Question Box acts like a physical search engine by connecting rural populations — through a live operator — to a wealth of real-time information.
In remote parts of the world, finding an answer to a trivial question isn’t as easy as taking out your smartphone and searching for it on Google. Access to a phone or an Internet connection is scarce for many people living in nonindustrial cities or rural areas. California NGO Open Mind hopes to bridge this knowledge gap with Question Box.
This simple “telephone intercom service” features a built-in handset and only needs mobile phone coverage to work. Anyone can ask a question by simply pressing down a button, which in turn connects them to a live operator on the other line. The operator can speak the local language and search for answers in real-time by accessing the Internet or computer databases. It’s a simple yet effective way to provide reliable information and sources to the rural population.
Question Box is currently expanding its presence in Haiti, India, South Africa, Malawi, Kenya, and Sierra Leone with funding from the Grameen Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The next generation of Question Box will feature solar panels and can be easily moved and reprogrammed for local needs.