Heather Thorne leads Grameen Foundation's AppLab Indonesia and Uganda programs, the Community Knowledge Worker mobile agriculture program, and advises on other mobile innovation programs. Previously, at Microsoft, her work focused on consumers in emerging markets.
She has worked in Russia for a Moscow-based investment bank and for NASA on the US-Russian space program. Thorne received BA degrees in Russian language and political science from the University of Washington and an MBA from Wharton.
The Community Knowledge Worker Initiative that Thorne leads in Uganda uses smart phones and local workers to get actionable, relevant, local information to farmers where they need it, and provides the ability to collect data in real-time.
Among the high-value data collected and distributed to local farmers: rain conditions, harvest risk, pest/disease outbreaks, market prices, seed varieties, post-harvest handling, supply, bulking and quality.
A growing group of 689 Community Knowledge Workers (CKW) currently serves 43,980 Ugandan farmers. As the program proves its value, it may expand to serve 200,000 farmers in Uganda.
AppLab (The Application Laboratory), an initiative of the Grameen Foundation, develops and promotes the use of mobile phones and other ICTs (Information and Communication Technologies) to alleviate poverty.
The ATLAS Speaker Series is made possible by a generous donation by Idit Harel Caperton and Anat Harel.