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Technology Innovation Aids Development For UNICEF Posted in Heavy Chef News, Concocted by Wendy Tayler,
Published on 10 January 2012

Erica Kochi plays a big role in assisting UNICEF with their use of technology in order improve their charitable efforts. These tasks include the integration of online and offline, and expanding their message reach. Forbes interviewed Erica about her experience with UNICEF and the digital developments that are benefitting this organisation.

ERICAOn her work within the Tech Innovation team, Erica states “I act as a bridge between the the practice of social development and the disciplines of technology and design. A lot of my day to day work revolves around working with UNICEF country offices – helping them do an analysis of where technology might strengthen their programmes, setting out a plan to make this happen, and bringing the right mix of skills to the table.”

Her successful achievements include the development of the RapidSMS service, an open source framework. This involves the collection of information from field workers and the improvement in speed and quality of the data collection. This initiative grew to the point where it is now being used for all sorts of non-UNICEF technology for development projects.

Erica is also a part of UNICEF’s mobile projects, which include her fondest programme, “Mwana- which helps get HIV positive infants on to treatment faster by delivering HIV test results to very rural and remote areas by SMS.”

The challenges that Erica believes to be the biggest are pessimists and on the opposite end of the spectrum, those who believe that social development can be done quickly and easily. Erica explains that “One shuts out change and another rushes blindly in with no regard for the consequences. Technology is a tool that should be used for the things it is good at doing – creating efficiencies, making information exchange easier, engaging in fast two-way communication.”

When asked by Forbes what she believes is the most promising form of technology, Erica’s reply is simple. Mobile allows for two way conversations, and this accessibility to the masses means that the world’s challenges we are facing, can be tackled.

Read the full interview by Forbes here.

Read more posts by Wendy Tayler

Wendy Tayler

Wendy is the Editor in Chief at Heavy Chef. After 3 years cooking up a storm at UNISA studying English and Communications, Wendy decided to mesh her passion for writing with her love of digital. She firmly believes the world is moving into the online sphere and can be found writing, tracking down great names for interviews, or singing her heart out at the World Wide Creative studio.

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