Delanie recently joined us as an Online Instructional Designer where she will build eLearning courses for TechChange’s clients. Before moving to DC to join TechChange, Delanie lived in Uganda where she worked at the Infectious Diseases Institute as a Global Health Corps Fellow. She holds a B.A. in Peace and Conflict Studies, with a minor in Global Poverty and Practice, from the University of California, Berkeley.

In her free time Delanie enjoys playing the oboe in orchestras.

Welcome Delanie!


TC105: Mobiles for International Development alumna, Ivy McCottry is starting a job at AT&T after completing her TechChange M4D course and MBA at Wake Forest University.

Read on to learn how she broke into the mobile technology industry.

What interested you in taking TechChange courses?

I found TechChange when searching for ways to build up my technical background for using technology to improve lives. Through undergraduate Urban and Regional Studies courses, I knew I needed to demonstrate my interest in furthering technology and also be well-versed on current and emerging technical issues. I considered pursuing a tech-based MBA program and completed an MBA internship at a telemedicine startup. Later, I took a course on telemedicine with a clinical focus. While pursuing my MBA, I specifically sought out course work to supplement my business education with technology training.

Ultimately, I chose TechChange’s popular Mobiles for International Development course that offered a unique approach to learning with an international focus on the ubiquity of mobile phones. I saw this course as a great way to become familiar with various mobile initiatives at large, emerging mobile trends and major players in this space including GSMA and others.

What did you find useful from your TechChange course, Mobiles for International Development?

1. Demonstrating interest in technology with a credible certificate

Without an engineering background, the certificate I earned from completing the M4D course, together with my telemedicine internship, validated  my interest in technology. The certificate gave credence to my desire to work in the mobile technology industry.

2. Access to high quality guest experts

I knew that the guest experts for the course would be great, but the quality of these experts exceeded my expectations. For example, one of my favorite moments from the Mobiles for International Development online course was during a session with a Motorola phone designer who discussed literacy. I learned from him the importance of understanding customers’ literacy before you design products, and how design can promote literacy with intuitive user experiences. This layer of analysis for thinking about literacy in product development was new and fascinating to me.

 3. Diversity of resources and perspectives on global mobile use cases

In a class I took in my MBA program on Emerging Markets (BRICs), we discussed a Harvard case study on M-Pesa, which was covered in the TechChange M4D course in our discussions on mobile money. During this lecture, I was able to offer some different insights on M-Pesa that I had learned from the M4D course discussions on building products for the base of the pyramid. In my lecture, I cited materials on M-Pesa mentioned in the TechChange course and added to the MBA course materials.

What impact has TC105 had on you and your career?

1. Job offers from Fortune 100 companies

After finishing the Mobiles for International Development course, I received job offers from McKesson, which is involved with healthcare, and AT&T. I chose AT&T because of the opportunity to work on mhealth and more broadly, connected communities. It’s my goal to leverage my city planning and federal government experience to create smart/connected communities that improve life and safety matters. I recently joined AT&T to participate in a company leadership development program. In this program, I will be engaged in a variety of roles where I will learn about various aspects of AT&T’s business such as network operations, global products, and so forth.

2. Understanding the mobile industry landscape

Through the M4D course, I was able to better grasp what the drivers are for investment in mobile initiatives. I became very interested in learning about profitability and sustainability issues for mobiles from the perspectives of stakeholders like operators and the needs of mobile users. Additionally, I learned about the various business models being tested in this space and the various public private partnerships in place. This helps me have perspective about operators’ and users’ adoption factors.

3. Instant access to a well-connected global network

When I began my MBA program, I had no touch points with the mobile technology industry. Now, I have instant networks to various players within the field through the well-connected TechChange community.

What advice would you give to students taking TC105 or any TC course?

1. Know what you want to get out of the course.

The more you know precisely what you want to gain from the course, the more you will get out of it as you can prioritize those topics and ask questions that will focus discussions on areas you care about most.

2. Attend live sessions

The “live event” sessions are very helpful. Even though these sessions are recorded and archived, it’s good to sit in live because you can contribute questions in real time and process the context of what’s being presented. You also don’t have to mull over content independently – you can send questions immediately or expand on an idea that has been mentioned. When attending these events, I always made sure the facilitator knew I was there at the session so my private sector interests would be covered in the presentation.

3. Network with guest speakers and course participants

If speakers represent organizations that you want access to, definitely enroll in the course. The access that TechChange provides at this dollar value is unheard of and a great return on investment.

It also helped me to read profiles of other people who were taking the class and alumni as well. I was definitely inspired by the success stories of Carolyn Florey and Trevor Knoblich who advanced in their careers with the help of TechChange courses.

Interested in pursuing a career in mobile technology like Ivy? Enroll now in our Mobiles for International Development online course. Next round starts Monday, May 11.

It’s been two years since Chrissy Martin wrote a post on her thoughts on mobile money for development for TechChange’s Mobiles for International Development online course. As Chrissy has focused on mobile money issues since then, so much of it still rings true including the challenges of preventing fraud and best practices for working with telecoms.

In a recent Forbes article, we learned that more than two thirds of Kenyan adults use M-Pesa (a mobile digital currency), accounting for more than 25% of Kenya’s GNP. The ubiquitous use of mobile phones and the growing market for increasingly affordable smartphones will only make mobile money more popular in the developing world. According to ITWeb Africa, mobile money users now outnumber adults with bank accounts in Zimbabwe, Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania.

While M-Pesa is the most well-known mobile-based financial transfer service, there are more players in the field such as Zoona, an African social enterprise that provides mobile payments and working capital financing to micro & small enterprises. Chrissy works as the Global Partnership Manager at Zoona and we can’t wait to hear more about the cool things that Zoona is doing in Africa.

Get a sneak peek of what to expect from Chrissy’s session on mobile money and Zoona with this video here:

Interested in mobile money and other ways mobile phones are improving lives? Join our upcoming online course on Mobiles for International Development.

About TC105 Guest Speaker, Chrissy Martin

Chrissy Martin headshot Zoona

Chrissy Martin is a product manager with several years of experience implementing digital financial solutions in emerging markets.  With operational knowledge across multiple sectors, she effectively bridges the gap between the private sector and the development industry.  Presently, she serves as the Global Partnership Manager for Zoona, an African social enterprise passionately committed to helping small businesses grow. Before Zoona, she was at the development organization MEDA, expanding rural access to financial services in countries including Zambia, Uganda, and Nicaragua. Previously, Chrissy was based in Haiti, working as the Product Manager for Mobile Financial Services at Digicel.  Chrissy holds degrees from The Fletcher School and the University of Virginia.

 Featured image photo credit: Zoona Facebook page

Internet connectivity is increasingly being seen as a human right in our digital world. Today, most of us can’t imagine a world without the Internet, yet only 30% of the world has access to it. Meanwhile, over 85% of the world has cellular coverage and as mobile phones and smartphones become increasingly cheaper, more people are able to access the Internet.

Here are some global initiatives to make the Internet more affordable and accessible to the most remote areas of the world:

1. Facebook’s

At the end of August 2013, Mark Zuckerberg introduced, a collaborative effort of Facebook, Ericsson, MediaTek, Nokia, Opera, Qualcomm and Samsung to bring internet access to the two-thirds of the world that are still offline.

Recently, Facebook launched the app to Airtel customers in Zambia. The app provides access to 13 basic services without data charges; some of the free services include MAMA (Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action), AccuWeather, and WRAPP (Women’s Rights App). Serving as a channel to women’s right resources, has received praise from Executive Director of UN Women, Dr. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka as she said that, “This technology will empower countless women to make a positive impact on their societies and the world.” While the full benefit of is yet to unfold, it is definitely a step forward in allowing women access to much needed services.

