Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Can Text Messaging do Social Good? Ask NETWAS

Back in November 2007, in partnership with we launched a competition- to encourage text messaging for social good.

The idea was simple: more people have cell phones than internet so more people could innovate socially motivated phone system than an internet based system. So we invited NGOs from developing countries to submit a short proposal outlining how text messaging could make their job easier. At this time we're delighted to announce the winners of the inaugural nGOmobile competition. With over seventy entries from all corners of the globe, judging was a real challenge with the standard of entries incredibly high. Listen to the winners announcement on the BBC World Service here (MP3)

According to the Judges: "the sheer inventiveness of the submissions made judging the competition a real pleasure. We think we've chosen winners who combine creativity with the ability to deliver, and look forward to seeing how they progress" The top four are:

Entry name: Participatory rapid response forest management system
Organisation: Centre for Training and Integrated Research for ASAL Development Project Manager: Francis Kamau
Country: Kenya
Project summary: CETRAD is working with local communities to promote the protection and sustainable use of environmental resources. They plan to implement messaging services to help with reporting, field communications and to provide an early warning system to help combat poaching and illegal logging

Entry name: Ask NETWAS a water, sanitation and hygiene question and get an answer
Organisation: Network for Water and Sanitation
Project Manager: Cate Nimanya
Country: Uganda
Project summary: NETWAS plans to launch an SMS-based service for rural communities allowing them to ask a range of water-based questions on topics such as sanitation, hygiene, water harvesting, and water technologies

Entry name: SMS at the service of healthy forests and families and empowerment of women
Organisation: The Equilibrium Fund
Project Manager: Cecilia Sanchez Garduno
Country: Mexico
Project summary: This project seeks to help rural Central American and Mexican communities solve problems of deforestation, poverty, malnutrition, unemployment and the marginalisation of women using SMS to improve a range of communications and provide market data, training and advice

Entry name: Count to 5! Campaign
Organisation: Digital Development
Project Manager: Razi Nurullayev
Country: Azerbaijan
Project summary: This campaign will use text messaging to help grassroots and politically excluded people understand their human and legal rights, and to engage them further in the political process

Do check out details and pics on the ngoMobile site.
Many thanks to our sponsors. We will be doing this again and if you wish to sponsor in any way (laptops, phones, PR) we welcome your help

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