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Brazilian investors buy Miami real estate. Haitian earthquake survivors attend South Florida schools. It's clear what happens in Latin America and the Caribbean has a profound effect on South Florida.WLRN’s coverage of the region is headed by Americas editor Tim Padgett, a 23-year veteran of TIME and Newsweek magazines.He joins a team of reporters and editors at the Miami Herald, El Nuevo Herald and NPR to cover a region whose cultural wealth, environmental complexity, vast agricultural output and massive oil reserves offer no shortage of important and fascinating stories to tell.

How Cell Phones Are Fighting Poverty In Latin America

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Grameen Foundation

The stated goal of the Grameen Foundation is to help the world’s poorest  improve their lives and escape poverty by helping to provide access to financial services , such as small loans and savings account, to find  new ways to generate income and obtain important information about their health, crops and finances.

Grameen Foundation is a nonprofit founded in 1997 by friends of Grameen Bank to help microfinance practitioners spread the Grameen philosophy worldwide.

Alex Counts is President and CEO of Grameen Foundation and has a background in microfinance and poverty reduction.

He’s a  Cornell University graduate, and says his commitment to poverty eradication deepened as a Fulbright scholar in Bangladesh, where he witnessed innovative poverty solutions being developed by Grameen Bank.

He trained under Dr. Muhammad Yunus, the founder and managing director of Grameen Bank, and co-recipient of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize.

Counts was in South Florida to spread the word that Grameen is shifting more focus toward Latin America, and plans to start projects in Colombia and Peru.

“One of the things we know is that there is a tremendous amount of knowledge about what works in terms of farming and having a sustainable productive farm,” Counts says.

“But that information never really gets to the farmers, especially illiterate, subsistence farmers in a useful form.”

Counts says that’s changing due to one very important tool – the mobile phone.

“If you load a mobile phone with all of these tips and information about best practices in agriculture and then train one farmer how to use it, we found adoption of good farming practices goes up very quickly and their income goes way up.”

For more information on Grameen Foundation and ways you can help, go to grameenfoundation.org