How technology is helping in the fight against poverty

Have you ever wondered the role technology could play in poverty reduction? If so, read on!
  • By: Compassion Canada
Compassion's partnership with Microsoft is changing lives

Compassion International is in a fight to help children escape from poverty. With more than 2 million children in our programs, we are certainly putting up a fight. But, with 385 million children still in extreme poverty, we need to fight smarter.

Enter Microsoft.

Compassion and Microsoft have been partnering for years in many ways. Microsoft has donated technology such as Microsoft Office for decades. And since the company’s creation of its Tech for Social Impact group, the partnership continues to grow. Microsoft has developed tools that benefit our internal technological processes and personalized support for each of the programs.  Microsoft is also empowering Compassion to develop artificial intelligence technology that will radically change the face of poverty reduction.

But don’t take it from us. Microsoft recently joined us in Huehuetenango, Guatemala, to meet the children and families we serve. They created a video detailing how technology is helping us accomplish our mission.

Microsoft’s digital transformation expertise and its cloud and data science resources are arming us with the best, tailored technology to help us achieve our mission. Put simply, working closely with Accenture, Microsoft is helping Compassion create a platform that will intelligently and securely connect people who have a need to those who can fulfill that need. This platform, along with other creative uses of technology, will enable people to more efficiently get aid.

It will also exponentially multiply the amount of time that Compassion employees and volunteers have to do what they love: empower children to leave poverty behind. Around the world, there are thousands of volunteers and workers who are ministering to children in poverty through Compassion’s ministry. But a big part of that work is paperwork — gathering information vital to run the ministry with integrity and efficiency. This app will save these dedicated child workers 300,000 hours of paperwork! With the time saved, they have even more time to build into children’s lives.

“[They can] focus on building a relationship with the child, building on serving their needs specifically and not getting caught up in paperwork.”

Ray Davis, Senior Director of Technology, Innovation and Data Science, Compassion International

Using Technology in Poverty Reduction Beyond Compassion

The most exciting part of this innovative technology is its potential. Not just for Compassion, but for nonprofits all over the world working toward poverty reduction.

Justin Spelhaug, Global Lead for Microsoft Tech for Social Impact, explains that a main reason why Microsoft is partnering with Compassion is our willingness to open these advances up to other organizations in the future.

“Resources and funding in the nonprofit segment are limited. Nonprofits – especially those on the front lines of impoverished children and communities – need affordable access to the most modern technology. In Tech for Social Impact, we’re solving this problem by creating purpose-built technology that both lowers the cost and increases the effectiveness of technology. Compassion’s digital transformation is helping the organization better address needs and ensuring fewer children are living in poverty.”

Justin Spelhaug, Global Lead for Microsoft Tech for Social Impact

That is what Compassion would love to see – fewer and fewer children living in extreme poverty. We don’t want this to be an innovation that sets Compassion apart from the crowd. We want this to be an innovation that sets this age in poverty reduction apart from the past.

“If ultimately the end result is that children are being released from poverty, then it doesn’t matter if what’s attached to that is Compassion’s name.”

Ray Davis, Senior Director of Technology, Innovation and Data Science, Compassion International

Our vision is that one day, a global network will exist that allows people to meet one another’s needs — in both directions. Where everyone — including people in low-income communities — can use the gifts they have to benefit the world.

Help students in poverty access technology through the gift of computers.

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Written by  Audrey Wishall, originally published by Compassion International.