Malawi is testing using wearables to measure kids’ well-being

The field of early childhood development is one of extremes.

In rich countries with bountiful resources, policy-makers and experts debate the merits of universalizing pre-kindergarten, or how play can benefit toddlers. In many poor countries, where resources are scarce, the discussion often revolves around reducing infant deaths, or providing kids access to basic services like healthcare. Cheap, scalable technology has a huge potential to narrow this gap—but in many cases, the cutting-edge innovations are found in the first category of countries rather than the second.

A notable exception is Malawi. The East African country has become a hub for projects that use technological innovation to try meet public health or humanitarian goals. One example is an ambitious experiment to use wearable devices to remotely capture high-frequency data on children’s development and use it to improve those children’s outcomes.

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