Jonathan Jackson

Year founded: 

Dimagi helps organizations to empower frontline workers to deliver quality services to urban and rural communities around the world. Working in various fields including public health, agriculture, and water and sanitation, Dimagi designs clinical interfaces, health information systems, and mobile technologies to perform client-level disease management and technical assistance, decision support, and system monitoring.

Focus: Health, Agriculture, Water & Sanitation, Financial Services, ICT
Geographic Area of Impact: India, China, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Afghanistan, Iraq, Bangladesh, Malawi, Mozambique, Mexico, South Africa, Malawi, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, Benin, Botswana, Ghana, Senegal, Kenya, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, Haiti, Nicaragua, Peru, Guatemala, Brazil, Colombia, United States
Model: Social Business
Annual Budget: US$ 3.48 million (2012)
Percentage Earned Revenue: 100%
Number of Direct Beneficiaries: 3,205,000 (2013)
Recognition: Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2012

Nearly a billion people in low income countries live in extreme poverty, confronted daily by a cross section of overlapping challenges including public health epidemics, food scarcity, and more broad limitations in access to critical services. Dimagi has amassed a wealth of knowledge across these sectors, building new and innovative mobile solutions to address a spectrum of development-related challenges.

Dimagi began its work in the realm of public health, demonstrating how mobile technology can revolutionize development indicators and health outcomes. For example, almost 10% of infants in the poorest countries die during their first year, compared to 0.5% in wealthy countries. Most of these deaths have been attributed to poor service provision and lack of access - yet the global health community does not lack guidelines for improving maternal health.

CommCare, Dimagi’s flagship ICT solution, is a revolutionary job-aid tool for frontline workers (FLWs) that resolutely addresses such weaknesses by expanding the technical capacity of FLWs and the quality of their services, increasing FLW motivation, and providing a powerful set of tools for monitoring, supervising, and supporting FLWs. It does so by replacing burdensome paper registers, reporting forms, and client education materials with an open source software application that runs on a mobile phone. The tool, which is extremely flexible in terms of content, may be readily adapted to a wide range of contexts and technical applications, providing direct decision support to the FLW, ensuring that they are following proper protocols and providing them with the guidance they require to effectively carry out their work.

Innovation and Activities
Dimagi's vision is to apply open-source and scalable technology to improve community-based service delivery across the world. Dimagi has produced a suite of three core mobile applications. The flagship tool is CommCare, an open source turnkey platform that enables partners to develop their own content of protocols and data collection, utilize multimedia for low literacy interfaces, and manage their program’s performance. The other tool are CommConnect, a solution for building SMS applications allowing for two-way messaging, conditional reminders, surveys and broadcast messages, and CommTrack, a tool for mobile logistics and supply-chain management.

During interactions with clients, CommCare aids frontline workers (FLWs) with real-time guidance through key counseling points and decision support. Each counseling point is reinforced by images, audio, or video clips that the FLW can use to engage his/her clients. Dimagi has found multimedia to be universally popular among both FLWs and their clients, and there is strong evidence that recorded audio improves the persuasive power of health and other messaging. CommCare also submits visit data in real-time to its central cloud server, CommCareHQ, where it is privacy-protected, backed up, and immediately made accessible to supervisors and program managers.

Dimagi has collaborated with over 40 partners around the world, including the Gates Foundation, the World Health Organization, large NGOs, and national governments. To-date frontline workers have registered nearly 1 million clients across more than 25 countries. Multiple studies have demonstrated improvements in the frequency, quality, and thoroughness of care in the public health context and indicators in other growing sectors are promising.

The Entrepreneurs
Jonathan Jackson is an entrepreneur and innovator with extensive health technology expertise in both developed and developing countries. Jonathan earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering and computer science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Vikram Kumar is an engineer and pathologist who developed one of the earliest video games for health on a wireless mobile device. He studied engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology and Columbia University and medicine at the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology.