KAMPALA, Uganda (November 21, 2011) — UNICEF's innovative Digital Drum has been chosen as one of Time Magazine's 50 Best Inventions of 2011.
The rugged solar-powered kiosk being tested and developed in Uganda by UNICEF's Technology for Development unit was featured as one of the best ideas and innovations of the year in Time's annual "Best Inventions" issue, which hit newsstands this past weekend.
The Digital Drum is a sustainable solution to increase access to information for youth and their communities. About 10% of Ugandans currently use the Internet, and a majority live in rural settings with little to no access to information across areas of health, education, job training, and protection from violence and abuse.
The most isolated and vulnerable children and youth are hit hardest from this lack of access when they do not benefit from crucial services and resources that could improve their health, safety and future.
"The innovative technologies like these actually help create a digital bridge between those who have access to the Internet and those who don't, in a low-cost sturdy fashion," says Sharad Sapra, UNICEF Representative in Uganda.
The drum's computers are being preloaded with dynamic multimedia content on health, education, employment training, and other services.
UNICEF Uganda aims to install Digital Drums in over 100 outdoor locations over the next two years, and ensure they will be easy and cheap enough to manufacture so that they can be installed in communities in every district in the country. An aim is also to eventually make this an open-access solution that could be implemented in other developing countries.
The Digital Drum is also featured as part of the new exhibition by the American Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum happening now through January 9, 2012 at the United Nations in New York.
This free exhibit entitled 'Design with the Other 90%: Cities' explores innovative development solutions across six themes – Exchange, Reveal, Adapt, Include, Prosper, and Access. The digital drum is featured as part of the 'Access' theme.