What we do
How To Save Millions Of Lives With A Simple MP3 Player
The solar-powered device developed by URIDU is used to provide health education to illiterate rural women in developing countries
Every six seconds a child under five dies. Almost all of those deaths occur in developing countries - and most of them are entirely preventable. Millions of lives could be saved just by providing illiterate rural mothers with accessible health education. Unfortunately, bringing this knowledge to remote locations has so far been an enormous challenge for both governments and NGOs. A new project is tackling that problem with a groundbreaking solution based on solar-powered MP3 players.
The so-called MP3forLife Player has been developed by URIDU (www.uridu.org), a German non-profit social enterprise. Each player contains more than 400 carefully selected answers to questions about health, nutrition, family planning, child care, work safety and many more topics. All texts are translated with the help of more than 10.000 volunteers from over 100 countries who participate in a unique crowdsourcing effort. Once the information has been translated it is recorded by a native speaker of the target language. Local NGOs are taking care of distributing MP3forLife Players free of charge to women in need.
"We conceived the MP3forLife Player for small group listening - it fosters discussion, exchange and group building", explains Felicitas Heyne, psychologist and founder of URIDU. "We want to provide basic knowledge to illiterate rural women, but we also want to create a team spirit among them. They are key to positive change in their countries. Wherever women are empowered, a favorable spiral is set in motion. Health and education improve, populations stabilize, economies grow."
The MP3forLife approach has been successfully implemented in Tanzania in co-ordination with the national Ministry for Health and Social Welfare. Further East African countries are following the example.
Our social impact
Rural women make up more than two-thirds of the world's 796 million illiterate people. Heavy workloads combined with frequent pregnancies and other effects of chronic poverty have a major impact on their health and nutritional status.
Findings show that there is a strong need for health information of all types among those women. Health information should be repackaged and disseminated in appropriate forms suitable for them.
Audio recordings of spoken, health-related contents can be used to make this information available to the illiterate. Simple and cost-efficient technologies like solar-powered audio players allow the distribution of those vital contents even to remote areas without access to electricity.
Healthy women can become empowered women, who are major catalysts for development, as they re-invest their money in their children’s health, nutrition, and education.
Accessible health-related education and information for illiterate rural women in developing countries is necessary and it's possible. It's time to make it happen.