Save the Children’s innovative urban project Kolorob launched two community programmes, engaging over 580 community members at schools in Bauniabadh and Paris Road, Mirpur Dhaka in early September 2016.

Kolorob is an android application- suitable for the smallest and lowest cost smartphone- that sets out key information on education, health, jobs in some of Dhaka’s poorest neighbourhoods. Kolorob allows the user to search the database, compare services, find them on digital maps, as well as feedback comments on quality of provision.

Kolorob was born of the reality that children are paying the price in terms of health and education outcomes for living in urban slums and informal settlements. These children are a stark face of the development gap in Bangladesh. Conventional wisdom suggests that urban dwellers – thanks to their physical proximity to schools, health clinics, and child friendly spaces – benefit from national progress more than their rural counterparts. In reality, slum dwellers often see none of the ‘urban opportunity’ and are paying the price for where their parents live: they are left behind when it comes to key development outcomes.

Hagar Russ from Save the Children, notes that: “Kolorob as a response seeks to ‘light up the city’ by empowering families and young people in urban slums and informal settlements to make the best choices they can on health and education. Smart phones, create the opportunity for information and choice in the palm of your hand. An application like Kolorob can drive better provision because people can compare like for like and vote with their feet, as well as feedback publically through the app. “

At the community launch of Kolorob over the weekend, Dr Ishtiaq Mannan, Save the Children Bangladesh’s Deputy Country Director expanded on this in his opening speech citing the country’s ambition to become ‘digital Bangladesh’:

“Kolorob ensures that parents have accurate and quality information to ensure the growth of their children and in minimizing information gaps in accessing essential social services relating to health, education and child protection through the use of ICT,”

During the event, young ‘Kolorobians’ or the youthful development and mapping team from Save the Children, demonstrated how the application worked and organized a local youth group to dramatise a common medical emergency, and how Kolorob could provide a solution. The Kolorob team will follow this up with a series of events, this time with policy makers and private sector partners, to demonstrate how a development issue- key to children’s outcomes and well-being - can be addressed through the lens of a technological solution.

“With the urban population estimated to double in the next twenty years, we need to ensure that we have innovative solutions such as Kolorob in place, to explicitly address this spatial, social and economic exclusion that children living in slums or informal settlements face, and in ensuring that Every Last Child is accounted for,” Hagar Russ notes.

Currently, Kolorob is expanding in surrounding areas of our two initial project sites, Bauniabadh and Paris Road, with the aim of impacting the lives of 2-3 million people living in slums and poor urban settlements.

Download the application on Google Play.

For further information, please visit Kolorob website.

Read about it in Observer Bangladesh.