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There are smartphones, and then there are smartphones that also make a difference. With the recent re-engagement in the Millennium Villages Project (MVP), Sony Mobile has become a mobile phone provider with their Xperia smartphones and is a key partner to the Millennium Villages Project (MVP), an initiative working to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the time-bound targets for reducing world poverty by 2015.

Launched in 2006, MVP is a joint initiative driven by the Earth Institute (EI) at Columbia University (lead by Jeffrey Sachs) and Millennium Promise. Following the ‘teach a man to fish’ approach to achieving the MDGs, the project combines the latest technologies with local expertise to provide communities with a basis for healthy living, economic growth and long term sustainability.

The MDGS are separated into eight goals, ranging from issues related to environmental sustainability, promoting gender equality, improving community health, and more. In order to make these goals a success, MVP follows a community-led development system across 15 sites in 10 countries throughout sub-Saharan Africa.

Since 2007, Sony Mobile has supported the challenge of improving remote healthcare in these villages, with a focus on providing community health workers with the right mobile technology tools needed to improve maternal health practices and reduce child mortality. For community health workers in these villages, the Xperia smartphones are used for essential day to day work, including collecting and submitting patient data and receiving decision-making guidance from local health advisors through a cloud-based system.


This year, Sony Mobile is upgrading the community health workers’ (CHWs) handsets from feature phones to smartphones supporting the Earth Institute’s intention to obtain better services, available through an open-source Android app.

Helping us distribute the smartphones across the different sites is DHL, a carrier partner, which has supported nearly half of the total freight shipping costs.

Stay tuned down-the-line for interviews & reports of the project’s field workers and the campaign of One Million Community Health Workers, where they’ll be discussing their invaluable involvement with the project, how the project is working to achieve the UN MDGs, and the role smartphones are playing in all of this.

For more information on the project, check out the following websites: