After many years of blogging, and consistent with my desire to move toward retirement, we have ended the Insights blog. Thanks to Doug Bedell for his years of blog support.

College Students Aim to Provide Cell Phone Charging for Gambians

Posted on February 3, 2014
Filed Under Communication, Education, Technology | Leave a Comment

Credit Elizabethtown College, in Elizabethtown, Pa.,  not far from Encore’s home office, with being on the cutting edge of technological utility on behalf of others. “Utility,” in this case, means using “crowdfunding” to raise funds to help people in Gambia, Africa, “establish a  business that will manufacture and sell cell phone chargers in The Gambia.”

logoA group of Elizabethtown students and faculty is aiming to raise $6,000 to complete the design and assembly of photovoltaic mobile phone chargers for long-term field-testing in Gambia.  What’s the big deal about that? Well, explains the E-town group, “Most rural Gambians have little or unreliable access to electricity in their country. Yet, the cell phone is readily available and an essential tool for routine daily communication and commerce. The cell phone offers a true lifeline. However, recharging is a major challenge.”

So students and faculty at this Pennsylvania college are developing and making available to Gambians a sun-powered cell phone charger. Moreover, the charger is only the first of what they see as products to issue from an “ongoing  social  business incubator, focused on moving away from charity to develop the technical capacity and entrepreneurial spirit needed for solutions to other problems to develop locally.”

What a terrific way of learning and serving at the same time! And what a credit to  creative American outreach in general! The E-town group is working with a U.S. Peace Corps program in Gambia.

For students to size up a development problem and then provide the means of alleviating it  in a quasi-commercial manner is a great learning, relational and philanthropic experience. May there be many upbeat cell phone messages exchanged in the rural sectors of Gambia! – Doug Bedell 


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