Essential needs of women in developing countries addressed by mobile innovation from the developer community

Vodafone today congratulated the winners of the Vodafone-sponsored GSMA mWomen Base of the Pyramid Apps Challenge at the GSMA Mobile World Congress 2011. The competition is a key component of the GSMA mWomen Programme and has drawn high quality entries from developers across the world, seeking to provide original mobile solutions targeted at the specific needs of women in developing countries.

Vodafone’s work with the GSMA mWomen Programme will help bring the socio-economic benefits of mobile to women in developing markets worldwide. The programme is a sizable public-private partnership between the global mobile industry and the international development community, and aims to halve the mobile phone gender gap in low-to-middle income countries by bringing the power of mobile  to more than 150 million women in developing markets, within three years. 

The GSMA mWomen Programme addresses the key barriers to women’s access to mobile phones, including total cost of ownership, technical literacy, and cultural barriers to adoption. The Base of the Pyramid Apps Challenge was announced in October 2010 as part of the official launch of the GSMA mWomen Programme with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

NextDrop and Tienda Tek were announced as the Challenge winners at the 16th Annual Global Mobile awards, held at the GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Each winner received a prize of US $10,000 from Vodafone to assist in creating, testing and commercialising the app.

Without the benefits of mobile communication and services, whether homemakers or business owners, women face issues accessing information that those in developed countries take for granted. Both of the winning apps address this information gap.

The feature phone winner, NextDrop, addresses the issue of water availability. In many areas of the developing world, running water is only available for a few hours at a time. NextDrop will partner with water utility companies and local communities to provide a service that alerts consumers when water supply becomes available. The smartphone winner, TiendaTek, supports female entrepreneurs. The majority of corner shops in Latin America are run by women; Using a barcode reader, Tienda Tek is an app which enables businesses to operate more efficiently by tracking transactions, receiving relevant education, connecting to suppliers and selling virtual goods, such as mobile pre-paid airtime and micro-insurance.

In addition to the US $10,000 provided by Vodafone to assist in creating, testing and commercialising the app, the winners will have the opportunity to showcase their winning app at the mWomen Seminar at the GSMA Mobile World Congress.  They also receive exclusive access to a leading venture capital firm and top innovation and design company.

Lee Epting, Director of Content Services at Vodafone Group, said, “Our commitment to the sponsorship of the mWomen Base of the Pyramid Apps Challenge is an important one for our business. At Vodafone, we are very focussed on developing products and services that make a difference to people in emerging markets, and I am delighted that we have been able to encourage developers to do the same via this competition. NextDrop and Tienda Tek have been chosen for their ability to address the very real problem of how best to serve the 300 million women currently excluded from the social and personal empowerment of mobile telecommunications and we wish them both well in the next stages of their venture.”

For further information about the GSMA mWomen Programme and the Vodafone-sponsored GSMA mWomen Base of the Pyramid Apps Challenge visit

Notes to Editors

About Vodafone
Vodafone is one of the world's largest mobile communications companies by revenue with approximately 359 million customers in its controlled and jointly controlled markets as at 31 December 2010. Vodafone currently has equity interests in over 30 countries across five continents and more than 40 partner networks worldwide.

For further information, please contact:

Vodafone Group Media Relations
+44 (0) 1635 664444

Dave Turnbull
+44 (0) 20 7608 4646