Millions of women and girls in Uganda, Nigeria and Mali will soon have improved and personalized access to a wealth of information from public health to world news, regardless of literacy and technical knowledge.
Technical social enterprise Viamo was awarded a $4.3 million dollar investment from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to improve this access through the Viamo Platform.
Viamo’s Platform allows anyone with even simple mobile phones to receive and interact with vital and timely information through a uniquely coded Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system. The Platform reaches remote and digitally disconnected populations globally, made possible through unique partnerships with major telecommunications companies.
The Viamo Platform was used 500 million times by 18 million users in 20 countries in 2022. It reported improved health behavior change and health outcomes data in several developing countries in recent years, including decreased childhood malaria rates, increased COVID-19 vaccination rates, and increased prenatal appointments at clinics.
”We are eager to put our resources and solutions to good work for the communities we serve. We’re proud of and inspired by our Platform having made an impact on our existing and constantly growing reach. But we are excited that we can amplify this critical knowledge-sharing at such a sensitive time in history.
David McAfeeCEO, Viamo
The investment will focus on enhancing women and girls’ user experience and amplify access to Viamo’s Platform. It will target connectivity gaps to reach low-literate, low-income women.
These enhancements will expand access to family planning and Neglected Tropical Disease information initially in the three pilot countries. After robust research and evaluation, Viamo will scale these Platform enhancements up to seven additional markets in Africa.
Viamo is focused on serving digitally displaced populations – such as those in crisis regions, remote locations, refugee camps, and other climate or health affected zones.
For example, if a mother in a rural village in Northern Ghana wants to know what to do about her feverish child in the middle of the night, the Viamo platform allows her to:
Dial 3-2-1, a free call, from any type of phone.
Select her language.
Navigate menus for health, then pediatric health, then listen to common illnesses and symptoms, and hear the medically recommended courses of action.
Viamo’s intention is toward better understanding of mothers’ obstacles and challenges and finding ways for them to access direct care for their children. This may include scheduling an appointment at a local clinic or accessing a travel voucher to take her child to a clinic.
The Gender Equality Division and the Global Health Division at the foundation are co-funding this platform-level investment.
The investment will span three years, through 2025.
Viamo is a Series A-funded technical social enterprise focused on serving digitally disconnected populations – such as those in crisis regions, remote locations, refugee camps, and other climate or health affected zones.
In ongoing partnerships with major telecommunications firms throughout nearly 30 countries, as well as independently, Viamo quickly and effectively deploys communications, campaigns, surveys, training and marketing, as well as collects responses and data, allowing communities to engage in local to global discourse.