Social Emergence

Social Emergence

Mobile-based social networking platform for information- sharing within community

The Opportunity

The advent of the Internet and mobile technology has transformed every aspect of lives for millions by democratizing information related to health, education, finance, employment and making it available on fingertips. However, these benefits are not reaching a large portion of the human population today, especially in the poorer regions. The three main reasons for this are: high cost of Internet data and mobile devices, lack of connectivity, and illiteracy. While the rapid technological development is decreasing device cost and improving connectivity, illiteracy is still a major barrier for access to information.

The Model

Social, in partnership with Laboratory of Social Machines, MIT Media Lab is developing a mobile-based social networking platform for illiterate/semi-literate people to exchange information within their communities via innovative connectivity solutions. The aim of the project is to empower rural communities to share information and unlock latent useful information networks for people. This will allow these people to solve the problems they face in day-to-day life and improve literacy, livelihood and health. is partnering with the Pardada Pardadi Educational Society (PPES) in Anupshahar, Uttar Pradesh as the pilot partner for testing and deploying the product. PPES focus on rural development by educating and empowering rural girls and women and runs the Pardada Pardadi Girls Vocational School, where students are given value-based education, encouraging them to seek out opportunities and allowing them to become socially and economically independent.

Potential for Systemic Impact

The project is at an experimental stage right now and is the first of its kind in the world. Currently, the India team is trying to map the community, understand the physical social network and evaluate various implementation models such as connecting parents and teachers of the students, disseminating best practices for animal husbandary via a women Self Help Group etc. By the end of the first year, aims to test the efficacy of its products and plan for scale-up.