curbed physical and mental potentials. By providing people with convenient tech tools that can help detect and prevent diseases, it will become easier to advance progress and eliminate the problem of poverty.

5. Facilitating Money Lending and the Capitalization of Startups

Crowdfunding has helped numerous companies in taking off. It has enabled companies in producing and offering novel product concepts that may have otherwise gone to oblivion under traditional business funding schemes. These crowdfunded startups help move economies forward. They empower entrepreneurship and help generate jobs. The same idea can be used to help poor people in getting involved in business endeavors. Technology has the power to make money transactions faster. Through modern money transfer technologies, those who need capital to start their business operations will more quickly get the funding they need.

See page for author [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

See page for author [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

6. Enabling People to Collaborate and Coordinate

The growing popularity of the Internet should be an advantage for underprivileged people. It should facilitate collaboration and coordination. Through the Internet and web-enabled mobile devices, it will be easier for people to find earning opportunities. Likewise, it becomes easier coordinating actions that foster economic success in communities. Technology has the power to link individuals and consolidate efforts for economic success. Moreover, technology can allow  communities to remotely obtain technical assistance or guidance from experts as they pursue entrepreneurial or development projects.

Technology has a big role to play in solving the poverty problem worldwide. It’s just important to observe the spirit of cooperation and ingenuity. With the help of consumer tech products and services, everyone can play a part in the global poverty elimination campaign. It doesn’t matter how big or small this part is. Technology can make it possible to coordinate and amplify individual but unified efforts to get rid of poverty by 2030. There is no single technology that can effectively fight poverty. It is the confluence of various applicable technologies and the active involvement of people that makes progress possible.