A conversation with Maura O'Neill, USAID's Chief Innovation Officer

10am, Wednesday, Jan 23rd
Congressional Meeting Room South

Nearly eight out of 10 Latin Americans have a cell phone. Yet 22% of cell phone owners subsist on only one meal a day, according to LatinĂ³barometro. Clearly, poverty still persists, though the digital divide is narrowing. However, increasing hemispheric access to technology is an opportunity for the US to invest in low-cost, high-impact development innovations. USAID's Office of Innovation and Development Alliances (IDEA) is working to pioneer partnership-driven projects that yield lasting outcomes. In Latin America, IDEA's work has included:

  • Addressing the post-earthquake cash shortage in Haiti by partnering with the Gates Foundation to enable Haitians to send, receive, and store money using mobile phones.
  • Targeting widespread hemispheric youth unemployment by partnering with Microsoft, Nokia, Merrill Lynch, and the International Youth Foundation to provide IT and market-relevant training to at-risk youth.

Join Congressman Sam Farr at 10am, Wednesday, January 23rd to learn more about IDEA and the prospects for social innovation to meet development challenges in Latin America.

Maura O'Neill
Chief Innovation Officer & Senior Counselor to the Administrator

Peter J. Meyer
Analyst in Latin American Affairs
Congressional Research Service

Development Innovations in the Americas is part of an on-going monthly briefing series hosted by Congressman Farr called Latin America on the Rise, which brings in a diversity of speakers to address emerging and emergent issues in the Western Hemisphere. If you have any questions, please contact Caitie Whelan (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) in the Washington, DC office.