Wednesday, June 13, 2012

SMS feedback highlights – Part 1: Complaint

     Translated SMS: “My cash collection ID card was taken by force by one of your staff in the Mogadishu office when I went to collect my payments. I want to know why he took my card and would like your help in getting it back.  The staff who took my card accused me of having  a duplicate card, which is untrue.”

From male beneficiary, Cash Relief project, Bondhere, Mogadishu


Step 1: Complaint sent to the Mogadish Cash Relief team to investigate and send us a response.

Step 2: Mogadishu team sent this response – This man has 2 ID cards for one family, because his late wife and him have applied as 2 separate families. His wife has recently passed away and he has been collecting her cash as he is her next of kin, as written in our database. He has came to the bank with his ID card to receive the payment, and DRC team at the bank have realized he is collecting 2 payments for the same family, and have reported to me (Zaima, DRC Cash project manager).  We talked to the bank telling them not to pay this ID card. After investigation we raised his case with the area manager and agreed to take away his late wife’s card. He is among 14 other beneficiaries who have now been stripped of their duplicate ID cards.

He has contacted DRC Cash Project Manager by telephone and she has explained the cash policy that each household is entitled only to 1 ID card for cash collection. The beneficiary did not accept the policy and DRC’s decision.  The project manager asked him to come to the office to discuss face to face, he did not show up. He called her 2 days ago, sounding angry and threatening her to make “trouble” for the DRC if his late wife’ ID card is not returned to him. This was reported to Mogadishu Area Manager.

Step 3: We have spoken to the beneficiary relaying the above message from the project manager. He has confirmed the duplicate ID card indeed belonged to his late wife. He, however, tried to explain that his late wife's mother and her siblings were the beneficiaries of his wife's cash and he is now in a difficult position to support 2 families. The feedback team has again communicated to him the DRC cash policy, each household is entitled only to 1 card and there is nothing else we can do to help him.  Beneficiary is notified of the complaint closure as the Mogadishu team has followed procedure and thus he has no case. We have offered one last solution for him to meet the cash team in Mogadishu and talk things thorough calmly so they maintain good working relations.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

We receive polar opposite feedback sometimes, here is one example.

Translated SMS: We have nothing but praise and respect for the DRC for the work it has done in our village, Aden Abokor. 

Female beneficiary
Aden Abokor village
Salahley District

Translated SMS: Your humanitarian work is not good and efficient in our village in Qol-Caday. You have not developed much in the 2 years you were here and your projects are coming to an end.

Male beneficiary
Qol-Caday village
Salahley District

Monday, June 4, 2012

News Release - 1/6/2012

The Danish Refugee Council (DRC) recognizes the importance of public access to information for accountability and good governance, and for enabling citizen participation to be meaningful. It addresses this challenge by harnessing information communication technology (ICT) solutions. The Pilot Aid Accountability project aims to make interventions from DRC and other humanitarian agencies operating in Somalia more transparent and responsive to citizen’s views and needs by strengthening local level governance and community-based organisations.
The project utilises innovative ways to gather feedback from beneficiaries using SMS via a local SIM card, posting the translated and uncensored feedback on Ushahidi page We also use social media to share findings and engage on-line communities.
Since the start of the project in September 2011, beneficiary SMS feedback has been implemented in 31 towns and villages in the north and East of Somalia and in May 2012, it has been extended to 3 districts in Mogadishu.

To date, we have received 280 SMSes. Surprisingly, over 130 of these were sent within 2 weeks of rolling out the feedback system to Mogadishu, majority from beneficiaries in IDP camps receiving cash relief as a result of the recent droughts. In comparison to the 150 SMSes received from 31 locations in Puntland and Somaliland over a period of 6 months. We we concerned  the cost of 10 US cents per SMS, due to using SIM card based in Hargeisa, would deter beneficiaries in Mogadishu.

Given the challenges in high illiteracy levels, SMS cost, poor network coverage in remote villages and a strong oral communication culture, 280 SMSes is very encouraging and the response from Mogadishu has taken us by surprise.

Beneficiaries can submit feedback by SMS to +254 2 4000919, 24/7 including public holidays. Feedback is processed and followed up by a member of the feedback team and SMSes are treated with the strictest confidentiality.

Bellow are the links to our social media pages with more information:

Beneficiaries playing a role on a 'boat', working out how to manage a disaster. This is to help the community work out a plan to help rescue their weakest members, a lesson directly applicable to beneficiary selection process. by CDRD project in Somalia
a photo by CDRD project in Somalia on Flickr.
Beneficiaries playing a role on a 'boat', working out how to manage a disaster. This is to help the community work out a plan to rescue their weakest members. A lesson directly applicable to beneficiary selection process.