Pinoy developers told to create mobile apps to help poor

By Alexander Villafania

MAKATI CITY, METRO MANILA–Filipino mobile application developers are being encouraged to create innovative software for a global market, particularlyfor the poor, in the first Ideas & Apps Philippines Challenge.

The initiative was brought to the Philippines by US-based software development organization AppBridge, in partnership with Globe’s Kickstart Ventures, Inc.

The global initiative came out as a partnership among several other international organizations, namely the Clinton Global Initiative, the Forum of Young Global Leaders, and the World Economic Forum. It is intended to have software developers create low-cost mobile applications that will help solve specific, regional problems.

It should mostly focus on helping the poorest section of society. Among the categories in the contest are solving problems for education, literacy, mathematics, science, health, job skill training, and encouraging entrepreneurship.

AppBridge already had started the first stage of the project in May where it ran online activities to gather ideas from ordinary people to help solvesocial problems using mobile technology, notably the widely popular short messaging system (SMS).

This will be followed up with the three-month development process itself wherein participants can create SMS-based applications.

The three-month process will start on June 10 and will end on September 1. Entry ideas must be submitted to the AppBridge website not later than June 5.

Upon the completion of the applications, Kickstart Ventures, which is the incubation division of telecommunications firm Globe Telecom, will distribute the chosen applications to areas in the Philippines where they are most needed.

Chosen entries will also be announced on September 10 in time for the World Economic Forum Summit in China as well as the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting.

Margo Drakos, AppBridge Founder said that the Philippines is a good candidate to be a recipient of mobile technology-based support due to the large number of mobile users here.

In addition, the large population of people living under $2 a day makes it a prime candidate to pilot test some of these applications.

“Local citizens know the challenges their community faces first hand. We hope the Ccompetition would encourage people to share their innovative ideas or apps that address local problems through mobile phones. We are eager to watch the ideas and apps submitted through the online AppBridge Forum, and to follow the distribution and effectiveness of the mobile apps distributed to the citizens of the Philippines,” Drakos said in a statement.

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