Inspired by the ways people empower communities through technology …

Technology has changed our world in so many ways… The effects have ranged from fantastic to catastrophic. I’ve come across some inspiring ways that technology empowers by people by facilitating communication, education, health care, disaster response, and economic development.

InSTEDD develops technology solutions that enable collaboration between government agencies, non-profit organizations, and local groups during natural disasters or disease outbreaks. After working with subject matter experts to define a need, the team identifies existing technologies or develops open-source software that addresses the need. I’m so inspired by InSTEDD’s many accomplishments!

Inveneo, a nonprofit social enterprise, supports organizations that provide education, healthcare, economic development, and relief services in Africa, Haiti, and South Asia. Inveneo identifies, implements, and supports technology solutions that may include hardware, software, Internet access, and power. Read how Inveneo impacts the developing world.

NetSquared runs on-line and off-line communities for people and organizations that work with technology to achieve social change. The group also facilitates Open Innovation Challenges and maintains a project gallery of ideas and completed projects. If you are looking to connect with others who are excited about creating social change through technology, NetSquared is a great place to go!

Random Hacks of Kindness
Random Hacks of Kindness works with experts throughout the world to define disaster risk challenges that can be addressed through technology. Then the group organizes hackathons – contests where programmers develop proposed software solutions. The hackathons take place one weekend in multiple locations throughout the world. The most recent event, RhoK #2, was in December 2010 – see the results. I’m eager to see details for the upcoming RhoK #3.

Samasource is a non-profit organization that provides virtual employment opportunities to people who live in poverty. The group offers business listing verification, data entry, and content moderation services. Employees work in job centers in Africa, India, Haiti, and Asia. Read more about the organization’s impact throughout the world – Samasource FAQ.

Small Bean
Small Bean created the Citizen Archivist Project to provide technology education and document local cultures in Africa. Participants learn technology skills in sustainable computer labs as they create local archives. The Excess Solar Power as A Revenue Generation Option (ESCARGO) project will rent battery units powered by the computer lab’s solar panels to support the lab’s operating costs. Read about ESCARGO. What an awesome, innovative combination!

Worldreader sends e-readers to people in developing countries to facilitate education and improve literacy rates. The organization also partners with publishers to provide digital books and train teachers how to use e-readers. Worldreader is in the early stages of development; it has done some trials and started a pilot study in late 2010 to measure the effects of e-readers in Ghana. I’m excited to follow the group’s progress!

Do you know of an organization that empowers communities through technology?

Tell us about it and share a link below…