TechMama South Sudan

idea by curbanc
TechMama South Sudan

Applicant Name

First and Last Name:

Cindy Urbanc

What’s your social impact business idea?


My idea is to give used cell phones to traditional birth attendants (TBAs) in South Sudan enabling them to:
1) gain access to current training and continuing education in order to improve the care they provide
2) provide a means to communicate in order to call for help when a woman under their care needs emergency transport to a local hospital
3) allow them to register births and deaths so the nation can collect critical demographic data. South Sudan has the highest maternal mortality rate in the world and 90% of women there give birth at home with a TBA. There is limited access for women to reach the lifesaving skills provided in hospitals so this project will bring high quality care to them at home. It will do this by empowering the TBAs that they already trust and respect.

What inspired your idea?


As a midwife I have witnessed the profound loss that is associated with a woman dying while attempting to bring life into the world.

I have lived the realities of working as a midwife in low resource settings and understand the emotional and physical stress of doing that work while isolated. These experiences made me realize how communication and access to training are critical for traditional birth attendants.

Also, I wish for all women to experience the joy of motherhood as I have; my four children are an endless source of inspiration.

What is your impact and how is it relevant to the business?


This social enterprise is based on the values I am loyal to. Namely, that knowledge, equality and empowerment should be universal.
Having thousands of maternal deaths take place daily among vulnerable populations is unacceptable since we have the ability to prevent them as evidenced by the fact that virtually none occur in the developed world.
Solutions should be made easily accessible and without cost. Cell phones are the perfect medium with which to do this and TBAs are already an integral part of the communities.
The thing I am most proud of is that this idea has the potential to give the South Sudanese people a way to accomplish great things with our support but on their own terms.

How will you establish sustainable impact in the locations you wish to serve?


Cross marketing with local cell phone companies (Zain, Vivacell, Gemtel) will exchange in country advertising for free cell minutes for the TBAs.

Usage training will be done using a “train-the-trainer” model where TBAs are incentivized to teach each other how to use the program.

Learning materials will be open source so if a TBA was not recruited by us but has her own phone, she can access it and participate in data collection.

Operating costs will include the salary for a country coordinator and import costs for donated phones.

These costs will be covered by creating an interactive “sponsor a TBA” program marketed primarily to American midwives via the website.

What does success look like, including measurements and reporting on the business and your impact?


Success for this project (lower mortality) will be fairly easy to quantify for each of the three main goals because we can:
1) test TBAs knowledge levels to show they are improving over time with SMS “quizzes”
2) compare the accuracy of data collection with that prior to initiation of the project and follow reducing death rates
3) track referrals at local hospitals and compare regional mortality data to show evidence of reductions as the result of this program
4) assess TBA and community satisfaction with the program with “town hall” style meetings. All of this would be systematically and routinely reported to the Ministry of Health of South Sudan, the TBAs and project funders.

What would $50,000 mean for your business? And how will it help your company better reach its goals?


I am known in development circles for making every dollar stretch!

This grant would make the difference between creating a small pilot project and a long-term multiple site program by funding me to:

1) Provide a microloan to TBAs to set up a solar-powered cell phone charging business in their communities, thereby troubleshooting TBA charging problems, creating income for her and a way for the larger community to have cell phone usability 2) Create a website and social media campaign to collect used cell phones and for fundraising and networking to expand the program in the future
3) Transportation and import of used cell phones
4) Hire an indigenous South Sudanese project manager

22 Pink-talk-bubble-tail

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Any visitor (or student) of East/Central Africa can not help to be touched by the disparity in female/newborn mortality rates.
This proposal is thoughtfully planned and I feel, would be skillfully executed.
Good Luck and G-dSpeed.

by sschwart
over 2 years ago | Reply

This gets my vote. It's practical and inspirational, bringing concrete material improvements to the lives of women who are already positioned to multiply the effect of a small grant to a maximum degree. And it achieves a socially conscious solution to one of the main ethical problems of our consumer society: the end of our consumption cycle puts toxic wastes into landfills, where they leach poisons into our water supply, when they could extend their use many times over. Think of all those people who just HAVE to buy (or think they have to buy( t)hat fancy new 5-G iPhone or Samsung. What happens to their old phones> As of now, some get sold, and many just go into landfill. Let's put those phones where they are needed. Congratulations on a great project!

by ArtGlass
over 2 years ago | Reply

Thank you! You are so right!

by curbanc
over 2 years ago | Reply

You have come up with an idea that could very well be life saving to mothers and their children. You have a wonderful and caring heart. Marian

by teelkg
over 2 years ago | Reply

Great idea! appears simple yet the potential impact and benefits are significant. Thank you

by VickyM
over 2 years ago | Reply

This is a great idea, someday maybe it will go worldwide in all countries that need it.

by dausend
over 2 years ago | Reply

Can't wait to see you put this plan in to action!

by dr.portuondo
over 2 years ago | Reply

What a beautiful and brilliant idea. Kudos and best wishes for success

by Evealex
over 2 years ago | Reply

Thank you!!!

by curbanc
over 2 years ago | Reply

Brilliant! Vital! Life Saving! This is a WINNER.

by Lynn Ganz
over 2 years ago | Reply

Thank you! It's amazing what an old cell phone can do isn't it?

by curbanc
over 2 years ago | Reply

Improving the health of the women of Sudan connects us all! Honolulululu

by honolulululu
over 2 years ago | Reply

Thanks for the support from the 808 !!!

by curbanc
over 2 years ago | Reply

I have not met you yet, but I love you idea.

by terabul
over 2 years ago | Reply

Thank you so much!

by curbanc
over 2 years ago | Reply

Great idea! I voted. Joyce

by sammie3
over 2 years ago | Reply

Thank you! I'm really overwhelmed by all of this support!

by curbanc
over 2 years ago | Reply

What at wonderful project, Cindy. I'm sure it will be highly successful and bring you great satisfaction.

by miriammimi
over 2 years ago | Reply

Thank you:-) It is a real joy to be a part of empowering the South Sudanese people to build a brand new nation!

by curbanc
over 2 years ago | Reply

Good luck, Cindy! This is brilliant and would make such a huge difference. You have my vote! Padi

by Padi
over 2 years ago | Reply

Thank you so much for your support!

by curbanc
over 2 years ago | Reply

I'm so excited at the chance to actually bring this project to scale! Vote for the women of South Sudan!!!

by c.urbanc
over 2 years ago | Reply

Circle-1-inactive Step1-title-idea-inactive

Submission Began
Monday, April 22

Submission Ended
Friday, May 17
at 12:00 PM PDT

Circle-2-inactive Step2-title-voting-inactive

Voting Began
Friday, May 31

Voting Ended
Friday, June 14
at 12:00 PM PDT

Circle-3 Step3-title

Winner Announced
Tuesday, July 02

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