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    Friday, October 24, 2008

    Second session at Pop!Tech, 10.24.08

    This year Pop!Tech announces the launch of Project Masiluleke, an initiative harnessing the power of mobile technology to bring critical resources to victims of HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis in South Africa. Mailuleke means "hope" and "warm counsel" in Zulu, and it brings together partners iTeach, the Praekelt Foundation, frog designs, Nokia Siemens Networks at the National Geographic Society to help establish the program in South Africa. An estimated 40% of the population in South Africa is infected with HIV/AIDS; less than 2 percent have been tested. Project Masiluleke will help that overwhelmingly underserved demographic by allowing them to download information about getting tested and getting treatment to their cell phones. Nearly 90% of South African have access to cell phones; Project Masiluleke will connect those cell phone users with a network of resources.

    Project Masiluleke came out of the connections created at Pop!Tech; it's roots are in the 2006 Pop!Tech, where AIDS in Africa was a key issue. Leetha Filderman of Pop!Tech; Zinny Thabethe, a South African AIDS activist, leader of iTeach, and previous Pop!Tech presenter; Gustav Praekelt of Praekelt Consulting, who created the technology that will mobilize the cell phones; and Robert Fabricant of frog designs all presented today about the project. It's the first effort to come out of the Pop!Tech accelerator, a "social innovation incubator designed to foster breakthrough, interdisciplinary solutions to pressing global challenges." In other words, it's how a design firm, a mobile technology think tank and an activism network in Africa came together to address the AIDS crisis. That's Pop!Tech for you.

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