SMS tools for better governance and resilience

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28 Jul SMS tools for better governance and resilience

Supporting communities to identify, plan for and respond to the risks they face through advocacy is a key element of Christian Aid’s humanitarian PPA work. It can lead to long-term, sustainable change led by communities themselves, since partners work with communities to build their capacity to leverage resources and expertise, or exercise control over their rights through advocacy. But how can remote or roaming communities like pastoralists in Kenya (featured in the In Focus section of this site) access their government and communicate with authorities in a timely, effective and interactive way? Mobile messaging (SMS) offers transformational opportunities to address this access gap. It is increasingly opening up advocacy space for communities around the world.

Through Christian Aid’s DFID-funded CHASE PPA programme, we implemented a short pilot SMS scheme to enable pastoralist communities to communicate with the new Marsabit county government structure as part of our resilient livelihoods programme in the north of Kenya. The project was also designed to provide learning to inform the design of future projects elsewhere.

The widespread use of mobile phones has placed them as a key resource in the lives of Kenyans, with mobile network reach at 78% in June 2014. Christian Aid has been supporting SMS service projects on health, climate and markets information delivery in several countries around the world including Kenya, Malawi and Ghana. Partnering with UK based NGO On Our Radar in Sierra Leone as part of the DFID ENCISS programme, we also worked on a governance project called SMS Voices that grappled with the use of mobile phones to enhance accountability of elected leaders to their citizens.

Read or download the full case study here.