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Discussing public services one SMS at a time

Mobile phones are a popular communication medium for East Africans. However, how effective are they in delivering public service information to the right place and at the right time? Can SMS help citizens find out more or report their situation to public service providers?

Twaweza Tanzania has partnered with an SMS agency, Dar411 Mobile, to pilot a text messaging program. The program will consist of 24 text messages concerning the education, health and water sectors deployed over 4 weeks. The text messages are in Swahili.

The text messages will inform subscribers for free on policy and research relating to citizens and, in particular, service delivery in the areas of health education and water.  The messages will also ask questions focused on citizens' experience.

With the help of Dar411, Twaweza will monitor both the deployment of and feedback from this SMS program. The objective is to learn whether SMS is an effective platform with which citizens can improve public services. If SMS is seen as effective, a longer-term program will be considered with the possibility of regularly providing subscribers with on-demand information about particular services.

To subscribe to this pilot initiative in Tanzania, compose an SMS with the word "Twaweza" and send it to 15678.

Read more: education health mobile phones SMS Tanzania water

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