Scott Anderson

The Best of July 2013: NextBillion’s most-read, most-shared posts

July is supposed to be a slow time as a month of leisure. This July on NextBillion … not so much.

There was no resting on laurels in July, at least among our regular contributors and particularly from my colleague, James Militzer, editor of NextBillion Health Care. He wrote both the most-read and the most-Tweeted post this month.

For the most-viewed post, A Feast for the Senses: Global health innovations in sight and sound – Bi-weekly Checkup, 7/5/13, James broke down several whiz-bang, high-tech devices with the potential to help doctors and patients in low-income countries.

The gadgets included Google Glass, which can give doctors hands-free access to the Internet, apps that let smartphone users test their hearing and adjust an affordable hearing aid, and devices that turn smartphones into diagnostic centers to detect vision and general health problems.

Money quote:

By connecting an EyeNetra adapter onto a smartphone loaded with their software, users can follow simple instructions and quickly receive their eyeglass measurements on the phone – including the results of tests for nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism.

The company’s goal is to “transform the eye care industry” and “disrupt the $75 billion eye care market by providing on-demand access to eye care from anywhere at anytime,” satisfying the 2.4 billion people who need vision correction around the world.

Interestingly, James confronted his own thinking on the allure of high-tech devices a few weeks later with his post last week – Needed: Boring Health Care Solutions: Does global health have an unhealthy fixation on innovation?

Speaking of go-anywhere tech, mobile money consultant Ignacio Mas explained the head start that branchless banking has over the health, education and agriculture sectors in July’s second most-read post: NexThought Monday: Why mobile money is conspicuously ahead of other mobile-for-development sectors.

Money quote:

“I see as much inevitability about mobile devices becoming a fundamental tool for health, education and productive systems in developing countries as money management. The opportunity to leapfrog the PC-based environment is simply too large. The above considerations merely suggest that we should expect a more natural step-by-step process in the impact that mobiles can have in various development sectors. There are good reasons why mobile money is running first.”

Tractors for Hire: Developing a new business in post-conflict Northern Uganda by Kyla Yeoman, is a post that’s going to stick with you. The scars of a two-decade war between the Ugandan government and the “Lord’s Resistance Army” led by fanatic religious leader and the Internet’s most wanted man, Joseph Kony, has stunted Uganda’s Acholi region. Kyla, the program manager for Global Envision, a blog focused on market-based solutions to poverty and managed by Mercy Corps, put the need in clear and desperate terms:

“Today, in an area that encompasses about 28,500 square kilometers with more than 700,000 people—most of whom consider farming their primary occupation—there are 29 tractors. Only about half work. World Bank figures estimate that neighboring Kenya has about 27 tractors per 100 kilometers of arable land. The world’s average? 195.”

She goes on to detail how Mercy Corps (a NextBillion Content partner) is pulling together banks, tractor hardware suppliers, mechanics and farmers to cultivate dormant land and improve economic/food security in the process.

Rounding out the top five most-viewed posts on NextBillion for July:

Impact Investment and Beyond: Mapping support for social enterprises By Emily Darko

NexThought Monday – Doing Good Responsibly: Through stop motion video, UC Berkeley Ananya Roy critiques BoP capitalism By Oscar Abello

Most Popular on Twitter

The BoP Century?: The exciting (or scary) implications of demographics for global health and social enterprise (Bi-weekly Checkup, 7/20/13) By James Militzer

Beyond the Clinic: A holistic approach to creating community health in Ecuador By Monica VanBuskirk

Tanzania’s Mwanzo Bora: Promoting “good starts” in community agriculture and nutrition By Veronica Mills

Most Popular on Facebook

Modelling Inclusive Business Success: Online course on managing key BoP biz barriers kicks off in fall 2013 By Filippo Veglio

Keeping Up with the Indians: Exploring emerging practices in a health care innovation powerhouse By Aarthi Rao

Building Flexible, Inclusive and Dynamic Cities: Reflections from the 2013 New Cities Summit in São Paulo – WITH VIDEO By Naureen Kabir

Editor’s Pick

I normally reserve this space for a post that might have been overlooked, but deserves the gaze of a few more eyeballs. For July, I’m going to make a pitch, not just a for a post, but for a superb series on impact measurement, which we dubbed Measure for Measure. Thanks to all the contributors for this series, listed below, and to all of July’s contributors on NextBillion.

Measure for Measure: Is the phrase ‘Base of the Pyramid’ off base? By Tom Adams

Measure for Measure: Eight tips to optimize your data collection and maximize your impact By Heather EsperWDI

Measure for Measure Series: Data, data everywhere? Creating bottom up approach to harnessing information By Jeremy Nicholls

Measure for Measure series – Gauging Social Impact? : Here’s why you might want to send a proxy By Hannah Schiff

Measure for Measure Series: Going Digital with Impact Measurement By Jennifer Liebschutz

Agriculture, Technology