text to change

Mobile Phones for Health Education in the Developing World: SMS as a User Interface

Posted by TextToChange on Mar 10, 2011
Mobile Phones for Health Education in the Developing World: SMS as a User Interface data sheet 2694 Views
Catalina M. Danis, Jason B. Ellis, Wendy A. Kellogg, Hajo van Beijma, Bas Hoefman, Steven D. Daniels, Jan-Willem Loggers
ISSN/ISBN Number: 
Publication Date: 
Jan 2011
Publication Type: 
Journal article

Uganda suffers from a severe shortage of professional healthcare workers. Thus, programs aimed at prevention of disease are an important complement to the limited healthcare delivery system.

We analyze two deployments of an SMS-based HIV/AIDS education system that uses a quiz format to assess people’s knowledge of the disease, including its causes and methods of prevention. The deployments were to two groups in Uganda, one a sample of mobile phone users who live in a town in northwest Uganda; the other, workers at three factories in central and southeastern Uganda. The two samples had accuracy rates above chance levels and workers at the three factories had higher rates of participation (more individuals and more questions) than the sample selected from the cell tower service area. An analysis of incorrect answers suggested that while participants had some difficulty in matching the formatting required by the quiz, literacy did not appear to be a significant problem.

We discuss the results in terms of implications for using SMS as a user interface mechanism and explore the possibility of using social ties among participants as a way to promote the scalability and sustainability of this quiz-based education method.

Mobile Quizzes For HIV/AIDS Awareness: Zain and Text to Change

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on May 18, 2010
Mobile Quizzes For HIV/AIDS Awareness: Zain and Text to Change data sheet 6193 Views

In Kenya, a partnership between the non-profit organization Text to Change and the telecommunications company Zain used SMS mobile quizzes to keep Zain’s employees up-to-date on the latest HIV/AIDS information.

For four weeks in November and December of 2009, Zain’s Kenyan employees were part of a pilot program for SMS mobile quizzes. Employees received three multiple choice questions each week that focused on different aspects of HIV/AIDS such as prevention and treatment. The quizzes also directed participants to testing centers in order to learn their HIV/AIDS status. Says Bas Hoefman, co-founder and managing director of Text to Change,  the choice to partner their mobile program with a telecommunications company was logical: “We thought, ‘why isn’t Zain using its own products – mobile telephony and SMS – to educate its own employees?’  Use your own product for your own employees.”

Basic Information
Organization involved in the project?: 
Project goals: 

Use interactive quizzes to increase awareness of HIV/AIDS among Zain employees in Kenya.


Brief description of the project: 

Text to Change partnered with telecommunications company Zain to run an HIV/AIDS awareness campaign. The pilot used interactive SMS quizzes based on Text to Change's existing SMS platform to get employees to answer questions about HIV/AIDS, and to encourage them to get tested for HIV/AIDS. The pilot ran for four weeks in November and December of 2009, and had an overall response rate of 43%.

Text to Change offers interactive mobile SMS quizzes, combining knowledge transfer with incentives in the form of airtime. The SMS Quiz is designed to raise and help resolve key issues around local development programs.

Target audience: 

The target audience was 506 Zain employees in Kenya.


Detailed Information
Mobile Tools Used: 
Length of Project (in months) : 
What worked well? : 
  • The 43% response rate was considered encouraging, and the fact that there was a 10% increase in employees who sought health services during the course of the pilot.
  • Text to Change also found that the partnership was a good foundation for setting up telecommunications contacts in order to launch future projects outside of their home-base country, Uganda.


What did not work? What were the challenges?: 

The pilot faced several challenges:

  • Employees didn't want their co-workers to see them going to the on-site testing center because of the stigma of HIV/AIDS.
  • Due to the sensitive nature of some questions, Text to Change had to ensure the privacy of the employees' responses.
  • Adapting Text to Change's technology from Uganda (where the company is based) to run in Kenya.

Texting against AIDS

Posted by TextToChange on Mar 09, 2010
Texting against AIDS data sheet 1954 Views
Hajo van Beijma
Publication Date: 
Oct 2009
Publication Type: 
Magazine or newspaper article

Can text messages help stop the spread of HIV/AIDS? Text to Change (TTC), a Ugandan NGO, thinks the

answer is yes. To prove it they have teamed up with Zain to launch an innovative project that utilizes a technology that has been rapidly expanding to make sure that HIV/AIDS does not do the same.

Text at Work and Stay Healthy: HIV/AIDS Prevention in the Workplace

Posted by TextToChange on Mar 09, 2010
Text at Work and Stay Healthy: HIV/AIDS Prevention in the Workplace data sheet 1133 Views
Hajo van Beijma
Publication Date: 
Feb 2010
Publication Type: 
Report/White paper

Through a pilot partnership with the Text to Change (TTC) initiative, HIPS is using an innovative tool to support companies in providing key prevention messages and education on HIV/AIDS to their employees and community networks – text messages. Early results are promising: the launch of the program resulted in a 40% increase in demand for sexual and reproductive health services from participant company clinics.