Reuters highlights Togo’s nation-wide social protection program (Novissi), which was designed in collaboration with Faculty Co-Director Josh Blumenstock. The program uses mobile phone and satellite data, combined with machine learning, to target aid to vulnerable beneficiaries in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic:
“A U.S.-based nonprofit that is using algorithms to identify people living in extreme poverty by analysing their mobile phone habits has made direct cash payments to 30,000 people as part of a pioneering project in Togo.
GiveDirectly worked with the government of the West African nation and experts at the University of California, Berkeley, for the high-tech approach to find some of the country’s poorest people.
They use satellite data to identify poor areas, and then harness machine learning to comb mobile phone metadata to identify those living in extreme poverty. Potential recipients are contacted by phone and invited to apply for support.”
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