News and analysis
February 19, 2012

Technology for Good: 10 People Who Are Making a Difference

Rebecca Manson

A growing number of social entrepreneurs and academics are developing technology to combat social problems, bridge gaps between the haves and have-nots, and advocate for change.

In the stories linked below, we highlight the accomplishments of the 10 people who will be honored next month for their social-change work by organizers of the SXSW Interactive Festival in Austin, Tex. Meet the advocate who is using mobile technology to promote gay marriage, a volunteer who is restoring tsunami-damaged photographs in Japan, people who are improving health care in poor countries, and many others.

Josh Nesbit: Using Phones to Improve Health Care

Mr. Nesbit's Medic Mobile develops text-message and cellphone applications to improve health-care communications in poor regions of Africa and Asia.

Rebecca Manson: Restoring Memories After Disaster

After last year's tsunamis, Ms. Manson found thousands of dirty and damaged photos. She decided to recruit volunteers to work with her to clean and restore them.

José Gómez-Márquez: Helping Doctors Improvise

Mr. Gómez-Márquez created the Medical Devices and Invention Kit, which gives doctors in developing countries an inexpensive way to deliver medication or  diagnose illnesses.

Humberto Pérez: From Texas to Cannes

Mr. Pérez is helping his students prepare a film to be judged at the Cannes International Film Festival.

Izzy Johnston: Creating a Foothold in Tech for Women

Ms. Johnston teaches Web coding and other skills to women, and also volunteers to help nonprofits develop Web sites.

Brian Elliot: Promoting Equality Through Social Media

Mr. Elliot created Friendfactor, a social-media effort that rallies straight people to advocate for gay marriage and other efforts to fight discrimination against gay people.

Laura Deutch: Mobile Studio Creates Moving Images

Ms. Deutch created Messages in Motion to help nonprofits in Philadelphia create short videos about important neighborhood concerns.

Jacquie Jones: Bringing Technology to Poor Neighborhoods

Ms. Jones started Public Media Corps to expand the use of technology in poor neighborhoods.

Aleph Molinari: Offering Online Learning in Mexico

Mr. Molinari has created 70 education centers that have helped more than 200,000 people improve their skills.

Judy Brewer: Making the Internet More Accessible

Ms. Brewer directs a project that developed guidelines for how Web sites can best make their content available to people with disabilities.