2. Google’s Project Loon

Google’s Project Loon pilot project in New Zealand

Starting with a pilot project in New Zealand in June 2013, Project Loon is Google’s initiative to provide “balloon-powered internet for everyone.” Loon balloons float on the stratosphere and rise and descend with wind patterns to their desired direction of travel, while special antennas in people’s homes allow them to connect with the Loon network for online access. In 2014, Project Loon aims to continue their effort to make internet access possible for hard to reach areas by establishing a ring of connectivity of multiple loons around the 40th parallel.



From the makers of Ushahidi, Crowdmap, and the iHub in Kenya, comes BRCK, a $199 connectivity device designed for use in areas with minimal electricity and internet connections. Built to perform in off-the-grid areas, BRCK works with any 3G enabled SIM card in over 140 countries, has a virtual mobile network operator (vMNO) for connectivity without a SIM card, and also has an external GSM antenna port to support connectivity. Designed by the developing world, for the developing world, BRCK claims that “if it works in Africa, it will work anywhere.”

4. Oluvus


With a mission to “get the world online for free,” Kosta Grammatis is following the footsteps of Facebook and Google in the race to provide free internet connectivity.  Set to launch later this year, Oluvus plans to provide basic internet services for free in the U.S. and use the profit from additional services purchased by their customers to fund connectivity projects in the developing world. Oluvus’s first project is set to take place in the world largest refugee camp, Dadaab Refugee camp in Kenya.


What’s next for internet expansion?

As tech giants Facebook and Google tackle the global lack of internet access, they are sure to be ahead of the game. While Facebook’s’s success is too early to tell, Google commemorated a successful 120-day afloat of one of their Loon balloons on 7th August proving they can withstand harsh weather conditions. Google and Facebook are also expanding their internet initiatives considering drones and satellites to deliver the Internet to more people.

Critics have questioned the end goal of the various internet initiatives that are emerging, labeling them as “gateway drugs” to their product among the unreached population. Despite the critique, the pursuit to provide internet access to the world combined with the power of internet connectivity to change people’s lives cannot be denied.

Challenges lie ahead for these internet initiatives as they deal with regulatory issues such as spectrum/net neutrality as the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has been criticized for trying to regulate. Google’s Loon project may face challenges controlling air traffic for its string of loon balloons and BRCK’s may not withstand all crises while claiming to be crisis-friendly. Those unable to afford computers, laptops, or tablets, are able to leapfrog technology to use mobile phones to access the Internet, making it increasingly empowering in the developing world. The future for internet initiatives looks bright as more businesses and organizations look to reach new customers online by providing internet access worldwide.

Where do you think these internet initiatives are heading? Tweet @techchange or comment below to share your thoughts.

TechChange Graphic Designer Rachel Roth explains to TechGirls Ghada and Nataly how to draw characters using Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator.

Yesterday, TechChange hosted a job shadow day with Nataly Ayyad and Ghada Missaoui, two incredibly talented young ladies participating in this year’s TechGirls program with the U.S. State Department. This selective exchange program encourages Middle Eastern and North African teenage girls to pursue science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers. Within the next few weeks, they are travelling throughout the U.S. for their first time to visit technology companies such as Google, Facebook, Yahoo, and Instagram.

Nataly and Ghada, hailing from the Palestinian Territories and Tunisia respectively, were selected to participate in this program and spent the day at the TechChange headquarters to learn what it’s like to work at an international edtech social enterprise. Nataly hopes to go into web design and believes that technological skills can be empowering to underprivileged people, especially women. She looks forward to sharing her new skills with them. Ghada is very passionate about astronomy and one day hopes to pursue studies in astrophysics. She has built her own website called “Go Girls Engineering” using Adobe Muse to showcase engineering role models for young students.

