Scott Sanders a web designer has created an app, Fairly Local, for poverty reductions with focus on fair trade. There is a need to move beyond philanthropy in poverty apps and this app helps the user to identify fairtrade products and cafes.
The name is also very good as there is a tendency to confuse "local produced goods" with "good" especially among some environmentalists and farmers. While local can be good the important is not where something is produced that matters, it is how it is produced, the TOTAL environmental impact and if it is contributing to a long-term sustainable development. This app helps people to find fair trade products close to where they are (as long as they are in Australia where the app is developed). Hopefully this app spread beyond Australia.
It is another example of how something transformative can be done when a passion for a better planet is combined with creativity regarding app development.
The app is supporting the Fairly Local initiative that Scott initiated. Read more about Fairly Local at: http://www.fairlylocal.com.au/
The best with the app/supporting initiative
+ That it addresses poverty (very few apps do this in any innovative way, time for development organizations to wake up? The World Bank has started a challenge, but is not really a transformative organization, but we'll see)
+ That it makes a city more transparent with regards to equity/fair trade.
+ Clarify the need for participation in building up the database of the app.
+ Making it easy to chose available products fair trade products.
The weak parts of the app/supporting initiative
- Only on iPhone and only in Australia.
- Too little information about the structural challenges and the need for new rules that help the poor (in order to avoid that people think that it is just to change consumption patterns on the individual level).
What could accelerate this app/supporting initiative into a world changer?
> Helping people to better understand how much of the money that the people making the things we buy get and how much the PR budget get.
> Getting direct connection to those along the "supply/story chain" to get feedback on their situation.
> Linking the consumption to activities to change the unfair structures today.
> The possibility to calculate how much each user and everyone that use the app has contributed to.
How direct is the delivery of the result the app tries to achieve
- Long shot
Finding places around you where your investments/consumption is helping reduce poverty is pretty straight forward.
How transformative is it
- A new world
- A major shift
- A bit of a shake-up
- A gentle rocking
It is mainly about fair trade shopping and it is not so transformative in itself, but can be an important step for people to understand the global economy.
How much does it encourage collaborations
How much are new networks supported
- Strong support for global networks?
- Currently encourages new forms of collaboration
- Provides interesting opportunities in the future
- Restricted to a small (expert) group
Not so mush today, but it is possible to add information through the app.
What synergies can be delivered
How well does it also solve other problems/generate solutions
- It solves everything
- Several important challenges
- Some important challenges
- Only one challenge
Many fair trade shops are local companies that also engage in other important social issues and the people running them are often social entrepreneurs that are supported when people buy fair trade products.
Nine billion contribution
How global is it? Is it helping/will it help everyone on the planet
- Instant global equality
- Almost global
- Getting (incrementally) global
- Not applicable
This is all about global equity and linking rich people (like those with smart phones) to those who have very little.
Building on current trends
How well does it use current trends
- The app is setting new trends by itself
- Building on multiple trends
- Effectively building on one trend
- Not really building on any major trend
Understanding that your consumption is part of something bigger and that choices affect people in different ways is something that is obvious for a new connected generation.
How fast can it deliver
- It's already happening
- In the coming weeks
- In a year or so
- In a distant future (hopefully)
Beyond individual products we need to see structural changes and this can be a start towards such a change.
Does it support transformative transparency
- Brave new transparency
- Transparency that is innovative (never seen before)
- Increased transparency, but nothing innovative
- No increase in transparency
Moving towards fair trade and helping people understand that they way things are produced is transformative. Many companies are very scared for increased transparency and have business models based on large PR budgets to create a "cool brand" but do all they can to keep salaries down for those who live in poverty.