Mobile Metrix – social identity for the invisible segment of the world’s population
November 16th, 2007

Mobile Metrix

Last Thursday – on November 15th – Mobile Metrix initiative, with Melanie Edwards, Patrice Capitant and Nicolas Palazzo at its heart, went “live” with a public event that took place at Stanford University, California. Mobile Metrix aims at bringing visibility to more than 1 billion people – which accounts for 12% of the world’s population – with no official record of their lives in 120 developing countries. These people living in the favelas of São Paulo, shanty towns in Johannesburg and slums in Delhi – only to give a few major examples – lack access to important social and life saving services, such as healthcare, social security, education, or clean water.

Because they have no social recognition, they can’t play an active role in society: school enrollment, jobs, social benefits, micro loans and stepping into their political power. The idea is to involve youth from the local communities as Mobile Agents who would perform population surveys, in order to gather demographic data by help of state-of-the-art, handheld computers. Mobile Metrix will also offer to the surveyors training in professionalism, survey techniques and computer skills to do the job properly. In the same time, Mobile Metrix becomes a compelling employment alternative with higher wages to deter youth from entering the destructive drug trade.

One important outcome of this enterprise it that it will provide new accurate data for the international aid community and private enterprises looking to do business with the poor, often limited so far to demographic data based on 10-year old surveys. International and local NGOs will also benefit some better leverage from this. The social impact of the initiative is expected to be huge: increased employment, revenue flow to the community, access to critical social services and technology skills while lifting community morale.

The first phase of the project begins these days in Brazil. So, the locomotive of this great idea is already in motion, as we speak.

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