Partner: Addressing the unaddressed with what3words and Carteiro Amigo

Addressing around the world simply isn’t good enough. 75% of countries suffer from poor or non-existent addressing. And for the 25% who do have a reliable address, packages still go astray, couriers get lost and local businesses can’t be found.

Something needs to be done to make addressing better.


A 3 word solution

what3words is a precise yet simple addressing system. It uses a global grid of 3x3m squares, assigning each one a unique 3 word address.

It’s more accurate than a postal address and more memorable than GPS coordinates. It means people can pinpoint a specific location on the planet and communicate it more quickly and easily than any other method. The system is helping to optimise business, drive social and economic development, and ultimately save lives.

Mapping the favelas

Rochina, the largest favela in Brazil, is a maze of thousands of tiny roads and alleys. Crammed into the south side of Rio de Janeiro, its residents are full of economic ambition. However, with the favela virtually impossible to address, much of that potential has been stunted. Until now.

A local co-operative, Carteiro Amigo (Friendly Postman) is now using the what3words app to offer 3 word addresses to the favela’s residents. The app works on the most basic smartphones and offline. Even the patchy data connection in the area doesn’t stop couriers locating a specific 3 word address.

Addresses are written on stickers for people to use when ordering online. The system understands the district and the delivery station, simplifying the job for delivery.

It means small business like Carteiro Amigo can scale their operations, reduce time training new recruits and work out more efficient routes. And it means the favela’s residents now get their mail and online shopping purchases delivered direct to their door.


what3words and you

Without a precise addressing infrastructure, delivery and logistics becomes both challenging and costly. Every extra minute spent searching for a residential address, a pick up point or a specific location is time and money that will hit your bottom line.

For affected individuals, the lack of a reliable address can stop them from registering to vote, get a passport, open a bank account, or even buy something online.

Our partnership with Carteiro Amigo is just one of the many ways we’re helping logistics and delivery companies – at a local, national and international level – optimise their operations.

Find out more about using what3words in Deliveries, Logistics & Ecommerce

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