Innovation That Matters

Solar-powered MP3 player educating third world women


German non-profit social cause URIDU has developed a solar powered MP3 player that’s being given out to illiterate women in East Africa to educate on health and life skills.

Educating people in very poor countries that don’t have electricity is an extremely difficult challenge, especially when the majority of the population can’t read or write. But it’s a challenge URIDU has taken on with a new MP3 player – called MP3ForLife – that’s powered by the sun, and has been translated into over 100 languages by thousands of volunteers.

It’s operated by voice command and recognises questions like “How can I prevent malaria?” or “How can I purify water?” then plays back the information needed. It also has advice on social issues to promote gender equality, contraception guidance and how to combat suicidal depression.

“We want to provide basic knowledge to illiterate rural women, but we also want to create a team spirit among them,” said Felicitas Heyne, founder and psychologist of URIDU. “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.”

At the moment they’re being distributed to women in Tanzania with the help of local non government organisations (NGOs). It’s an ongoing project that’s constantly looking for donations and volunteers. Other solar powered inventions that could make life easier in poorer countries are solar powered water purifiers and mobile-controlled micro-grids, which currently deliver power to rural Western Kenya. What other applications could be used to educate people in poor countries?



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