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

10+ Ways to Get Involved with

Posted by anoushrima on Oct 11, 2010

As we continue the MobileActive 5-Year Birthday Celebration & Community Hurrah, here are some ways to interact with and contribute to the community. is YOU - a network of people using mobile tech for their social change work. It is powered by the contributions of individuals and organizations working across the interdisciplinary world of mobiles for social impact and development, and this website and resources are here to support you in your work.

So, here are 10+ Ways to Get Involved with

1. Keep up with the latest: Twitter, Facebook & RSS Feed

Find us on Twitter (@mobileactive) and on Facebook. We regularly distribute news and information about latest resources and information through these channels. Connect with others in the community and share news about events, resources or opportunities that you hear about. Leave your feedback/comments on what resources have been helpful, and what you’d like to see more of.

You can also subscribe to our RSS feed for full and instant gratification of everything we post, including new research which is added to the m-Directory.

2. Read our monthly newsletter

Get the monthly newsletter by signing up! They are fun and easy to read (even on your mobile-device!) and chock-full of useful resources, latest news, and roundups of upcoming events around the world.

Starting this Fall we’ll also be publishing quarterly thematic round-ups dedicated to latest news, research and information on targeted topics.  The first one will be focused on mobile data collection tools and resources. Sign up!

3. Participate in conversations about M4D by joining the MobileActive Discuss list

There are now 700 MobileActives on the Discuss list. They are researchers, practitioners, NGO staff, students, telcom employees, donors, and tech vendors who all have a passion for and an interest in mobile tech for social impact. The group shares ideas and knowledge, answers queries, and posts grants and job opportunities. Click here to join.

4. Comment/give feedback on our content

We want to know what you think. Did a blog post, report, or How-To raise more questions for you as a practitioner, or inspire you to think of other concerns/questions you think your peers should be asking? Have additional information about a given topic? Leave us a comment.

5. Contribute to the Mobile Minute by tagging articles with #mobilemin

You may have noticed our new feature called the Mobile Minute - a quick round-up of interesting stories that have come across our RSS and Twitter feeds.

If you see an article of interest that you think should be incorporated, tag it #mobilemin

Grocott's Mail: A Local Newspaper Embraces Mobile Phones

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Jul 14, 2010

[Updated with images] In Grahamstown, South Africa, getting and sharing news is a mobile experience. Grocott’s Mail, a local paper, incorporates mobile phones into many aspects of its news service – from disseminating headlines via SMS, to encouraging readers to text in their opinions, to a Knight Challenge-winning citizen journalist training program.

Grocott's Mail: A Local Newspaper Embraces Mobile Phones data sheet 4443 Views
Countries: South Africa