M-giving For Haiti Is a Snap At Mobile World Congress

 In what is believed to be the world's first m-giving campaign powered by 2-d barcode technology, delegates at this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona are able to donate money to Haitian relief efforts by simply snapping a barcode with their mobile phones...

In what is believed to be the world's first m-giving campaign powered by 2-d barcode technology, delegates at this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona are able to donate money to Haitian relief efforts by simply snapping a barcode with their mobile phones.

The campaign will provide citizens of the earthquake-devastated island with humanitarian relief information through radio such as accessibility to clean drinking water, food, healthcare and housing.

Haitians who otherwise would have limited access to life-changing information will be supported with humanitarian radio programs as part of an Internews relief effort campaign.

Internews is an international not-for-profit media development organization whose mission is to empower local media worldwide to give people the news and information they need, the ability to connect, and the means to make their voices heard.

UNOCHA, the United Nations Humanitarian coordinator in Haiti, delegated authority to Internews to coordinate all international efforts to support these essential, on-the-ground communications efforts.

How does the campaign work?

MWC delegates will see a special mobile barcode located on posters at the show; displayed in the halls, at stands and on the lapels of all GSMA staff. Delegates simply need to scan the 2D barcode using their smart-phones, and technology provider NeoMedia will donate $1 to Internews to fund the radio program in Creole ""Enfomasyon nou dwe konnen" - News You Can Use".

Touted as "Everybody Wins," the campaign will also award a $500 US prize to a delegate each day based on a question about the future of m-giving. The best answer will be selected at the close of each day, and the winner will be sent a text message about where to pick up their gift card.

"We are thrilled by this opportunity to support the people of Haiti in their struggle for recovery after the recent earthquake. The mobile industry's engagement in this campaign brings attention to this striking reality: Information saves lives and even a small donation can make a huge difference," said Mark Harvey, spokesperson and Development director for Paris, France based Internews in Europe.

"We never know where a catastrophic event will occur," said NeoMedia's CEO Iain McCready. "Our team is so pleased to make it possible to raise thousands of dollars to produce hours of quality radio programming, immediately improving the quality of life of the Haitian victims and helping them in the reconstruction process.  It's inspiring to see the world coming together in new ways to help fellow human beings particularly during times of crisis."

UNITY Mobile, based in Florida, created the mobile campaign using NeoMedia's mobile barcode reader and system (which is supported by Neustar's global clearinghouse).

"It is so encouraging to see people giving with SMS campaigns," said the woman behind this concept for NeoMedia and Internews, Simone Schidlkofer, founder of Cause2Connect, a Geneva, Switzerland based strategy firm that brings together for-profit and non-profit organizations in the mobile technology world. "We've made it even easier to give - with a simple scan by a camera phone."

Within the first ten days following the earthquake in Haiti, Americans used their mobile phones to pledge over $30 million for Haitian relief efforts via text message, according to figures released by the Mobile Giving Foundation. According to the PEW Foundation, 14% of all donations to Haiti relief efforts were made by text message.

In the case of the Internews campaign, corporate sponsor NeoMedia is making the donation based on the number of successful scans.

"In the future, we will be developing applications where people can donate individually," Schmidlkofer said. "Our goal is to make it increasingly easy for people to respond to a crisis, with a simple see - scan - donate process, as millions of small donations can add up to significant funding from around the world quickly, simply and efficiently. In the very near future, a person anywhere in the world will be able to scan a 2D barcode and donate to help a fellow human anywhere in the world. It's a new way to rally support using our mobile phones and networks from wherever we live."

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