Video by Kerri McCune/CNS-TV
WASHINGTON – George Washington University students held a rally Tuesday to collect used cell phones to benefit people in developing countries.
Working with the Clinton Global Initiative, an organization established by former president Bill Clinton, students at GW hope to gather 20,000 used cell phones by March 2012.
At the rally at GW on Tuesday, Chelsea Clinton praised the program and encouraged students to act locally to change the world.
“[President Clinton] launched CGI…on the basic premise that everyone who wants to make a difference can and should, and that the burden of how to turn good intentions into action shouldn’t be an insurmountable challenge,” she said.
As the current host to Clinton Global Intitiative University, an offshoot of Clinton’s organization aimed at college students, George Washington University is working with Hope Phones, an organization that provides cell phones to people in developing countries to allow them to get better access to medical care. GW students are working with Hope Phones to fund two maternal and child heath projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Nepal.
“We actually take your phone and use the funds to develop mobile technology that turns a low-end job enabled phone, just any plain old phone, into a sophisticated medical communications device,” said Tierney O’Dea, campaign manager at Hope Phones.
The organization can resell a donated smartphone and use the money to provide between five and ten phones to people in developing countries.
Hope Phones is working to lower infant mortality rate in developing nations and provide low-cost instant medical help for prenatal women.
Former supermodel Christy Turlington Burns, the founder of Every Child Counts, has also partnered with Hope Phones to provide support for mothers and their children.
“The best way to address child survival is to invest in a mom, in a girl before she becomes a mom in fact, so our campaign is designed in using that angle, at dealing with the health of a family through the mom,” Turlington said at the rally Tuesday.
To donate a used cell phone or for more information visit gwu.edu/phonesforhope.