When Shawn Ahmed travels to places such as Bangladesh to fight poverty he counts on iPhones and Macs to help him do battle.
Ahmed is the founder of a one-man global relief effort he calls the Uncultured Project and is using technology and social media in inventive ways to engage people across the globe in their common humanity.
In partnership with the Save the Children Foundation and USAID, Ahmed went last summer to a cyclone devastated village in Galachipa, Bangladesh to distribute non-food relief items to victims of the disaster. He provided individual donors to Uncultured Project real-time receipts for their generosity using his iPhone and TwitPic.
As seen in the clip above, Ahmed used his iPhone to show villagers in another Bangladeshi community videos made by the people in the west who helped bring safe, clean drinking water to their lives. “This is not a charity,” Ahmed said, “it’s an experiment in community.”
The 28 year-old native of Toronto, Canada quit his scholarship graduate studies at Notre Dame University after being inspired by Dr. Jeffery Sachs (author of The End of Poverty) to try and make the world a better place — one meaningful difference at a time.
“I’ve also been using the iPhone to report real-time in the field,” Ahmed said in an email. He makes extensive use of Twitter and YouTube to break down the distance between his supporters and the communities they support. Connecting to them with his iPhone, Ahmed said, “I hold votes on how I should help people in Bangladesh. Voting has led [to] school supply distributions to orphans and much more. And, of course, all my videos are edited on a MacBook.”
The Uncultured Project’s YouTube channel just went over 10,000 subscribers and Ahmed is hopeful for the prospects of his unpaid, unemployed, uncultured journey to help the poorest of the poor: “It’s about inspiring others to believe that we can be the generation that ends extreme poverty.”