2014 TechGirl Ghada and OscarTechGirl Ghada shows Oscar Chen her website, Go Girls Engineering, she created using Adobe Muse. They discuss the pros and cons of using design tools like Muse as opposed to coding by hand with WordPress. 

Throughout the day, Nataly and Ghada met with different members of the TechChange team to learn about digital animation, graphic design, digital photography, web design and programming, interactive infographics, data visualization, search engine optimization (SEO), customer relationship management (CRM) software such as SalesForce, instructional design for eLearning with Articulate Storyline, and more.

Upon arriving to TechChange, the TechGirls were eager to know when we would show them how we do our animation videos.

Alon Askarov explains animation to TechGirls Ghada and NatalyCreative Director Alon Askarov explains how he uses Adobe Edge Animate and After Effects to create TechChange animations.

“My favorite part of my day at TechChange was definitely learning about the animation process!” said Nataly.

Emily Frutcherman guides TechGirls Nataly and Gadha through ArticulateEducation Technologist intern, Emily Fruchterman, shows the TechGirls the online learning courses that TechChange developed with the Asian and Pacific Islander Wellness Center to scale HIV prevention

TechGirls Ghada and Nataly learn about photography with CharlieCharlie Weems demonstrates how to change aperture settings on a DSLR camera.

Cathie Chen explains Articulate to TechGirls Gadha and NatalyCathie Chen shows the TechGirls how to create a hotspot on Articulate Storyline.

Eric and Emily go over a project with TechGirls Nataly and GhadaEric Bihl and Emily Fruchterman do a hands-on session to show how to create triggers and slide layers on Articulate Storyline.

“Everything I learned at TechChange was very interesting, from learning about animations, digital photography, eLearning software, to understanding the diversity of online courses available,” commented Ghada.

TechGirls Group photo

Thanks for joining us, TechGirls!

See a summary of last year’s TechGirls Job Shadow day at TechChange here and click here to learn more about the TechGirls program.

We had such a blast hosting Nagham and Sondos from the TechGirls program last year, that we’re doing it again this year!

We are very excited to welcome more participants of the TechGirls program to TechChange’s DC office tomorrow to experience what it’s like to work at a fast-paced edtech social enterprise. During their visit, the TechGirls will learn about digital animation, graphic design and illustrations, video production and editing, photography, instructional design for eLearning, web design and programming, interactive infographics, data visualization, and more.


TechGirls is a U.S. State Department exchange program that empower Middle Eastern and North African teenage girls to pursue science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers.

Follow us and the hashtags #techgirls and #letgirlslearn to keep up with updates on TechGirls in action. To learn more about the TechGirls, you can follow their program Tumblr,  Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.

When we last featured TC309: mHealth alumna, Lauren Bailey, on the TechChange blog, we shared her mHealth final project on the potential of WASH (water, sanitation, and hygiene) in using mobiles for public health. Since then, Lauren has landed a position at International Medical Corps as a Monitoring and Evaluation Assistant, where she works with colleagues who are also TechChange mHealth alumni.

This week, we visited Lauren at the International Medical Corps office in Washington, DC where she shared her latest updates on her mHealth career.

What did you find useful from your TechChange course, mHealth: Mobiles for Public Health?
The TechChange mHealth online course gave me a solid background in the use of mobile phones for public health. I became familiar with different organizations and companies that develop or use mHealth programs, and I feel comfortable talking knowledgeably about mHealth with others.

What impact has TC309 and TechChange had on you and your career?

1. Connecting to future employers
I applied for a position at International Medical Corps (IMC) that had an mHealth component in the job description. During the interview process, I connected with my now supervisor and colleague who were both in the middle of taking the same TechChange mHealth course I had taken 6 months earlier. They were both impressed with what they had been learning in the course, and I feel that the TechChange connection was one of the reasons I was offered a temporary position at the organization. I have been an active member of the organization’s mHealth interest group.

