Smartphones and chatbots have made services from banking to transportation more accessible across Africa. Now, aid agencies are hoping they can do the same with food.
The UN’s World Food Program (WFP), has been experimenting with text and Facebook messenger chatbots to monitor food insecurity in hard-to-reach areas, turning smartphones and social media into lifelines for the most vulnerable of refugees.
WFP first began to assess food needs using text messages and interactive voice response systems in Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2014, with help from global information and audience measurement company Nielsen. This year, they expanded to using chatbots on the Facebook messenger platform. Approximately 170 million Africans use Facebook, mostly on their phones. Full Story