Maji Matone

In the Spirit of FailFaire: Maji Matone. Time to Embrace Failure, Learn, and Move On

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Dec 14, 2011

Editors Note:  We started Failfaire almost two years ago to create a space where it was ok to be honest in our field of "tech for social change," and admit that many projects that we all undertake do not succeed.  Today is yet another Failfaire here in New York where practitioners come together to discuss how and why our projects failed.  We will be writing about this tomorrow to give you more on the #fails presented, but in the meantime were absolutely astounded today to see the following blog post from Daraja about their Maji Matone project. It takes guts (and foresight) to admit so publicly that this project has not succeeded. We wrote about Maji Matone here before. The project was designed to provide local accountability for water services by way of local, grassroots monitoring via SMS. The post below was oroginally published on Daraja's blog here and is reposted here with Daraja's gracious permission.  We are grateful for the post, and for the honesty.  

Maji Matone hasn't delivered. Time to embrace failure, learn, and move on 

It is no secret that Daraja's Maji Matone programme has not lived up to expectations. In particular, despite considerable resources spent on promotional work - printing and distributing posters and leaflets, as well as extensive broadcasts on local radio - we haven't had the response from the community that we had hoped for.  A six month pilot in three districts resulted in only 53 SMS messages received and forwarded to district water departments (compared to an initial target of 3,000). So we've made a decision - to embrace failure, learn and share lessons from the experience, and to fundamentally redesign the programme.

Admitting failure in this way is easy to support in theory, but much harder to do in practice. It may be accepted practice in the for-profit world, but it's uncomfortable for a donor-dependent NGO. Would it be easier to continue half-heartedly with a programme that isn't working or close it down quietly and hope that nobody notices? Of course it would. But those approaches would not benefit anyone, wasting money and missing out on valuable opportunities to learn. So we're taking a different tack, embracing and publicising our failures, and trying to make sure we (and others) learn as much as possible from the experience

Maji Matone: Using Mobiles For Local Accountability (and Flowing Water)

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Jun 15, 2011

When it comes to water, every drop counts. When a local waterpoint malfunctions or dries up, it’s important to get the problem resolved as quickly as possible. That’s where Maji Matone, a water monitoring and civic participation project in Tanzania, comes in.

Run by Daraja, a Tanzania-based NGO, Maji Matone asks villagers to report outages in their water systems via SMS. Daraja employees read through the SMSs, then pass along the information to the local district engineer. The project is currently being piloted in three different districts. Each district has a local engineer responsible for the water infrastructure. If reports continue to come in and no action has been taken, Maji Matone turns to its media partners in order to publicize the lack of action.

Maji Matone: Using Mobiles For Local Accountability (and Flowing Water) data sheet 3611 Views
Countries: Tanzania