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 http://somcdrd.org/hif. 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: