The Mobile Minute: Mobile Banking Ban Looms in Somalia, U.S. Teen Texting Habits Increase, and Mobile Web Use Grows Worldwide

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Oct 22, 2010

In today's Mobile Minute: The UN released a report on mobile penetration around the world and how mobiles can be used to fight poverty, Business Insider charted U.S. texting habits by age group, an Islamist group in Somalia banned mobile money transfers, Zimbabwe's first mobile money program prepares to launch, and the research group Akamai released data on the growth of the mobile web around the world. 

SMS and Democratic Governance in the Phillipines

Posted by MohiniBhavsar on Oct 06, 2010
SMS and Democratic Governance in the Phillipines data sheet 2195 Views
Emmanuel C. Lallana
Publication Type: 

This paper examines the use of mobile phones, particularly the short messaging system or SMS, in promoting democratic governance - organizing institutional frameworks to achieve democratic ideals. The objective of this paper is to document how mobile phones is being used to promote popular participation in Philippine politics.

The paper looks into the various SMS-based services that enhance citizen participation. Specifically, SMS services that provides the following were examined: 1) Provision of Public Information; 2) Delivery of Public Service; 3) Amplifying Voice; 4) Vigilantism. 5) Elections and 6) Mass Action and 7) Developing Political Accounts.

Previous studies of SMS in government show that over half of Philippine government agencies use SMS-based services. Most of these national government agencies use SMS as a mechanism for providing information and receiving feedback. In a few instances SMS is used to enhance the delivery of public services.

The notable examples of SMS-based services that provide information are the Department of Agriculture’s Presyo and Panahon Text and the Department of Trade and Industry’s TextDTI. The PAYBIR is an SMS-based service that allows citizens to pay taxes through their cell phones. The Office of the President’s TXTGMA and the office of Marikina Mayor’s TXTMCF elicit complaints, comments and suggestions from constituents. These two are examples of SMS-based services that amplify the citizens’ voice. On the other hand, the DILG’s Patrol 117 is an example of a government service that promotes citizen participation in crime prevention.

The role of SMS in elections as well as its role in mobilizing political action is also discussed. Examples of how text messaging was used as the medium for organizing rallies, spreading information, and stating political positions were given. The discussion on how SMS help develop political account or interpretation of current events was considered through an analysis of political jokes spread through SMS.

While the focus of the paper was on how SMS is being deployed to promote citizen participation, it was noted that SMS is also used in anti or counter-democratic projects.

In sum, this paper documents the role played by SMS in the overall effort at creating an effective set of rules for managing voluntary political exchanges in the Philippines.

Beyond the Demographic: How Sourcing Through Texting Connects Journalists and Citizens in Detroit

Posted by MelissaUlbricht on Oct 06, 2010
Beyond the Demographic: How Sourcing Through Texting Connects Journalists and Citizens in Detroit data sheet 2959 Views

If a large truck illegally barrels through a neighborhood and no reporters are around to see it, does it make the story? It does if local residents with mobile phones can text truck sightings to a local public radio station. This is the premise behind a new pilot project called “Sourcing through Texting” from a team at The Takeaway radio program. Sourcing through Texting provides a way to connect citizens with journalists via mobile phones.

The Takeaway is a radio program produced in New York City (a co-production of Public Radio International and public radio station WNYC in collaboration with the BBC World Service, The New York Times, and WGBH Boston) which can be heard live online or on the radio at about 60 stations in “Takeaway cities” across the U.S.

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

The goal of "Sourcing Through Texting" is to connect journalists and people in communities where public radio is not typically popular, all through a standard mobile phone.

Brief description of the project: 

"Sourcing through Texting" provides a way to connect citizens with journalists via mobile phones. It allows people to communicate with journalists by sending tips or information via text message in response to story topics or specific questions.

Target audience: 

The target audience for "Sourcing through Texting" are mobile users who do not typically listen to public radio on the air or online.

Detailed Information
Mobile Tools Used: 
What worked well? : 

An experimental approach to the development of the project worked well. Such an approach allowed stakeholders to brainstorm, talk, and try out ideas.

What did not work? What were the challenges?: 

Challenges included: the best way to promote the service and the right level of interaction via texting. Adjusting to language and culture is another potential issue, as is cost. The 160-character limit of text messages may prevent users from submitting longer, more complete stories or sources of information. Local relevance is also needed for people to feel engaged.

Mobile Done Right: Reform Immigration FOR America Mobile Campaign

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Jun 16, 2010

Back in January, we covered two organizations that use mobiles for raising awareness of immigration issues. At the Mobilize Your Cause Bootcamp, held June 2 in New York City, Nicola Wells and Rachel LaBruyere gave a presentation about how Reform Immigration FOR America and the Fair Immigration Reform Movement coalition built a sizable and effective SMS campaign. Watch a video of their presentation below to see an example of how to pull off a successful, large-scale mobile campaign.

In part one of the videos, Wells explains how the organization initially became interested in mobile campaigning and organizing, and describes the three goals they had for a mobile community and list:

Mobile Done Right: Reform Immigration FOR America Mobile Campaign data sheet 4120 Views
Countries: United States

My Question

Posted by AnneryanHeatwole on Aug 25, 2009
My Question data sheet 2062 Views
Organization that developed the Tool: 
Main Contact: 
Uju Ofomata
Problem or Need: 

Finding accurate, confidential information about sexual reproductive heath and HIV/AIDS prevention can be difficult or uncomfortable for young people. However, having access to reliable health information is necessary for making informed life decisions.

Main Contact Email : 
Brief Description: 

My Question allows young people in Nigeria to send in their questions about sexual reproductive health and/or HIV/AIDS anonymously to trained counsellors via SMS, voice, or through email. Within 24 hours, an answer is sent directly to the phone from which the question was sent.

Tool Category: 
Runs on a server
Key Features : 
  • Enables questions to be asked via SMS
  • Enables questions to be asked via voice
  • Confidential responses
  • Fast access to information
Main Services: 
Interactive Voice Response (IVR)
Information Resources/Information Databases
Tool Maturity: 
Currently deployed
Current Version: 
Program/Code Language: 
Organizations Using the Tool: 
  • One World UK
  • Education as a Vaccine Against AIDS
Number of Current End Users: 
Number of current beneficiaries: 
Languages supported: 
Is the Tool's Code Available?: 
Is an API available to interface with your tool?: 
Global Regions: 

Nonprofit Texting Test in the United States

Posted by KatrinVerclas on Jan 15, 2008

The Direct Marketing Association's Nonprofit Federation, the trade association of nonprofit marketers in the United States, is rolling out a text messaging pilot program with discounted rates with Mobile Cause, a vendor focused on nonprofits. 

According to Senny Boone, quoted in a DMA newsletter: “We've been paying attention to what's happening with text messaging and the younger generations."  The article goes on: "Many non­profit organizations [are] “looking at younger donors and how to gain their support now and having them continue to support in the fu­ture.” The new pro­gram is a way to encourage members to take a closer look at this method of fundraising and test its potential."  According to Boone, “In Europe, there's already been a lot of success with text messag­ing and raising funds.”

Presentation on the use of SMS in conservation and development

Posted by kiwanja on Apr 27, 2006

I recently made a presentation at a Conference hosted by Technologies for Conservation and Development (t4cd) at Microsoft's Research Centre in Cambridge, UK.

The Conference, which I helped organise through my work with the lead project partner - Fauna & Flora International - brought technologists and conservationists together to try and join the dots in this 'mini digital divide'. My talk was on the growing use of text messaging within the conservation and development communities, and more generally in wider society.