URIDU Press Releases

Scientists Are Using Music to Fight Diarrhea in the Rainforest

Solar-powered MP3 players are improving health promotion for remote indigenous populations in Central Africa

Annweiler, July 25, 2018: Diarrhea kills 2,195 children every day—more than AIDS, malaria, and measles combined. Most of these deaths are entirely preventable using simple, low-cost interventions. The real challenge is to provide this vital health knowledge to illiterate mothers living in remote locations, such as the rainforests of Central Africa. French anthropologists are now using solar MP3 players to spread health awareness songs performed by indigenous musicians.

The Aka are a nomadic pygmy people living as hunter-gatherers in the dense rainforests of Central Africa. They are geographically isolated, illiterate, have no written language and are discriminated in their access to social services. Every year they are losing hundreds of their children due to diarrhea. How can it be made sure that the Aka can acquire vital health knowledge?

The answer is: with songs and solar-powered MP3 players. Music is a key element of the social and spiritual life of the community. It forms an integral part of Aka rituals including ceremonies related to the inauguration of new encampments, hunting and funerals. That's why French anthropologist Romain Duda came up with the idea of inspiring songs that could be used for health sensitization. His effort is part of a project that is lead by the Order of Malta France with the goal to improve the health status of the Aka.

The songs are performed and recorded in the field and distributed together with additional information on solar-powered MP3 players from URIDU (www.uridu.org), a German NGO. „Our goal is to develop technologies that provide health literacy to the illiterate“, explains Marcel Heyne, founder of URIDU. „Our rugged, solar MP3 players are a great tool to reach out to marginalized communities in remote areas.“

One of the songs is called „Musele“. It deals with the prevention of diarrhea and recommends local medicinal plants for treatment. The Aka may have lost countless children due to diarrhea in the past. But changing this fate is now literally in the palm of their hands.

About URIDU: URIDU is a German non-profit organization that provides health literacy to the illiterate in developing countries using solar-powered MP3 players and mobile web applications. More information can be found at www.uridu.org and specifically on www.uridu.org/aka.

Press Contact:
Name: Marcel Heyne
Web: www.uridu.org/press
Phone: +49 6346 928 0601
eMail: press@uridu.org

Press Photos:

Press photos are available for Download on our web page www.uridu.net.

MP3 Is Not Dead - It Is Saving Lives In Africa

What once transformed the way we listen to music is now changing the fate of illiterate rural women

Annweiler, May 31, 2017: 22 years ago, a German technology revolutionized a whole industry. MP3 changed the way we all listen to music forever. Today it seems as if its days are over as it has largely been replaced by other audio formats. Is MP3 dead? Far from it! A non-profit social enterprise is using it as part of a groundbreaking solution to provide illiterate rural women with health education. It involves solar-powered MP3 players. And it’s an innovation from Germany - again.

According to the World Health Organization, about three-quarters of all illness in the developing world could be prevented by better nutrition, sanitation, immunization and health education — all areas in which women take the major responsibility. Millions of lives could be saved just by providing illiterate rural mothers with accessible health knowledge. URIDU, a German non-profit organization (www.uridu.org) has now overcome the major problem of providing this information to remote areas that have no electricity. They use a simple and efficient technological solution: rugged, solar-powered MP3 players.

The so-called MP3forLife Player contains more than 400 carefully selected answers to questions about health, nutrition, family planning, child care, work safety and many more topics. All texts are translated with the help of more than 10.000 volunteers from over 100 countries who participate in a unique crowdsourcing effort. Once the information has been translated it is recorded by a native speaker of the target language. Local NGOs are taking care of distributing MP3forLife Players free of charge to women in need.

„20 years ago the first MP3 player would cost you 250 dollars and hold like 9 songs“, explains Marcel Heyne, Chief Technologist and founder of URIDU. „Today an MP3 player is considered low tech. Our devices can hold hundreds of hours of spoken texts and come with a built-in solar panel. And they cost less than two Caffè Latte from Starbucks. There has never been another audio format as widely supported as MP3. We are basically recycling this successful technology by giving it a new use.“

The MP3forLife approach has been implemented in Tanzania in co-ordination with the national Ministry for Health and Social Welfare. Further East African countries are following the example.

About URIDU: URIDU is a German non-profit social enterprise that empowers rural women in developing countries using solar-powered MP3 players and mobile-friendly web content. The organization’s website at www.uridu.org contains additional information.

Press Contact:
Name: Marcel Heyne
Phone: +49 6346 928 0601
eMail: press@uridu.org
Press Kit: www.uridu.org/press

 

 

How To Save Millions Of Lives With A Simple MP3 Player

The solar-powered device developed by URIDU is used to provide health education to illiterate rural women in developing countries

Annweiler, May 10, 2017: Every six seconds a child under five dies. Almost all of those deaths occur in developing countries - and most of them are entirely preventable. Millions of lives could be saved just by providing illiterate rural mothers with accessible health education. Unfortunately, bringing this knowledge to remote locations has so far been an enormous challenge for both governments and NGOs. A new project is tackling that problem with a groundbreaking solution based on solar-powered MP3 players.

The so-called MP3forLife Player has been developed by URIDU (www.uridu.org), a German non-profit social enterprise. Each player contains more than 400 carefully selected answers to questions about health, nutrition, family planning, child care, work safety and many more topics. All texts are translated with the help of more than 10.000 volunteers from over 100 countries who participate in a unique crowdsourcing effort. Once the information has been translated it is recorded by a native speaker of the target language. Local NGOs are taking care of distributing MP3forLife Players free of charge to women in need.

„We conceived the MP3forLife Player for small group listening - it fosters discussion, exchange and group building“, explains Felicitas Heyne, psychologist and founder of URIDU. „We want to provide basic knowledge to illiterate rural women, but we also want to create a team spirit among them. They are key to positive change in their countries. Wherever women are empowered, a favorable spiral is set in motion. Health and education improve, populations stabilize, economies grow.“

The MP3forLife approach has been successfully implemented in Tanzania in co-ordination with the national Ministry for Health and Social Welfare. Further East African countries are following the example.

About URIDU: URIDU is a German non-profit social enterprise that empowers rural women in developing countries using solar-powered MP3 players and mobile-friendly web content. The organization’s website at www.uridu.org contains additional information.

Press Contact:
Name: Marcel Heyne
Phone: +49 6346 928 0601
eMail: press@uridu.org
Press Kit: www.uridu.org/press

 

Press Photos

Press photos are available for Download on our web page www.uridu.net.

 

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