IlluminAid, a non-profit organization fighting world poverty through video technology, has appointed consumer technology leaders Maria Repole, head of marketing at Optoma USA, and Bob Scaglione, principal at CMO Connections LLC, to its board of directors in an effort to build awareness of its mission and gain support from leading technology brands and industry associations.
IlluminAid provides educational training and equipment to organizations in developing countries enabling them to deliver instructional messages to effectively evoke positive behavioral changes to at risk populations. By leveraging video instruction through projection technology, educational messages teach participants to adopt positive behaviors such as hand washing for disease prevention, proven methods for agriculture management, and the use of bed nets to protect children from malaria.
IlluminAid has trained staff from international humanitarian organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) in Liberia to identify and prevent transmission of Ebola, UNICEF in Burkina Faso on healthcare and farming practices, and Plan International in Guatemala to combat chronic malnutrition.
“One of our most powerful observations is watching a population view video for the first time. When we turn on a projector, the rural community is amazed,” said Matt York, founder and executive director of illuminAid. “That’s why we are thrilled to add executives from the technology sector, Maria Repole and Bob Scaglione, to our board of directors to help drive our mission.”
Most recently given the COVID-19 pandemic, international travel has impeded IlluminAid’s mission overseas, but many domestic initiatives are being executed within local communities. In Chico, CA, short behavioral videos were developed to educate the homeless population on how to stay safe from coronavirus.
IlluminAid brings life-saving information to remote, off-grid communities without access to the internet or electricity. Using battery-powered cameras and projectors to capture and disseminate important knowledge, they work with aid organizations to increase engagement in rural communities. Video messaging is proven to increase participation resulting in a higher adoption rate of key behaviors, such as hand washing or disease prevention. In fact, presentations by the Catholic Relief Services in Guatemala that incorporated video and handheld projectors increased community attendance by 33 percent.
“Seeing is believing. The power of projection extends beyond our business and that’s why it’s so important to leverage our technology to deliver life changing messages to create a positive impact,” said Maria Repole. “I’m very grateful and it’s been a privilege to be part of the CTA and AVIXA industries delivering innovative products, but I feel the need to give more. My vision is to engage our community and harness the strength of our industries to give back whether it’s through product or monetary donations or simply volunteering time.”
“I have been blessed with a long career in the consumer technology space, one that allowed me to provide for my family and provide premium education for my three daughters,” said Bob Scaglione. “Working with illuminAid provides me with the opportunity to show that video technology can not only be used for entertainment purposes, but it can also be used to teach people in the poorest sections of the world how to modify their behaviors so they can lead safer and better lives.”