During my first week at IMC, my supervisor forwarded me the most recent WASHplus newsletter as a resource for a project I was working on. To my surprise, my TechChange project was featured in the newsletter! She was very impressed that the course had led to this feature in the newsletter.

2. Connecting to like-minded professionals passionate about WASH
I am thankful to have met many motivated and interesting TechChange colleagues and alumni. I reached out to a fellow TechChange alumnus with whom I had connected during the course. He and I share a love for water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH). Talking with him gave me great insight on his work in WASH and gave me ideas for future work in the sector.

3. Crowdsourcing knowledge for primary research
Recently, I have used the TechChange Alumni group on LinkedIn to crowdsource information on the use of mHealth for behavior change. The network is full of accomplished and gracious people with diverse backgrounds willing to help others learn. My final course project, which coincided with a master level global environmental health course, served as a stepping stone to the qualitative research I am currently conducting on the use of mHealth for behavior change communication.

What advice would you give to students taking TC309 or any TC course?
1. Pay extra attention to Alain Labrique, one of the top speakers in the course. He gives an excellent introduction to the mHealth landscape. His lecture and research is part of the motivation behind some of my interests in the different uses of mHealth.

2. Be diligent and set aside time every day to log into the course — even if you can only spend 20 minutes. Try to attend live events and make sure to ask questions that enhance the discussion.

3. Make connections. Be sure to reach out to classmates and find out more about their backgrounds and career paths. It’s great to have connections from all across the globe!

About Lauren Bailey
Lauren Bailey is in the midst of completing her Master of Public Health degree in Global Environmental Health at George Washington University where she is conducting qualitative research on the use of mHealth for behavior change in the water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) sector. Lauren’s passion for global health began five years ago when she defended her undergraduate thesis that used malaria as a case study for how health impacts poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa. She acquired an interest for mobile health upon entering her graduate program where she learned more about the different uses of mobile phones for health purposes. Lauren originally hails from Massachusetts and is an avid baseball fan.

Are you also interested in mobile phones for public health? Join us for our upcoming Mobiles for International Development and mHealth online courses here.

In a recent LinkedIn post, World Bank President Jim Kim discussed the global impact of smartphones in even the most remote areas of the world today. President Kim called cheap smartphones the “poor’s new window to the world of the rich.” Not only are smartphones increasingly providing people in the developing world a medium to view possibilities in other countries, they also provide the means for online access to media, services, and goods offered abroad.

Industry-wide, the prices of smartphones are lowering. Current mobile leaders looking to expand into new markets including emerging markets are offering products at a lower price points to be affordable to new customers. Expanding internet access initiatives by a variety of players will drive down the costs of data plans for smartphones. The entrance of more players in the mobile phone provider space is pressuring mobile phone companies to compete by offering smartphones at low prices, allowing smartphones to be more accessible in the developing world.

Here are the top 5 cheap smartphones for under $50 USD as of July 2014:

1. Mozilla  (as low as $25)
OS: Firefox
Now available in India for $33 (buy it on SnapDeal)
Will be available in: Latin America and Africa (buy it on Firefox) Mozilla $25 smartphone

Photo credit: Cellular News

Popularly known for their desktop browser, the Mozilla Foundation announced at the 2014 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona its collaboration with the Chinese chipmaker, Spreadtrum Communications to release the cheapest smartphone to date. Mozilla hopes to attract customers in Latin America, Africa, and India by using their own operating system, Firefox — rather than iOS or Android. This affordable Mozilla phone recently launched in India on August 25th for $33. It supports Hindi and Tamil, the two most widely spoken languages in India.

