Fondation Merieux

A family foundation dedicated to fighting infectious diseases

Launch of the VOICES project

1 April 2011, Dakar (Senegal)

The VOICES project (VOIce-based Community-cEntric mobile Services for social development), initiated and coordinated by the World Wide Web Foundation was launched on 11 January 2011 in Dakar in partnership with Fondation Mérieux and the other members of the consortium: W3C / ERCIM, Orange, TNO, VU, CRS4, CSIR, the Sahel Eco, the Multinational University of Telecommunications, Portugal Telecom Innovation, North West University.

The objective of this project is to explore and develop web access with the voice thanks to the use of cellphone in West Africa.

Today, more than 5 billion cellphones are available in the world, and more than 90% of the worlds population is covered by a mobile signal. These billion people have in their hand not only one communication device, but also a system giving access to the communication and information technology services.

These services have the potential to play a big role in the promotion of the social and rural development of countries with limited resources, by supporting for example the access of the rural communities to health, education, administration etc.

VOICES will be applied to two pilot projects, one in the field of health in Senegal, the other in the field of agriculture in Mali.

Fondation Mérieux, in close cooperation with the National Network of Senegal Laboratories, will test the feasibility and the utility of an epidemiologic monitoring and training system using a new vocal cellphone service in medical structures not connected by Internet network.

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