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How C4C partners use Mobile Applications. PDF Print E-mail

By Margaret Sevume – I-Network

Most of the adult population in Uganda has access to a communication medium  namely a mobile phone. Those who do not directly own one, can still have messages relayed to them within a relatively short time. The ability to send and /or receive information is an enabler to development as stated in the famous quote by Thomas Jefferson to Joseph Cabell, on  22 January 1820 “…knowledge is Power…”

On top of using the phone to make and receive calls, many more uses have since been invented.  As a result of this, all stakeholders in development have cashed in on the mobile phone popularity to design ways of benefiting from it, through what are known as the mobile applications (mobile apps)

Ken Werbach a technology expert explained the phenomenon thus; A mobile phone with storage isn't just an interface for rich media, applications, and files located elsewhere -- it's a full-fledged computer. There will be little reason to carry a separate camera, organizer, or music player. With a few gigabytes of stage, a mobile phone becomes a multipurpose information appliance. For businesspeople, it becomes the tool for carrying PowerPoint presentations and word-processing files, rather than lugging around a laptop. For the consumer, it becomes the repository for photos, movies and music. You'll send copies of that content to a network server for backup or to share it with your friends, but you'll still carry copies with you everywhere.”

Connect for Change – (C4C) partners in Uganda have also used mobile apps to boost their activities.

Mango Tree based in Lira have used mobile phones to send out text messages  asking for opinion from the community about cultural matters and on writing in the local language (leblango). Participants are recruited during field work. These may be parents, teachers or opinion leaders of communities.

Uganda National Health Users’/ Consumers’ Organisation - UNHCO  registers pregnant mothers when they come for ante-natal visits. Afterwards they are sent text messages reminding them of the subsequent appointments, information on nutrition for the family, post-natal care and rights and responsibilities for both men and women. In future they hope to make audio messages for their illiterate beneficiaries.

Health Child prepares health promotion text messages and sends them out to participants phones. Participants are recruited during community events. Also, UNHCO has entered into partnership with MTN . The Mobile Money service is now used by the different savings group to send Birth Preparedness Money, used for paying for the Mama Kit and other necessities needed during delivery. When this is done beforehand, it ensures that there is no panic at the last minute, with the mother coming confidently for delivery well knowing that she has already paid for everything.

Lango Child and Community Development Federation - LACCODEF is an association of 8 community projects whose mandate is to  promote access, and retention to quality education for needy children in communities. Using mobile phones, messages are sent  out to participants relaying important and timely information. For example, at the start of the national examinations like PLE. UCE and UACE; parents are informed so that they ensure that their children do not miss school on those days. At times, when there is a contentious issue, parents and teachers who are on the list are contacted for input. Participants are recruited during field visits and other community work events.

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