2. Used Apple iPhone 3GS as low as $40
Available in: any country with a GSM carrier with a sim card (buy it on Amazon) Apple iPhone 3G

Photo credit: The Unlockr

While known for making the most coveted and expensive smartphones, Apple’s older iPhone models do come at an affordable price. You can buy Apple’s used unlocked iPhone 3GS on Amazon for as low as $40. Once unlocked, the iPhone may be used with any carrier with a new SIM card, allowing it to be used in other countries. Another alternative is going through mobile donation programs such as Hope Phones. Hope Phones is a program that accepts phone donations to supply to mHealth workers across the world. TechChange donated several used iPhones to Medic Mobile last year.

3. Karbonn Smart A50S $46 (Rs. 2,790)
OS: Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean
Available in: India (buy it on Flipkart) Karbonn A50 smartphone

Photo credit: BGR

Already making affordable handsets in India, Karbonn Mobiles is entering the affordable smartphone race by introducing the cheapest Android smartphone in India. While Android enjoys 80% of the smartphone market in India, according to Android’s Senior Vice President Sundar Pichai, less than 10% of the Indian population has access to smartphones. With its relatively low cost, Karbonn will attract first time smartphone buyers in remote places.

4. Spice Smart Flo Edge Mi-349 $47 (Rs. 2,845)
OS: Android 2.3.5 Gingerbread
Available in: India (buy it on Flipkart) Spice Smart Flo Edge Mi 349

Photo credit: GSMArena

Joining Karbonn in providing the Indian consumers with another affordable smartphone is Spice Smart with its Flo Edge Mi-349. Spice Smart provides yet another option to the Indian population on the already popular Android platform.

5. MTN Steppa $48 (499 Rand)
OS: Customized Android 2.3 Gingerbread
Available in: South Africa (at the following stores: MTN stores, PEP, Foschini, Edcon, Truworths, Ackermans, John Craig, Woolworths, Rhino, Dunns)

 MTN Steppa smartphone

Photo credit: TechCentral

Known as the most affordable smartphone in South Africa, MTN Steppa can be purchased in select stores for 499 Rand ($48). MTN Steppa is based on Qualcomm Reference Design Programme that allows any brand to produce their own brand device at a lower cost. MTN Steppa is yet another player in mobile companies’ race to make the most affordable smartphone.

Runner Ups
Beyond the Apple iPhones and Samsung Galaxies that dominate the smartphone market in the U.S., there are other smartphone providers that didn’t make it on this list. Honorable mentions include:

Are there other budget smartphones we missed here? How much quality can consumers expect from these low-cost phones? Are you interested in this topic of cheap smartphones and their applications in the developing world? Enroll now in our Mobiles for International Development online course.

Join us tomorrow, July 29th in Washington, DC for the ICT4Drinks International EdTech Happy Hour!

TechChange, Creative Associates, and Kurante are thrilled that Meg Adams, International Ambassador at Udemy, is headed to DC so we’ve decided to convene the educational technology community (especially those focused on international education) for a happy hour while she’s in town.

All are welcome to attend. Free drinks and appetizers will be provided for those that come early. We’ll also be giving away some TechChange cubebots. TechChange will also host the after party across the street at our office at 13th and U.

International EdTech Happy Hour
Let’s talk edtech in Washington, DC!

5:30 PM – 8:30 PM ET
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
Alero Restaurant
1301 U St NW, Washington, DC 20009

RSVP here. Hope to see you there!

TechChange Founder and CEO, Nick Martin, has been selected as a 2014 Ariane de Rothschild Fellow! The AdR Fellowship program connects social entrepreneurs with a well-connected network across sectors aimed at conflict resolution through cross-cultural discourse.

Nick is one of 28 competitively selected, visionary fellows who have demonstrate early achievements of a social good organization with a commitment to facilitating cross-cultural dialogue.

As part of the fellowship, Nick will be participating in an intensive series of Rothschild Fellow trainings at the end of August at the University of Cambridge, UK. There, the AdR program will focus on business training, unconventional social science approaches, and workshops to extend the impact of these selected social leaders.

To learn more about the Ariane de Rothschild Fellowship, please click here.

Please join us in congratulating Nick!