DIGITAL VISION SMS FRONTLINE ARMENIA Piloted in April-June, 2010Continued in October-December, 2010
The project was incorporated into Oxfam GB Armenia development programmes – Health Rights for All, Disaster Risk Reduction, and Sustainable Livelihoods THE AIM OF THE PROJECT IS TO BUILD SMS FRONTLINE SYSTEM AS A CAMPAIGNING, ADVOCACY AND AWARENESSRAISING TOOL IN DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMMES
OBJECTIVETo pilot SMS frontline as an awareness raisingand capacity building tool to increase resilienceand reduce vulnerability of local communitieson natural disasters, and support them toestablish a culture of safety and resiliencethrough knowledge and skills in DRR initiatives
Implementation strategyIst stage – preparatory, one month• Signing contract with Telecommunication Company on service provision• Creation of data base of project beneficiaries• Identify and hire expert on First Aid (FA)• Development of FA SMS training courseIInd stage – awareness raising activities, two months• Delivery of messages in Vayots Dzor region (32 messages on FA, each working day, about 700 beneficiaries)• Overall 46000 messages on health rights and FA have been disseminated to 2000 beneficiaries in 80 communities.
WHAT WENT WELL• We succeeded in introducing SMS technology as an effective awareness raising tool. Ministry of Health and other international organization currently use SMS alerts and messages to increase the awareness of population on health rights related issues in Armenia.• Our regional partner organizations - Health Foundations of three regions incorporated this innovation into their activities.
WHAT WENT WELL• We get about 85% positive feedback from project beneficiaries about effectiveness of SMS messaging.• We have registered success stories where due to messages violated health rights have been restored.
RISKS and LIMITATIONIgnorance of SMS because of lack of interest towards new technology Beneficiaries hard to read SMS text since the text is in Latin lettersNumber of characters in SMS text should not exceed 160, in part of Sender - 11
LEARNINGS and RECCOMENDATIONS• There is a limited access to any information in rural communities (newspaper, TV, Internet) and almost 100% access to mobile network, thus SMS can serve as an important tool to ensure information flow to isolated communities• SMS messaging can serve as effective tool for two- way communication
LEARNINGS and RECCOMENDATIONS• Do explain beneficiary why we need his/her mobile phone number (database collection)• Do not bombard and irritate people with messages• Do not give people ambiguous information• Provide opportunity for feedback• To ensure that the phone numbers of local relevant authorities and other stakeholders are included into database
PERSPECTIVETo establish SMS frontline as a two-way communicationTo use SMS frontline as an awareness raising, alternative tool for distant training, consultation on basic rightsTo advocate for further usage of SMS messaging by Government for awareness raising purposes