What problem are we trying to solve?

Information about technology-based products developed for, and used by those living in poverty, is often scarce, disparate or inaccurate. These information gaps have had a number of consequences including (but not limited to): preventing transfer of best practices and lessons learned (i.e. re-invention of the wheel), lack of consistency by which to assess product performance and scalability, ineffective implementation of solutions, and lack of transparency and accountability for poor quality or unsafe products entering the market.

Our approach

Our long-term goal is to catalyze the global development marketplace to produce higher quality, fit-for-service solutions that meet the immediate needs of underserved communities. To do this, we need to:

What is the Solutions Library?

The E4C Solutions Library is a living database of products and services that are accessible and appropriate for those living in poverty. The data in the Solutions Library is curated technical and market performance information that is normalized across all products, enabling side-by-side comparison and analysis of market influences. This catalog serves to document progress of solutions and enable data-driven decision making by:

While our target audience is primarily engineers, designers and manufacturers, we believe there will be a number of beneficiaries of the information presented in this platform, including implementers of technology seeking to distribute fit-for-service products and understanding user experiences.

The data presented in the Solutions Library is aggregated across a variety of sources, includes partner-submissions and crowd-sourced information including:

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Using the Solutions Library

Image titleConvenient browsing of products is available via global search or user-friendly filtering by technology category, target geographic regions, market suggested retail price and distribution to date. Product reports provide detailed product information and include references and downloadable materials. If you have experience with a product, you can share your insights in the comments. Have a product you’d like to see in the solutions library? Just click contribute.

Image titleComparing multiple products made easy. Side by side analysis of products is possible with normalized data across a standard set of parameters. Comparisons are reviewed by experts to ensure technical accuracy with a development perspective. Performance data specifies which data points are manufacturer claims or results of testing by third-parties or manufacturer labs.

The process

E4C’s Solutions Library Program convenes a community of stakeholders to engage in participatory design and development of the Solutions Library platform to serve as a decision aid tool for designers, manufacturers and implementers of technology based solutions for underserved communities. E4C follows the Information Development Process, supported by the stakeholders shown below.

Information Development Process

Solutions Library inclusion

The products and services included in the Solutions Library (alpha) are publicly promoted as solutions that are accessible and appropriate for those living in poverty. Poverty can be defined economically as those living below a certain income threshold, typically less than 1.25 or 2 USD a day (at 2005 Purchasing Price Parity). We follow the qualitative definition of the UN, which describes poverty in broader terms as a “lack of income and productive resources to ensure sustainable livelihoods; hunger and malnutrition; ill health; limited or lack of access to education and other basic services; increased morbidity and mortality from illness, homelessness and inadequate housing; unsafe environments and social discrimination and exclusion.

Additionally, the products included in the Solutions Library:

Product inclusion in the Solutions Library in no way constitutes E4C's endorsement.

What is the criteria and process for product inclusion?

To be included in the Solutions Library, E4C must be able to source sufficient information in the following data categories:

Information sourcing methods include academic literature review, online research, interviews with designers/manufacturers of products and interviews with users where possible. The product report and associated comparison data will be reviewed for technical and development reliability by an Expert Advisor.


E4C is grateful for the support of the Solutions Library Steering Committee:

The @AutodeskFdn blogged about our how-to guide for communities writing proposals for development projects https://t.co/MlRH1H0x2F