Cape students approach Phase II of cell phone project

Text: T T

Two local students are making good on a promise to work from their high school to improve health care for at least 1,000 people who lives thousands of miles away in developing countries.

As part of the project, Mobile for Global, Cape Elizabeth High School freshman Christie Gillies and junior Marcus Donnelly challenged classmates, teachers, parents and community members help them reach a goal of 100 donated old phones that will be recycled into at least 1,000 new phones for community health care workers all over the world.

Mobile for Global Health was founded by Gillies and Donnelly to support Medic Mobile, a nonprofit organization that uses open source SMS software to connect health care workers with patients who do not have access to health care. For every used cell phone collected, 10 new phones are donated to Medic Mobile health care teams.

“Phones are a huge part of our generation, and when I read about Medic Mobile’s efforts to improve the health care delivery for people in developing countries, it really struck me. It is such a simple way to not only help, but a great opportunity to educate everyone we can about the billion people who may never see a doctor, but, ironically, have access to a cell signal,” Gillies said.

Donnelly, who learned about Medic Mobile when watching the documentary “Every Three Seconds,” also appreciated the environmental benefit of getting people to repurpose cell phones.

“Old cell phones contain chemical elements that can be re-used,” Donnelly said. “But if improperly disposed of in landfills, those same elements will contaminate the environment. Medic Mobile has the best plan I have seen for repurposing cell phones for a positive outcome.”

Josh Nesbit, founder of Medic Mobile, congratulated the two on their accomplishments.

“Christie, Marcus, and everyone that donated their phones are taking action to help health workers around the world. It is inspiring to see what they’re accomplishing, and I hope this becomes a model for other schools and communities,” Nesbit said.

Becoming a model and a clearinghouse for cell phone donations is what Gillies and Donnelly have in mind for Phase Two of their project.

“When people hear about the Mobile for Global Health mission they really want to help,” Gillies said. “We realize the success we have experienced at our school is just a drop in the bucket of what could be accomplished, so Marcus and I are expanding to other schools and businesses later this summer to leverage the incredible energy out there.”

“Most people update their phones every 18 months, so we know there are thousands of phones out there just collecting dust,” Donnelly said. “We want to recruit team leaders in local schools and businesses so they can start their own collection programs with materials we have developed through our drive.”

The team is creating informational packets and collection boxes and will train team leaders how to create a successful drive in their own school or business. In addition, the team will pick up used phones and ship them to Medic Mobile for re-purposing.

Anyone interested in becoming a team leader for Mobile for Global Health should mobileforglobal.orgwhere they can send an email to Gillies or Donnelly and sign up to become a team leader and run a drive in their own school.

2015-06-19 / Community

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