LifeLearn Inc., in collaboration with Veterinarians Without Borders and the Canadian International Development and Research Center, announced that it released a mobile application with the objective of improving poultry management for smallholder farmers in the project villages of Xanthany District, central Laos. LifeLearn, an education and communication technology company, provided both instructional design and technical development services for the consortium.

Vets Without Borders (with local partner National University of Laos) initiated the Laos project in 2008 to develop veterinary capacity to improve the health of farm animals and, by extension, provide food security and create better lives for the people of Laos.

The mobile application will provide primary animal health workers with information on poultry housing, reproduction and selection, nutrition and brooding using text, photos and videos. With access to these resources, the animal health workers can teach farmers in their village about proper poultry management; knowledge which will hopefully contribute to the enhancement of poultry production and livelihood.

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"Mobile phones, and now smartphones, are changing the way we access and use information, and the impact of these devices in the third world is going to be immense," said Dr. Mark Stephenson, chief development officer of LifeLearn. "Two years ago, we made the decision to donate a portion of our resources to develop a mobile app that would help Vets Without Borders reach their objectives of truly driving change and building veterinary capacity."

After completing the application, Vicky Cansino, a project manager with LifeLearn, recently traveled to Laos to train 25 primary animal health workers on the use of the app, and perform certain evaluations as part of the ongoing Vets Without Borders research project.

"There is tremendous opportunity for mobile technology in furthering education in remote areas of the world as cellular technology becomes more mainstream," said Stephenson. "LifeLearn will be seeking any opportunity to be an educational and technology development partner for government and non-governmental organizations as part of its One Health initiative."